Kukla's Korner

Nolan Reflects

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

When last seen in the National Hockey League, Nolan was a Maple Leaf with a swollen knee and a swollen contract. After one knee operation, Nolan had another that he said was necessary. The Leafs said it wasn't. Finally, a settlement was reached, but not without some acrimony. "You'd like to think it could have gone more smoothly," Nolan said after the Coyotes practice yesterday, "but I understand that it's a business and they're going to try to look after their end. At the same time, I'm going to look after mine. I don't have any ill will toward anybody about it." Nevertheless, it wasn't the highlight of his career.
read on

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Sticking To Policy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Newsday,

At a time when the Islanders have been searching for more offense, agent Mark Gandler said earlier in the day that former first-round draft pick Sean Bergenheim, who opted to play in Russia rather than accept what he believed was a lowball offer by the Islanders, would like to return and is willing to apologize to owner Charles Wang. But if the owner won't bend his rule against signing players who weren't in training camp, Gandler said Bergenheim will request a trade. When Bergenheim held out, the Islanders wrote him off for the season and signed veteran forward Richard Park. Two or three days before last Thursday's season opener, Gandler spoke with Islanders general manager Garth Snow and was told there will be no exceptions to Wang's policy.
read on (after the game recap)...

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Norwegian Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Aftenposten,

The breakthrough of two Norwegians into the National Hockey League is proving inspirational to scores of other young and talented hockey players. Patrick Thoresen, meanwhile, seems to be settling in with the Edmonton Oilers. Olimb has also proved himself in American junior hockey and also dreams about playing in the NHL. He says Thoresen is "really good" and "has worked extremely hard and it's paying off now. "When Norwegian players succeed in the NHL, we see that it's not just an opportunity open to Russians, Swedes or Canadians."
more

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Wrong Message

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Sun-Times,

Nobody ever mistook professional hockey for anything but the brutal, bloody, fast-paced melee on ice that it is. And perhaps fans of the sport -- or at least what's left of it after that unfortunate year in which the National Hockey League was inactive -- aren't the most civilized. But -- we ask you -- does that mean hockey devotees have to be marketed to as if they were morons? The NHL handed Mother/New York the task and challenge of developing new television commercials to announce the start of the 2006-2007 professional hockey season and presumably whip up some excitement and anticipation among fans. "Game On!" the campaign tag line, certainly, doesn't do much to whet the appetite.
read on

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Czech Trio Changing Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

Havlat and Handzus have been all the Hawks expected in the first two games. Havlat is tied for the NHL lead in points with six and Handzus is right behind at five. Vrbata has a goal and assist in the first two games. It's unlikely Havlat and Vrbata, both 25, could have imagined playing in the NHL for the same team in their youths. "Lots of things have changed since then," Vrbata said. "But in the preseason you could see we knew about each other on the ice. Hopefully that translates into some goals." Yawney said he was impressed with the poise the three showed on the ice when the Hawks were in trouble. "I like the characteristics the three have," Yawney said. "They settled things down."
more

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Wrong Formula

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,

It's just not right, what the National Hockey League did to Calgary. But that doesn't justify what the Flames are about to put their fans through again this season. Today, Calgary is just three games and a mere four goals into Year II of the new, more free-wheeling game. They're still pounding that square peg from 2004 into a hole that Gary Bettman re-drilled over a year ago.... Smash-mouth hockey doesn't work anymore, it's that simple. That is what Calgary will play, however, because that's how they've had recent success.
more

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Undefeated Ducks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Miller at the OC Register,

Can they be the NHL's first undefeated team, that is, go 82-0? The idea remains inanely legitimate, legitimately inane. Ask a dumb question, get a dumber one in return. "In my first year, I scored 76 goals," winger Teemu Selanne says. "In our first game the next season, I had a hat trick. Afterward, a newspaper guy comes up and asks me if I think I can score three goals every game. He was serious." Now that's just ridiculous. But 82-0? Sorry to hyperventilate at the keyboard, but we aren't used to the Ducks starting any way but sideways. They're 3-0 after never once even being 2-0. If they can maroon the Islanders tonight, why not dream outrageously large?
read on

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Gaborik Shining

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Sun,

As an owner of a junior team in Slovakia, Pavol Demitra knew he had a special player in Marian Gaborik. A little later, the Minnesota Wild knew it, too. But six seasons into Gaborik's National Hockey League career, no one yet knows how special the winger might become. The Wild drafted the thoroughbred and harnessed him to a plough. Only when Gaborik threatened last spring to leave as a free agent was the yoke removed.
continued

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Habs Trio Looking For Their Groove

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette,

But Samsonov was quick to defend Kovalev against a suggestion that he was holding on to the puck too long. "From upstairs, it might look like he's hogging the puck, but his puck control is the strength of his game," he said. "When he has the puck, we try to stay out of his way because there's nobody who's better playing one-on-one. What we have to do is find spots where we can get open and give Alex a chance to get the puck to us." Samsonov also said the new NHL makes it difficult to find a rhythm. Kovalev is the only member of the trio to collect a point in the first two games. He has a pair of assists that were earned on the power play.
more

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Wildly Creative

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

If you want to see a shootout show, check out the Minnesota Wild next time they go to deciding penalty shots. In the shootout, however, it's like watching the Harlem Globetrotters, as Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks found out last night. Four Minnesota shooters - none of them named Marian Gaborik - took a free shot on Luongo, and three of them scored via distinctly different tactics.
more

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