Kukla's Korner

Over The Boards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

• Fourteen years ago today, Manon Rheume made sports history by being the first women to play in one of the four major sports leagues in the United States. She goaltended for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League in a pre-season game against the St. Louis Blues.

• Lightning CEO Tom Wilson said he is thrilled the team maintained season-ticket sales equal to last season's 14,500, including partials. Still, in what he called "a relatively new (hockey) market," three straight playoff seasons aren't enough. "I think there's a feeling that another year, two years, you're creating lifetime hockey fans," Wilson said. "We made a big dent in that aspiration when we won the Cup, and we reinforced it by making the playoffs again. You do it four, five years in a row, that's what you need, so there is a lot of pressure for us to continue to do well."
-St Petersburg Times
• (Bryan) Murray said he expects that there won't be nearly as many penalty calls early in the season because many of the players have adjusted to the officiating standard. "I think we all complained about it when it started because that's our job to criticize. But I really believe the players made the adjustment and they're feeling good about the direction the game has taken," said Murray.
-Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun

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Have We Seen The Last Of Keenan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector at the National Post,

The question is, does this old dog have any tricks left in the new NHL? Keenan's success always came with a dressing room full of older players. The '94 Rangers were basically Edmonton East, as Keenan and Smith brought in seven players from the Oilers dynasty and meshed them with veterans like Brian Leetch, Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan. In today's NHL however, a team has to be built, not bought. As Conference finalists Carolina, Buffalo, Edmonton and Anaheim proved, you need a core of players under the free-agency age of 27, which can be augmented at the trade deadline when veteran players come cheap.
read on

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Burke Anonymous In LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Sun,

"I know everybody thinks I have a big ego. Trust me, anonymity is nice." Then Brian Burke pauses. Burke cocks his head slightly and stares hard at the reporter. Reporter discreetly checks Burke's pants for fire. War and Peace pause. Finally, reporter: "Well, Brian, nobody's going to believe that." The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce said "no" to Burke when he offered, as he did in Vancouver when he ran the Canucks, to speak at breakfast meetings in order to promote hockey. Sorry, Brian who? You run what? Did you say Ducks? Oh, ice hockey.
more

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The Spectacle Will Entertain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the El Nuevo Dia (San Juan newspaper, translated),

For the great majority, the best way to go to enjoy today the game ice hockey between the Rangers de New York and the Panthers de Florida is to appreciate what the promoters call: “the spectacle”. For that they know something at least, the today game is its way to feel to its wide ones, because in the blind Earth tuerto is king. The leader of the Rangers, Tom Renney, suggested to him to the fanaticada one not to be complicated the life. “The important thing is that they are let entertain. If they try to follow the rules and the details of the game are going to waste time of benefit”, it said.
read on

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Knuckledraggers Talking Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

The idiot box just got a whole lot more idioter-er-er. Yes, this week the world of cable sports welcomed Tie Domi into its fraternity of well-dressed saying nothings, as the former stick-wielding goon finally called it quits on a career that had been, in the last couple of years, reduced to bench cozy and cheerleader. An ugly, ugly cheerleader. No doubt TSN saw in Domi the opportunity to compete with Sportsnet's resident knuckledragger Nick Kypreos.
continued

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Cheechoo Goes Surfing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Contra Costa Times,

Here is a sneak preview for the NHL's new national TV advertising campaign: One of the commercials will feature Sharks winger Jonathan Cheechoo and a surfboard. Cheechoo, who won the Rocket Richard Trophy last season by scoring 56 goals, headed to the San Jose State aquatics center after practice Friday to tape his segment. He wore his full set of hockey gear in addition to working with the surfboard in the commercial. The spots are expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. The NHL received some criticism for its TV commercials last season because many of them used actors instead of actual players.

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“Old School”- Dear Jean

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

There are hundreds of them, in frames, drawers, scrapbooks and shoeboxes across Canada and far beyond, cherished almost as family heirlooms. They are the cards, letters and autographed photos from the pen of Jean Beliveau, who has answered every piece of fan mail - every one - since his first game for the Canadiens, a 19-year-old junior in 1950, who had nine shots on goal and was selected first star in his National Hockey League debut. The mail keeps coming today, even 35 years after hockey's grandest ambassador played his final NHL game. It arrives at the Bell Centre from maybe a dozen countries, and unfailingly, it is pulled from the satchel of Beliveau's Longueuil mailman, who must have the best job security at Canada Post.
continued

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Will The NHL Ever Return To Winnipeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Wyman at the Winnipeg Sun,

We can safely say that our downtown hockey arena is good enough to house an NHL team. No less of authorities than Wayne Gretzky, Cliff Fletcher, Shane Doan and Jeremy Roenick said so last week. Those four hockey luminaries also like the odds of Winnipeg someday getting a team to replace the dear, departed Jets. The key word is someday. It is simply too soon to say if and when NHL hockey will ever return to River City, although there is clearly consumer interest to go along with a more-than-adequate facility and new and improved economics in the league.
continued

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The Perfect Backup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

Brent Johnson doesn't recall exactly what turned his game around last season, but it's easy to pinpoint when the transformation occurred. Johnson, the Washington Capitals' backup goaltender, went 4-9 with a 4.16 goals against average and a .876 save percentage before the Olympic break. He was 5-3-1 with a 2.40 goals against and .940 percentage after the two-week hiatus. "We talked in February, right after the Olympics," Capitals goaltending coach Dave Prior said Friday. "Brent recognized he was at a critical point in his career. He knew it was time to get it done, or he would be in the same boat again in the offseason, trying to convince some team that he could be a number two goalie."
continued (reg. req.)...and this note too...
Left wing Alex Ovechkin returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday's skate with an undisclosed minor injury. He did play against the Penguins.

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Oduya Impresses Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Post,

The Devils have done it again, unearthing just what they need from nowhere for nothing. This time, they've found a rare longshot - unsung Johnny Oduya, a black Swede. They're desperate for defensemen, and Stockholm native Oduya has impressed everyone with his skating agility, poise and sensible shooting. Coach Claude Julien has been impressed. "He's played well since Day 1," Julien said. "He skates so well, carries the puck out, has such mobility. These are the types of players who seem to excel now." Oduya is getting his chance on the skill he's demonstrating, not because the NHL's diversity program will be interested in his story. "My dad's from Kenya and came to Sweden and met my mom in the '70s," said Oduya, who will turn 25 Oct. 1.
more (reg. req.)

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