Kukla's Korner

Ward Stands Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP-AP via TSN, After the game,

Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour credited Hurricanes rookie goalie Cam Ward for the series victory. ''You have to look at Cam Ward, who was solid for us,'' Brind'Amour told TSN afterwards. ''Coming in here everyone was talking about (Devils goalie) Martin Brodeur and the confidence he gives (his) team, but I think Cam outplayed him.'' Brind'Amour also said Buffalo will give the Hurricanes a real run in the next round. ''All the guys in this league know how good Buffalo is,'' he said. ''Going into that series (against Ottawa) we predicted them to win. ''We have our work cut out for us.''
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Ottawa Fans Vent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CTV,

An Ottawa radio show gave Senators fans a shoulder to cry on after their team's season-ending loss Saturday, keeping phone lines open well into the following day. Those listening to the sports radio station 1200 The Team heard hours of grief, frustration and confusion, although one host said fans weren't angry. "There's a lot of resignation, I think, from people who have seen it too often and they're very disappointed," host Al Armstrong told CTV Ottawa on Sunday. "But there isn't the same vein of hatred as there was when they lost to the (Toronto Maple Leafs)."
continued

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A Dangerous Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via Sportsnet,

Amateur hockey players are risking their health by staging secret locker-room boxing matches that can lead to concussions and other serious injuries, a medical expert says. A game called "helmets and gloves" -- also known as locker boxing -- is a "time-honoured test of manhood" that poses a significant danger, says an editorial in the latest issue of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. "It's a concussion that could be prevented," says Dr. Kevin Gordon of Dalhousie University, the article's lead writer. "The editorial should really be a call to arms for parents to discuss it with their kids, for coaches to discuss it with their athletes. If everyone's aware of it, we can take some action." Participants wear hockey gloves and helmets and square off until a helmet is knocked off.
continued

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So Much Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

While Carolina owner Peter Karmanos told the Raleigh News & Observer last week that he hadn't had any conversations about a contract extension with Peter Laviolette, whose current deal expires this season, Slap Shots has been told that talks between the organization and head coach broke off following a stalemate over the offer. And though Laviolette is expected to resume negotiations at the conclusion of the playoffs - standard coaching and management contracts run through June 30 - we're told that the Bruins are extremely interested in pursuing the head coach...
more (reg req.)...a lot of UFA talk...and this about OLN...
Finally, would it not be a very, very, very good idea for OLN to relinquish its exclusive rights to the conference finals and first two games of the Finals, so that local rights-holders can pick up the feeds and the greatest number of people - even those who don't subscribe to digital tiers on their cable packages - have a chance to, you know, watch the games? Under the present arrangement, who could be forgiven for asking, "Whose NHL?"

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Woo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Big and tanned and bad and blond, grandpa and wrestling superdude Ric Flair rips one off. "Woo!" Just to get the blood moving. Flair, 56, is in an upstairs hallway of the RBC Center, psyching himself up to videotape "Woo!"s for the Carolina Hurricanes scoreboard.
more image

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OLN Doesn’t Come Close To ESPN

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

No one is breaking any new ground in criticizing OLN's uninspiring production of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The entire package needs to be tweaked, the play-by-play needs to be fuel-injected and the analysis needs to be more aggressive and entertaining. (In other words, Comcast needs to hire more people from outside its company.) But hockey fans, at least, have a home on the dial, even if it takes 408 clicks to get there. The product, however, doesn't come close to ESPN's days of the wonderful overreactions of Gary Thorne, not to mention Barry Melrose's goofy musings (and suits).
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Mom Planted The Hockey Roots

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle,

Their father couldn't skate to save his life. So it was up to their mom, Penny Gionta, to teach the three boys how to skate. Judging from what's transpired in the two decades since, she definitely got them off on the right foot. Skating-impaired Papa Sam usually was stuck in goal. Mom, meanwhile, would zip up and down the ice, schooling Joey, Brian and Stephen on moves and moxie. t was Penny's rink-rat roots that convinced her to sign the boys up for skating and hockey lessons when they were just knee-high to a goalie's pads. Never, though, in her wildest dreams could she have known that by doing so the Gionta clan would embark on a fascinating journey that would include trips to seven NCAA Frozen Fours and sips from Lord Stanley's famous cup.
read on added 7:48am, from the Edmonton Journal,
If Oilers fans are lucky, Dixie Smyth will ask her son to score the winning goal tonight in Game 5 against San Jose. It's Mother's Day, after all, and Captain Canada may be a gritty NHL foward, but he always sends his mom a bouquet of flowers and a sentimental, handwritten note. One more goal isn't too much to ask. "Ryan makes every Mother's Day special," Smyth says.
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Mediocre Hockey Takes Over

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Coloradoan,

Can't say you weren't warned. It's what you asked for, after all. Now, you had better get used to it. This is the hockey you're going to see for awhile. As the playoffs grind on, it has become more and more obvious that what some of us predicted would happen in a few years is way ahead of schedule. Mediocrity has taken root in the NHL, and the game already is suffering for it. If these playoffs are any indication, you already have the parity you asked for. That's great if you're a fan in San Jose or Anaheim but not so cool - it would seem to me - if you're a fan in Colorado or Detroit.
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Looking For Answers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

What about Dominik Hasek, the crown jewel whose groin problem became a pain in the butt for the rest of us? And what about GM John Muckler? He was the architect of the wise trade that brought Dany Heatley to Ottawa ... but, the critics will say, he was also the voice behind some failed deals. Was Zdeno Chara still injured? His usual stellar play wavered a bit. There had to be a reason. Would pylons have been more effective at times than Andrej Meszaros and Anton Volchenkov in the first few games? Don't give up on these kids, especially Meszaros. He'll be a cornerstone. And he'll sip from Lord Stanley's chalice someday soon -- in Ottawa. Did Vaclav Varada show up?
read on added 7:39am, from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
Now what? The Ottawa Senators entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East, but flopped big-time in the second round. Tear it down? Start again? Come back with the same team? The reality is the Senators are a great team, but their best players were not able to perform under pressure. You can’t blame the coach…or the GM…or the goalie. Ottawa’s high-scoring forwards simply did not compete and its defensemen made too many unforced errors.
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MacLean Takes Hard Line With UFAs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Malhotra, Letowski and Suchy will see what they can get in an open market. And MacLean will cast about for replacements. "I’m not really concerned with third- and fourth-line guys, to be quite honest," he said. "We’ve got guys like (Jason) Chimera, (Dan) Fritsche and (Jody) Shelley who are going to be there. And there will be a lot available (among free agents). "I’d prefer to have them back, but I don’t control that totally."
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