Kukla's Korner

Fischler Bits

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Maven returns with a trip around the NHL. from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

-How do you explain Detroit’s delicious start? Red Wings’ exec Jim Devellano tells us: “Young fellows like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have become real good. Manny Legace has shown that he can play a lot of good games and Chris Osgood is a solid backup. Nicklas Lidstrom is still fine and Mat Schneider has turned into a top-notch defenseman. Plus, fellows like Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby are doing their jobs. But we’ll be judged on how we finish!” Just wondering: does anyone in the in the NHL out-hustle Draper? -Interesting comment from Scott Niedermayer on the New NHL: “The way the game is being played, there are expectations to make prettier plays,” says the Norris-winner. “Maybe there’s too much focus on that.” Could be!

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Eric Staal Interview

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Eric Staal, the NHL's offensive player of the week, conducted a teleconference interview; quite entertaining... via NHL.com,

Q. To what do you attribute all the scoring for Carolina, a team that h as not been known for its offense in the past? ERIC STAAL: Yeah, I know. I think right now the guys are just feeling confident. We're never quitting no matter what the score is right now. I think with the new rules and everything and our speed, it really helps our team. It's been helping us so far. Q. What about that hat trick? That's a pretty good birthday present, isn't it? ERIC STAAL: Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I mean, the crowd, it was a full house playing Philly here. It was a lot of fun, up-and-down game. It's pretty fun. Nice to get the win with it, as well.

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Fans Flock To NHL Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via NHL.com,

NHL sets October attendance record Average of 16,820 best in League history for October; rinks filled to 91.2% capacity. The National Hockey League set an all-time attendance record for the month of October, attracting an average of 16,820 fans and filling rinks to 91.2% capacity. Twenty-three of 30 clubs are even or ahead of their 2003-04 performance, with six of the top 10 gainers located in the 'Sun Belt.' The percentage increase leaders are Pittsburgh (+31%), Tampa Bay (+26%), Calgary (+23%), Carolina (+21%), Florida (+19%), Atlanta (+15%), Boston (+15%), Nashville (+14%), San Jose (+13%) and Chicago (+13%).

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Lightning Coming Alive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Lightning are finding their stride. The Lightning couldn't have been further from playing the brand of hockey earlier this seaon that delivered the team the Stanley Cup in 2004. Too many players were freelancing, straying from coach John Tortorella's tried-and-true system. Superstars, counted on to carry the scoring load in the new, wide-open, offense-happy league, were ordinary — at best. And, finally, the timely heroics from players up and down the lineup — a hallmark of the run to immortality two springs ago — was nowhere to be found.

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Blues Are Bad- But Don’t Blame The Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

It’s over. The Blues’ playoff streak is finished. There is no way this stripped-down team can battle into the Western Conference playoff bracket. But don’t blame the players or coaches. All the blame goes to the management team -– owner Bill Laurie, president Mark Sauer and general manager Larry Pleau.

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Last Chance For Daigle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,

Where once Alexandre Daigle would have been jabbering away about the pass he made to help set up the winning goal by teammate Marc Chouinard, now, however, he was excited about something very different. "Did you see that?" Daigle asked, with a wink. "Jacques (Wild Coach Jacques Lemaire) had me out there in the final minute. That's really something, eh?" Daigle was thrilled that Lemaire chose him to be on the ice, when his team was trying to eek out a victory and needed discipline and dedication to play solid defense to win. Not a great revelation unless you've followed the whole, wild story of Alexandre Daigle.

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Over the Boards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-Calgary Flames are getting healthier; Darren McCarty who was on the shelve with a sore neck is expected back in the lineup tonight and Robyn Regehr is expected to play in his first regular season game on Saturday. -Phoenix center Petr Nedved will miss at least two weeks with a dislocated elbow. -Wild left wing Marion Gaborik will miss the team's four game road trip with a groin injury. -Mark Parrish of the Islanders will be a game time decision tonight.

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Top Loyalties And Branding

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brand Week,

In this year's survey findings, five of the top six brands with the most loyal consumers are technology related. Only Avis (which ranked No. 1 from 1997 to 2003) remains a traditional holdout among the hot, and comparatively, newer brands. Google's first-place finish, its second in a row, won't surprise many. “The ability to search the Internet is vital to the way people work, play and function. To take it away would be disruptive to my life,” said Nitin Gupta, an analyst with the Yankee Group, Boston. Among all brands, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League fared the worst. After locking out for a season, hockey ranked dead last. “The NHL didn't bother showing up last year. You can't disappoint fans any more than that,' said Passikoff. The second biggest loyalty loser was Major League Baseball. With the steroid scandal putting a cloud over the season, loyalty plummeted and MLB careened to No. 221, falling 152 spaces.
I guess NHL fans can look at it this way, the only direction for the league is up!

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Olczyk On The Hot Seat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

He has received public votes of confidence from his general manager and his team owner the past several days, but Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk isn't naive enough to think his job is dead-bolt safe. Or maybe even screen-door secure. Not when the team is 1-5-5, last in the Atlantic Division with seven points, and one point off the bottom of the NHL standings heading into a five-game road trip that begins tonight at New Jersey.

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Fans Power Rankings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

From sea to shining sea, without regard for the world's longest undefended border, parity is skating amok on NHL rinks. Entering play on Tuesday, fully one-third of the league's teams had six wins, and only the Detroit Red Wings had more than eight wins. It's hardly more clear on the other end of the spectrum, where only the Penguins, Blues, Blackhawks and Thrashers have fewer than four wins.

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