Kukla's Korner

Breaking Down The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

It's early, but it seems that the NHL's rule changes are starting to produce the results the league hoped for - more goals and a faster pace - and most people in hockey circles seem to be happy with the pre-season product. Through the first 16 pre-season games, there were 101 goals scored - an average of 6.3 per game. That's up from 5.8 goals per game in the first 16 pre-season games in 2003. The main reason for the increase would seem to be the number of powerplays being awarded. Through the first 16 games, there have been 306 powerplays - just over 19 per game. The average in the 2003-04 regular season was 8.48 man advantages per game. One glaring example was Friday night, when Phoenix and Minnesota combined for 22 penalties in a 3-2 win for the Coyotes. All five goals were scored with the man advantage. Other games have featured even more powerplays. Montreal and Atlanta were whistled for 32 penalties on Sunday, a day after Los Angeles and Anaheim totalled 36 fouls.

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John Ferguson Battling Cancer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

Former Montreal Canadiens player John Ferguson is to undergo radical surgery on Thursday in London, Ont., less than three weeks after discovering he has prostate cancer, writes the Montreal Gazette's Red Fisher. Ferguson, now a special consultant with the San Jose Sharks, had gone for a routine physical exam before the Sharks training camp. As his 67th birthday neared, he felt great and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong. But six days later his doctor in Windsor informed him that his biopsy had turned up cancer.

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Everyone Must Buy In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

The crackdown on obstruction will be enforced. They really mean it this time. In concert with new rules, the ice will be opened up so much, rinks will seem to have been stretched to international dimensions and fire-wagon hockey will be back. Instead of slouching in your seats as you eat nachos and read Architectural Digest in an attempt to get some relative excitement during an NHL game, you will be on the edge of your chair -- or the couch -- every second. The numbers will jump so high, if this were baseball, we would suspect everyone loaded up on flaxseed oil. And the check is in the mail. If I dared to say, "Stop me if you've heard that before," this column would stop right here, as if four guys hooked and held me at once and a fifth wrestled away the laptop and headed for the nearest pawn shop. But I won't say that, so I can add this: I'll believe it when I see it.

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Datsyuk Arbitration Hearing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sport-Express is reporting the meeting took place today but it was already known that Datsyuk wanted to go back to the Wings. So it was only a matter of principle as to what Russian team owned the rights to Datsyuk. It looks like no curve balls were thrown at Holland so all is cleared for Datsyuk to return to Detroit. Follwing is the translation of the story:

The examination of the "matter Of datsyuka" they transferred on 26 September today it took place the current session of arbitration committee FKHR/PKHL on the "matter Of datsyuka". Besides it, during this day was examined the eight additional matters. Those arrived to the arbitration 12 hours (its official beginning) the President of "dynamo" Anatoliy kharchuk and the director of "advance guard" on the lawful and agent activity Vladimir of Sarajevo did not doubt, that the main trial will leave "to the hors d oeuvre". The representatives of two clubs appeared decisively, but it was possible to understand on their mood: the forthcoming session, in the first place, only the matter of principle. it the day before for sure them became known that Pavel datsyuk will begin season in "Detroit", and with "dynamo" with the "advance guard", so those not had time to subdivide hockey player to solution expected by many, they can only explain, who of them from the point of view of the regulations PKHL of rights, but who is not. However, the solution by the "matter Of datsyuka" it was today accepted not. Session they transferred on 26 September in connection with the request of "advance guard" to the management of "dynamo" to grant confidential agreement Datsyukom to the season -2004/05 - the document, signed by club with the player besides the contract, report correspondents "se" Marat SAFIN Pavel SAVCHIK.
update 1:00pm, from the Globe and Mail,
Suddenly the Detroit Red Wings feel a whole lot better about their chances this season after getting star centre Pavel Datsyuk back into the fold. For GM Ken Holland, it was a tortuous month of negotiations and a roller-coaster of emotions before finally plucking the silky smooth playmaker out of Russia. "I spoke to Pavel this morning," Holland said Tuesday from Detroit. "It's all confirmed. He's coming back. We certainly feel like we've won the lottery."
more

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Hejduk Out 5 Weeks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey announced that right wing Milan Hejduk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery today. He will be sidelined four to five weeks. "After further examination, the procedure was necessary in order to eliminate the pain he was experiencing in his knee," said Avalanche Head Athletic Trainer Matt Sokolowski. "The procedure went really well and a full recovery is expected."
I read about this early this morning in a Denver paper and the team felt it was a day to day thing. Said he could play if it was a regular season game. Opps.

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Burke Lawsuit Continues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Sun,

Former Vancouver Canuck president and general manager Brian Burke has won the right to have his defamation suit against New York Post columnist Larry Brooks heard in B.C. Supreme Court. Burke is suing Brooks, who writes primarily on hockey, over an item that appeared on Feb. 27, 2005. The item concerned the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident of March 8, 2004 in which Bertuzzi sucker-punched the Colorado Avalanche forward in a game at GM Place. The attack was in retaliation for a Moore hit on Canuck captain Markus Naslund three weeks earlier.

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Babcock Adjusting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

It's not just the fans who aren't sure what to expect from the National Hockey League this season. Coaches are in the same boat. They have some ideas and some expectations. And each one hints that he has noticed something that may have escaped the attention of others -- which he's keeping quiet, of course. But in Detroit, Mike Babcock has an added burden. As the new coach of the Detroit Red Wings, he not only has to adjust to an unfamiliar situation, he also has to adjust to an unfamiliar position -- players he doesn't know in a city he doesn't know in a franchise he doesn't know. He had thought, for instance, that Sunday would be an ideal time to give his players a rest day after a rigorous week of training camp in Traverse City, Mich. But the people at Little Caesar's Pizza, who also happen to be the people who own the Red Wings, had a different idea. They thought a promotional intrasquad game at the State Fairgrounds would be a better idea. Guess what the Wings did on Sunday?

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The Swedish Six

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit News,

The Red Wings might have to change the color of that winged wheel on their jerseys to blue. That's the dominant color of the Swedish national team jersey. With as many as seven Swedes possibly making the roster this season, the Swedes certainly have become noticeable. "There's never been this many Swedes before," said defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the veteran of the group. "It's a different feeling." "It's nice," said forward Tomas Holmstrom, looking around at his teammates one day last week in Traverse City. "There is a lot. I'm not sure what's happening." Nothing is happening, according to general manager Ken Holland. No secret plan, nothing to do with the rule changes, favoring offense and skating. "Just a coincidence," Holland said of the growing number of Swedes on the Wings roster. Along with Lidstrom, Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg, others certain to make the final roster are defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Andreas Lilja, and forward Mikael Samuelsson.

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The Specialist Returns

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It appears games will come down th power play and penalty killing. The 'specialist' is going to be more important than ever. from the Victoria Times Colonist,

Marc Crawford thinks everyone is going to need to be a special teams player in the new-look National Hockey League. With a parade to the penalty box expected at least in the early going as players and teams adjust to an anti-obstruction crackdown, the Vancouver Canucks' head coach says he will likely employ three power-play units, not two. And the guys who don't get power-play time almost certainly will find themselves killing penalties. A select few will do double duty.

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Changes To The Game Proposed 27 Years Ago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

When the NHL and its new American cable broadcaster announced their deal last month, they spoke glowingly of a brave new world that included a more exciting game, more access to players and bold ventures in television broadcasting. That knowing laughter you might have heard in the background came from Ralph Mellanby. The former executive producer of Hockey Night In Canada and a hockey producer for three American networks can be excused if he says he's heard it all before. He has — 27 years ago to be exact. In 1978, John Ziegler, commissioner of the NHL at the time, asked Mellanby to form a committee to recommend ways to improve TV ratings in the U.S. What Mellanby and company came up with back when long sideburns were stylish the first time looks an awful lot like what the NHL is peddling more than a quarter of a century later. "We proposed shootouts, removal of centre red line, change on the fly only, widening the blue lines," Mellanby said from his Atlanta home. "Our feeling was that to enhance the game for television, you had to have a better product on the ice. "Here we are 27 years later and they're finally getting around to doing it."

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