Kukla's Korner

Expected To Succeed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Kreiser of NHL.com,

Here’s a look at a player from each of the 15 teams in the Western Conference under pressure to perform as soon as the puck drops:

Jonas Hiller, Anaheim—Hiller took the No. 1 goaltending job from Jean-Sebastien Giguere and was superb for the Ducks down the stretch and in the playoffs, leading them to a first-round upset of Presidents’ Trophy winner San Jose and nearly knocking off Detroit. Now it’s up to the 27-year-old to prove he’s capable of being a full-time starter at the NHL level on a team from which big things are expected.

Chris Osgood, Detroit—Osgood atoned for the worst regular season of his career with a superb showing in the playoffs, getting the Wings to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. With backup Ty Conklin gone to St. Louis after a superb season in Detroit, the Red Wings can’t afford to have Osgood struggle again—especially because there’s no proven backup behind him this time.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Not So Feel-Good Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The Hawks have more than enough scoring to compensate even if Hossa is unable to make the season-opening trip to Finland. But after making all the right moves during the organization’s dizzying ascent from the bottom to the top of the Western Conference, the franchise has left itself open to scrutiny and criticism with decisions made since Hossa inked his record deal.

The failure to send out qualifying offers to restricted free agents before the deadline—resulting in the Hawks paying more than they would have otherwise to re-sign some of their own players—the subsequent ouster of popular general manager Dale Tallon and McDonough’s awkward explanation are reminiscent of the old Hawks.

Now this. If the Hawks knew about Hossa’s injury, isn’t it risky bordering on reckless to sign him to a $62.8 million deal without so much as a physical?

Recent news seems symptomatic of a sense of urgency bordering on desperation that has gripped the franchise since the season-ending loss in Detroit. It’s troubling. When organizations begin to cannibalize themselves, diners can become dinner and the feel-good vibe around a team evaporates.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Dave Poulin Added To Leafs Management Staff

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,

More than 30 years ago, when Dave Poulin was skating for the Dixie Beehives junior club in Mississauga, he couldn’t get a single NHL team interested in drafting him.

Today, he’s found a new home with one of the league’s most historic clubs.

The Star has learned that Poulin, 50, will be announced at 10 a.m. today as the new vice-president of player development for the Maple Leafs, essentially moving into the third slot in the Leaf executive lineup behind president/GM Brian Burke and his right-hand man, Dave Nonis.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+poulin

Name Players Still Available

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

There are still about 40 “name” unrestricted free agents out there who are looking for work.

At the top of the list is F Alex Tanguay, though it has been rumoured for a while that he is on his way to the Panthers with a couple of other teams (the Islanders and Predators) rumoured to be in the mix.

Some of the players are close to the end of their careers (or may already be there) like D Sergei Zubov and Fs Brendan Shanahan and Mats Sundin.

But there are plenty of other players still available who still have something to contribute: G Manny Fernandez; D Derek Morris, Dennis Seidenberg, Martin Skoula, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Francis Bouillon; and Fs Robert Lang, Petr Sykora, P.J. Axelsson, Jason Williams, Taylor Pyatt, Maxim Afinogenov, Mike Grier and Miro Satan.

more plus a look at Martin Gerber playing in the KHL…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Paul Kelly Talks About The Heatley Situation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Campbell of 630 CHED,

Speaking exclusively on 630 CHED’s “Inside Sports with Dan Tencer”, NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly broke his silence on the Dany Heatley saga on Wednesday night.

“I think that this been kind of twisted in a negative way, which is unfortunate for Dany. I think he’s just a victim of a bad set of circumstances,” said Kelly about Heatley, who requested a trade earlier in the off-season.

“While it is true that he requested a trade, it was not Dany Heatley or his agent that made that fact public. I think Dany’s been unfairly treated by the media and by the (Senators) organization.”


Update 3:05pm ET: More on Heatley from Chris Yzerman at the CP

While Cory Clouston introduced the newest member of his staff Thursday, talk turned to what’s becoming an old story for the Ottawa Senators coach: what to do about Dany Heatley.

Clouston, speaking on a conference call after the Senators announced the hiring of former NHLer Brad Lauer as an assistant coach, said he’s yet to speak with his disgruntled star. It’s Heatley’s unhappiness over his diminished role and ice time since Clouston took over as head coach that’s been cited as the reason for the left-winger requesting a trade out of Ottawa this spring.

“I’m more than willing to listen and talk to anybody, but nothing’s changed at all,” said Clouston, who was “surprised” at Heatley’s request.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley, paul+kelly

Talking All The Islanders Goalies

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

Ah, but the question, WHO is the back-up?

Martin BironBetter still, Heaven only knows who’ll be the Numero Uno between the pipes when the Autumn leaves start to fall.

One thing is certain, one Islander goalie surely will fall because Garth Snow has produced yet another center-ring gem.

By signing Martin Biron to a one-year contract, the Isles’ general manager has lined up number one goalies the way Paris Hilton lines up gossip items.

And believe The Maven, there’ll be plenty of gossip over Rick (Remember Me) DiPietro, Dwayne (All The Way From Edmonton) Roloson and the aforementioned Biron between now and you-know-when.

For starters, having a triumverate of goalies ever-so-clearly suggests that the black cloud hovering over DiPietro’s netminding future will not easily dissipate until he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he CAN endure a good season of puck-stopping.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Power-Skating Expert

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank of Flames Insider,

One of the best parts about watching the Flames’ annual prospects camp?

Getting to see one of the smoothest skaters on the planet on display every morning.

Too bad he’ll never ever play for the Flames.

Because in addition to being a little long in the tooth, Barry Karn, power-skating teacher extraordinaire, is making a pretty good living as it is.

And what a stride the man possesses. Ridiculous.

The Minneapolis-based instructor just guided the Tampa Bay Lightning through its rookie camp and now he’s here.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: barry+karn

Fedorov Wants His Money Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from M.L. Elrick of the Detroit Free Press,

For nearly 20 years, former Red Wing great Sergei Fedorov has victimized opponents with slick skating and a deadly shot.

Now he says he is the victim, swindled out of $43 million by a Grosse Pointe Shores man entrusted to manage his money.

In a lawsuit expected to be filed today in Wayne County Circuit Court, Fedorov accuses Joseph Zada of embezzling the money during the past 11 years.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+fedorov

Bouwmeester And His Corsi

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When I listed the players with the worst 20 Corsi Numbers last season, the list included a lot of defencemen who play on bad teams against top competition and usually start their shifts in the defensive zone.  This of course is a contributing factor to their poor Corsi numbers.  Copper N Blue notices this and points it out.  He criticizes me for listing the players with the worst Corsi Numbers, suggesting that it will provide ammunition to the “anti-numbers” crowd.  There are people who do not want to believe that statistics and math can be used to understand hockey and would just like it all to go away.  It is obvious that statistical analysis has made significant in roads to hockey, so it isn’t going away.  It also isn’t clear that hockey can ever be solved on the level of baseball, but that is a goal - even if it is unattainable.  This aspect of the game has little effect upon your viewing of a game, unless you want it to.  There is no reason you have to know anything about statistics to view a game.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Regulating The Web

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,

I’ve always felt the Internet ranked as possibly the best technological advance of this age. I’ve also felt it also ranks as the worst. For every great use of it, there’s at least one that manages to shine a light on the slimiest elements of our society.

The latter was on full display earlier this week when video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, captured by a hidden camera as she walked around naked in her hotel room, found its way on to the web….

It lays bare the Internet culture that believes everything is for public consumption, libel is a concept from the past and common decency is something your grandmother worried about. It’s a culture that preaches everything is designed for entertainment, whether it’s video of people suffering serious injuries doing stupid things or invasions of privacy of the most heinous degree…

I’ve never favoured regulating the Internet. Until now.


I can’t see how the web can be regulated, but I can see you, the reader, visitor or member, making a decision on whether to visit a site or not.  Just like in everyday life, I have found people who surf the web are gullible, uneducated or just don’t have any morals and they will never stop doing what they do.

It is also up to the person in charge of the website to monitor and control the readers who visit.  If you are going to post material like what is mentioned above, what kind of visitors do you think you are going to attract?

In my mind, not the type I want to be associated with.

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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