Kukla's Korner

Commodore Not A Babcock Fan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

“Mike Babcock was without a doubt an obstacle in my career,” said Commodore of the coach who traded him from Anaheim to Calgary in 2003.

“I wanted to prove him wrong, I’m not going to lie. I used him as big-time motivation. I thought he put his best foot forward to bury me.”

Commodore’s perceived injustice—the kind that can be found in almost every NHL locker room—adds intrigue to the Blue Jackets-Red Wings rivalry. The outspoken defenseman now gets to face his former coach six times a season.

In one breath, Commodore says “it’s water under the bridge,” and in the next concedes, “I still get fired up talking about it.”...

“The only thing I ever questioned about Mike was his conditioning,” Babcock said. “In my mind, Mike always has been a quality guy. When he came up, I didn’t think he was in condition. That’s it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+commodore

Another Top Rookie

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I am picking Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets as the current Calder Trophy leader.  He is not only the rookie of the year, he is also a serious Vezina Trophy candidate (though at this point I would pick Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins), that makes him the runaway Calder leader. 

However, there is another rookie who I could imagine giving Mason a race in the second half.  This is especially true if the back spasms that kept Mason out of the Young Stars Game affect his second half play.  That rookie is Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Future Cap Issues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector at Fox Sports,

Last fall in my Foxsports.com column I wrote about the NHL teams which could face potential salary cap problems if next season’s cap were to drop below the current level of $56.7 million.

As the recession deepens and concerns grow over its impact upon all professional sports leagues, I think it’s worth a quick revisit to determine which teams could find themselves strapped for cap space next season….

Boston Bruins: 14 players signed, $42,645,833.

Buffalo Sabres: 14 players signed, $41,188,690

Calgary Flames: 15 players signed, $42,649,167

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Players That May Be Moved

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Last season, Marian Hossa was the crème de la crème of a group of players on the market leading up to the 2008 trade deadline. His acquisition by Pittsburgh helped propel the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1992.

This season, the forward is ensconced in Detroit, where he signed as a free agent, something well-remembered by his friends in Pittsburgh. But for teams looking to add such a bauble before the March 4 deadline, well, the cupboard is looking pretty bare.

Here’s a list of the top players who could be in play between now and the trade deadline.

Jay Bouwmeester, Florida Panthers
Last season, Atlanta GM Don Waddell did his best to sign Hossa to a long-term deal, but could not. Because the Thrashers were a draft-lottery team, the decision to trade Hossa was an easy one. Not so for Florida GM Jacques Martin when it comes to the talented Bouwmeester.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Winter Classic Night On The NHL Network

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Make sure to catch “Ice and Ivy” All Access: 2009 Winter Classic tonight on the NHL Network. followed by replays from both NBC & CBC of the Winter Classic.  The shows will be broadcast in the US and Canada and the progamming begins at 9:00pm ET.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic

Good Advice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via John Feinstein of the Washington Post,

It is now time for the Caps, their fans and the local media to let go of this whole all-star thing and move on to far more important tasks: like trying to win the Stanley Cup.

It really doesn’t matter that Montreal’s fans stuffed the ballot boxes to get four of their players into the starting lineup or that Ovechkin, the best player in the league, wasn’t a starter, or that other all-star-worthy Caps got snubbed. Because there has been so little actual winning among the professional sports teams in this town during the last 20 years, there’s a tendency to make a big deal out of things that just aren’t that important.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

If The Ducks Became Sellers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Wood of the OC Register,

Rather than targeting draft picks, Murray would be more likely to seek established players in their early to mid-20s. Certainly, the commodities that might bring the most in return would be former Norris Trophy-winning defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Neither has been nearly as dominant as in seasons past, but might be very attractive to teams looking for the final piece to a potential Stanley Cup puzzle.

Niedermayer, the team captain who stands to become an unrestricted free agent, has given no commitment to playing beyond this season, but could remain extremely valuable as the Ducks attempt to break in a younger group of defensemen. Pronger has one year, at $6.25 million, remaining on his contract.

“I’m certainly aware of it,” Pronger said. “We have to start doing whatever it’s going to take to win hockey games. If we don’t, then we’re forcing their hand and they will be forced to move guys, obviously. They’re not going to just sit there and watch.”

more on the Ducks…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Fernandez Will Miss A Few Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of Bruins Blog,

Coach Claude Julien said that goalie Manny Fernandez is experiencing some ‘‘general soreness’’ and is likely to miss a few games.

In keeping with the club’s secretive policy about injuries, Julien did not divulge any further information, or the specific nature of the ‘‘soreness’‘.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: manny+fernandez

No Appeal Process, Lidstrom & Datsyuk Will Sit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Update from Monday’s practice: Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and center Pavel Datsyuk both said they were disappointed in the NHL’s decision to force them to sit out Tuesday’s game in Columbus for withdrawing from the All-Star game due to injuries and not showing up in Montreal for the off-ice activities.

The Wings said, contrary to reports, there is no appeal process. It’s cut and dry. They will not play tonorrow. Technically, it’s not a suspension, as they will be paid.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom, pavel+datsyuk

Lightning Recall Downie & Ramo

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled right wing Steve Downie and goaltender Karri Ramo from Norfolk of the American Hockey League, it was announced by Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink

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