Kukla's Korner

Perfect Matchup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There has been plenty of talk this spring about a widespread conspiracy in the NHL. Word in Philadelphia, Washington and Raleigh, N.C., is that the league wanted the Penguins to get to the Stanley Cup final and did everything it could to make it happen, going so far as to give beneficial calls by the referees to the sport’s poster boy, Sidney Crosby. Well, I’m here this morning to dispute that vigorously. I don’t think the NHL officials are nearly that smart.

They’re just lucky, that’s all.

Lucky to have the incomparable Crosby and Evgeni Malkin under the bright spotlight on hockey’s grandest stage for what figures to be a marvelous two-week run.

And lucky to have the defending champion Detroit Red Wings as the opponents in a blockbuster sequel to last year’s entertaining Cup final.

continued

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

You can make an argument that any one of five current NHL players can stake a claim to being the best player on the planet.

Three – Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk – are finalists for the Hart Trophy as regular-season MVP.

One, Henrik Zetterberg, was named Conn Smythe Trophy winner last spring as the best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

One, Sidney Crosby, is the current favourite to win the Conn Smythe this spring.

Four of these players – Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk and Zetterberg – are participants in this year’s Stanley Cup final, the NHL’s greatest showcase, which begins tomorrow night in Detroit.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Who Stays, Who Goes In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News via the Monterey Herald,

My conversation with (Doug) Wilson took place earlier this week before we both appeared on a Comcast SportsNet Bay Area television show, the one which features sportswriters of all ages and sizes, proving definitively that none of us are as smooth or smart as host Greg Papa.

For example, on the show in question, Papa was pressing exactly the right issue with Wilson — whether Shark scoring leader Joe Thornton needs to amp up his attitude in the playoffs — when the general manager inadvertently let it slip that Thornton isn’t going anywhere.

Some had wondered if he might be on the trade market.

“I know one thing,” Wilson said. “It bothers Joe every day right now, that we’re still not playing. That’s the kind of guy we want to be in the foxhole with going forward.”

Okay, that’s one guy who’ll definitely be back for 2009-10. What about the rest? What about captain Patrick Marleau? Or goalie Evgeni Nabokov? Any others?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Talking Global TV Rights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sports Business International,

The National Hockey League is looking to be the first US league to offer a global rights offering, according to its Chief Operating Officer John Collins.

The NHL drew record crowds, greater television viewers and new sponsors this season through marketing strategies borrowed from the National Football League. The league’s current focus is to attract sponsors that will ultimately lead to more television money, says Collins.

“If we grow our share of the sports advertising marketplace, I think somebody will step up,” Collins said as quoted on Bloomberg. “We can be the first domestic league that looks at a global rights offering.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Finals Playoff Prediction

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I was correct on both my semi-final predictions, split my second round predictions and went 5-3 in my first round predictions.  This gives me an overall 9-5 record in the 2009 playoffs.  That isn’t too bad and I am guaranteed no worse than a .600 record in the playoffs even if I miss the finals prediction.

Here it is:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Lindsay Rips Back-To-Back Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via the Windsor Star,

Terrible Ted, who’ll be 84 a month after this year’s final ends, answered his cellphone Wednesday and began firing on all cylinders at what he called “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of in my life” — his Red Wings, beat up and exhausted after their 2-1, Game 5 elimination of the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, having to go back at it three days later.

“Is this supposed to be the premium event of the National Hockey League, or not?” said Lindsay, who played in that 1955 series, scored four goals in Game 2, a finals record at the time, and remembers the Saturday-Sunday games as not being any better an idea then than it is now.

“Except we were so stupid, we didn’t know anything different,” he said….

“These guys have just gone through three very tough series — played probably the best team in the league other than them, in Anaheim, just finished another hard series and now you’re going to have one tired team with a lot of injuries. Pittsburgh’s probably not as tired because they had a fairly easy time of it, but they’re only getting one more day’s rest.”

more

added 10:02pm, How about the opinion of Adam Brady of Ducks Blog at AnaheimDucks.com,

So the Red Wings are one step closer to becoming the first team to repeat as champions since ... the Red Wings (in 1997 and 98).  They take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final for (yawn) the second straight season….

But the back-to-back games are another story, at least according to Old Man Chelios. “You don’t want my opinion on that,’’ Chelios said.

You know what, Cheli? You’re right. We really don’t.

In fact, all of you complaining about the back-to-backs, get over yourself. Frankly, the whining is more than a little tiresome.

more

added 10:08pm, from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press via the Sacramento Bee (not on the freep site yet),

Dear NBC and NHL:

I’ll begin with a simple question. Do either of you actually like hockey?

I think I can answer for NBC (a.k.a. “Nothing But Conan”), because it is clear the network would rather break out in a deadly skin rash than show the Stanley Cup finals on a weeknight.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ted+lindsay

Watching Chicago/Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times,

Wednesday night’s telecast on Versus of Game 5 of the Red Wings-Blackhawks semifinal broke a record for the U.S. cable network, continuing a trend this N.H.L. post-season of high viewership not seen in America for more than a decade.

Versus’s coverage of the Wings-Hawks Game 5 earned a 2.1 household rating and averaged 2.32 million total viewers. That made it the most-watched telecast in the network’s history among households (1.55 million) and tied it with Lance Armstrong’s final ride (7/24/05) for the highest-rated program in network history.

continued and don’t forget to check out Puck The Media for more broadcasting talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Your SCF Officials

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via NHLOfficials,

The NHL names the Officials selected for the Stanley Cup Finals

Here they are:

Referees: Paul Devorski, Marc Joannette, Dennis Larue and Bill McCreary.

Linesmen: Derek Amell, Steve Miller, Jean Morin and Pierre Racicot.

The NHLOA would like to congratulate the Officials selected and wish them all the best for this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Not This Year Hockeytown

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Parker at ClckOnDetroit,

...But these aren’t last year’s Penguins. Not by a long shot.

No one thought they’d be back here late in the postseason again looking for more, not even Marian Hossa, who passed up a mega-bucks, multi-year contract from the Pens to instead take a flimsy one-year deal with the Wings.

Hossa, who starred for Pittsburgh last June, thought his best chance to win the Cup was with Motown, not in the Steel City.

Hossa will wind up being both wrong and disappointed.

The Penguins will beat the Wings. Sorry, Hockeytown.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“We’re disappointed that we haven’t had an extra day’s rest. It’s a double-whammy, the quick turnaround and back-to-back games [to open the finals]. We’re disappointed because we think when you win a series in five games or less, that you have earned an opportunity to have a few more days of rest.

“But at the same time, we understand and we’re not going to dwell on it. Because we don’t want to lose our focus with the job at hand. It is what it is. Let’s play.”

-Wings GM Ken Holland.  More on the Wings injuries from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The NHL Combine Fitness Tests

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Michael Traikos at the National Post:

“What have I gotten myself into?”

This is what I’m thinking as lab assistants duct tape my feet to the pedals of a stationary bike, block my nasal cavity with a nose plug and force a breathing tube inside my mouth.

Strapped in, I realize there is no turning back. I am at York University where I am about to undergo the dreaded VO2 max test as part of the standardized fitness evaluation that all NHL draftees are subjected to at the league’s draft combine today and tomorrow. While a player’s physical sacrifice might lead to a professional contract, I am told there are two ways in which this day will end for me: either in tears or hunched over a bucket.

continued… with more on how the players are evaluated

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Entry Draft, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhl+draft+combine

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