Kukla's Korner

The Sharks May Be Hard To Beat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Reluctantly, in the aftermath of the San Jose Sharks’ bold trade for Dany Heatley, it might be time to jump back on the bandwagon of the NHL’s perennial underachievers.

The Sharks, who generally follow an exceptional regular season with a do-nothing playoff, have been hinting about major changes since their first-round pratfall to the Anaheim Ducks last spring.

That it took until the eve of training camp for Sharks general manager Doug Wilson to pull off a deal speaks to the warring factions inside the organization, the unwillingness to gut a team that finished with 115 points to win the President’s Trophy last season against the clear sense that something needed to be done to rouse his remaining players to attention.

In the 28-year-old Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer who had demanded a trade from the Ottawa Senators in the spring, they may just have found the missing piece of the puzzle.


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

Lilja Going On LTIR

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

General manager Ken Holland confirmed that defenseman Andreas Lilja will start the season on long-term injured reserve. Lilja, who hasn’t been cleared for contact due to headaches and concussion-like symptoms, isn’t even allowed to skate with the team in practices. Lilja said he hopes to skate on his own Monday.

Lilja on IR puts the Wings under the salary cap, so there’s no need to trade a defenseman for the time being.

“Lils has had a setback,’’ Babcock said. “It doesn’t look to me like he’s in the picture at all.’‘

more from the Wings first day of training camp in Traverse City.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andreas+lilja

Stoll Bothered By Arthritic Wrist

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,

Jarret Stoll is not on the ice today, as he recovers from a surprising bout with arthritis. Stoll said he has been taking medication and receiving shots for the pain in his right wrist and said “by no means am I expecting to miss the start of the season.” Stoll said he wanted to skate today but was held back, and said he wants to play in exhibition games next week.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarret+stoll

Lehtonen Recovering From Back Surgery, No #1 In Goalie In Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

Kari Lehtonen did not take part in Sunday’s practice, the Thrashers’ first of training camp. The goalie is recovering from off-season back surgery.

Lehtonen was not expected to miss training camp following the surgery, but coach John Anderson said Sunday he did not have a timetable for Lehtonen’s return.

“Backs are a little iffy, so right now I wouldn’t want to speculate,” Anderson said. “The trainer has to tell me how he feels. The sooner the better, but right now no one knows.”

In Lehtonen’s absence, Johan Hedberg, Ondrej Pavelec, Drew MacIntyre and Manny Legace practiced in goal.

“Right now, he’s not in the mix,” Anderson said of Lehtonen. “Saying he’s No. 1, that’s not true. I’ll put him in when he’s actually ready, but right now the No. 1 job is up for grabs. Right now there are four guys that look really good out there.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Michael Nylander

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

Q: Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee both said [yesterday] that you are exploring your options in Europe. What’s the situation?

A: “I come here and I want to play in the NHL and I’m looking forward to the season. I feel unbelievable good. I’m in good shape. I’m just looking forward to the season.”

Q: So you don’t have an agent trying to find something for you in Europe?

A: “I’m coming here with the intention of playing for the Capitals. I have two years left on the deal.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+nylander

San Jose Sharks Re-Make Appears Complete

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When the San Jose Sharks lost in the first round of the 2009 playoffs many of their fans called for wholesale changes.  The team had done increasingly better in the regular season for the last few years but had no significant playoff success.  They won the 2009 President’s Trophy and were expected to do better than a first round playoff loss.

The urge was to trade away key players.  Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were among the candidates to be shipped out of town.  That would have been a bad idea for the Sharks.  They were not going to get better by subtracting parts.  They were highly unlikely to add better pieces in their place if they were trading away their best players.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Why The Flyers Will Win The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam McCaig of The Hockey News,

So here it is, the Three-Star case for the Flyers as Stanley Cup champions this coming June:

1. The Pronger Effect
Not only is Chris Pronger still one of the most dominant, devastating defensemen in the game today, Stanley Cup finals have a way of following him around; especially in his first season with a new team. At least, that’s been the case in the post-lockout NHL and it’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, so that’s all the matters.

After nine seasons in St. Louis, Pronger showed up in Edmonton in 2005-06 and led the Oilers to the Cup final against Carolina. Edmonton lost in six games, but the Oilers wouldn’t have come close to advancing that far without the ultra-talented, ultra-snarly defenseman.

The next season, after an auspicious exit from Edmonton (let’s just say, don’t expect Pronger to return to the Oilers a la Mike Comrie anytime soon), he showed up in Anaheim on a blueline that also featured Scott Niedermayer and the pair of future Hall of Famers led the fighty Ducks to a Stanley Cup championship.

Now, Pronger is with his third new team since the lockout. And neither the ’06 Oilers nor the ’07 Ducks were as good as the Flyers – at least on paper – appear to be.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Does Vigneault Deserve A 3yr Extension?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Word is that any day now the Vancouver Canucks are going to give head coach Alain Vigneault a three-year extension on his contract on top of the year he has left.

Now Vigneault is a good NHL coach and has done some fine work here in his three years, but why would general manager Mike Gillis be so generous when there appears to be absolutely no pressing reason why a coach needs what is essentially a four-year deal?

Isn’t that what Brian Burke did with Marc Crawford? He gave his coach a three-year extension and the club ended up dining on a year of that salary. And clearly by the way the Crawford era ended here, that decision should have been made a year earlier, meaning they would have eaten two years of that deal.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alain+vigneault

Stafford Signs With Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Buffalo Sabres Twitter,

The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed Drew Stafford.

added 11:25am,

BUFFALO, NY (September 13, 2009) – Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today the team has signed forward Drew Stafford to a two-year deal.

Stafford (10/30/1985, 6-2, 220 lbs) appeared in 79 games for the Sabres last season collecting NHL career-highs in goals (20), assists (25) and points (45). During the 2008-09 campaign, Stafford had 12 multi-point games and picked up his second career hat trick on January 12 against the Edmonton Oilers.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: drew+stafford

Fresh Start For Taylor Pyatt In Arizona

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,

He said he needed a fresh start, and he’s getting that with the Coyotes, who signed him as a free agent.

“It’s been kind of a tough six months for me,” he said. “I went through a tough year on the ice last year and went through some tragedy in my personal life.

“Now I’m just looking to sort of getting my career back on track and coming down here with a new team, a young team. I think it will be good for me, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity here.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: taylor+pyatt

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