Kukla's Korner

Who Is Karmanos

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Every year, he pours $1 million into minor hockey programs. In 1995, he started the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in his hometown of Detroit in honor of his former wife and high school sweetheart, who died of breast cancer in 1989. His donations, which now top $26 million, have helped transform the institute into one of the largest cancer treatment centers in North America. A Greek immigrant, Karmanos didn't learn to speak English until elementary school and has never learned to skate, but used to appear on the ice during father/son hockey games playing goal. "He needed something to hang onto," longtime business partner Thomas Thewes said. That's always been the challenge with Karmanos, trying to reconcile the often visceral reactions to the man with the man himself. In some ways, it is the same for his Carolina Hurricanes
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Growing League

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

The players that hoist the Stanley Cup later this month will lift it higher and more easily than ever before. That's the conclusion of a unique, newly published study that dramatically documents the historical super-sizing of National Hockey League players. But after 80 years of steady increases in player size and weight, the era of NHL giants may have reached its peak this season, say Canadian sports physiologists. On average, today's Canadiens players are about 10 centimetres (four inches) taller and 17 kilograms (37 pounds) heavier than in hockey's early years. In 2003, the average Canadiens' player stood 185 centimetres (six-feet-one-inch) tall, and weighed in at 92-kilograms (202 pounds), compared with an average height of 175 centimetres (about five-feet-nine inches) and a weight of 75 kilograms (165 pounds) in the 1920s.
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Everything Has Changed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via Sports Illustrated,

Detroit, Denver or Philadelphia this is definitely not. "It's a little bit of a different venue here than maybe what is the norm in the Stanley Cup finals,'' MacTavish said. Different is what the NHL wanted when it fought for a new deal with players. Owners demanded a salary cap to ensure that 30 teams could not only survive financially but also have a realistic chance to play for the Stanley Cup. After a yearlong lockout, two small-market teams are the only ones standing as was the case two years ago when Tampa Bay edged Calgary in Game 7. "You can't judge it yet,'' Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said. "You have to wait until three years from now. Edmonton and Carolina are in the finals this year, but there is a very fine line from winning and losing this year. There's really good teams that missed the playoffs.''
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Oilers Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Peca, Pisani & Stoll interview today...

Q. This is the first time in two years there's a Stanley Cup Final and with two small-market teams, and the new C.B.A., it's definitely benefitted you. MICHAEL PECA: I think it's great for the game. It all depends. You know, if the game is marketed well the next few years, then smaller market teams are going to get much more exposure. And then you're not going to get those -- I think those hits when you get the teams on TV in the Stanley Cup Finals. I think it's great for the game and for those markets to have our two teams respecting our respective cities in the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams are deserving and really it's a matter of how many people you've got living in a city. Q. Do you look at the post-season as a coming out party for yourself? FERNANDO PISANI: Yeah, it's a different time of year, exciting time of year and gets us that much more motivated than the regular season. Q. What about you personally? FERNANDO PISANI: Well, like I said, playoffs are a special time of year. I think everybody tries to step their game up a couple of notches. I've been pretty fortunate to get the goals going in.
more in the comment section of this post...

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Bruins Eyeing Kessel

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Boston Herald,

A year ago at this time, the general thinking in hockey circles was if a team had any hopes of landing Phil Kessel in the draft, it had to finish dead last, cross its fingers in the lottery and get the first overall pick. The Bruins’ 2005-06 season went horribly awry, of course, but it didn’t get that bad. Yet, with three weeks to go before the June 24 draft in Vancouver, the Bruins seem to have a real shot at landing the speedy Kessel. Halfway through his freshman season at Minnesota, Kessel dropped from the Central Scouting Bureau’s No. 1 ranking among North American skaters to second behind American defenseman Erik Johnson in the midterm rankings. In the final rankings, he fell to an eyebrow-raising fifth. The B’s have the No. 5 pick in what promises to be an unpredictable draft. “I think you can throw the first 10 guys in a bag and take your pick,” one league scout said.
continued

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Carolina In The Drivers Seat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bill Clement at MSNBC,

In the matchup between Carolina and Edmonton in the Stanley Cup finals, the Hurricanes have a lot going for them, most notably great depth, home ice, and the fact they aren't coming off a long layoff like the Oilers are. That leads me to believe that Carolina will emerge as the NHL's champion in the first season post lockout, but I think Edmonton will push the Hurricanes to seven games before finally falling short of a title. ...Laviolette and his Hurricanes are in the driver's seat in the Stanley Cup finals. Not only do they have many strengths, they don't have an exploitable weakness that Edmonton can go after. That all adds up to a Stanley Cup for Carolina.
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Canes Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Rod Brind'Amour, Cam Ward & Doug Weight held a tele-conference.

Q. It seems to be a much different mindset going into this series than 2002. ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, it's still cool, but it is different because we have a lot -- we're just such a different team. We're a lot more confident going into this one than the last one. Last time we were a team playing a Red Wing team that's got 8 million Hall of Fame players, they were all All-Stars, it just didn't match up. Didn't look like an evenly matched series whereas this one looks a lot more evenly matched and I think we are a much better team going into it now than we were even then. So it makes us feel a little better about it. Q. Cam and Doug, you both have allegiances to Edmonton for various reasons, growing up there or playing there, and I just wonder if both of you could reflect on what it's going to feel like to go to that arena and play for the Stanley Cup on this team. CAM WARD: Well, I think it's definitely exciting to have the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup in your hometown. I think it's something that you definitely dream about as a young kid. You know, it doesn't seem like long ago that I was there watching as a fan and cheering on the Oilers. This will be a first for myself to have the opportunity to play on the ice. It's something I'm definitely looking forward to. DOUG WEIGHT: Yeah, me as well. Cam told me how old he was when he was watching the Dallas series. (Laughter) Took me aback for a couple days. (Laughter).
read the rest in the comments section of this post... added 4:53pm, Laviolette & Rutherford tele-conference can be viewed in the 2nd comment of this post...

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Listen To The Kids

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News-Record,

For all the talk of this state shedding its image as a college basketball state or a stock-car racing state or a golf state in lieu of something new and global, we know deep down it's just not going to happen anytime soon. Still, you have to wonder just what effect a Stanley Cup championship will have on North Carolinians. To get a hint, you have to wander into the RBC Center on game day, walk from the parking lot heat with the music blaring in your head and into an icy environment with Ric Flair staring at you like Big Brother. If this seems odd, you'll need some more time to process the event that's about to take place. If this seems natural, then maybe we're not in North Carolina anymore. The really strange thing is, the Hurricanes are catching on with our kids. They tell us hockey's cool. That suggests this thing's bigger than we realize. That suggests this thing will be with us long after we're gone.
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Small Markets Rule

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Post-Dispatch,

The Stanley Cup Finals pit the Edmonton Oilers, who play in the smallest NHL city in Canada, against the Carolina Hurricanes, whose Raleigh-Durham area is the 29 th-largest television market in the United States. Much will be made of this before Game 1, to be played in the RBC Center in Raleigh on Monday night. It’s Lilliput against the Lollipop Guild.... There is one other theme that will color the Finals. Much like the Calgary-Tampa Bay series of 2004, there will be a Canada vs. Sun Belt mentality. The nation to the north will rally behind the Oilers and disparage Carolina as a backwater place that has no understanding for the game. "It’s electric here," said John Forslund, the television voice of the Hurricanes. "We’re not going to overwhelm people compared with what’s going on in Edmonton, but it’s pretty wild here. And we still have some semblance of order. We didn’t have to take the team to New York or anything." Forslund laughed. He was poking a little fun at the Oilers, who fled their maddened hometown and made final preparations at a rink in Westchester County outside New York. "It’s a lot different down here than in ’02, when the bandwagon to the Finals was 6 miles long," Forslund said of the Hurricanes’ five-game loss to Detroit.
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Whaler Fans Still Bitter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Republican-American,

They are still bitter. It's been 10 years since the team left. These fans just can't let go. On the Internet you can still find remnants of a love that won't die. The Carolina Hurricanes begin play in the Stanley Cup final Monday, but that fact brings no joy in the land where the Hartford Whalers once lived, played, lost and left. "Could you guys watch a team that left here win a cup in Carolina? Would you root for it to happen?"
continued

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