Kukla's Korner

Upcoming Stretch Of Games May Determine The Fate Of The Boston Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,

“Tomorrow is a huge game for Philadelphia, and it should be a huge game for us,” said Julien. “Those are teams that are obviously gunning for us, and if we want some separation then we obviously need to win those kinds of games. I know we’ve got Detroit the next day, and then Ottawa at the beginning of next week. The month of March is going to be a tough one.”

The B’s coach is, of course, referencing the stretch of 11 games in 18 days, that the team capped off with the shootout loss to the Flames, and 15 total games in 31 days with 13 of those games against Eastern Conference opponents.

The month also has the Bruins in four sets of back-to-back games over the course of March, and that’s an area where the team has withered this season in the second night of those situations.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ryan Kesler Opens Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Kesler at The Players' Tribune,

I wanted a trade out of Vancouver this offseason for several reasons. That’s no disrespect to the fans, my teammates, or Canucks ownership, but I think both sides needed a change. I’ve got three kids at home; I just wanted a more normal life for them away from the rink. Playing in Canada can be a fishbowl not just for players but for families, too. That said, this was really hard. I know you read that all the time, but Vancouver was my home since I was 19. I grew up with Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, and the Sedins. These guys will always be my close friends. One day you wake up and you realize, Wow, I’m really leaving my buddies. It’s weird because I spent all summer preparing for a move, but when I actually got the call from my agent that I was headed to Anaheim, a little bit of anxiety rushed in.

My first thought was: Sunshine. Shorts and flip flops. Nice.

My second thought was: Getzlaf and Perry. Interesting.

Then came a rush of really complicated thoughts: How am I going to tell my 6-year-old daughter that she has to say goodbye to her best friends? What happens with my Canadian bank account? How do those taxes work? Where do I live? How do you even move furniture and stuff?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+kesler

What’s Happened To Kari Lehtonen?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Some quick thoughts ahead of a busy hockey weekend:

• Here's an almost unbelievable stat: It has been one year since the Stars got a win in a game that was started by their backup goaltender. That, however, should change soon. Kari Lehtonen's play has hit rock bottom. He allowed three goals on 14 shots before being pulled on Thursday night in Florida and has posted a save percentage of .826 or lower in four of his past five starts. His confidence is blown, his mechanics are off (his glove and his side-to-side motion, in particular), and his teammates play like they expect the worst to happen at any moment. Even coach Lindy Ruff, a man who will take a bullet for his players, has had enough, calling out Lehtonen for not matching the efforts of the other Stars.

It wasn't that long ago that the Stars believed Lehtonen was a player who could help them get to the next level. Now? They have to be wondering whether they can get his head on straight by next season, or if they should look in another direction. Moving him won't be easy, though, not with three years remaining on a deal that carries a cap hit of $5.9 million. 

continue plus more topics including a look at the Simon Despres trade...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kari+lehtonen

Friedman offers one more dissection of a possible Phaneuf deal gone wrong

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has posited his latest "30 Thoughts" column, and he offers yet another take on why the Dion Phaneuf-to-Detroit deal may have fallen apart:

2. Everyone’s weighed in on what happened with Dion Phaneuf, so allow two more theories. First, there wasn’t enough time for the Maple Leafs and Red Wings to put together such a complex deal on short notice. Second, the Braydon Coburn trade changed everything. Whatever the two teams may have considered, that was altered by Philadelphia’s return for the non-rental defenceman (Radko Gudas, a first-round pick and a third-rounder).

Toronto considers Phaneuf a better player than Coburn, so it would look at that return and say, “We’ve got to have at least that.” Coburn’s contract is nowhere near as onerous as Phaneuf’s, though.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Hockey Thoughts On A Friday Afternoon

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- Does anyone else think the Las Vegas expansion team gets announced at the NHL Awards?

- The Sabres are expected to look at some youthful options, but if they chase a veteran, it’s believed they have interest in unrestricted free agent Antti Niemi. If that doesn’t work, would Kari Lehtonen be a fit? Lindy Ruff is going to have a stroke if this continues and Jim Nill talked in this space about how difficult Lehtonen finds the adjustment on a better defensive team as opposed to a porous one. He could could help the Sabres, because while Buffalo hopes to improve, it’s unlikely they would be airtight.

- One Eastern Conference executive: “P.K. Subban is so much better a defenceman now than when he won the Norris Trophy. It’s not even close.”

In fact, he (and others) believe Subban isn’t getting enough consideration for this year’s award.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ruslan Fedotenko’s hockey career took him away from home…due to war in Eastern Ukraine

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The KHL team Donbass Donetsk had to fold for war-related reasons--the first time I've ever heard that statement used regarding hockey--last season, and Ukrainian native Ruslan Fedotenko tells ESPN's Tal Pinchevsky that his hockey career and personal life have taken an entwined path since conflict embroiled Eastern Ukraine and Donetsk in particular:

It seemed like such a perfect fit when Ukrainian-born Ruslan Fedotenko signed a three-year deal with HC Donbass of the Kontinental Hockey League on July 2, 2013.

With a résumé that includes stints with five NHL teams over 12 seasons, and Stanley Cup victories with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, he was already his country's top hockey export. A decade after representing Ukraine at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, Fedotenko returned home during the 2012-13 NHL lockout to play with Donbass, a club located in the southeastern city of Donetsk. Offered a generous salary and an opportunity to help build hockey in Ukraine, he was hailed as a hero when he returned for a second go-around.

Just 20 months after being named captain and becoming the face of Ukrainian hockey, Fedotenko, 36, is now skating with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. It's his first minor league stint since he broke into the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, in 2000. But any career struggles Fedotenko has encountered are nothing compared to the violence that has engulfed his home country.

"A lot of people are dying [in Ukraine] every day, innocent people," Fedotenko said. "It puts perspective. I didn't find a [NHL] team yet, but at least I'm alive and I have peace over my head versus people who I still talk to back in Donetsk who go shelter to shelter and are just trying to survive bombings."

Pinchevsky continues, and this is a hard story to read--especially given that Donbass Donetsk's arena is now a firebombed hulk, and that the city where players from all over the world called home until war came to their doorstep--but sometimes we "need to be reminded" that, in more than a few places around the world, people still have to leave their homes to play hockey because the threat of war, ethnic or religious-based violence remain present dangers.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ruslan+fedotenko

Afternoon Line- Peter Chiarelli

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: peter+chiarelli

The GM Positions In Toronto And Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report,

Strong hockey markets such as Toronto and Boston require experienced, confident and resilient managers and coaches to both survive and thrive. 

With Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien, the Bruins have thrived and until recently, the notion either man was in jeopardy of losing his job would and should have been viewed as absurd.

In Toronto, no one will be surprised if or when Brendan Shanahan lowers the boom on Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis. Some see Nonis as 'dead man walking,' convinced Shanahan will bring in one of his own in the offseason to spearhead the departure of Phaneuf, Kessel and others before beginning the laborious task of a multi-year rebuild.

Nonis has three years remaining on his contract after this season and has been around the league long enough to know the job is tough enough without worrying whether or not your days are numbered. And he'll continue to manage the Leafs in consultation with Shanahan and Toronto's management team until told otherwise. Such decisions will be made at the end of the season following a a full and standard organizational review. ...

While change in Toronto remains fodder for daily media speculation, the Bruins' injury-riddled fight for a playoff spot in the East has Boston fans feeling uneasy and putting the likes of Chiarelli and Julien in the crosshairs - especially if they fail to qualify or are knocked out early in the postseason.

Now the Boston market is as passionate as any in the NHL and expectations under Chiarelli's guidance are high given the product he's consistently delivered over the past seven years. But as difficult as it is to win a Stanley Cup, it's incredibly hard to maintain contending status year after year.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+nonis, peter+chiarelli

Video- Dustin Byfuglien Out 2-4 Weeks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dustin+byfuglien

Are Your Ready For Player Tracking Technology?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

 Player-tracking technology could be implemented across the NHL next season in place of the real-time statistics it has employed for more than a decade.

Officials from the league and NHL Players’ Association met earlier this week to discuss the Sportvision system that was tested at the all-star game in January, and are believed to be working towards a deal to have it fully operational for 2015-16.

That has been the NHL’s hope since a successful initial run-through in October, but it needs approval from the union to move forward.

Don Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive director, says a proposal is currently being reviewed internally and must still be looked at by the players. Asked for his views on the test at the all-star game in Columbus, he replied: “I think there are some very interesting things there.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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