Kukla's Korner

An Olympic-Sized Break

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

But which teams stand to benefit from not having players laboring away in Vancouver? Well, how about the surprising New York Islanders, who started the week in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference? The Isles are sending just one player to Vancouver (defenseman Mark Streit, who will play for Switzerland) and should be well-rested for the stretch run following the break.

Florida, just two points back of the final playoff spot in the East, will send two players, Tomas Vokoun and Dennis Seidenberg, and are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000. A rest for top players Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Michael Frolik won’t be a bad thing.

more plus additional hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

GDT - Game #49: Red Wings at Capitals (7:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

Three games this week: tonight at the Caps, Thursday at the Wild, and hosting the Kings on Saturday.  The Wings must win the game at home against the Kings, and one of the road games.  Detroit’s “D” will be tested tonight against the leagues highest scoring team.  The Caps have scored 36 goals in going 6-1-0 over the last seven games, and will be looking to score at least four goals for the eighth straight game.  WSH have been their best at home, averaging 4.0 goals per game while sporting an obscene 16-3-3 record.

Ovechkin was selected the NHL’s No. 1 star this week after he led all scorers with 10 points—among them three goals that gave him 30 on the season, second in the league.  Meanwhile, DET’s Calder candidate, Jimmy Howard has started 12 straight games and gone 6-3-3 with a 1.89 goals-against average. Babcock was happy with the teams performance Sunday against the ‘Hawks, despite the loss:  “I like the way we played.”  “We’re going in the right direction. That’s all you can ask for.” The Wings will need a repeat of that spirited play tonight if they hope to end their 2 game skid.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Travel Complaints

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald,

If you blame the Bruins’ truly awful effort on their just-completed West Coast swing, you run the risk of being branded an enabler, and having hardliners scream at you about how every team has West Coast trips and how you have to suck it up, never quit, play to win the game and a bunch of other coaching cliches that sound like they were lifted from one of those beer commercials. Yet if you go the other way and shout that the schedule is no excuse, you then run the risk of being out of touch with the hard realities of modern-day sports travel, especially if you fail to take into account how banged-up the Bruins have been of late.

The facts: After playing three games out west, capturing three out of a possible six points (not too bad considering how banged up they are), the Bruins arrived home in Boston about 2 a.m. Sunday morning. B’s coach Claude Julien had the boys come in for some bike work Sunday afternoon as a tuneup for the annual Martin Luther King Day matinee. As for injuries, Patrice Bergeron (thumb) finally returned to the lineup, but Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz were scratches yesterday.

Oh, and one other fact: The Bruins were blown out of the building by the Senators.

This is one in which each Bruins fan who watched the game must make his or her own call on whether it’s appropriate to pull the West Coast travel lever and give the Bruins a pass.

more

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

Character In Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scalan of the Ottawa Citizen,

Forty-three years after hockey’s bold 1967 expansion, the Original Six teams still resonate with hockey fans.

The classic logos, the tradition, rivalries that go back 80 years and more, still matter in today’s NHL.

And so when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town tonight, sitting in first place overall with 72 points and 34 victories, the grand indian head logo on the distinct uniform has rarely looked as proud.

It’s still somewhat early when it comes to establishing 2010 Stanley Cup favourites. There is an Olympic tournament to play, with all its ramifications, and plenty of experts believe Chicago still has to firm up its goaltending if it plans to end a 49-year Cup drought.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Moving Raffi Torres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Management will leave room for a miracle but look forward with sobriety, which is to say that general manager Scott Howson will be selling when the trade deadline arrives March 3. Torres is in the final year of his contract. So are Milan Jurcina and Fredrik Modin, although Modin has a no-trade clause. These veterans have value, and, absent playoff contention, they should be dealt.

What will the Jackets get in return for, say, Torres? They won’t get the elite center or puck-moving defenseman they have craved for the entirety of their existence. They will get prospects and draft picks. So it goes. The long-range good of the franchise demands that assets be salvaged when and where possible.

There is a chance the Jackets will work out a contract extension with Torres before the trade deadline. But such shotgun negotiations normally do not fare well.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: raffi+torres

No Energy In These Oilers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

Being unable to sustain the energy is very close to quitting.

Nobody’s throwing the Q word around yet, but this looked dangerously close.

“I won’t be flashing my teeth because I think they just got kicked in,” said head coach Pat Quinn.

“That’s the way it feels, anyway. After a game like that you’re pretty discouraged. There were a lot of people who didn’t compete very well tonight.

“We had trouble finding four or five forwards (who competed). You have to have people who are willing to pay a price and work hard and be diligent ... and when things get tough, take the tempo up higher.

“The tempo went up today, and we didn’t go with it. We’ll lose every game like that. We are losing every game. It’s embarrassing.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Green’s Game Is Misunderstood

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,

In some ways, it is about Boudreau searching for respect, and reading between the lines it seems as if Boudreau views Green’s status as being characteristic of that fact. He has taken note that Hockey Canada’s brain trust were Western Conference guys and that they leaned toward Western Conference defencemen. Just watch, he says. The Norris Trophy won’t likely go to Green, either.

Boudreau believes that Green’s game is misunderstood. Had anybody from Hockey Canada called Boudreau about Green - Boudreau says he doesn’t know if Capitals’ general manager George McPhee was ever called about Green and McPhee respectfully declined to comment - the coach would have told them Green takes risks because the team asks him to do so. The quickness he shows on offence lends itself to quick defensive recovery, too.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+green

Pull The Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

What do Tim Thomas, Martin Brodeur, Ilya Bryzgalov, Pekka Rinne, Niklas Backstrom and Miikka Kiprusoff have in common?

They were all pulled from their game yesterday. A KK reader pointed this out to me this morning and wonders if this is some type of record, 6 goalies being pulled on the same day?

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Duchene Drawing A Comparison To Forsberg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

The fact is, Duchene is already a very good player, and he’s only going to get better. He’s got those amazingly quick hands of a great offensive player, and you can’t get a good bead on him as a defensive player because he’s always shifting around, never staying in one place for more than a millisecond.

He’s a little bit Forsberg-esque (and I don’t make this comparison lightly) in the way he shields defenders while carrying the puck. He doesn’t have quite the brute strength of Foppa and he doesn’t hold on to the puck as long. But he is able to keep control of the puck on his stick in a way that compares favorably to Forsberg.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+duchene

Lawton Laughs At Lecavalier Rumor

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,

The Ottawa Sun reported Sunday, citing an unnamed league source, that Rangers GM Glen Sather contacted Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton in an effort to spark trade talks for Lecavalier, the Lightning captain who has a no-trade clause. 

That report, according to Lawton, is “completely false.” Lawton laughed and said he hasn’t even spoken to Sather in weeks.

“He hasn’t contacted me to inquire about that,” Lawton said. “That absolutely did not happen.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

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