Kukla's Korner

Prediction: West Conference

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

As I continue with my pre-season predictions, here is my predicted order of finish for the West Conference teams.  To see blurbs about each of the teams in question, you will have to look to my division previews(Northwest, Pacific and Central).

This is my predicted order of finish in the West Conference:

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Prediction: Central Division

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

My pre-season predictions continue today.  I have posted predicted finishes for the Northwest Division and the Pacific Division.  Today, I proceed into the Central Division.

Here is my predicted order of finish in the Central Division:

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Look For More Instigator Calls

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

Gregson, who has replaced Stephen Walkom as the NHL director of officiating, says the priorities this season will be calling the instigator penalty on fights more often and standardizing the way officials drop the puck for faceoffs.

Officials were told that the instigator has been overlooked too often.

”It’s not new,” Gregson said in a recent interview. ”We’re not changing the wording and we’re not trying to make every fight an instigator call.

”But if a player travels (to start a fight), you have to ask ’did someone clearly instigate?’ And if so, apply the rule.”

read on

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

Havlat Stays Loose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

But one player who has avoided the injury thus far is Martin Havlat.

As Havlat says, “Knock on wood.”

After problems earlier in Havlat’s career, he seems to have solved the issue. Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti said he thinks he knows why.

“Nobody prepares before a game or a practice more than ‘Grizzly,’” Torchetti said of Havlat. “His prepractice and pregame stretch is one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen. Forty minutes, and it’s more rigorous than most people’s workouts.”

While some players do some quick stretching and then hop on the ice, Havlat commits himself to showing up well before practices and games. In an attempt to survive practices or games injury-free, Havlat then puts himself through his sweat-filled regimen.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: martin+havlat

Follwing The Wings In Sweden

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

In his native land, Henrik Zetterberg is a regular in the gossip pages. There are times a simple trip to a café with his famous fiancée becomes an exercise in stealth. He is that popular….

Zetterberg’s popularity in Sweden began with his dazzling play in the Swedish Elite League and for the Swedish national team—with which he won a medal in four of the five years he played in the World Championships—and grew to astronomical proportions when he began dating Swedish TV personality Emma Andersson. Since the two got engaged in summer 2008, they’ve become the “it” couple of their summertime home on the island of Alnon outside Sundsvall.

“Hank is the king there,” Jonasson said, “and Emma the queen.”

Lidstrom, on the other hand, is more of a national treasure, and an underappreciated one at that. It’s partly because he’s been gone since 1991, and partly because he hasn’t played nearly as much on the national teams as same-generation stars such as forwards Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin due to the Wings’ regular playoff runs.

Even with six Norris trophies as the NHL’s top defenseman, along with four Stanley Cups, Lidstrom’s stature isn’t fully recognized in Sweden.


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

Canadiens Have Lost Their Identity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

Not only have the Canadiens lost four good players and quality individuals, they’ve also lost a good piece of their identity. They are left with only three francophones in the room - Georges Laraque, Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.

Given that the Vegan Laraque apparently intends to malinger his way through the balance of his contract, that leaves two players in the room who can communicate in the language spoken by the vast majority of fans in this province.

Does it matter? Of course it does. It goes to the identity and character of this team, but it also matters in purely practical ways. Imagine the Toronto Maple Leafs with only two players on the roster who could speak English - the demands on those two would become absurd.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Recipe For Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,

There’s no doubt in my mind the Blackhawks will make a run at the Stanley Cup this season. They certainly should, given their surprisingly strong finish with a young, inexperienced team last season and the offseason additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.

Hossa, Madden and Kopecky all played on teams that were big winners last season. They don’t just bring necessary experience; they also bring the mind-set necessary for the Hawks to take their next step forward…

Here are the five biggest potential pitfalls the Hawks must overcome if they are to make a run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1961:

Nikolai Khabibulin was pretty good in goal last season, but he was no world-beater in his four seasons with the Hawks overall. The Hawks should be successful without him.

Cristobal Huet? He just needs to play—virtually all the games, not just every other one.


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

Rivalries- NHL 10 Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Oilers Will Be Tougher To Play Against

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

With J.F. Jacques growing into the physical presence that they’d always hoped, Ryan Stone shoving his way into the picture and Dustin Penner playing harder for Quinn than he ever did for MacTavish, the Oilers are shaping up to be a lot tougher to play against.

“We’re seeing Jacques become the guy he was expected to be and Pens looks like he’s going to have a good year,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, Edmonton’s toughest guy on the back end.

“If those two things shape up the way you hope they will, we have two pretty good power forwards—not to mention some of our energy guys a little later in the lineup. We could have a good mix if things work out.”

More grit was at the top of GM Steve Tambellini’s off-season checklist. When he wasn’t able to acquire any in the summer, there was considerable concern.


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

Caps Convention

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Washington Capitals held their first Capitals Convention yesterday.  Here is a recap of the event.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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