Kukla's Korner

The Re-Birth Of Wade Redden

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

If Wade Redden looks like a different player in his second season with the Rangers, and he does, much of the improvement can be credited to the fact that he is now playing in a system that maximizes his skills as a skater and puck mover while minimizing his deficiencies in defensive zone coverage and reading the rush.

Redden might as well have been on an island last year, so lost was he playing coach Tom Renney’s safety-first system, in which the defense invariably seemed to be backing up or battling for survival in its own end of the ice.

But now, six games into Year Two on Broadway, which continues tonight at the Garden against the Kings, Redden appears liberated by the puck-pressure system installed by head coach John Tortorella.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wade+redden

Leafs Have Numerous Problems

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,

Here’s the thing about the Maple Leafs’ close-to-historically – and for some of you no doubt hysterically – lousy start to the season. Forget about the Phil Kessel trade, at least until the guy takes a shift. Kessel? Draft picks? Lottery picks? The Leafs’ crisis is much more immediate than that.

Mike Komisarek, who started to hear the boos Tuesday night before the rest of the Leafs, said it was a matter of “winning 1-on-1 battles and making five-foot passes.”

Still, it’s tough to see where individual battles will be won with this group. The only professional, non-panicky game they’ve received from a goalie this year came from Jonas Gustavsson and he’s hurt. He is the only one who can save this thing from becoming even more pear-shaped and, considering his lack of track record, ought to scare the crap out of you.

The Leafs have forwards who think truculence means taking a holding or hooking penalty in the offensive end – the Avalanche’s first power-play goal came with Alexei Ponikarovsky in the penalty box for a holding call behind the Avalanche goal. They have lots of guys who can fight – but that’s kind of a non-starter when the other team is kicking your butt playing within the rules, no?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Welcome Back Enemy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,

...But you sure don’t go out of your way to comfort the enemy, right?

Well, apparently, if you’re the Leafs, you do.

Mired in a depressing five-game winless streak to start the season, the game operations staff thought that with the Colorado Avalanche in town Tuesday night it was a perfect time to pay tribute to Darcy (Sideshow Bob) Tucker, one of the feistier, most popular and more publicity-conscious Leafs to play in Toronto in recent years.

First came a generous video collage 10 minutes into the game and then a loud ovation, to which Tucker responded by standing at the Colorado bench and waving to the Air Canada Centre faithful.

All that was missing was a bouquet of roses.

While the fans clapped and the Avs players tapped their sticks, the players who currently skate for the Leafs sat stonefaced on the bench or stood motionless on the ice.

“No impact on us as players at all,” insisted veteran winger Jamal Mayers.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darcy+tucker

Vanek Out With Upper Body Injury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Thomas Vanek left for good with 7:14 to play in the second period after scoring his second goal in the 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Lindy Ruff revealed Vanek will miss several weeks with an undisclosed upper body injury.

Vanek slid hard into the end boards after scoring the goal on Derek Roy’s third assist in a 4½-minute span, but Ruff said the injury actually occurred before that play. Television shots of Vanek on the bench before the shift showed Vanek grimacing while moving his neck/shoulder area.

Vanek’s shoulder was not in a sling when he left the locker room about 40 minutes after the game was over, and he was believed to have undergone X-rays on his ribs.

“It was before the goal, when I collided with [former Sabre Brad] May,” Vanek told The Buffalo News. “I went to hit him, and it happened there. I just finished the shift and felt it after. I knew right away and just tried to tough it out. After the shift, I just got it checked out.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: thomas+vanek

Early Worst Player This Season

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

As the NHL season progresses, I like to track the player who is getting regular ice time who has been the worst in the league.  Last season, it was Riley Cote of the Philadelphia Flyers who “won” this award.  He was a player who regularly dressed in Philadelphia, but played in limited ice time against weak competition and nevertheless rarely scored, while allowing opponents to control the play.  His main “value” came from his ability to fight and draw penalties.  On a team that has the team toughness of the Philadelphia Flyers; one must wonder if that adds anything to the line-up.

It is very common that the worst NHL regular by season’s end is a hard working guy who lacks talent.  Coaching staffs and fans like him because he works so hard, but he cannot get the job done.  Earlier in the season, it is much more common for a bigger name player to be the worst regular.  The lesser players have not had as much ice time yet.  One must be somewhat highly regarded to have already been given the chance to fail.

This year, the early season worst player has been Vesa Toskala of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Hide The Kids…It’s The Unibomber and Satan’s Daughter At The Door

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Note:  If you’re DVR’ing this game to watch later?  Let me save you some time.  Delete that bitch RFN.

We’ve got a spastic kid finally playing, a sociopath on the top line, two grinders sitting and a bunch of Wing fans talking about shaving their frigging heads for like six hours this afternoon.

There ain’t no use in crying, which leaves only one recourse when our Tuesday total drops to 32.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Are Canadians Born With Their Skates On?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nike

Salo Out With MCL Sprain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The injury woes of the Vancouver Canucks continue to mount as the team learned Tuesday that they would be without defenceman Sami Salo for up to six weeks after the blueliner sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sami+salo

The First Pass From A Defenseman Is Key

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Making that first pass from the defense, who does it the best…

from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,

Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, Pronger, Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer, Washington’s Mike Green (yes, despite his fabulous wheels and impulse to skate the puck, he threads some terrific passes), Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen, Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar, Detroit’s Brian Rafalski and Montreal’s Markov. Until he returned home to play in the KHL this season, ex-Dallas blueliner Sergei Zubov might have topped the list.

more plus other hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Laraque Says Sorry For Appearing In Sexist Ad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

NHL tough guy Georges Laraque is pumping out apologies faster than he pummels his opponents’ faces.

The Montreal Canadiens enforcer says he’s sorry for appearing in an ad being slammed as sexist.

Women’s groups have decried the ad for an alcohol drink in which Laraque plays street hockey with a group of scantily clad women.

continued and I posted the video a a few week’s back, you can view it here.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: georges+laraque

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