Kukla's Korner

Toskala Needs To Be Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Ron Wilson joined the pile on his goaltender Friday, a couple of days after his boss, Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke, gave Vesa Toskala a public spanking.

“No, I don’t disagree,” the head coach said of Burke’s charge that Toskala does not work hard enough in practice. “I would have expected Vesa to have much better numbers at this point. He’s been inconsistent at best.

“I want to see him practise harder. You can say you’re saving something in practice for the games. But if you are failing in certain parts of your game, the only thing to do is practise harder. We are talking to Vesa about that.”...

“We have to have better numbers,” Wilson said. “You can’t have 20 shots and five go in. We have to get closer to a .900 save percentage.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vesa+toskala

The Rangers Need Avery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The last week of February, that’s when you should expect to see Sean Avery in a Rangers uniform, assuming all goes well in the rehabilitation and waiver processes designed to bring the winger back home to the only NHL city in which he can play.

It can’t come soon enough for a team that is in need of shock treatment to avert a complete breakdown in the wake of last night’s colossally humiliating 10-2 defeat in Dallas that extended the losing streak to a season-high four games (0-3-1).

Just like that, the Rangers are somehow just six points up on the ninth-place Hurricanes and 10th-place Penguins, with one game in hand on Pittsburgh. Just like that, the Rangers are no sure thing.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sean+avery

If I Had Waited A Few Hours…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

...the doctor told me I would have had a severe heart attack.

Thursday morning I got up from a deep sleep around 3:00am, felt a little disorientated and then decided to do some early morning posting on KK.  I felt a little better a few hours later then not so good.

Drove myself to the hospital (can’t remember doing that) and three hours later I was undergoing a coronary angioplasty to clear two arteries to my heart.

One artery was blocked 100% and the other 90% and I am lucky I did not suffer any heart damage.

So here I am, back to work and thanking my lucky stars I made the decision to go to the hospital when I did.

Thanks to Alanah and Bill and all the other KK bloggers for helping out to keep KK alive while I was gone.  I will be taking it easy this weekend but as many of you know, this is what I do on a full-time basis and I plan on continuing my regular posting pattern on Monday.

Also, thanks to everyone who expressed their concern about my health, it means a lot to me and is very much appreciated.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Drew Sharpe:  Friend Of Oz

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

We’ve tried to tell Drew Sharpe to just stay the hell away from hockey.  Repeatedly.

But you know what?  Give the guy some credit.  While the other columnists are hitting the streets, looking for radio gigs or trying to hide their ears under a Karate Kid haircut sitting next to tough guy Mike Lupica?

At least Sharpe’s talking Wings.  He’s just a little misguided.

Standards are extraordinarily high here—maybe unrealistically high—and no one can stop regular-season boredom from morphing into playoff paranoia


Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Why There Is A Lack Of American Top Scorers

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

A while ago I wrote a post about the lack of top scorers in the NHL who are born in USA.  I noted that given the percentage of American players in the league, there should be far more top scorers than currently exist.  Given that American players make up 21.8% of the league, one would expect ten American scorers in the top 46 scorers league wide (this is the point where 10/46 = 21.8%).  That is not what is seen, when I wrote the piece, it took 85 players before there were 10 Americans.  That is well below expectation.

Tom Benjamin offers up a theory for why this is true.  The problem comes from the way NCAA hockey is run.  Most American players tend to be developed by the NCAA before they come to the NHL.  As the quality of US high school (and USHL junior) hockey has increased, the NCAA has decided to preferentially give out scholarships to Americans.  This has reduced the NCAA talent pool.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Marketing the Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Rich Chere at the Star-Ledger:

The hiring of Bob Sommer to promote the Devils and other events at the Prudential Center immediately raises the question about whether chairman Jeff Vanderbeek has been unhappy with the manner in which Lou Lamoriello and his staff market the hockey team.

Lamoriello has sometimes been criticized for an unwillingness to market his players, but Vanderbeek said the decision to hire Sommer was no reflection on the approach the club’s president/CEO/GM has taken.

“This is not a Devils hire. The marketing department of the Devils will be the same as it’s always been,” Vanderbeek told The Star-Ledger. “More publicity for the Devils, I think, will be one of the end results of this hire. But it was not the driving force behind this at all.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Joe Thornton’s Return to Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From the CP via TSN:

Thornton said at the time that he was “blindsided” by the deal that sent him to the Sharks for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. Facing Boston now is just another game.

“Really that’s all it is to me,” he said. “There’s not too many ex-teammates over there, and it’s just really an important game in the schedule.

“They’re the best in the East and we’re the best in the West. So it’s an important game that way rather than I’m playing against friends.”

read on for more from Thornton’s media conference call today

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton

KK News

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Paul Kukla had a health emergency earlier today, forcing him to check into the hospital for an unexpected surgery.  He might be back as soon as tomorrow or it may take a bit longer, so he’ll be unable to respond to emails etc in the near future.

KK Hockey will continue to be updated, but perhaps not as quickly as normal. But we’ll do our best.

As for Paul’s condition, I promise to post an update when we hear more.


February 6th Update: As promised, I just wanted to let everyone know that Paul is on the mend and hopes to be back at the computer sometime this weekend. Thank you to everyone for all the notes and comments, and thanks for your patience. It’s very much appreciated. smile

*original post-time 2:19pm ET, February 5.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Talkin’ Sunday

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy contacted me earlier this week and asked if I’d like to participate in a bloggers’ roundtable.  The subject? This Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.  I’m pretty sure he was looking for some statistical analysis from me, because it’s widely known that we kind of roll that way here.

So, when the time came for predictions?  All bias was set aside and research prevailed.

4. Finally, it was 7-6 Pittsburgh in overtime last time around. Will this game be even close as exciting as the last time? And your prediction, of course.
A2Y (Wings): Let’s see. Osgood gives up three in the first. Pulled. Conklin shuts out the Pens the rest of the way. Hossa scores four. Gary Bettman and Pierre McGuire sit on either side of Sidney Crosby and feed him baby food with plastic spoons in between shifts. Wings win 5-3.

Read the rest here.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Stanley Cup Finalists Curse

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News:

Over the past 11 seasons, the team losing in the Stanley Cup final has made it out of the first round of the playoffs the following year only once – the Dallas Stars got to the second round in 2001 after losing the final to the New Jersey Devils in 2000. Four finalists failed to return to the playoffs a year after their run, a number that will grow by one unless the Penguins start playing with some level of consistency down the stretch.

Some have pointed to the oft-used Stanley Cup hangover, but if that exists, why did the Ottawa Senators get out of the gate with a 15-2-0 record to start the 2007-08 season? More than a hangover, the real reason for a team’s lack of success, at least in the salary cap era, lies more in what kinds of roster decisions the team makes after going to the final.

The reason for the Penguins’ demise has been fairly easy to figure out. With the top-end players they have in their lineup, they had to give huge pay increases or risk losing them the way they did Ryan Malone. Marian Hossa not re-signing with the Penguins hurt them, but it says something about the direction an organization is headed when a player turns his back on a multi-year deal in order to go somewhere else for a one-year contract.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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