Kukla's Korner

Pedal To The Metal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

Say what you will about Jags, but nobody has been able to completely shut him down for 16 seasons. His credentials alone make him an authority on dominant hockey. Read between the lines of his broken English over the weekend, and there's little disputing he's among the many worried about the Buffalo Sabres. "It is scary," Jagr said after the Sabres' 7-4 victory over the New York Rangers. "It's like, if you put in a Ferrari, very good gas. It's just going to go. They just play so good together. When the defense gets the puck, two guys are just flying up the ice."
more

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No Panic Yet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia News,

Without even asking anybody in the Flyers' locker room or coaches' office, "Are you worried yet?," I'll bet the answer would be no. At least, that's what they would say on the record. The reasoning would be along the lines of this: It's still early, we have a good team, we've been competitive, we've had good chances. I'm not sure the answers would be the same if they were all being answered under the influence of truth serum. I can't remember the last time the standings - at any time of the season - had the Flyers last in the Atlantic Division, tied for last in the Eastern Conference.
continued

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Matt Carle May Be The ‘One”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

One minute, he's sliding down on the opposite side of the puck and setting up in front of the net on the power play. The next, he's back at the blue line, pinching along the boards to keep an opponent from chipping out of the zone or stretching his wingspan to its maximum to keep a puck alive. In his own end, he angles a forward to the boards, applies a stick check and comes out with the puck. One step and bang, the outlet pass is on the stick of a teammate and out of harm's way In the span of one shift in a recent game, rookie Matt Carle demonstrated why the Sharks' franchise-long search for an elite, game-breaking defenseman finally might have come to an end. Carle just might be that good.
read on

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Emery Outplaying Gerber

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

Arriving at a significant fork in the road last summer, the Senators ignored the obvious and correct route. They went left instead of right, turning to Martin Gerber when Ray Emery was the man to, at least, start this season as their No. 1 goalie. Nobody objected much at the time -- probably because the warm July sun had critics either on the golf course or in a mellow, non-hockey state of mind. But they sure deserve to be called on to the carpet for it now. The decision cost the Senators considerable cap space and ultimately the bucks needed to re-sign Zdeno Chara, who would certainly look good in the extra long No. 3 he wore while growing into one of the NHL's best defencemen. It was a mistake that could also cost them much, much more.
continued

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Almost Spin-O-Rama Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ryan Shannon of the Ducks tried a spin-o-rama shootout move last night but was stopped by Marty Turco of Dallas. Great move but couldn't get the backhand off the ice. Video highlights of the game, see the move at the 3:10 mark or so. image added 11:00am, from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News via the Globe and Mail,

When Anaheim rookie Ryan Shannon broke in on Dallas goalie Marty Turco, the first participant in Sunday night’s shootout to break a 3-3 tie, and did a Savardian Spin-a-rama move, I yelled, “Yeah, baby!” Although Shannon failed to score – he failed to get the puck up on his backhander, though he had a sprawled Turco at his mercy – he displayed the type of creativity it sometimes takes to be successful in the shootout. Later, when the Stars Jussi Jokinen scored on a quick snap shot – because he is so established as a player who prefers the deke during the shootout, he has goalies outthinking themselves – it illustrated exactly what a science the shootout has become in only its second year in the NHL.
continued

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Goal Finally For Kovy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (reg. req.),

One thing stands out about Ilya Kovalchuk breaking out of his five-game slump to start the season. Kovalchuk did not become a defensive liability while he was not scoring and, as a result, the Thrashers kept picking up points. To show the depth of Kovalchuk's slump, he went 35 shots without scoring. Entering this season, his career shooting percentage was 14.5. According to that pace, he should have scored five goals by now to go with his NHL-high 36 shots. "I'm glad for Kovy," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "He stayed with the program the whole time. He's not used to this. He was putting lots of pressure on himself. This should do him lots of good."

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Cuban Offers Support & Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Mark Cuban still wants a piece of the Penguins. Cuban, a Mt. Lebanon native, contacted Balsillie last week, after the Canadian billionaire signed a purchase agreement for the Penguins. "I sent him an e-mail offering any support I could to help him with the team in Pittsburgh," Cuban wrote Friday in an e-mail to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He sent me a nice reply. Hopefully, we can do something together."
more Thanks to JJ of Canucks Hockey Blog for the pointer...

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Target Hit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune writes about the parthnership with 7-Eleven and the Chicago White Sox and managed to get a shot in at the Blackhawks...

Blanket commercialism is everywhere. We never imagined the old-fashioned Blackhawks of the NHL's Original Six would plaster ads on boards inside their United Center rink so advertisers could woo television viewers. But these subliminal messages are there, and you would have to say the Hawks are ahead of the curve, inasmuch as they haven't discovered home television.
more on the deal that changed the White Sox starting time from 7:05 to 7:11...

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Stat, Stats & More Stats

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

When the Avs played in St. Paul, Minn., against the Minnesota Wild in the second game of its NHL season Oct. 5, a handful of statisticians employed by the league busily kept track of 18 separate sets of numbers that would, by game's end, appear on the game's official "final sheet" of statistics. In the management suite of the Wild, a 24-year-old former hockey and baseball sportswriter was keeping a different set of statistics. While the league employees were keeping track of things such as hits, time on ice per shift, turnovers and blocked shots, Wild director of hockey operations Chris Snow was tracking some of what he said will eventually be roughly 10 new statistics never previously compiled.
continued...and note to the Denver Post, time to change the NHL logo...

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Bruins Still The Same

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe tours the NHL, including this about the Bruins,

Not that we dwell on the past around here (oh, noooooooooooo), but boy, the new-look Bruins spent sizable chunks of their first four games resembling the old-look Bruins. Spotty goaltending. Pitiful power play. Attacking without true determination. Defensive orientation disoriented. High on the alarm list: Their top three faceoff guys (Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, and Wayne Primeau) were a combined 113 for 287 (39.4 percent) at the faceoff dot. Yielding the puck three of five times in a possession game is a prescription for disaster.
read on

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