Kukla's Korner

Martin Has His Hands Full

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The new-look Panthers include that eternal ray of sunshine Todd Bertuzzi, the former Vancouver Canucks power forward who received his desperately needed change of scenery in the big Roberto Luongo deal last June. There is also volatile former Toronto Maple Leaf Ed Belfour in goal, coming off a serious back injury, trying to squeeze one more season out of his ultrafit but breaking down 41-year-old body. Then there is Gary Roberts, another ex-Leaf, who requested a trade back to Toronto last spring so that he could be closer to his teenage daughter. He didn't get his wish and is back patrolling the left side and dispensing advice and guidance to the Panthers' young, emerging talent. It'll be left to Jacques Martin, the former Ottawa Senators' coach, to sort it all out. Martin will need to be part coach and part master psychologist to weave this disparate group into a cohesive team, and he'll need to do it in a year when he's also added the general manager's duties to his coaching portfolio.
read on

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Slow Start For Gerber

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Gerber, who was anointed the new saviour after being signed to a three-year, $11.1-million contract on July 1, didn't exactly look stellar with about 5,500 looking on during Senators Fanfest. While the former Carolina Hurricanes starter allowed four goals during the 30 minutes he spent in the net, everybody needs to remember it's September, not April. And Gerber wasn't alone. Backup Ray Emery didn't shine, either, while youngsters Kelly Guard and Jeff Glass also have work to do
more on the Sens...

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Don’t Doubt The Avs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

"It was like that last year a little bit, people doubting us," Sakic said. "But it's how you come together as a team, and we're going to have a lot of guys that surprise people. We're going to have a good, exciting team again. We've got to try to jell quickly, because we've got a lot of new faces. We're going to work on that in training camp." "The game last year was great, and the playoffs were exciting, up-and-down hockey," he said. "I don't think we're tinkering with too many rules now, and so there won't be an adjustment period for anybody. It's going to take off right away, and the game is going in a great direction."
more

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Canucks And The Cap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

While Sunday's scrimmage was at the same time an outstanding example of how the Canucks may have tightened up defensively and how they may have trouble scoring this season, the overall change in formula had best be a winner for this NHL team. Because if it's not working they're essentially hooped for next season, too. Any analysis of the future Canucks, in money terms, shows that if you think they have cap problems this year with the Ryan Kesler contract pushing them to the brink, take a boo at next year.
continued

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Ovechkin Ahead Of The Curve

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Washington Post:

On Thursday, the NHL approved a rule change that increases the maximum curvature for players' stick blades to three-quarters of an inch, up from the traditional half inch. Although it may not sound like much, Ovechkin predicts it will give him and other Europeans an edge. They grew up playing under International Ice Hockey Federation rules, which permit a curve close to the NHL's new standard. (The IIHF measures in centimeters.) "You will see this season when my new sticks come," Ovechkin said, grinning mischievously.
"It will help me, for sure," Ovechkin said at Ashburn Ice House, where the Capitals are holding their training camp. "Last year I played with a normal stick, maybe just a little bit [illegal]. Now it will be [curved] how I like it."
continued

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Avery’s Muzzling Won’t Last

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the LA Times:

A few precious moments with the volatile Sean Avery, who is limiting his media exposure in an effort to change his controversial actions of last season. Avery was brilliant on the ice during a team scrimmage Saturday, scoring one goal and assisting on two others. Off the ice, well, it's a work in progress. You're just going to focus on hockey this season? Avery: "Yes." What can you do to move on from last season? Avery: "I got to play hard." How long do you think it will take for people to let you move on from last year? "You're just wording it that way to talk about all those things from last year. That's it," Avery shouted and stormed off.
continued

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Remember To Watch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Hockeytown USA is lucky. We're one of the few American cities that get the CBC network. And we'll also enjoy tuning into "Hockey: A People's History," a 10-epsiode series that begins tonight on CBC.... "Hockey: A People's History" has some clunky reenactments, tedious music and some hokey and cliched narration. But its archival footage, talking heads and wide-ranging subject matter make the series a great way to prepare for another season of hockey.
more

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Selanne Thought Pronger Trade Was A Joke

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Late night call to Teemu Selanne from Ducks director of media Alex Gilchrist... from the OC Register,

This is how Selanne remembers the conversation: Gilchrist: "Have you heard the news?" Selanne: "Heard what?" Gilchrist: "You didn't hear? We got Pronger." Selanne: "Get real, Alex. Why are you calling me at this time of night?" Gilchrist: "No, we got Pronger." Selanne, still skeptical: "Sean or Chris?" (Sean is Chris Pronger's now-retired brother, who scored 35 points in 108 games for the Ducks in 1996 and 1997.) Gilchrist: "No, we just traded for Chris Pronger." Selanne: "Are you kidding me? Is this a joke or something?" Gilchrist: "No, I swear to God." Selanne: "OH ... MY ... GOD!"
more

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Yotes Need The “Old” J.R.

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the East Valley Tribune,

After a five-year hiatus, Roenick is back, and it seems the Coyotes need the player he once was more than ever. Phoenix enjoyed a seasonticket base of 10,000-plus during Roenick’s first stay and advanced to the playoffs in four of his five seasons. Since then, the team’s fortunes on and off the ice have dropped off significantly — as evidenced by sparse crowds and only one postseason in the post-Roenick era. “The fact that people have accepted me the way they have is more satisfaction to me than a lot of accolades that I’ve had,” said the nine-time All-Star and two-time Olympian. “I’m very passionate about the city. I’m very passionate about the people are here.” Whether Roenick can be as productive on the ice still, remains to be seen.
read on

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Cole Making His Way Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Erik Cole has no respect for Brooks Orpik, saying he was blind-sided into the boards. He hasn't talked with Brooks nor does he want to. Watch the Sportsnet interview with Eric to see what he has been going through and his plans to get back to where he once was. image

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