Kukla's Korner

PK Sticks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,

So I’m watching the Caps and Pens tonight, and I see Pittsburgh score the first goal of the game on a power play, an effort aided by the fact Washington penalty killer Brooks Laich had his stick broken by a shot just before the goal was scored by Sidney Crosby. Nothing looks more awkward than a fellow trying to kill a penalty with no stick….

But, I says to myself, a penalty killer doesn’t necessarily need the benefits these fancy new carbon fibre/plutonium/kryptonite weapons give your everyday player when he’s trying to score or shoot.

He just needs to kill the penalty.

So why not wood? Why wouldn’t guys on the PK use wooden sticks, far less likely to be broken, and then switch back to the uranium models they usually use for 5-on-5 play or power play duty?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Both On Top

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

On Monday night in Washington, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin pushed one another to the highest of levels, raising their games to places only the best can reach. Maybe it wasn’t a Game 7. Maybe it wasn’t the Stanley Cup final. But it was something special, something spectacular, something we can only hope to see again.

When it was over, the home crowd booed as Crosby, who did not appear, was named the second star. I was disappointed in that, and hope those people reconsider. Crosby deserved respect for his brilliance in defeat, as much respect as Ovechkin deserved for his greatness in victory.

The Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate should be retired after this one. If you love sports, you can like both. You can recognize that these are the best young players since Gretzky and Lemieux.

read on

added 7:16am, from John Buccigross of ESPN,

In the opening scene of “Batman and Robin,” Chris O’Donnell (Robin) and George Clooney (Batman) fight Arnold Schwarzenegger and his legion of ice-skating villains. At one point, Robin turns to Batman and says, “This is a hockey team from hell.”

Playing against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in D.C. can sometimes feel like that. Ovechkin, feeding off the energy of the home crowd like a solar panel, becomes a hockey player from hell. On ice. You can tie your CCMs with those laces of irony.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are Pittsburgh’s Batman and Robin fighting Ovechkin and his waves of teammates. Pittsburgh has complementary pieces, but make no mistake, the Penguins will only go as far as Batman and Robin will take them.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

Your View On The Incident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a stick to the throat of Capitals goaltender Simeon Varlamov last night…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+kunitz, simeon+varlamov

Enough Of The Hats

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

If you’re one of the best hockey players in the world, and you have a potentially undeserved reputation for excessive complaining, and you’re asked what you were discussing with a game official following your rival’s game-clinching playoff hat trick, you could potentially say, “Oh, it was nothing.” Or, if you were feeling frisky, you could venture further afield.

“People kept throwing hats,” Sidney Crosby said tonight. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Rangers Get Some Salary Cap Space

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The New York Rangers are in a bit of a jam due to the salary cap.  As the 2008/09 season ended they had five forwards, four defencemen and a goalie signed for a total salary cap hit of about $42 million.  They have to fill half their roster with the remaining money under the salary cap.  If we assume that the salary cap remains constant or falls slightly (due to economic recession) this leaves about a $1 million salary cap hit on average for the players to be signed.  You can be pretty certain that restricted free agents Nikolai Zherdev and Brandon Dubinsky will take larger than the average salaries.  It will be hard to field a competitive team under those conditions.

The Rangers have had a bit of luck.  Markus Naslund is retiring.  He signed a front-loaded $8 million two year contract with the team last summer.  He is passing up the second year (and $3 million) to retire. He could have waited and had his contract bought out and made $2 million over two years for doing nothing.  Both of those scenarios would have given the Rangers a salary cap hit from Naslund.  Naslund retiring frees up $4 million that can be spent on next season’s salaries.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Ericsson Growing Into His Position

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail (Tuesday edition),

“I didn’t even know I was drafted,” said Ericsson, whose Wings are tied 1-1 with the Ducks in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series. “I wasn’t following it that day. I wasn’t even thinking about it.”

Ericsson was an instructor at a youth hockey camp in Sweden when a local reporter informed him of the news. Ericsson remarked that he didn’t contemplate the tall odds he had to overcome to play in the NHL, he was just excited to be taken by the same NHL club that housed Swedish heroes such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

“I was just thrilled to be drafted,” the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Ericsson said….

“He’s a lot like [Anaheim’s Chris] Pronger, only he doesn’t crosscheck and do that sort of stuff,” Babcock said.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+ericsson

Vancouver Thinking About Byfuglien

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

He casts a wide-bodied presence — a lunar eclipse on skates when he gets set up in front of the net — for a team that understands the best way to make Luongo look mortal is to block his view at every turn. And if a guy occasionally loses an edge and accidentally-on-purpose goes crashing into the goalie, well, that’s good for business — Blackhawks business, that is.

“I’m there, I’m there,” said Byfuglien, when asked if he’s in the heads of Vancouver players. “But it’s been good. It’s been fun. I’m just doing my job and playing the way I can.”

“He’s a big body,” ventured Bieksa, following Canucks practice yesterday at the United Center. “He’s played well for them, obviously. Last game, he played well. He gets in on the fore-check, he finishes his hit. He’s a big body in front of Louie.

“But it’s more about us worrying about ourselves right now than us worrying about them.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dustin+byfuglien

Canucks Still Have Their Confidence

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

Why can’t Vancouver hold a lead? Can the Canucks handle Chicago’s speed? And maybe the most gutsy question of the afternoon to goalie Roberto Luongo: What are your thoughts on being shellacked?

He stared for a good three seconds before answering that one.

“Is that a serious question?” he responded.

So there might be a little panic surrounding the Vancouver Canucks, but they promise it hasn’t seeped into their room.

It’s going to take more than one loss to shake the confidence of a team that opened the playoffs with five consecutive wins.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Khan(!): Rafalski, Draper Definitely Out.  Another Quality 7 Minutes On Tap For Chelios.

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Nifty.

Update from Monday’s late afternoon practice: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Brian Rafalski (upper-body injury) won’t play Tuesday in Game 3 vs. the Ducks, but he remains hopeful for Game 4. Rafalski did not skate Monday.

Kris Draper (upper-body injury) said doctors ruled him out for Game 3. He will be evaluated on a game-by-game basis.

Babcock said there will be no lineup or line changes for Game 3. Chris Chelios will continue playing instead of Derek Meech.

More

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I would like to sincerely thank Glen Sather and the New York Rangers for giving me the opportunity this past season in New York.  I would also like to thank the Vancouver Canucks and all of their fans for their support over the 11-plus seasons I was a part of their organization, as well as to the Pittsburgh Penguins where I began my NHL career.”

-Markus Naslund in his official retirement announcement.  More at NewYorkRangers.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: markus+naslund

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