Kukla's Korner

Luc Joins LA Front Office

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Another former player turns exec. Via TSN,

Robitaille, hired as the Kings' alternate governor, will focus primarily on the Kings business operations and community relations. "The game of hockey has been extremely good to me and my family, and I have always considered the Kings to be my second family," Robitaille said in a statement. "Even though I'm not on the ice anymore, my goal remains the same - to bring the cup to Los Angeles."
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Too Many Shootouts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily News,

Shootouts have been great for hockey. It's the right way to end a game in the regular season when regulation and overtime can't decide a winner. It sure beats those boring ties that had become all too common place in the sport. But have shootouts become too much the norm in today's hockey world? I say yes, and it's time to do something about it. Going into last night's action in the National Hockey League, 33 games were decided by a shootout. Average that out, and more than 90 per cent of NHL nights have had at least one game end in a shootout.
continued

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Holmqvist Leads Bolts Charge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Peterburg Times,

The leg pads, as Johan Holmqvist recalled, came up to about his waist. They were the big, old-fashioned leather kind that got heavier and heavier as they got wet. Holmqvist said he was about 8 when the older boys on his street in his hometown of Tierp, Sweden, decided he would play in net. "They were 15 years old and they would fire tennis balls and rubber pucks at me," he said. "They said I was pretty good and I should try it on the ice." If they only knew. The Lightning goaltender is one of the NHL's hottest with four straight victories, a .917 save percentage in that stretch and a 2.22 goals-against average. He has earned playing time at the expense of struggling No. 1 Marc Denis and, for the short term, removed the backup label with which he started the season.
continued

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Next HOF Candidates?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Interesting little diddy in the Hamilton Spectator this morning, taking a look at each team and speculating which players will be Hall-worthy. Just to pick a couple out of the hat, let's see what they say about, oh...just randomly selecting two....Joe Nieuwendyk and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Joe Nieuwendyk, with three Stanley Cups on three different teams and a sparkling international resume for Canada, should be a lock.
Ok, I don't argue he's a likely and deserving selection. I could live with Nieuwendyk in the Hall. But the mild recommendation for Nick Lidstrom has me a little baffled.
Nicklas Lidstrom will be a candidate for steady, seamless service.
Sounds like a citation for a military Good Conduct Award. Umm, how about 4 (can you argue with 5?) Norris Trophies, 3 Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe and a captaincy? If Nieuwendyk "should be a lock", the frigging Hall should be named after Lidstrom. Is my bias showing again? Sorry about that.

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Mirtle On The West

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

James Mirtle writes this morning that the days of the Wild West are long gone, pointing out the conference lays claim to the seven stingiest defensive teams; along with a playoff race that will turn out to be anything but exciting.

What does that mean? For one thing, if you want the high-flying, high-scoring NHL where anything can happen and anyone will win, tune into the East where even the top teams have seen 60+ goals end up in their net. That's where the playoff-race drama will come — and we're seeing evidence of it already with unlikely teams like Washington and Pittsburgh in postseason positions. The West? It's been a low-scoring, predictable, and almost humdrum season so far. Teams that were high-flying in the past — namely Vancouver, Colorado and Edmonton — have packed up the offence and are struggling to adjust.
I can't believe I'm doing this but...man, what a dork...if the playoffs started today (I really can't help but laugh at myself for typing that on Nov. 14th...if I was a chick I'd insert "LOL" in there)...I'm sorry, I can't do it. Look, my point is that the top eight teams right now are: Anaheim, Detroit, Minnesota, San Jose, Dallas, Bubba, Edmonton and Vancouver. There will be some shifting (Calgary's going to get in. Either Vancouver or Edmonton won't), but that's it folks. Those are your playoff teams and it's not even Thanksgiving. Oh, and Pierre LaCroissant and whoever his puppet GM is can wheel and deal all they want. Bring in Floppa. Whatever. No playoffs for you fat boy.

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World Cup ‘08? Discussions Today On NHL Participation

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Via Scott Burnside at ESPN,

Representatives from the NHL and the Players' Association were scheduled to meet with IIHF president Rene Fasel on Tuesday to discuss the agreement that runs out at the end of the season. But the most pressing need for the NHL and its players is to decide how to proceed with the World Cup of Hockey, the Little Orphan Annie of international competitions.
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Smyth Hurt In Last Seconds Of Game Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

Shocked. Uncalled for. Dangerous. Those were some of the words Edmonton players were using after their star, Ryan Smyth, was taken down late in the Oilers' 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. With 28 seconds left in the game, Smyth gingerly skated off the ice after taking a knee in the leg from Colorado's John-Michael Liles as Smyth tried to skate past him on a breakaway along the boards. Liles was called for kneeing. The original diagnosis was a charley horse. "I don't know," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said when asked of Smyth's condition.
update 9:55am. from the Edmonton Sun,
"That was a pretty dangerous play on Liles's part," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "Obviously a desperation play on his part. "If Smytty gets by him it's going in the back of the (empty) net, but it was a pretty dangerous play." The very early diagnosis is a charley horse and Smyth might not miss any time, but it's hard to tell moments after a guy hobbles off the ice. "You don't know how it's going to swell up." said MacTavish. "And it's going to be awfully painful."

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Talking Winnipeg & Quebec City

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

The National Hockey League has not given up on one day re-visiting Canadian markets in Winnipeg and Quebec City and, way down the road, will examine a second team in the Toronto area. Fielding those questions was new Hockey Hall of Fame builder Harley Hotchkiss, an executive with the Calgary Flames and chairman of the league's board of governors. "I think we have an obligation (to see if those markets can work)," Hotchkiss said yesterday. "There were great fans in those cities to support those teams. "Speaking as a Canadian our team had some great games against the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques."
continued

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Tuesday Deep Digging

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Quite a bit to choose from this morning as all the Deep Diggers seem to be active and chipper. Helene St. James spoke with Chris Chelios recently, who naturally said he considers his age a "black cloud hanging over my head" and that he hates the idea that his 44 years is the first thing people think of. Kirk Maltby said opposing fans do all they can to remind him. Helene St. James/Free Press

"It seems to happen a little more in the Canadian cities. I think it's just because of the way he plays against some of the teams that we've seen a lot of over the years; it seems there are always signs about his age and how old he is and whatnot. I think it motivates him a little bit in the overall scheme of things, to keep prolonging things. I think he gets a chuckle out of it. When he sees a new sign, he kind of applauds the guy or girl that did it."
Speaking of Canadian fans and signs, this is my favorite picture from last year. image

Continue Reading »

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Report Seems Outdated

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CTV,

While a study of NHL data finds teams that fight have a better chance of winning, a hockey author notes that was in the old NHL. "I'd like to see this study done again in another five to seven years," Stephen Cole, author of the Canadian Hockey Atlas, told CTV.ca on Monday. Former NHLer Mike Gardner was even more skeptical, saying: "I think you could probably do a study too that a team that ate spaghetti at a pre-game meal is more likely to win than a team that eats chicken."
continued In case you missed the study that is being referred to, you can check out an article from earlier in the day.

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