Kukla's Korner

Murray Impresses Cherry

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

“I’m impressed with how Bryan Murray has hung tough and didn’t panic and just kept playing the guys,” Cherry said in an interview before the Toronto-Montreal game Saturday night at the Bell Centre. “It was pretty tough when you see all those losses and everybody jumping all over him (like it’s) the end of hockey in Ottawa. “He just kept riding it out and kept doing what he was doing. It’s not how good a coach you are, it’s how tough you are. He toughed it out.” Cherry said Murray kept his criticism to a minimum while many so-called experts were calling for big changes to the Senators.
more

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The Investigation Continues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

The National Hockey League has investigated a complaint from Toronto Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice yesterday that his team's shooting end was not properly prepared for the shootout against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior vice-president of hockey operations, confirmed that the league looked into the matter yesterday, but that no conclusions had been reached. "We have already started to review the situation," Murphy said. "We need to be careful not to react to accusations by one team or organization against another. "The video didn't show a poor scrape job, it just showed the cleaned ice to be narrower at the Montreal end [Toronto's shooting end]. Was this planned? Hard for anyone to say, but we are dealing with this."
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Monday Deep Digging

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Our little pals bring you startling insight this morning into a shocking scoring drought, stitches to the face of another forward, and a little goalie discussion to tag on to yesterday's rant. Ted Kulfan had a revelation over the weekend. Apparently, and this one is a shocker, Pavel Datsyuk is having a little trouble putting the puck in the net.

Datsyuk now has gone 15 games without a goal. He hasn't scored since Oct. 27 against Dallas, and has only three assists in the last nine games. But even with more than a quarter of the season gone, coach Mike Babcock isn't concerned. "We don't feel this is a crisis situation," Babcock said last week. "Yet, don't get me wrong, your best players have to be your best players to be successful. We're going to challenge and support (Datsyuk) in making that happen."
Yes, we know. Support the lad. Rub his tummy and hope for the best. I found Ted's lead to this story interesting.
A number of Red Wings are having disappointing seasons offensively. Who would have thought Pavel Datsyuk would be one of them?
Well, umm, I did. You did. Many of us did, Ted. Did we expect this kind of struggle? No. But after three consecutive paltry playoffs, it's not exactly a shock that teams have looked back at those series' and figured out how to defend young Pavel. Kris Draper took a puck to the face Saturday, off the stick of a teammate this time. George Sipple/Detroit Free Press
Chelios attempted to clear the puck out of Detroit's zone during the second period of a 3-2 loss Saturday to the San Jose Sharks. Draper later returned to the game. The gash to his right cheek required 15 stitches. "He was just shooting it out and, of course, my face just happened to be in the wrong place again," Draper said. "Just kind of came right under the visor."
Yesterday I wrote a little piece questioning the logic of playing Hasek against St. Louis and Minnesota, when he could have been in net for the Bubba and San Jose games. A little more on that: yes, I know MacDonald played well. The point remains that the decisions regarding which games to start him leave me baffled. It would seem obvious that when given the choice between two goalies, you play your best guy against the best teams. We didn't do that and it makes no sense. Would Hasek have beaten San Jose, as the Wings gave up 19 shots in the third? Who knows? Maybe MacDonald doesn't defeat Minnesota Friay night either

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Savard Using Motivation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

Some coaches try to make their mark through intimidation and the force of their personality. Some try to lead by cheerleading and motivating their players through positive energy. Some are tacticians who focus on X's and O's. In his first week as coach of the Blackhawks, Denis Savard hasn't had to drop the hammer. He appears to be trying to make his mark as an NHL coach as a combination motivator and tactician.
continued

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Too Many Ups & Downs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tampa Tribune,

Watching the Lightning this season has been like witnessing several runs of SheiKra at Busch Gardens. Slow climbs up followed by steep drops almost straight down that sends those along for the ride screaming. What kind of team does Tampa Bay have this season? Are they a playoff contender? A pretender? A conference champion?
continued

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Relax The Zero Tolerance Rule

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of the CBC,

The obstruction crackdown is going too far. It’s a difficult problem, because I’m a zero-tolerance obstruction guy. I worry that if the standards are relaxed, we’ll fall back to where skaters should wear lifejackets because there’s so much waterskiing. But I defer to the players and the coaches. Brett Hull – who loves the way the game is being played – made a comment in The Headliner last week that Tortorella echoed Saturday morning: The referees have to recognize that just because your stick is on a player doesn’t mean you are committing a foul. They – and many others – aren’t asking to ignore the hooks; they just feel that there are cases when checkers use their sticks to legitimately ride attackers out of the play.
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The Votes Continue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

by Greg Wyshynski of The Fourth Period,

Though his name wasn't listed on either ballot for the two major conferences in the 2006-07 NHL All-Star Game, Rory Fitzpatrick has received votes. He's identified as a defenseman, and he's a write-in candidate for an exhibition game that most nominated players would gladly swap for a relaxing four-day weekend on a beach. And amazingly, as of Nov. 29, he has more all-star votes (31,310) than Mathieu Schneider (30,628), who's on the ballot for the Detroit Red Wings.
read on why Greg thinks the fan balloting may change forever...

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Clarkey’s Back

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Courier Post:

Bob Clarke is coming back to the Flyers. Six weeks after resigning as Flyers general manager, Clarke will be named to an unspecified position early this week, the Courier-Post has learned. Clarke, 57, sat in the general manager's box with Paul Holmgren at his side Saturday night. It marked the first time Clarke watched a game from the Flyers' general manager's box since he handed in his resignation on Oct. 22.
continued

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A Gamble Or Not

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,

Gambling is good for hockey if it pays for an arena that keeps a team from moving. But gambling is bad if it's actually linked to the NHL. Got it? Of course no one from the NHL is actually articulating this mixed message. It's just coming across from the events that were juxtaposed this week.
continued

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Sanford Out For Up To 2 Months

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

vai the AP,

Blues goalie Curtis Sanford will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a pulled groin, the team said Sunday. Jason Bacashihua was recalled from Peoria, Ill., of the AHL. Sanford, the backup goalie behind Manny Legace, had to be helped off the ice early in the first period in Chicago on Friday after a play that led to the game's first goal. After moving to stop a shot that was wide, Sanford crumpled to the ice and Jeff Hamilton had an easy tap-in with the rebound.

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