Kukla's Korner

Canadiens Have Lost Their Identity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

Not only have the Canadiens lost four good players and quality individuals, they’ve also lost a good piece of their identity. They are left with only three francophones in the room - Georges Laraque, Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.

Given that the Vegan Laraque apparently intends to malinger his way through the balance of his contract, that leaves two players in the room who can communicate in the language spoken by the vast majority of fans in this province.

Does it matter? Of course it does. It goes to the identity and character of this team, but it also matters in purely practical ways. Imagine the Toronto Maple Leafs with only two players on the roster who could speak English - the demands on those two would become absurd.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Recipe For Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,

There’s no doubt in my mind the Blackhawks will make a run at the Stanley Cup this season. They certainly should, given their surprisingly strong finish with a young, inexperienced team last season and the offseason additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.

Hossa, Madden and Kopecky all played on teams that were big winners last season. They don’t just bring necessary experience; they also bring the mind-set necessary for the Hawks to take their next step forward…

Here are the five biggest potential pitfalls the Hawks must overcome if they are to make a run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1961:

Nikolai Khabibulin was pretty good in goal last season, but he was no world-beater in his four seasons with the Hawks overall. The Hawks should be successful without him.

Cristobal Huet? He just needs to play—virtually all the games, not just every other one.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rivalries- NHL 10 Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Oilers Will Be Tougher To Play Against

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

With J.F. Jacques growing into the physical presence that they’d always hoped, Ryan Stone shoving his way into the picture and Dustin Penner playing harder for Quinn than he ever did for MacTavish, the Oilers are shaping up to be a lot tougher to play against.

“We’re seeing Jacques become the guy he was expected to be and Pens looks like he’s going to have a good year,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, Edmonton’s toughest guy on the back end.

“If those two things shape up the way you hope they will, we have two pretty good power forwards—not to mention some of our energy guys a little later in the lineup. We could have a good mix if things work out.”

More grit was at the top of GM Steve Tambellini’s off-season checklist. When he wasn’t able to acquire any in the summer, there was considerable concern.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Caps Convention

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Washington Capitals held their first Capitals Convention yesterday.  Here is a recap of the event.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Sunday Morning Hockey Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Sidney Crosby isn’t saying this for the record but those around him will tell you he’s pleased that he won’t be named captain for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics. He’d rather be just another player in Vancouver. The betting here is Scott Niedermayer will be named the captain.

• One reason to avoid Versus this year: The very capable Christine Simpson, sister of Craig and Dave, has been dropped by the network.

• Reasons to wonder about the Florida Panthers: Bryan McCabe has been named team captain and apparently he was the only choice.

• Mike Babcock is coaching Team Canada. Steve Yzerman is the general manager. But quietly, the Red Wings will tell you they hope that Nicklas Lidstrom will decide to not play in the Olympics in February. They’d really like their captain to take the two weeks off.

more NHL talk…

Sorry to see Chris Simpson will not be back with Versus.  Who at that station makes the hockey decisions?  Talk about not have their finger on the pulse of the NHL fans!

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Latest NHLPA Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Next Sunday, with the season under way, another conference call will have all union reps on the line for an annual start-of-the-season meeting of the executive board. Penny, Hargrove, and Pink are expected to be part of it, along with the half-dozen divisional reps that were handpicked by Lindros for their jobs in his days as ombudsman. Ex-Bruin Rob Zamuner is one of the six divisional reps, and according to players who have publicly questioned Kelly’s ouster the last month, Zamuner routinely has called them after the fact to, shall we say, impress upon them that they should not support Kelly.

Quite telling, isn’t it? This is a union that takes votes at 3 a.m. that none of the rank-and-file knows about, then dispatches Zamuner to keep the herd in order. Members, at the very least, should understand that their intelligence, integrity, and dignity are being insulted. At the very least, they should inform Penny, their interim executive director, that they don’t like being played for fools. Maybe he could help them.

The tide is shifting here, ever so slowly, and it could shift dramatically in these next two weeks when the annual voting for union reps is held.

much more plus other NHL notes…

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ethan Moreau On The Decline

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey,

It’s not so pretty when an NHL player loses a step, starts looking awkward on the ice, and talks a better game than he plays.

If you talk to the vast majority of Oilers fans, though, this is the stage of his career that Oilers captain Ethan Moreau is at.

In discussions about the team, Moreau is rarely mentioned as someone who is going to have a good season, even at his so-called specialty, the penalty kill. In fact, there’s outright scorn for Moreau from many fans, and especially scorn for the way Oilers broadcaster Kevin Quinn kept referring to Moreau in excited and reverential terms last season, calling him, as if it was one word, “And here’s thecaptainEthanMoreau.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ethan+moreau

How Long Will It Take For A Monster To Turn Into A Savio(u)r?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

The lanky free agent signee may have moved a big step closer to being one of the most promising in the league with his 15-stop performance.

It took him two nights—20 minutes on Friday and 40 more last night—but Gustavsson recorded a backhanded shutout, was named the game’s first star and will have tongues all around Leafs Nation wagging this morning.

As irrational as the debates will get, there was some added spice when starter Vesa Toskala let in a softy late in the first period on a shot he should have stopped.

Gustavsson had some Swedish accompaniment in one of the last bids to make an impression on management with the regular-season now just four sleeps away.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonas+gustavsson

Prediction: Pacific Division

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I am continuing with my pre-season predictions today.  I have already done the Northwest Division and today proceed to the Pacific Division.

Here is my predicted order of finish of the Pacific Division teams:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

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