Kukla's Korner

Goodbye Glory Years

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

The banners of the golden age of hockey in Colorado now gather dust in the arena. It's all over for the Avalanche except the wistful tears of nostalgia. Look toward the ceiling of the Pepsi Center and wonder where the good times went. Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque are fond memories. Peter Forsberg has left the building. And that's the problem, isn't it? If you want to see great Avalanche players, you might as well look for the retired numbers in the rafters as on the ice, where the defeats mount. Four years have passed since Colorado last survived two rounds of the playoffs. After a 4-3 overtime loss to Anaheim on a sad Tuesday night, defenseman Rob Blake slumped on a bench in front of his locker.
continued

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Does The NHL Care About Their Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman shut down his sport for a year, he has told us so many times, for the fans. It was for them that he took their game away from them, and it was their continued support that encouraged him. His league, he has repeatedly assured us, reveres its fans. For much of the year, the message was on all the ice surfaces. "Thank you fans." Here's how some franchises have shown their gratitude. - In Ottawa, management booked a children's show that evicted the Senators from the Scotiabank Place last weekend.
continued

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Ratings Disaster Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

It takes some doing, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are shaping up to be a bust for networks on both sides of the border. The potential absence of Canadian teams from the National Hockey League conference finals certainly wasn't what the CBC had in mind. And matchups involving the Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Mighty Ducks were hardly on the wish list of NBC and OLN.
continued

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Staal Happy In Carolina

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

When it comes to the N.H.L., Tobacco Road is pretty far removed from Madison Avenue. And that suits Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal just fine, at least for now. "If he was playing in New York right now, he'd be a superstar already," said Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina's captain. "There's no question. He's one of the best players in the league. And the things he's done in the playoffs right now, if it was happening in a Ranger uniform, I'm sure he'd be all over the place."
more

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Oiler Fans In Nebraska

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Chronicle Herald,

Two of the Edmonton Oilers’ biggest fans don’t even live in Edmonton. Ron and Barbara Erickson, a Nebraska couple in their 50s, estimate they spend about $30,000 U.S. a year travelling to NHL cities, taking in mostly Oilers home and road games. So how did an American couple with no ties to Canada wind up rooting for the NHL’s northernmost team? It all happened seven years ago, when the Ericksons went to all 28 NHL arenas at the time and evaluated each city.
read on

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Oilers Familar With The Sharks Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Hones of the Edmonton Sun,

The San Jose Sharks are playing the game that has always been identified as the game Edmonton gave the NHL. The pressure forechecking has been keeping the Oilers bottled up in their own end with defencemen's faces plastered up against the glass and the Sharks making it a long 180 feet to the other end of the ice for Edmonton. On the rare occasion the Oilers get there, deep into Shark territory, they don't stay there long. Sound familiar? "They've been able to beat us at our own game,'' said Ethan Moreau.
more

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Talking Rookies In Latvia

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Reuters,

Even in the ancient cobblestone streets and squares of Latvia's capital, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin cannot escape being compared and discussed. What happens here at the ice hockey world championships over the next two weeks will carry no weight in deciding whether Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins wizard playmaker, or Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals fiery goal scorer, will be crowned National Hockey League (NHL) rookie of the year. Nonetheless, everyone has an opinion in this tiny, hockey-mad Baltic republic.
continued

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Oilers Depending On Home Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via Slam,

MacTavish, stepping off the jet on to the tarmac on a grey day at the Edmonton International Airport, said any report of his team's demise is premature now that the second-round NHL series has moved north. "I really feel like home ice advantage is going to be a big advantage in a series like this, one that has been as physical as this one's been," he said. "The home town fans get behind (the players) and provide a lot of energy and a lot of adrenalin for the players to finish their checks. There's no doubt in my mind we'll bounce back tomorrow."
more

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All Crosby

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chronicle Herald,

He’s the most interviewed player in the NHL and there aren’t many days that go by when his exploits aren’t documented in excruciating detail by most major media outlets. And if we all had to be honest, we’d probably admit it would be nice if more reporters got him to talk about things that were a little less ordinary sometimes — Lord knows he must be tired of answering the same boring questions every day. So when I got the chance to catch up with him on the phone on Monday, I tried to ask a few questions that were a little less run-of-the-mill. Here’s what he had to say from Latvia, where he is representing Canada at the World Hockey Championship: What would you say was your favourite NHL city that you went to this year? SC: There were a few that stood out. Obviously playing in Montreal was cool just because I grew up watching them. And any Canadian city, there was a lot of energy going into all of those. New York is cool and Boston was fun, too. I wouldn’t say there was one that sticks out the most but I’d say Boston, Montreal and New York were all great. They’re all big cities and big stages so those were fun to play in.
much more

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Nolan Headed Towards Arbitrator

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The Owen Nolan case appears to be set to go before an arbitrator. It's expected the Maple Leafs and Nolan's representatives will begin to argue their sides in New York on May 16 or 17. The Leafs and Nolan have been at odds since Nolan suffered a knee injury, which required surgery. The injury led to a series of grievances. The Nolan camp contends the injury occurred while he was playing for Toronto late in the 2003-04 season. The Leafs contend Nolan was deemed healthy by the start of the lockout year and that he is owed nothing.
continued

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