Kukla's Korner

Finding The Right Button

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

Hitch seems out of buttons to push. And here's how you know. Yesterday, after expanding on the need for a faster, "frantic" pace in tonight's Game 6 against the Sabres, he asked for someone else to press a few buttons. "We need someone to put up the wrong score on the board at the start of the game," he said. "Then we'll be fine." Yep, that's how messed up things are as the Flyers face elimination at home tonight. That's how goofy this season has been. Hitch likes the way his team plays when a goal behind. More accurately, he has disliked the way they have played at the start of these games. "We've got to match the frantic pace at the start without making errors," he said. "They seem to be able to set the pace quicker than we do in their building. And we end up reacting to it. We've got to set the tempo better at the start of the game."
more

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One More Crack At It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If the Ducks defeat the Flames, the top 4 seeds in the West would have lost in the 1st round. Who would have predicted that! from Helene Elliot of the LA Times,

The Mighty Ducks beat the Calgary Flames at the game the Canadian team prides itself on having mastered, a blend of grit and muscle and, when nothing else works, the sheer will to prevail. And because they did, the Ducks earned the right to try and do it again Wednesday and part the sea of red at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome. The Ducks face the prospect of raising their game to this level or higher. Neither team has won two straight games in this series, and the Flames will be able to draw upon the energy of a roaring crowd. Asked whether the Ducks' performance Monday had been their best game of the series, Niedermayer refused to be caught up in the euphoria of the moment or resort to superlatives. "I think we played well. We had to," he said. "We had no choice. "And now, we have to do it again. All we got is another crack at it."
read on (reg. req.)

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Will The Devils Cool Down

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Inactivity could be the only force on the horizon that cools down the sizzling New Jersey Devils. Positively machine-like in winning their last 11 regular-season games and even more brutally methodical in sweeping the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, the Devils now face a new and formidable enemy. Their series against the Rangers finished on Saturday. They may not play again until Friday. Or Saturday. Or later.
continued

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The Handshake

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The handshake is a hang-over from the day when the league was 100% Canadian. In eight years, the ratio of Canadians in the NHL has fallen 8% to 53%, but the tradition still reigns. Maybe the handshake still works because the winners have nothing to lose, and the winners have nothing left for which to fight. Victor and vanquished meet one more time to say good luck.
read on

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What Went Wrong

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

A new, more demanding coaching staff and new rules cracking down on obstruction were supposed to make a big difference for the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs. But a familiar script unfolded Monday as the Wings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs after a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 at Rexall Place. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, the Wings have lost three of four playoff series. Their postseason record over the last three seasons, during which they've averaged 114 points, is 8-14.
more

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Hasek Talks Groin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

"Of course, there are some days I feel more frustrated and there are some days I'm smiling more," Hasek said. "I still come every day and do what I'm supposed to do ... work on my groin. Not only on the groin ... I have to keep in shape, my whole body. "I try to have fun. Sometimes I have more fun, sometimes I have less fun. "But overall I still believe that this team can do it without me and when I'll be ready, I'll be ready."
more

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Flash

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

We were doing our job," Journal de Montreal sports editor Denis Poissant said. In this case, the job involved a Journal reporter and photographer entering the Montreal hospital where Canadiens captain Saku Koivu had been admitted a day earlier after sustaining a serious eye injury from a high stick. Without Koivu's permission, the photographer took his picture. And, making it worse, a flash was used. Doctors had told Koivu to avoid bright lights. The photo, displayed on the front page of le Journal on Friday, showed Koivu attempting to protect his damaged eye from the flash. Needless to say, Koivu is upset and the club is furious.
read on...also J.D tips his hand and Canadian TV ratings...

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Yzerman Update

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Yzerman was playing with torn rib muscles. He said he will announce his decision for the future either later this week or next week. added 12:20am, from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

The one sad note out of all of this is that it's likely the last time we'll see Stevie Y play. After what he went through this season, why does he need to come back? He's played so many seasons and he's accomplished everything a player can. There's nothing worse than seeing a player hang around too long, and I don't want to see Yzerman do that. Of course, he didn't want to go out this way, but he will go out as one of the best to ever play in the NHL.
added 7:51am, from the Edmonton Sun,
The warrior went out on his shield, the rest of them went out on their knees. "He worked his ass off,'' said teammate Chris Chelios, after a third-period collapse that ended their season and possibly his career. "He's done it his whole career. It's a shame we didn't follow his lead. Hopefully it's not the end for him, he's one of the best leaders I've ever played with.''

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This Is Not The Regular Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

Listen, our game needed a serious lube job. And by creating a new standard of enforcement on the puck carrier and his attacking linemates, the NHL lubricated the game. And I know attempting to regulate the behavior of 10 grown men skating around the ice at 20 miles an hour after downing six Red Bulls is a daunting task. But, too many times this postseason, players have been playing tentatively because of the nature of the penalties called. The statistics may only show a couple more penalties per game, but the aftermath of those penalties, at times, left the first round of the playoffs looking a lot like a regular-season game. And that's not good. The e-mails I have received and the players I have talked to share similar sentiments.
more

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NHL Had The Chance To Make The Right Call- Congrats To Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Obvious Edmonton high stick knocked down the puck near the Detroit goal. Ensuing scramble, Edmonton scores. Knocked down puck went directly to Samsonov and he scored on a goal that was also reviewed for a kicking motion. Now I know replay cannot overrule a high stick call, only if a high stick caused the goal. But something should have been done to eliminate that obvious high stick on the puck. NHL spent about five minutes reviewing the play and awarded a goal. Congrats to Edmonton for the victory, they were the better team and deserved to win. When it mattered most, they did what they needed to do to win. added 12:35am Tuesday, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Down 3-2 to Detroit with just four minutes left in the third period, Oilers forward Sergei Samsonov shot the puck towards the Red Wings net and the first question was whether centre Shawn Horcoff knocked it down with a high stick. It didn't matter because the referee wasn't even looking for that. What the officials were looking for was whether the puck was knocked into the net with a forward kicking motion. There was a distinct kicking motion, but the question mark around the tying goal was whether the puck came off the foot of Oilers forward Ales Hemsky. As a result, they had to go with referee Mick McGeough's call that it was, in fact, a goal.
added 11:49am Tuesday, Word is starting to come down the NHL alerted the refs there was a high stick, but there was nothing they could do to make the call because that situation isn't reviewable. That is why all of a sudden the officials came together and had a major conference in the officials' crease ... they were asking if anyone saw the high stick, and nobody could say either they did or they did with 100 percent accuracy so they went to the next step and reviewed the goal itself. more image

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