Kukla's Korner

New Year’s Eve Wins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from STATS blog via NHL.com,

Most Victories on New Year’s Eve, Since 1917 Detroit Red Wings 30 New York Rangers 21 Toronto Maple Leafs 18 Montreal Canadiens 16

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Womens Hockey Growing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via the Globe and Mail,

Statistics and tournament attendance show that women's ice hockey is taking off in the United States. In Connecticut, more than 220 girls hockey teams skated this week in what is billed as the largest youth ice hockey tournament in the U.S. The four-day tournament drew more than 3,700 girls from across the United States and Canada. USA Hockey statistics show the number of registered female players around the country has risen from 6,336 to 51,275 since 1990. “It's big,” said Rae Briggle, senior director of member services at USA Hockey. “Female hockey has just gotten huge in the last 10 to 12 years. It's our largest growing segment today.”
read on

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Shootout- Goalies Point Of View

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

While shooters get to hang out at the bench while awaiting the call for the shootout, goalies, as is often the case, are left to their own devices. "You just try and catch your breath, relax a little bit, calm down. It's an exciting time and the crowd's usually going pretty crazy," DiPietro said. "The spotlight's on you as a goaltender. It's a big spot, and at the end of the year, you're going to look back and those extra points you get in the shootout could be big in making the playoffs and not making the playoffs, so it's definitely a huge part of the game. "You just try and refocus yourself. Picture yourself making some saves and winning the game and just a lot of positive stuff and hopefully it carries over to the shootout."
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Flyers Get Life Lesson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Yesterday, instead of preparing them for this afternoon's New Year's Eve matinee against the Capitals, Hitchcock accepted an invitation from Brig. Gen. Jeff Hammond and Col. Christopher Hughes to visit the Pentagon. The Flyers and their staff were briefed on the war in Iraq at the Army Operations Command Center and later visited the wing where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. The players also mingled with soldiers and employees and signed autographs at the command center. The purpose of the visit was summed up by Hammond. Sometime in the future, he said, he hoped the players might want to reflect on how lucky they were because every soldier in Iraq right now wishes he or she led their kind of life.
read on

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The Kessel File

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

Phil Kessel has blossomed into one of hockey's top prospects. He is blessed with the kind of speed that has prompted several professional scouts to compare him to Pavel Bure, who starred for the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers before finishing his career with the Rangers in 2002-3. Kessel, an 18-year-old forward from Madison, Wis., is projected to be the No. 1 pick in next summer's National Hockey League draft. "This guy has got a great shot and great speed like Bure or a young Teemu Selanne when he came into the league," said Jim Nill, whose duties as the assistant general manager for the Detroit Red Wings includes overseeing the team's scouting. "He goes 100 miles an hour but looks like he's just gliding out there. His shot's fantastic, too. The puck hits his stick, and it's gone."
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The Americans Are Coming

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

The thought of giving Americans their due when it comes to hockey isn't new, but when talk begins to surface of them excelling in important international tournaments, Canadians get a look on their faces like they've just kissed Darcy Tucker while sporting lemon-flavoured lip gloss. And while the Americans may not be a threat on every international stage yet, their presence has been felt at other tournaments, including this year's world juniors -- a competition in which Canada is perpetually expected to dominate.
continued

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Luongo Situation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Roberto Luongo won't have to wait much longer to find out where he stands with the Florida Panthers. It's expected Luongo will learn his fate shortly after the NHL rings in the New Year. And while there has been speculation the Panthers are going to deal the 26-year-old goaltender, Florida GM Mike Keenan hasn't had any serious trade talks with any other team about Luongo.
read on

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NHL Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-The holidays had some NHL fans in crazy moods. In Pittsburgh Tuesday night, with the Maple Leafs and Hockey Night in Canada visiting, there were well over 1,000 Leaf fans at Mellon Arena to watch their heroes go up against Sidney Crosby. Don Cherry, a noted Crosby critic, went out onto the ice with host Ron MacLean prior to the game for the intro into HNIC's broadcast. It was a gutsy move, given Cherry's recent licks on Crosby. The Leaf Nation in attendance rallied around the end boards entrance where Cherry emerged and gave him a big welcome. But Cherry's anti-Crosby comments rankled some in Pittsburgh and one local was mad enough to toss a beer at him. He hit the mark, but Cherry took it like a sport and laughed it off.- via the Toronto Star -"Joe is virtually impossible to contain down low unless you're committing a penalty," Wilson said. "He's being pinned to the boards and that's a penalty. If they can do that kind of stuff to Joe, then we're going to have to teach our defensemen how to commit a penalty without committing a penalty."- San Jose coach Ron Wilson on Joe Thornton -Red Wing goalie Manny Legace faced 22 shots Friday night in his rehab start with Grand Rapids. Manny gave up two goals, said he was getting the rust out and was promptly returned to the Wings after the game.

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Looking Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

Are you wondering what the 2006 hockey headlines will be? Here is a preview: January: Seduced by tales of the Alpine lifestyle and tax shelters for their future NHL salaries, six members of the Team Canada defect to Switzerland after winning the world junior championship. March: Two minutes before the NHL trade deadline, Flyers' general manager Bobby Clarke swings a deal with the Maple Leafs for Eric Lindros. April: With a shootout win in Game 82 against Pittsburgh, the Leafs nose into the last playoff spot, then upset the conference champion Ottawa Senators in six games
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Briere Out With Sports Hernia

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via the Biloxi Sun Herald,

Sabres center Daniel Briere has been diagnosed with a sports hernia and will have surgery in Montreal early next week. Briere is expected to be out until April. He had an ultrasound scan in Toronto on Friday that confirmed the sports hernia. He was examined on Thursday by Montreal Canadiens team physician Dr. David Mulder, a specialist in abdominal injuries. Mulder will perform the surgery. "It's a big hit," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's a game-breaker and we're going to miss him."
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