Kukla's Korner

Breakdown & Hero Or Villain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ESPN does a great job breaking down each series in the East and the West. They also predict who can be either the hero or villain from each series. Good reads and a nice spot to reference if you have any questions during the first round.

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Quinn Points At The Salary Cap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Pat Quinn has resisted, at least in public, to attribute his team's woes this season to the new salary-cap system. But the Toronto Maple Leafs' coach could not withstand the temptation on the final day of the regular season. "If you want to build a team through the draft, be crappy for a long time," Quinn said. "Here you have the teams with no [payroll] come along picking all the good ones [in the National Hockey League entry draft] because they finished out of the playoffs. Now they had cap money to go out and buy some good free agents. "We had a tough job to build on the group we had."
more

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We’ve Waited Two Years For This

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports,

It is always in the spring when hockey puts its problems behind it, when the game is finally all that matters. It is always in the spring when the chase for Lord Stanley's Cup, which begins Friday, brings everything back to the way it is supposed to be. The suits can't ruin the thrill of playoff hockey. Neither can TV contracts, salary caps or revenue sharing. Nothing can stop the chills of seven back-and-forth games, the frantic screams of sudden-death overtime, the amped-up intensity, the passion and the emotion that makes this Chase for the Cup as good as it gets.
continued

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Thornton & Cheechoo Stick Together

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

Thornton and Cheechoo thus become only the third set of teammates in the last 25 seasons to win the points and goal-scoring titles, respectively. Peter Forsberg (106 points) and Milan Hejduk (50) goals were the last to do it with Colorado in 2002-03. Edmonton linemates Wayne Gretzky (215) and Jari Kurri (68) did it in 1985-86. "We've done everything together, so it's gratifying," Thornton said. "And we'd be the first to tell you those are team-oriented awards."
more

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Depending On The Europeans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

There used to be a popular theory in NHL circles that too many Europeans spoil the Stanley Cup broth. Then, in the mid-1990s, Detroit coach Scotty Bowman began icing an entire unit of Russians. Old-time hockey people scoffed. When the Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997-98, everybody stopped laughing and started following the blueprint. "You can't win without (Europeans)," San Jose Sharks scout John Ferguson said.
read on

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Can The Rangers Rebound

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

They will go into the Battle of the Hudson as decisive underdogs, that much and maybe only that much is clear about the Rangers, who skidded off the top of the world by losing five straight times over the final 10 days of a season during which they brought respectability back to Broadway. A brilliant revival now somehow carries the tinge of disappointment; the air of failure even though the season measures as a wild success. Still. The Rangers were just 9-11-4 after the Olympics and - get this - only 3-9-1 against playoff teams after the return from Turin. And so, instead of celebrating what is surely their profound achievement, the Rangers are left with trying to put it all in perspective; with the task of washing out the rancid taste of their inability to close like champions, and to do it by Saturday.
read on (reg. req.)

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Cool Ray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

The numbers to date tell you Ray Emery has been an average playoff goalie as a pro, at best. The makeup of the individual, however, suggests he can be something special. Nothing bothers Cool Hand Ray for too long. Not a bad goal. Not a poor game. If he's going down, he's generally getting back up in a hurry. That could be key for the Senators this spring, as it appears Dominik Hasek isn't leaving the sidelines any time soon and that a good chunk of their playoff hopes hinge on a rookie who has never before experienced the kind of pressure he's about to face.
continued

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It Has Started

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

The Oilers suspect there may be a tendency to see Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan in a more favourable light than mere schmucks like Todd Harvey, Georges Laraque and Fernando Pisani. "If previous standards are put in place, then yeah, those guys seem to get the majority of the calls," said Oiler defenceman Chris Pronger. "They've obviously earned that respect amongst the officiating crews. Whether that's right or wrong, that's the way they see it. I get the benefit of some calls sometimes, as do players who have been around a long time. They give leeway to certain players," offered Pronger. MacTavish believes it's possible that an Oiler with an arm on Pavel Datsyuk is more likely to be penalized than a Red Wing with two arms and a stick on Laraque. He's issued a public plea that all players on both teams be treated as equals by the long, striped arms of the law.
more

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NHL Regular Season Sets Records

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NHL,

National Hockey League fans returned in record numbers in the 2005-06 regular season. A total of 20,854,169 and per-game average of 16,955 attended the 1,230 games, 2.4% ahead of the 2003-04 figures (20,356,199 and 16,550) and 1.2% ahead of the previous record season of 2001-02 (20,614,613 and 16,760). In all, NHL teams played to 91.7% of capacity.
more also via the NHL,
The 2005-06 NHL season was highlighted by an historic increase in offense, a sensational rookie class, successful introduction of the shootout and playoff races that lasted until the campaign's final moments. Some of the many points of interest: GOAL-SCORING TAKES BIGGEST JUMP IN 75 YEARS Teams scored a total of 7,443 goals (not including the 145 goals awarded to clubs winning a shootout), an average of 6.1 per game. The figure represents an 18% increase over the average of 5.1 goals scored in 2003-04.
read on

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Complete First Round Schedule

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Just in case you still are searching for your team's first round playoff schedule, you can find it at NHL.com. If you have a question about OLN in the first round, let me help you out As I noted about 3 weeks ago, your local carrier will still show the game in round 1 if it was/is scheduled to do so. The OLN feed will be blacked out in the local market. Now round 2 is a different story, and you may not want to read about round 2 coverage in order to avoid putting a jinx on your team. added 7:54am, NBC First Round Schedule April 22nd, 3:00 PM ET NY Rangers vs. New Jersey, Game 1 Colorado vs. Dallas, Game 1 April 23rd, 1:00 PM ET Edmonton vs. Detroit, Game 2 San Jose vs. Nashville, Game 2 April 29th, 3:00 PM ET New Jersey vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 Edmonton vs. Detroit, Game 5 April 30th, 2:00 PM ET Colorado vs. Dallas, Game 5 Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 5 The OLN First Round Schedule is in the comment section of this post, too long to post here...Also, note CBC will be televising every first round game of the Canadien teams involved, but some may be on a regional basis and TSN will be covering games thru the first three rounds. added 1:58pm, for the NBC games this weekend, NYR-NJ will be in HD Saturday and EDM-DET will be HD on Sunday.

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