Kukla's Korner

Varlamov Comes Out Of Nowhere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

The one guy who knew Simeon Varlamov really well - better than anybody else on the Washington Capitals, probably - was Dave Prior, the team’s goaltending coach, and he didn’t want to use him. Sure, José Theodore had been ventilated in the first game of the playoffs, and Washington’s whole enterprise was suddenly unsure.

But though Varlamov had played well in his six regular-season appearances, Prior didn’t know if the silent Russian kid could handle playoff hockey, playoff pressure. Nobody did.

“Well, it wasn’t an easy choice,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau Sunday. “I lost hair over that one.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: simeon+varlamov

Stop The Stretch Pass

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

The Canucks have more than a few issues to deal with as their second-round series lands in the Windy City. But job No. 1 is defending those killer stretch passes that have exposed their blueline.

David Bolland’s shorthanded goal Saturday night was simply the most glaring example of that play, but the Blackhawks have used the long bomb to ignite their attack throughout the first two games.

It’s confusing the Canucks’ coverage. It’s putting Roberto Luongo under considerable duress. And it’s completely negating the Canucks’ forecheck.

Here’s the result. Aside from a 30-minute span from the 10-minute mark of the first period to the end of the second period in Game 1, the Hawks have dominated this series to an alarming degree. The Canucks now have to prove they can play at their speed or slow them down to their own. Either way, the challenge is formidable.

read on

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

Arrogant Wings Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,

Some, with heavy emphasis on the word “some,” Detroit Red Wings fans, at least some of those who choose to leave comments on this blog site, seem remarkably arrogant and cocky when it comes to the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series between their team and the Ducks.

The Red Wings, themselves, are suffering from no such delusions, as evidenced by some of their quotes after Sunday’s 4-3, triple-overtime Ducks victory at Joe Louis Arena tied the series 1-1 entering Game 3 Tuesday night at Honda Center.

Perhaps that contingent of Detroit fans can learn something from what their team had to say.

Coach Mike Babcock: “When this playoff series started, we knew it was going to be hard. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of surprise about how the games have been played.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Back To Reality

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

I’m sure exactly none of you were shocked to discover absolutely nothing on this blog early this morning.  And you know as well as I do that if the Wings had won yesterday, there would have been all sorts of activity. Witty, juvenile inside jokes.  Pot shots at the Poultry and probably a few at the Blues and Dive fans because that’s what I do when I’m happy.

Instead I spent most of the morning in some sort of…state.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Time For Datsyuk & Hossa To Produce

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,

Detroit has two big stars who have gone dry: Pavel Datsyuk, a candidate for MVP of the league, and Marian Hossa, who signed in Motown for the sole purpose of winning a ring. They were the teams’ No. 1 and No. 3 point scorers during the season.

Neither man has a goal this series. Each has scored on just one night of the playoffs so far — and we’re in the second round. Hockey is about many things, that’s true, and you contribute many ways, that’s true. But they keep score by goals. And sooner or later, your stars must light it up if you want that ring.

“There’s no question about it,” agreed coach Mike Babcock after the 4-3 loss, “your best players gotta be your best players.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pens Need A Better Game From Malkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“I think [my performance] was OK,” Malkin said yesterday, “I felt good. The first game, maybe I was a little bit nervous.

“But next game, [I will] be better. Maybe play a little bit harder, maybe have more hits. Maybe [get] more shots and play aggressive.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, asked pointedly to assess Malkin’s work in the opener, never mentioned Malkin in his response, speaking instead to the importance of getting improved play from throughout the lineup.

“We need to get better in the offensive zone, taking pucks to the net and maintaining possession,” he said. “[Washington] did a good job defensively, being aggressive.

“Pretty much every line needs to get better at that for us to do what we think we can do in this series.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin

Blackhawks Enter Game 3 With Momentum

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,

Ever since their three-goal explosion in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night, the Hawks have been the faster, stronger and more physical of the teams, and they have seized home-ice advantage in the series with three of the possible five remaining games scheduled at the UC.

After winning all three home games in front of roaring crowds during their first-round series with Calgary, the Hawks are pleased to be setting up shop once again on West Madison Street.

“It’s all about coming out hard and flying and using that energy in our own building,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “We have an opportunity here, so we have to go out there and take advantage of it.”

The most shocking aspect of the two games in Vancouver was the Hawks’ ability to put pucks past Canucks star goaltender Roberto Luongo. The veteran netminder has yielded eight goals during the first two games after giving up just five in Vancouver’s four-game sweep of St. Louis in the first round.

read on

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

Calgary Fans Looking For A Shake-Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

They want heads to roll after a fourth consecutive first-round playoff disappointment.

Those people are the 2,500-plus Calgary Sun readers who voiced their opinion by taking part in the You Be The Boss survey posted for the better part of a week both in the paper and online calgarysun.com.

Asked if this team needs a major overhaul, more than 1,500 voters said ‘yes.’

Based on the survey results, that shakeup should begin just under the GM on the totem pole and end with former Norris Trophy finallist Dion Phaneuf.

In Sutter they still trust, apparently, after he assembled a team that in January was walking away with the NHL’s Northwest Division title.

It would be interesting to see a follow-up vote if the GM doesn’t do what they hope and expect and rid the team of Keenan before next fall.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Comeback For Quenneville

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

...The rest of the story is how Quenneville, five years ago at this time, had just been fired from his first NHL head-coaching job and had been chosen to coach Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Prague.

The trip began with an exhibition game in Budapest, Hungary, where he called the Czech Republic “Czechoslovakia” and made a few other minor international hockey gaffes at a press conference where he clearly did not look comfortable.

In a mixed zone with myself and two other Canadian scribes in Prague he was very upset before excusing himself after about two minutes. He ended up in hospital that night where he stayed for two days before being sent home after having suffered a mental breakdown, leaving assistant coach Mike Babcock to take over and coach the team to a gold medal.

It was explained that he’d never been to Europe before, couldn’t sleep and combined with coaching Canada on the big ice in a foreign environment, was overwhelmed by the stress.

“It was stress, but it was job-to-job stress,” he said in a one-on-one interview with Sun Media, agreeing to speak to a subject he’s avoided speaking to before.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+quenneville

Pierre McGuire As Wild GM

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The Minnesota Wild might view Pierre McGuire as the next John Davidson.

That would be good for McGuire.

Or, the Wild might see less Davidson, and more Barry Melrose.

Not so good.

What we know for sure is that McGuire, as well-known a hockey broadcaster as there is in this country outside of Don Cherry, is on the short list to become the next general manager of the Wild, succeeding the departed Doug Risebrough.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pierre+mcguire

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