Kukla's Korner

Hard Games, Tough Sale

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Leonsis at his blog, Ted’s Take,

The Capitals play 32 games against SE division foes. It is a tough division, as an example, Pittsburgh is 5-6 and 3 against our division but is 7 and 0, picking up 14 points against the Flyers this year.
So we play against the toughest opponents the most times in our division and sell the least amount of tickets against those teams.

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Nashville Wants To Make A Splash

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from The Bellowing Moose at NBC Sports,

Why the sudden boldness from Preds’ GM David Poile (once described by a colleague as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing”)? Because Nashville needs success-at the gate and on the ice-as soon as possible.
Despite contending for first place in the NHL’s overall standings, the Preds have been anything but a chart topper at home. Owner Craig Leipold has been looking for local ownership without success, and if his team doesn’t start selling some tickets, it may not qualify for his beloved revenue sharing money, believed to be more than $10 million last season.
So a gamble on Forsberg makes sense. The Predators can afford to give up some prospects (they have one of the deepest reserve lists in the league) and landing a player of Forsberg’s stature would make a splash, even in Nashville, where the players could wear full equipment into a restaurant and still not get noticed.

read on

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Regier Wants To Remain Flexible

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from WBEN/WGR,

“When you don’t have any additional cap space, you have to look at flexibility,” Regier said.
“Do you want the extra depth in goal? Do you want to exchange it for an extra defenseman or an extra forward? The thing that has to be respected is that this group that put us in first place, so to the extent that we change it, it’s because we believe it’s going to make us stronger.”
One rumor that’s been floated is that Tim Connolly’s salary wouldn’t count towards the salary cap if he didn’t return until the playoffs. WGR’s Brad Riter spoke with NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly last night, who told him the rumor was, in fact, a rule, but anyone abusing that rule would be penalized.

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NHL Not Doing Their Part

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

“Honestly, it’s very difficult to understand, the way Sidney’s been treated since the beginning of his career,” Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, said Tuesday. “In my opinion, it hasn’t been fair. This is someone who gives 100 percent on every shift, on and off the ice, for his team and his league.”
Within the past month, we’ve seen Crosby speared in the abdomen (Jason Blake), butt-ended in the gut on a game-opening faceoff (Maxim Lapierre) and cut in the face with a high stick (Francis Bouillon), without any of the infractions drawing so much as a minor penalty.

read on

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Selanne Points To Refs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the LA Times (reg. req.),

The play centered on a non-call of an apparent delay-of-game penalty by Avalanche forward Ben Guite with the Ducks desperately trying to cut into a 2-0 Colorado lead. Afterward, Selanne did little to hide his disdain for the referees’ work despite taking some extra time to cool off.
“I expect nothing less than to be the best and I would expect the referees to do the same thing,” Selanne said. “There’s four guys [including the linesmen]. If one guy can’t see anything, there’s three other guys.”
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle was irritated with Selanne’s conduct on the ice.
“That can’t happen,” Carlyle said.

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Black Eye For The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Texan (Univ. of Texas),

As Toronto Maple Leaf rookie left wing Kris Newbury lay on the Air Canada Centre ice with blood streaming from his ears, you can bet NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was more than a little concerned.
The fact that this was the closing moments of a tied battle televised on the biggest stage - Hockey Night in Canada - between the sport’s biggest team, the Leafs, and the team led by the sport’s greatest star, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, surely didn’t help.

continued

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Luongo Makes A Statement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Province,

Roberto Luongo is pictured on the cover of the upcoming Feb. 20 edition of The Hockey News. His eyes are piercing with intense determination. His words are bold and absolute.
“I will be in the playoffs this year. Nothing will stop me,” the goalie’s quoted as saying in defiant response to the fact he’s yet to appear in a postseason game.
For many playoff-hungry Canucks fans, Luongo’s vow will stir memories of sports most-transcendent predictions—Muhammad Ali’s promise to beat Sonny Liston, Joe Namath’s vow to win Super Bowl III and Mark Messier’s guarantee before Game Six of the ‘94 NHL Eastern Conference final.

read on

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Tucker Contract Talks Continue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

Darcy Tucker need not necessarily pack his bags if he fails to reach a multi-year contract agreement with the Maple Leafs by the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
Leafs general manager John Ferguson was quick to make that point yesterday, attempting to squash rumours that Tucker definitely would be traded if a deal was not completed by that time.
“That date, for where we are as a club, in the context of these particular negotiations, is not as relevant as some,” Ferguson said.
Talks have heated up in recent days.

continued

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That Big Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

frrom Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

Big deals. Big results.
“The biggest thing to me always has been the message you send to your team,” said Murray. “The type of player you add ... the message that was sent to Carolina is they went out and got two veteran guys that have played and have a reputation in the league and it was: ‘Hey, see, we told you: We’re trying to win here.’
“If that kind of message is a positive one to the team, then you get a nice response. Whether he gets absorbed properly into the lineup or not, that’s another issue. I think the Stuart-Primeau move for Calgary gives them a little stimulation now that they’re getting playoff-type guys. I always thought you tried to help as much as you can that way.”

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Madden Thinking Shield

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Post,

Madden refused to confirm but wouldn’t deny yesterday that he suffered broken facial bones when struck by a point-blank shot he deflected onto his right cheek in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay at the Meadowlands. He returned to action in the second period of that game, wearing 11 stitches and a visor to protect his swollen-to-a-slit eye, still a gory sight yesterday.
“I dodged another bullet here. A third time,” Madden said, saying he’ll wear a visor, probably permanently, when he returns to action. He said his wife’s reaction was, “Not again!” Obviously, talk of the visor came up again.
“Sooner or later [shot-blockers] are going to get a puck in the face,” Madden said. “It’s something I’ve been doing since I was 7, 8 years old, getting the stick in the way.”

more on the Devils…

added 12:20pm, from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

Please, don’t start talking to me about vision or toughness or about how a visor fogs up and keeps players from doing what they want. It doesn’t seem to be stopping Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or Jarome Iginla (to name someone nobody can quickly and ignorantly write off as being soft as they would so many other visor wearers).
Want to be manly? Have the guts to wear the visor and know it doesn’t make you any less tough, any less of a hockey player.

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