Kukla's Korner

Can’t Miss Players Living Up To Their Billing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Whatever happened to the days when the NHL’s top-20 scorers featured a whole lot of late-blooming, off-the-radar players, who fell through the scouting cracks but turned into stars anyway?

Decades ago, it happened all the time. For every Mario Lemieux or Dale Hawerchuk that came along who lived up to his draft rating, there’d be a Brett Hull or an Adam Oates, a Bernie Nicholls or a Steve Larmer, a Theo Fleury or a Doug Gilmour, a Dino Ciccarelli or a Luc Robitaille that came out of nowhere to become a dominant NHL scorer.

Those days seem to be over, based on what’s happening in the 2009-10 when just about every player short of Martin St. Louis or Brad Richards was a blue-chip, can’t-miss prospect chosen at or near the top of the annual entry draft.

continued with more topics including a H2H mention.  Thanks Eric!

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Laraque Blocked

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When Georges Laraque signed a three year contract worth $1.5 million per year with a non movement clause in the summer of 2008 to join the Montreal Canadiens, it raised a few eyebrows.  Laraque is a goon who was set to enter the decline phase of his career.  Though he once scored 29 points in the 2000/01 season, his recent totals had been more modest (for example 13 in the season before that new contract).  It was a reasonable question to ask if he would hold any NHL value into the third year of the contract and it was reasonable to wonder why he was given a no movement clause.

Things worked out worse than predicted for Laraque in Montreal.  He was limited to only 33 games in his first season in Montreal - in part due to a back injury.  He managed two assists and no goals in that season.  This season, in 28 games so far, Laraque had three points.  Montreal decided to admit the contract was a mistake.  Laraque was released from the Habs and given notice that the remainder of his contract would be bought out this summer.  This caused some minor controversy because the announcement came just after the Haiti earthquake and Laraque’s parents are Haitians.  Much of Laraque’s extended family remains in Haiti.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Hockey Weekend Across America Starts Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Wattch It. Play It. Live It.

Hockey Weekend Across America has been a big success as a national platform to celebrate the game and in 2010, the event will have a stronger focus on growing the game,

All the information about HWAA can be found here

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Innovative Equipment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,

The Let’s Play Hockey Show took place at the MGM Grand Casino this week and while the emphasis was naturally on companies making deals, the sport itself will stand to benefit from some of the products being pitched.

Naturally, concussions were covered off in a variety of ways and companies are really bringing the science.

TapouT mouthguards – associated with mixed martial arts, but invented for all contact sports such as hockey and football – was pitching its product based on a patented technology that allows wearers to re-boil their mouthguard. This is especially important for players with braces, since frequent tightenings at the orthodontist shift the structure of the mouth.

continued

Filed in: Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Oilers On The Verge Of Going 0 For January

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

There’s so many staggering statistics in play that it takes half a column and more just to list the Oilers, uh, accomplishments.

And here’s a new one.

The Oilers are one game away from doing what has never been done in franchise history before – lose every single, solitary game in a full month schedule.

It hasn’t been done by an NHL team for 12 years!

They have 12 straight losses.

It’s Dirty Dozen every which way you look.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

San Jose & Chicago Have Flaws

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,

Don’t make too much out of the recently completed season series between the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks if you’re trying to project what might happen if the two teams meet in the playoffs, likely to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Finals.

San Jose and Chicago may have figured out ways to, in the least, mask fatal flaws – defensive personnel for the Sharks and goaltending for the Blackhawks.

In the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime victory on Thursday, the Sharks’ defensive corps featured their shortcomings. There was a 40-year-old who is basically a power-play specialist when he’s not skating a step behind, or taking that annoying hook or hold at a critical time. Sorry, Rob Blake(notes). Yes, you’re a future Hall-of-Famer, but a No. 1 defenseman no longer fits….

On the flip side, the Blackhawks can’t feel good about putting all their Stanley Cup hopes on Cristobal Huet(notes) – and don’t try to float the idea of turning to the untested Antti Niemi(notes)....

Just the same, is anyone else concerned about the way Huet seems perfectly content to just bat pucks aside, rebounds be damned? He’s not a goalie who has the reputation of controlling things in his end. It’s more like someone battling and hoping his team just outscores the opposition.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Win Streak Now At Eight For Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,

The win over Pittsburgh not only pulled the Senators to within three points of the Penguins for fourth place in the Eastern Conference race, but also to within four of Vancouver for bragging rights as the top team in Canada.

Spezza said tying the team’s winning streak record was big.

“We’re rolling right now. We’re beating good teams and gaining confidence from it,” said Spezza. “Winning breeds confidence and we’re a confident bunch right now.”

Senators coach Cory Clouston said the record is nothing special to him.

“I’m more happy with the win,” he said. “Doesn’t matter what the situation is. Obviously, it was a tough opponent, in a difficult building to win in, and our guys managed to come away with a win. That’s more important to me.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ron Wilson Doesn’t Want A Pity Party

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

Two players now have expressed a desire to be traded away from the foundering club—centre Jamal Mayers and defenceman Garnet Exelby—and Wilson isn’t thrilled with the timing of the requests.

On one hand, the besieged head coach said it doesn’t bother him that players express a desire to be traded if they want out, adding that it happens all the time.

But his worry is that their unhappiness will spread. And the last thing the 17-27-10 Leafs need is more negativity in the dressing room, especially with back-to-back games this weekend against the New Jersey Devils on Friday in Newark and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday back at the Air Canada Centre.

“What you don’t want is to have a pity party where guys who don’t like what’s happening to them suck other people into the same black hole,” said Wilson on Thursday after practice. “That’s an age-old problem on teams, pity parties: ‘I’m not playing well, so I want to make sure that nobody is playing well and I feel better because I have everybody in the same boat with me.’ “

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers Need Help Just About Everywhere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The Rangers’ deficiencies are on display every night. They do not have a playmaking center. They do not have a physically intimidating defenseman. They do not have size on the wing. They do not have fire in the belly.

They do not, in fact, have much at all to show for their grand total of two playoff round victories in Sather’s nine seasons, beyond all-world talents Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, plus the hope that Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky will mature into championship caliber components.

Forget four-for-one trades to rent Ilya Kovalchuk. Forget giving up anything to get Vincent Lecavalier and his out of whack contract that takes him to age 40. Forget Dion Phaneuf unless Rozsival (preferably Redden, but let’s be serious) and nothing of much added value go the other way to Calgary.

The Rangers aren’t one or two players away, unless they are Jean Beliveau and Bobby Orr in their prime. The Rangers aren’t one brilliant trade away from inserting themselves into the Stanley Cup conversation.

Instead, the Rangers are simply one of those many teams camped out with the huddled masses on the treadmill of NHL mediocrity. Sorry to say, but Lundqvist and Gaborik are lipstick on the pig.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Johan Hedberg Loses Sight Of The Puck Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: johan+hedberg

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