Kukla's Korner

Talking Hockey On The First Sunday Of The Post-Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• One reason to wonder about Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as the choice for Canadian Olympic hockey coach: The Olympics are one-game playoffs. And the one thing Babcock didn’t do well in Game 6 or 7 against the Penguins was adjust. His team needed to get pucks in deep and to the net, especially in the second half of Game 7, and stubbornly his players kept trying to carry it through crowds, turned it over and generated little offence.

• The only way the Anaheim Ducks steal defenceman Jack Johnson and an early first-round pick from L.A. for diminishing asset Chris Pronger is if Kings general manager Dean Lombardi happens to lose his mind.

more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sunday Issues: Draper, Belts, Scumbags And Hossa

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Interesting.  Can anyone recall a single time Kris Draper’s said anything to the media that could be construed as controversial or critical of another player?  Even after his face was ravaged by one of the more cowardly hits in NHL history, Draper said little to nothing.

Draper, who’s never shirked his responsibilities after Wing losses, who’s never said an ill thing about an opponent, who’s respected league wide…is now just making stuff up. Right?

“Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand” in the traditional handshake line. He added that, “that’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Wings Need Defensive Help

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Caputo of the Oakland Press,

There are two very good unrestricted free agent defensemen — Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester and Montreal’s Mike Komisarek. Both are in their 20s. Bouwmeester, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, is at the high end because he has offensive skill to go along with his size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and defensive ability. Komisarek, who starred at the University of Michigan, is a bull with pretty good skill. He is 6-4, 245 pounds and a physical presence. The situation in Montreal deteriorated for a number of reasons this season, and he had a lot of injuries. But he was the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft and played excellent hockey for the Canadiens leading up to last season.

A change of scenery, especially coming home in a sense to the Red Wings, would really benefit Komisarek.

It’s often overlooked, too, how good defense leads to offense. It was apparent the Red Wings weren’t making quite as many defensive plays in the Finals. It hindered their transition game, which has long been one of the best in the NHL.

They’ve got plenty of scorers and young forwards.

Get some “D” men.

more

Note to Caputo, it will not happen and doesn’t need to happen.

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

Moving Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

• According to one veteran agent with a list of high-profile NHLers, the Krejci deal, worth $11.25 million over three years, created a salary “barrier” on the Bruins.

“Guys like Kessel, [Milan] Lucic, and [Blake] Wheeler, they all know what their limit is now,” he said.

Kessel becomes a restricted free agent July 1, while Lucic and Wheeler, the latter of whom just completed his rookie season, don’t reach that threshold until July 1, 2010.

Asked what he felt would happen with Kessel, the agent said, “I think he’ll be gone. Chiarelli will dump him with a West Coast team where he can score his 40 goals every year, and he’ll be out of sight, out of mind.”

• Word around the Cup finals was that the Sharks, off another postseason collapse, are trying to move Patrick Marleau and Milan Michalek. Their combined cap hit is $10.6 million. GM Doug Wilson needs to get back a couple of large dollops of grit and nastiness to avoid another second-round KO.

more hockey talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Now It Is Decision Time For Holland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

General manager Ken Holland doesn’t anticipate making any moves for a couple of weeks, when he has a better idea of next season’s cap figure. Much will depend on whether Hossa is re-signed.

Whatever happens, the Red Wings still have a strong nucleus of players in their prime and some good, young talent in their system, ensuring they will remain among the NHL’s elite.

One day after losing to Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the finals, Holland lamented his team’s inability to close out the series after leading 3-2. But he commended his players, some of whom played through significant injuries, for their effort, feeling they just ran out of energy at the end.

And he praised the Penguins, whom he said were focused and hungry and gained tremendous experience—particularly young players Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury—from losing in last year’s finals.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+hossa

No To Heatley In Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

Which brings us to Dany Heatley. He shoots Edmonton a sideways glance and fans are reaching for their wallets -or, Katz’s wallet - faster than a drunken sailor on the first day of shore leave.

Let’s hope Oilers management shows a little more restraint.

Edmonton, of all places, should be wary of mercenaries like Heatley. Have we learned nothing from Mike Comrie and Chris Pronger?

With a salary cap that’s dropping fast, do the Oilers really want to invest a big chunk of their allowance for the next five years on a guy who only seems to care about one thing: Himself?

We’re not talking about Henrik Zetterberg here. We’re talking about one of the lead dogs on one of the biggest, softest underachievers of the last 20 years. The Ottawa Senators were supposed to be Stanley Cup champions two times over by now, but they gagged and folded and got outworked year after year until their window of opportunity had finally closed for good.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Only The Beginning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

So Sidney Crosby didn’t get to score the winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final on Friday night at The Joe, or make a big pass or a significant defensive play. Instead, he sat nailed to the bench for the final half of the game, his left knee throbbing and useless after an illegal second-period bodycheck from Johan Franzen.

There were also three separate outbursts of boos after the Pittsburgh Penguins had won the game, with Detroit fans recognizing that Crosby was a tad slow getting over to shake the hands of the dethroned champion Red Wings.

Finally, all in all, Crosby didn’t have a major offensive impact in the series, managing one goal and an assist in seven games.

But it would be a terrible mistake to suggest Crosby did not lead the Penguins to this championship. He did, as his reverential teammates would attest.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Hershey Bears Win The Calder Cup

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Overlooked in the excitement of the Stanley Cup being won on Friday, there was another important cup victory in the AHL.  The Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup.  I will review the finals, but first links to the first, second and third rounds.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

What Is Ahead At KK

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

First off, a few days of relaxed posting, then we turn our attention to the NHL Awards Show in Vegas and the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal.

Shortly after the NHL Draft, the UFA signing period begins.  Then hopefully, maybe late July or early August, I can take a vacation, the first one in four years!!!

Filed in: KK Website Business, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Looking Ahead At The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel of the New York Times,

Because most N.H.L. teams try to copy the formula of the Stanley Cup champions, the Penguins’ victory could signal a continued movement from the defense-oriented tactics that dominated the N.H.L. after the Devils won the Cup in 1995.And yet a curious shift in the officiating during the finals loosened the zero-tolerance posture on obstruction penalties that referees had used for the last four seasons. Infractions like hooking, holding, tripping and interference were staples of the dead-puck era, among the tactics used to restrain skill and shift the game’s delicate balance in favor of defenses.

In the six games of last season’s finals, 30 obstruction penalties were called. Through six games this year, only 16 had been called. Four more were called in Game 7, for a total of 20.

The players and coaches had no problem with the officiating. It will be interesting to see if this slackening of rigorous enforcement signals a new standard for next season.

more on the Penguins, Wings and the NHL overall…

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

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