Kukla's Korner

More Praise for Ron Francis

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated, asks “Is it too late to applaud Ron Francis as a Hall-of-Famer?”  Certainly not…

His career may be just under the radar where the general public is concerned, but his peers have long revered him. They appreciated his night-in-night-out contributions and understood the competitiveness below the surface of his stoic demeanor. As an 18-year-old rookie, Atlanta Thrashers center Bobby Holik played with Francis in Hartford. Holik says he learned a lot from Francis that year, and even more about him as the two competed countless times as Eastern Conference rivals.

“He was extremely competitive, despite being so calm,” Holik says. “You could never take him off the ice, in any situation. He was the ultimate complete hockey player—the last great two-way player.”

continued…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+francis

Havlat May Return for Hawks Next Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Press Release from Chicago Blackhawks:

Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat underwent a strength and evaluation test on his injured shoulder today at the Cleveland Clinic. The results verified that Havlat’s shoulder continues to improve and get stronger. The possibility exists that he may return to the Blackhawks lineup on Wednesday, November 28th, when the Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center at 7:30 p.m.

*Previous updates on the ups and downs of Havlat’s recovery.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, injuries, martin+havlat

Lehtonen Back in Practice - Goalie Surplus in Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

“It’s been a long month, but it was great today to come here when everybody else comes and not three hours before,” Lehtonen said. “It’s fun to be a part of the team.”

And suddenly it’s a team that will have three capable goalies. According to general manager and interim head coach Don Waddell, Lehtonen’s return to the lineup won’t be rushed. In the past, he said, Lehtonen might have been hurried to action this week. But not now.

Johan Hedberg is coming off his first shutout with the Thrashers and will get the start tonight against Tampa Bay. He’s 4-0 in his last five starts and with his shutout in Carolina, dropped his goals against average to 2.38 in November.

Rookie Ondrej Pavelec is 3-1 in four starts and has a 2.71 GAA on the season. His only other loss came in a relief appearance against Ottawa.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, goalies, johan+hedberg, kari+lehtonen, ondrej+pavelec

Final Step in Nashville

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From John Glennon at The Tennessean,

The final step in the sale of the Predators to a mainly local group of investors is likely to occur on Nov. 29.

That’s the date of the next NHL Board of Governors meeting, which will take place in Pebble Beach, Calif. Any change of ownership needs to be approved by a three-quarters vote of the league’s 30 governors.

continued…

Update 7:14pm ET: Local Nashville television coverage of reaction to the deal on WKRN TV. Includes the Mayor, the Governor and others.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nashville+predators, nhl+board+of+governors

How Rumors Happen

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,

The lack of any real trade action thus far in the NHL season also has some folks clutching at straws to dream up trade scenarios.

Take the presence of Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe in the Boston Bruins press box during the Bruins-Canadiens match-up Nov. 8.

An Edmonton sportswriter wondered if Lowe was there to scout Bruins right winger Glen Murray as, apparently, Lowe nearly had a deal in place for Murray last summer until the Bruins backed out.

Once this story passed through the filter of Internet rumormongers, it quickly went from speculation to confirmation that Lowe was planning to acquire Murray.

The truth, sadly, was far less sexy, as Lowe was in Massachusetts to watch the Springfield Falcons – the Oilers’ AHL farm team – play the following night and merely decided to take in the game while in Boston.

more…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+rumors

Brad Richards Off to Career Best Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Erik Erlendsson at The Tampa Tribune,

Richards is off to his best start through 19 games and is on pace for a career high in goals and right on pace to match his career best in points. And while the point production is a big part of Richards’ game, it’s not the sole indicator of how he’s playing.

In watching Richards on the ice this season, he looks quicker, he looks stronger, he appears to have more confidence and seems more intense, noticeable in his fight Wednesday against Carolina’s Justin Williams that left him with a cut on his lip.

“I feel a lot better, I do,” Richards said. “Sometimes you can’t control the points and it would be nice to bury a few more chances, but overall I feel way better, way stronger so I feel a lot more confident going into this part of the season. Whether or not my start - and I think it’s been a good start and that’s obviously going to help - but I feel different and I feel a lot better than I did last year.”

continued…

*Also recently online at The Tampa Tribune, teammate Vinny Lecavalier’s exotic summer vacations, with a few photos

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+richards, tampa+bay+lighting, vinny+lecavalier

The Kings New “Terminator”

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Lisa Dillman at the LA Times,

The left side of his face has been surgically reinforced and then some, with four plates, and that means Kings enforcer Raitis Ivanans might require a new nickname.

“Terminator,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll set off the machines going through security at airports, not that the Kings will be flying commercial any time soon.

“Everyone says that there would be beeping,” he said. “But it’s titanium.”

continued… (may require free registration)

*Ivanans is expected to return to the Kings lineup by Wednesday, and wearing a face shield for at least 4 weeks

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: injury, los+angeles+kings, raitis+ivanans

Ducks Acquire Brian Sutherby From Capitals

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From TSN,

The Anaheim Ducks announced Monday that the team acquired centre Brian Sutherby from the Washington Capitals for a second round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, brian+sutherby, washington+capitals

Pivotal Time for Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,

So here they are, 20 games into the season, and the Blackhawks are in the midst of a five-day break, before embarking on a pivotal road swing through Western Canada that will give them a clearer idea of whether they are a legitimate playoff contender this year — or still in the throes of a rebuilding program.

Toews and Kane represent the two leaders in the rookie of the year race this season and it is reminiscent of the 2001-02 season, when the two Atlanta Thrashers prospects, Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk, finished one-two in the Calder Trophy race and turned that expansion franchise into a team on the rise. Or at least gave the organization something to get excited about.

After all, excitement has been the missing ingredient on the Chicago hockey scene for the better part of a decade.

continued…

Update 10:39pm ET:
An observation from Mike Downey at the Chicago Tribune:

Hold on to your hockey stick: Only four teams (Red Wings, Rangers, Hurricanes and Senators) in the entire 30-team NHL have won more games so far than the Blackhawks. Cool, man.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, jonathan+toews, patrick+kane

Did Brett Hull Save JFJ’s Job?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,

Is it possible that Brett Hull might save Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson, Jr.‘s job?

Seems illogical, but then logic rarely is a dominant theme at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a behemoth in terms of producing revenue, but a consistent failure in terms of on-ice success in the NHL.

The buzz for weeks has been that MLSE’s board of directors has been contemplating Ferguson’s dismissal, but the recent appointment of Hull as interim co-director of the Dallas Stars may have made an impact in Toronto.

The argument in favor of keeping the beleaguered Ferguson has long centered on a simple question: “Who can we get to replace him?” That question gave the board some pause this past offseason when several high profile (and under contract) GMs quietly let it be known they weren’t interested in the board’s plan to bring in an experienced hockey man to “mentor” Ferguson.

continued… including a look at shakeups in Dallas, St. Louis and Florida

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+hull, dallas+stars, john+ferguson+jr, toronto+maple+leafs

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