Kukla's Korner

Why Not Winnipeg?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

“Yes, under the right circumstances and should there be a need or an opportunity, we would love to return to Winnipeg,” wrote NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email.

“Love,” he said.

Well, in the immortal words of Junior Soprano, I’d love to, er, be intimate with Angie Dickinson, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

“We would have to take a closer look and do some due diligence to make a determination on the Winnipeg market before making a conclusion one way or the other,” Daly continued. “That’s not something we have the need or reason to do at this point.”

Maybe not. But the day seems to be drawing closer.

While it’s hard to separate the myth from the reality when it comes to this subject, the least you can say is the circumstances surrounding Winnipeg have changed dramatically over the last couple of years, just as the circumstances in the NHL have changed.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

Hart Trophy Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss the Hart Trophy candidates.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Selke Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I picked Mike Fisher as the Selke Trophy leader in early January.  While he remains a candidate, I do not think he is the top one in the league.  I think he has been passed by Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.  Marleau has more shorthanded ice time, he plays against a higher quality of competition and he has a better rate stat adjusted +/-.  That makes Marleau a better candidate statistically.  By watching their teams play, it is clear that both are significant defensive presences for their teams, but Marleau plays a bigger role in San Jose.

Of course, this argument does not address any other defensive forwards.  There are many who will get some consideration for the Selke.  It is quite likely that half a dozen or more players get first place votes from at least one voter in the Selke balloting.  Though some of these might be poor choices, this comes from the vague nature of defensive statistics in hockey.  You cannot reliably assess the best defensive forward in most cases.  Patrick Marleau is clearly a top defensive forward who is playing a big role on a successful team.  He is a very good candidate for the Selke.  I think his biggest problem is geography.  The award has existed since 1977 and no player west of the Central time zone has ever won it.  I think too many eastern voters went to sleep before the west coast games ended and missed out on some Selke candidates (this was easier to do because of the lack of strong statistics).  I think there is a very good chance that Marleau could get lost in the same shuffle, but he deserves better.  He should be the Selke front-runner.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Wings OT Record May Prevent Them From Making The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

If the Detroit Red Wings miss the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, a primary contributing factor will be their inability to win games in overtime. Detroit is just 6-12 overall in extra time, with eight of the losses coming in shootouts. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins (9) have lost more. The Calgary Flames, Detroit’s closest challengers, aren’t much better in extra time (5-9, with six of shootout losses), but the Nashville Predators are (8-5), the primary reason they’re seventh and still in the thick of the race with two more talented squads.

more hockey topics…

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

Flyers Have Interest In Extending Leighton’s Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Flyers’ future in goal beyond this season. An answer may be forthcoming sooner rather than later.

Michael Leighton’s agent, Mike Liut, has been in the Philadelphia area for several days and likely will talk to general manager Paul Holmgren about a contract extension for his client this week, a Flyers source confirmed to the Daily Times.

While there is no guarantee that anything will be signed this week, it’s a good bet ideas will be exchanged.

According to the source, the Flyers would like to have Leighton back – possibly on a two-year deal – if the salary figure is reasonable.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+leighton

All Kenny Albert

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The radio voice of the New York Rangers, Kenny Albert, does a Q & A with Justin Terranova of the NY Post,

Q: Do you think there will be changes with coach John Tortorella and Sather if the Rangers don’t make the playoffs?

A: I think the management is in it for the long haul as far as Sather goes. And this is Tortorella’s first full year with the Rangers. And last year he inherited a team that was out of the playoffs and got them into the postseason. And they also pushed the Capitals to seven games and Washington was a team capable of winning the Stanley Cup.


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

Hard To Buy A Team Without Enough Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

There is much to admire about the chutzpah of the group of young businessmen who have gathered under the Ice Edge Holdings LLC banner.

Their plan – pipedream, the realists say – to buy the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL is reminiscent of another audacious play hatched over a few drinks after a beer-league hockey game. Bruce Firestone and his pals did land the Ottawa Senators expansion franchise with no real money, but they crashed and burned.

At this point, it looks as if Anthony LeBlanc, Daryl Jones and the rest of the Ice Edge group will not even get off the runway. Too many problems are coming up, almost all of them because no one in the group appears to have the substantial personal fortune needed to convince a banker or bankers to lend Ice Edge enough money to pull it off.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rookies In Unknown Territory

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

The NHL’s top rookies—Matt Duchene, John Tavares, Victor Hedman, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Myers—are in uncharted territory: None of them has ever played this many regular-season games.

The fear with rookies at this time of the year is that they’ll hit “the wall.” The rookie wall differs for players who came to the NHL from college and those who took the major junior route. College teams play about 40 games. The Western Hockey League has scheduled 72 games the past few years while the Ontario and Quebec leagues play 68.

Last season, Boston Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler became the poster boy for rookies hitting the wall. Wheeler scored in his first NHL game and had 11 goals and 9 assists through 32 games. He had 10 goals and 25 assists over the next 50 games and really slowed down in March. Wheeler was honest about tiring last year and took steps to prevent a similar result this season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Canucks Are Finally Back Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,

The boys are back in town and going through their checklist.

Kiss wife, pat dog, change diapers, throw dirty underwear in laundry, fall asleep on couch, wake up, stretch arms and say: “Well, as far as 14-game road trips go, that was one of the better ones.”

Or maybe it will be the only one. In any case, the Vancouver Canucks emerged from six weeks on the road – broken up by that Olympic thing – sitting atop the Northwest Division and with a playoff spot almost secured.

The Canucks did some interesting work on the 8-5-1 odyssey. Most notably, they began it by coming back from three goals down in the Centre of the Universe to shock the Maple Leafs 5-3 on national TV, outscoring Brian Burke’s Buds 4-0 in the final period.

They also came back to win after being down two goals in Boston, Columbus and Columbus again.


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

What Happens If The Bruins Target Crosby?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

What if matters were reversed and it was Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby felled by a shoulder to his head? What if the Bruins target him in next Thursday’s game? Try to imagine the outrage if Crosby should be sidelined for any length of time, including the playoffs.

This is not a comfortable spot for the NHL, not when a Cooke suspension would have calmed things and prevented a steady cry from veteran NHLers such as Bill Guerin and Vincent Lecavalier calling for a ban on head shots. What we have instead is what we’re hearing and reading: The Bruins are ticked, their fans want revenge.

It’s a bad mix – dangerous, noxious, regrettable. And the game looms ever larger.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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