Kukla's Korner

Targeting The Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TBM at NBC Sports,

Like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he's about to kick it, Toronto has specialized in teasing its fans, all the while selling out everything from season tickets to luxury boxes to condos next to the arena ("Welcome to Maple Leaf Condos, where you don't have to fight traffic in the spring"). Why do the fans keep buying? Because hope always springs eternal in Canada's largest city, even though the Leaf fortunes have usually taken a tumble before fall is over. The latest edition of the team is surrounded by question marks, starting with "does the General Manager have teeth?" An excellent question, since no one has seen John Ferguson open his mouth, much less smile, since he took the job.
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Fork Over The Cash

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Loose Change at the Hockey News,

It’s almost embarrassing to admit I actually subscribe to Leafs TV, but $2.99 a month is a small price to pay to impress and annoy friends who aren’t able to use such selectively frivolous items as business write-offs. For those of you unfamiliar (blissfully ignorant) with the whole concept of Leafs TV, it’s a team-owned television station that provides simply everything-Toronto Maple Leafs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (stop laughing).
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18 Year-Old Stand-In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Durham Region News,

With the Washington Capitals new practice facility nearby, and netminder Olaf Kolzig granted a day off, Evason, an assistant coach with the Capitals, called Hewson to see if he would be interested in subbing in for a practice. Hence the disbelief for an 18-year-old, playing junior hockey, soundly asleep one morning, when an assistant coach of an NHL team calls to inquire about your availability to suit up for practice and be peppered with shots from the likes of Alexander Ovechkin. "I was really nervous on the way out, but as soon as I got there, the nerves went away," says Hewson of the drive to the Capitals Ice Center in Arlington, Virginia, which is situated on the eighth floor of a mall.
read on

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Must See Hull-E

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sorry, I had to make it rhyme... from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

If you've ever heard Hull speak, this long-rumored hiring seems almost too good to be true. A man born with no internal censor, Hull's segments will be the closest thing to Must-See TV on the struggling network since the demise of Seinfeld. The soon-to-be Hall of Famer is smart, articulate, entertaining, and completely devoid of artifice. Best of all, there's no shtick to Hull. He's colorful, but he's no cartoon. He won't mimic the braying jackassery of Terry Bradshaw or catch- phrase lunacy of Dick Vitale. And a man who has repeatedly claimed Barry Manilow's Mandy as his favorite song clearly isn't worried what anyone thinks of him. He's a guy who always tells it straight. And if he has something to say that might offend someone, well, that's Brett.
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Welcome To LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

Kings center Anze Kopitar is acting as a tour guide this week. His mother, Mataja, and his 14-year-old brother, Gasper, have traveled from Slovenia to Southern California for their first trip to the United States, and will spend Christmas with Anze. Anze Kopitar has impressed his coaches and teammates with his wisdom-beyond-his-years attitude. Oh, and he can score, too. Over the weekend, before their arrival, Kopitar was already talking about what he would show them. "The beaches, Universal Studios, Disneyland," he said in the Kings' Staples Center dressing room, sounding a bit excited and -- just for a moment, and for once -- like a teenager.
continued

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Before The Goalie Mask

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Las Vegas Sun,

Mike McKenna, who has been outstanding for the Wranglers this season, owes plenty to former netminders such as Clint Benedict, Jacques Plante and Gerry Cheevers. Otherwise, McKenna might look like Glenn Hall. A few years ago, McKenna met Hall, known as "Mr. Goalie" during a professional hockey career that spanned from 1952 to 1971. In 1998, Hall was listed at No. 16 on a Hockey News list of the game's 100 greatest players. Hall, now 75, mostly played between the pipes without a mask. "His face was just mangled," McKenna said of his meeting Hall. "Without a mask, your face ends up looking like hamburger."
continued

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Bringing Hockey to the People

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

By Alanah D McGinley When veteran Edmonton Oilers broadcaster Morley Scott met me for a Tim Horton's coffee on Vancouver's waterfront on a recent Monday morning, he looked like he'd been up for hours. Casually well-dressed, relaxed and easygoing, he patiently waited for me to catch up and grab my first coffee of the day. Morley, like many who make their living in front of a camera or behind a microphone, is one of those people that is effortless to talk to, making it easy to understand the success he's had. But how many of us really know what his job is all about, and what it's like to work from the inside of an NHL team? On December 4th -- the day of the most recent Vancouver Canucks/ Edmonton Oilers game -- I had a chance to interview Morley and follow him around for 'a day in the life' of an NHL hockey team broadcaster.

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Leave It To The Experts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

If the Internet-based attempt to get write-in Rory Fitzpatrick into the starting lineup of the NHL All-Star Game isn't enough proof -- the injured journeyman Vancouver Canucks defenceman may even leapfrog Calgary Flames phenom Dion Phaneuf into fourth or higher among blueliners when the updated numbers come out in a couple of days -- take a look at how far defending Vezina Trophy winner Miikka Kiprusoff is behind the Dallas Stars' Marty Turco.... "Fan voting is a dumb way to do it," said Flames defenceman Andrew Ference yesterday on picking starters. "The All-Star Game is about having the best players showcased. The people who know that best are the people involved in the business. "Really, it can be so skewed with fan voting, it's silly. The last people who should have the final word are hometown fans."
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JLA Gets Knocked Down

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Talk about a sucker punch. Bet Joe Louis -- the arena -- didn't see that one coming. Maxim magazine posted a list of the 10 worst sports arenas on its Web site, "buildings that are practically begging to be condemned." And the Joe was ranked No. 1. Said Maxim: "We're on board with anything named after the great Joe Louis ... But his name/legacy, as well as the Red Wings, deserve better than a crumbling facility in a scary ... neighborhood.
continued

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Problems In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

The biggest story in British Columbia these days isn't treaties or private health-care clinics, it's hockey. Interest in the Vancouver Canucks seems to be evaporating. The signs are everywhere. Sports bars that used to be packed on game nights are half empty. The team's television ratings are down a significant 14 per cent from this time last year. You now see pockets of empty seats at Canucks games that are supposed to be sold out. People can't give their tickets away. It's beginning to smell like the bad old days.
xontinued

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