Kukla's Korner

Anything Left

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Do we say goodbye to Ottawa and/or Colorado tonight. Do these teams have enough in them to withstand the constant pressure they will see from their opponent? FYI- no OLN-HD or CI game scheduled for tonight. image

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What Does The NHL Want

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Straight.com,

Does anyone else find it ridiculous that of the eight first-round series this spring, only one—the New York Rangers versus the New Jersey Devils—was a divisional matchup? And now in the second round, again, just one—the Ottawa Senators against the Buffalo Sabres—is a battle born of regular-season hostilities. So of the initial 12 playoff series in the run to the first post-lockout Stanley Cup, the league has hung its hat on a whole bunch of contests that don’t have mass appeal or marquee value. In other words, the league itself has stamped “who cares?” on most of this postseason. ...If the league is intent on having divisional rivals play so many times in the regular season, then it has no choice but to make all of those meetings actually mean something. Take the top four teams in each division and have them meet in the first round and then reseed from there so the good teams still maintain home-ice advantage into round two and beyond.
read on

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Post Playoff Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Did you know 14 Flyers are scheduled for surgery? thanks to a KK reader for the link...

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Controlling The Crowd

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

The off-ice vibe at a Carolina Hurricanes game is controlled by more than 20 sets of fingers. Fingers on buttons that control which replays you see on the JumboTron. Fingers that help decide whether you hear Queen's "We Will Rock You" or Blur's "Song 2." Once the game begins, Don Sill's finger rests just millimeters above his computer mouse. Sill is in charge of the music and sound effects played in the arena. He makes his song choices by feeling the crowd's energy. There are some loose rules, however. "You can't go wrong with AC/DC." New songs are always being added to the playlist, but people like to hear the older arena-rocking anthems too, Soto says. "Only at a hockey game can you get up and let the dogs out without looking like a jackass."
more

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The New Difference Maker

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

"I want to be a difference-maker every night and be a factor, and I don't think I was," Brodeur said following the match. "I was not the difference out there. [Carolina goaltender] Cam Ward was." What's more - or less - the Devils were not the hungrier team. Maybe that's why the Hurricanes again seemed to get the breaks, as per the winner which bounced off three players. "It's work ethic," Brodeur said. "Teams that work hard get the bounces. Teams that play with passion are rewarded with bounces." The Devils were outworked. They were outplayed. They were out-goaltended One could say that was the difference.
more (reg. req.)

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Looking For A Miracle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

So, does Dominik Hasek lead his team onto the ice tonight? This is supposed to be what he's here for, right? What's the downside? He gets hurt again? When you are in an 0-3 hole, miracles are what you need. Well, a miracle and four shutouts given the difficulty the Senators have had scoring goals in the last couple of games in this series.
more on this series that could be over tonight... added 9:39am, from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Murray seemed to back away from the Hasek scenario Wednesday night saying that Hasek "hasn't indicated to me that he can play." Of course the key word in that sentence is "me". As of late Wednesday night, Hasek might not have said anything to the coach he hardly knows, but if long-time friend and current Senators general manager John Muckler asked him to at least try and play Game Four it's hard to imagine he could say no. Unless this is all one giant bluff and Hasek can't chew gum let alone play goal in a must-win scenario, what do the Senators have to lose?
added 10:08am, via the Buffalo News,
Ottawa is desperate for a savior. Senators coach Bryan Murray said Hasek could play if he had to and was waiting for Hasek to declare himself ready. It sure sounded like the Sens were pressuring him to engage, but we know him all too well. They shouldn't expect him to show up tonight, especially with the Sabres near a sweep. So, Dominator, any chance you're playing Game Four? "I don't know," he said afterward. "I don't think so. We'll see [today]." Translation: No.
added 12:30pm, via TSN,
The Sens won't have six-time Vezina- winning goaltender Dominik Hasek in the lineup. The Dominator practiced again on Thursday but said he won't be making any miraculous start for the Senators. Hasek has been sidelined since the Olympics, where he suffered a strained adductor muscle injury in the Czech Republic's opener.

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Lets Go Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Buffalo is an honest-to-god hockey town, a fact that predates the arrival of the National Hockey League, and separates it automatically from Raleigh, N.C., Anaheim, Calif., San Jose, Calif., and that parking lot in New Jersey. Plus, there's an appealing, throwback quality here. The HSBC Arena, like its predecessor, the funky old Memorial Auditorium, which still stands empty just up the street, is a place where you can take your kids to the rink and emerge with the mortgage money intact. Last night, for season-ticket holders at least, some of the best seats in the house went for $29 (U.S.). Buffalo maintains a proud, blue-collar identity, even as the core industries inevitably shrivel and die. It is a town where fandom has not a lick of that corporate, expense-account, let's-close-a-deal-and-watch-a-game-on-the-side aura.
read on

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Spezza- We Deserve A Better Fate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

"Nobody deserves to be ahead 3-0 in this series and we certainly don't deserve to be behind 3-0," said Senators centre Jason Spezza, who sent the game into overtime by scoring with 90 seconds left in regulation, his second goal of the night. "This is really tough right now and really hard to swallow. We've worked our tails off in this series and we deserved a better fate. We've got to find a way to come back. It's going to be tough. One loss and we're done. But we've got guys in this room who can get the job done."
more

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Losing The U.S. Audience

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun via the Ottawa Sun,

The game is back and, thanks to new rules which Bettman finally allowed to be imposed after a decade of screaming from fans and media, is better than ever. But in the U.S., it's virtually dead. Thanks to Bettman's TV policy, hockey no longer can be considered one of the top four sports in the U.S. It may not be in the top dozen. And without the ESPN contract, the sport doesn't get exposure to youngsters who are forming their sports loyalties. They're busy watching poker, college basketball and extreme sports.
more...Al does seem a little wound-up the last few columns, I wonder what has set him off?...

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Give This Man A Cigar

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Wisconsin State Journal,

The NBA is a night at the symphony. It is dancing girls, unceasing music, courtside celebrities and arguably the greatest athletes in the world. The NHL is a night at the rock concert. It is Zamboni drivers, a relentless pace, a savage atmosphere and arguably the toughest athletes in the world. Both leagues are in the process of paring their playoff fields from eight to four. How do they match up in terms of entertainment? Which road to the championship is more fun to walk? I have my thoughts. Rough stuff: In the NBA it's called "a flagrant foul." In the NHL it's called "incidental contact." Advantage: NHL.
more

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