Kukla's Korner

Flyers Falling Apart

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Courier Post,

The Flyers' injury-depleted roster took two more big hits Saturday night when forwards Mike Richards and Geoff Sanderson were sidelined with abdominal strains that will keep them out of the lineup at least three weeks. An MRI today will determine if surgery is required for either player. If surgery is required the recovery period could be as long as two months. With forwards Peter Forsberg (right foot) and Jeff Carter (left ankle) sidelined indefinitely, Holmgren almost certainly will be forced to make a trade or perhaps claim veteran right wing John LeClair off waivers.
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Ratings Tumble

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

The NHL governors got a rude awakening at their board meeting this week at the beautiful Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., when they had the U.S. television ratings plunked in front of them. Talk about devastating. And unless there is a rapid recovery, it's very difficult to understand what will become of this sport in the U.S. Keep in mind this has nothing to do with the league's appearance on Versus network, or the old Outdoor Living Network as it was known last year. This is virtually every U.S. city in the league as viewers seem to be turing away from the game at a remarkable pace.
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Is Kitchen Next

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Blues coach Mike Kitchen understands what's going on behind the scenes. With the losses piling up, new owner Dave Checketts and team president John Davidson are "trying to find out the right avenue to go," Kitchen said. The Blues endured their seventh consecutive defeat Saturday night, losing 5-1 at home to Columbus, and certainly need a shake-up. And with the salary cap making it difficult to do trades until closer to the Feb. 27 deadline, that shake-up may include firing Kitchen. Davidson declined to discuss Kitchen's status this week. "Regarding coaching, I can tell you they work," he said. "Other than that, I don't make any comment on coaching. They work hard. It's senseless to make comments on coaching in any direction at any time."
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Ticket Prices Increase - Coverage Decreases

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Others grope for answers to explain the empty seats and declining television ratings, even - according to early calculations this year - across Canada. But the answer is clear, even if the true believers cannot allow themselves to admit it. It was the cancelled season. The cancelled season marginalized the NHL as a mainstream league in the Lower 48 to a degree that would have unimaginable five years ago. The season without hockey gave the media decision-makers the excuse they needed (and may always have been seeking) to make hockey as dead to them as Fredo was to Michael in "Godfather II." There is essentially no television coverage of the league. Newspaper coverage has been slashed dramatically across its major U.S. markets.
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UFA Goalies Hard To Come By

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Not many teams will be looking for a new goalkeeper next summer, but as long as there are two teams in the marketplace Jean-Sebastien Giguere can be confident of improving on his $3.9 million salary. Giguere is the only headliner of a small collection of free agent goaltenders.
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An Honor To Play At Red Square

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via the International Herald Tribune,

The first ice hockey game ever played at Red Square honored the 60th anniversary of the birth of Russian hockey, the 50th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's first hockey victory at the Olympics and the 25th anniversary of the creation of the famous KLM line in the 1980s. "This is a historic event — to come to Moscow and play at Red Square," Bowman said. "And it's an honor to have all these great players to play here at a time to honor the heritage of the Soviet and Russian ice hockey."
more added 4:58pm, CP story via TSN with picture... added 5:48pm, More pics via USA TODAY...

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Larry Wigge: Cleary Getting His Due

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Via NHL.com,

"It’s been a long time. I’m so excited to finally be showing people what I thought I could do after I was a first-round draft choice (by Chicago in 1997)," Cleary said, still shaking his head in amazement at what has happened to him this season. "It’s funny, because I look in the mirror and see the same guy. A big part of my success since I came to Detroit is how you feel when you put this Red Wings jersey on and walk into this room and see such high-end talent."
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Deep Digging On Both Sides Of The Border

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Ahh, the Leafs are back in town. For one night, there should be some blood pumping at the Joe. Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press But they're an Original Six team, and for Toronto-area native Kris Draper, it doesn't get much better. "I really enjoy playing Toronto," he said Friday. "I think my dad gets a little bit more excited for this game than I do, taking on all his buddies back home in Toronto. It's fun. I've said it before: It's unfortunate that we don't play these guys more often. I know there's a pretty good buzz going around the Joe with the Leafs coming in."

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Back When Hate Was Good

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Today, if just for 24 hours, we should recall the happy era when nothing brought a family together like some unbridled hatred. Oh, you hated Dallas Drake the other night. But only for a moment, and it certainly wasn't the kind of hate that had the whole neighborhood lighting the torches. You hated Claude Lemioux for a year, but after Mac wasted him it was kind of a gleeful dislike. He got what he deserved and we loved to remind him of it. You also hated Patrick Roy. Now, Roy? That was a healthy hate. A prolonged hatred steeped in respect for his talent.

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It Is Not An All-Star Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Motreal Gazette,

Even Fitzpatrick has found it amusing. He says: "I have a good sense of humour and I'm taking it lightly. People have put a lot of time into it. There's a lot of stuff out there. I have to give them their props for putting so much time and effort into trying to get me in." My question is: who cares? The All-Star Game stopped being one when the NHL decided to turf the idea of the reigning Stanley Cup champions taking on the best of the rest, and the fact Fitzpatrick's 113,509 votes this week were more than any other Western Conference player tells you all you want to know about this bogus "competition."
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