Kukla's Korner

Ovechkin Getting More Defensive

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Tarik El-Bashir at the Washington Post,

In his first two seasons, Alex Ovechkin had more ice time on average than any Washington Capitals forward. Yet there was always one situation in which he’d be glued to the bench: as his team protected a lead in the final seconds.

That, however, has started to change this season. With a renewed commitment to defense, Ovechkin has gained Coach Glen Hanlon’s trust, and as a result, was on the ice in the last minute during each of the Capitals’ first two games, both victories.

“Coach trust me more right now,” Ovechkin said after yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “The reason is because I play well in defensive zone, I try to play more smart and I go to spot where I have to stay. It’s working.”

continued… (*link may require free registration)

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, washington+capitals

Sydor Still in Transition with Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Keith Barnes at the Tribune-Review,

When Darryl Sydor takes the ice Wednesday in the Penguins’ game against Montreal, it will be a milestone night for the 35-year-old defenseman.

He officially will pass Mike Ricci on the all-time games played list and will join an elite group of players who have appeared in 1,100 career games.

Including the Penguins, Sydor has played for five teams in his NHL career. He won the Stanley Cup in 1999 with Dallas and 2004 with Tampa Bay and has played in two All-Star games. But through his first two games with the Penguins, the seventh overall pick in the 1990 draft by the Los Angeles Kings has had some problems adapting to the defensive system run by coach Michel Therrien.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darryl+sydor, pittsburgh+penguins

Sean Avery to be Sidelined 4 Weeks

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

via MSNBC,

New York Rangers left wing Sean Avery suffered a Grade 2 shoulder separation in Saturday night’s game and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks, team president Glen Sather announced on Sunday.

During Saturday’s game, Avery was hit by Ottawa’s Chris Neil in the offensive zone with 7:23 gone in the opening session.  Neil received an elbowing minor on the play.

continued… (*video of hit available here on KK)

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: injuries, new+york+rangers, sean+avery

Lemaire Confident in Belanger

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Michael Russo at the Star Tribune,

Attention, fantasy hockey owners: Jacques Lemaire has a red-hot tip for you.

Pick up Eric Belanger, and fast.

“When we got him, I felt that he’s going to get 20 goals,” the Wild coach said. “Now, I feel he’s going to get 80 points. Playing on the power play like he does, playing on a pretty good line, he’ll get some points.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+belanger, minnesota+wild

Signed Deal?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Tribune,

In an e-mail to and subsequent phone interview with the Star Tribune on Sunday, former Gophers winger Tyler Hirsch accused the Wild of “misrepresenting the truth” and being “unethical” after the team announced last week that he signed a contract with the Houston Aeros, its American Hockey League affiliate….

According to Hirsch on Sunday, “I have neither verbally committed to or signed anything resembling a contract with the Minnesota Wild or their minor-league affiliates. I have never laid eyes on a would-be contract and am currently a free agent.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: minnesota+wild, tyler+hirsch

Franzen Shelved 3-4 Weeks

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

1635 EST: Updated below with quotes from Holland.

Two games in and Uncle Mike has his first tough decision.  As Dave pointed out in a comment below, Bruce MacLeod reports the Mule is out for a month.

Johan Franzen has a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his right knee. Franzen’s leg was injured during the second period of Saturday night’s shootout loss in Chicago. Tuomo Ruutu was tripped by Pavel Datsyuk and fell on Franzen’s leg.

The injury will keep Franzen out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks.

Detroit is carrying two spare forwards on its roster ... Aaron Downey and Matt Ellis. One will be inserted in the lineup for Monday’s home game, but isn’t likely to assume Franzen’s role on the top line. A third-line player—Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula or Kris Draper—could be bumped up to Datsyuk’s top line with Ellis or Downey skating on the third or fourth line.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
  Tags: cleary, deep+diggers, franzen, grigorenko, holland, hudler

Teenagers Changing the Face of the NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com,

Does Patrick Kane belong in the NHL? He’ll be 19 in November, and is listed at a miniscule 5’-10” and 163 pounds. He has played one season of junior hockey. How well might he hold up over 82 big-league games with a less than stellar team?

These days, top-drawer prospects arrive more NHL-ready than ever before. In the last two years, Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Kopitar, Vlasic and Jordan Staal have all stepped into the league and flourished as teenagers. On the other hand, Gilbert Brule was a bust in his rookie season, and Nikolai Zherdev has achieved little since arriving from Russia as a 19-year-old in 2003.

more…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+kane

Prospal Off to Lightning Fast Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Carter Gaddis at The Tampa Tribune,

Foremost in Vinny Prospal’s mind coming into his 11th NHL season was to get off to a good start. After a drop in production to 55 points last year from 80 in 2005-06, it was imperative that he not allow the downward spiral to begin again.

“I just didn’t want to go through what I went through last year,” Prospal said after scoring two goals in Tampa Bay’s 5-2 victory Saturday against Atlanta. “Everybody struggles, but it’s always easier when you get to that point in the season when you have something to look back to. And last year, from the beginning, I really didn’t have anything to look back to.”

Prospal — who has entered the final year of his contract with the Lightning — didn’t score his third goal last season until the team’s 18th game on Nov. 15. Through two games, he has three goals.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tampa+bay+lightning, vinny+prospal

Franzen Out With Sprained MCL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

Wings forward Johan Franzen is expected to miss three-to-four weeks with a Grade 2 sprain to his right medial collateral ligament, general manager Ken Holland said Sunday. Holland said either Matt Ellis or Aaron Downey will replace Franzen in the lineup. No one will be re-called from Grand Rapids.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, injuries, johan+franzen

Buying into the WHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Dave Molinari at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor have been friends for years.

They became teammates in July. And Wednesday, they will officially become co-owners of a hockey team.

Recchi and Sydor are part of a five-man group that has negotiated the acquisition of their old Western Hockey League club, the Kamloops Blazers, for a reported $7 million.

continued…

*And other notes on the Penguins this week,  including nicknames on their sticks, etc.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darryl+sydor, mark+recchi, pittsburgh+penguins, whl

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