Kukla's Korner

Panthers Must Prove They Can Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,

So this column won’t move many. And even for the 10,000 or so who still give a puck, there won’t be much that Sexton could say to persuade them that his Panthers will fare better than the Panthers of Bryan Murray or Rick Dudley or Mike Keenan or Jacques Martin, all names with more pizzazz whose teams petered out prior to the postseason.

Nor did Sexton completely persuade me, either, not even with his perfectly sensible talk about building through the draft, continuing to remake the culture, trying to upgrade the “level of nastiness” and insisting that every acquired player passes “the character sniff test.”

He didn’t persuade me that Stephen Weiss will finally emerge as an 80-point front-line center, or that there’s enough added mobility on defense to compensate for Jay Bouwmeester’s absence, or even that “knock on wood, if we can stay healthy, we’re going to stay in the [playoff] hunt.” He didn’t persuade me only because, after all that’s not occurred under his predecessors, you must wear your trusty shield of skepticism whenever encountering a Panthers executive.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL 10 vs. NHL 2K10

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhl+10, nhl+2k10

The Gong Show Is Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,

Six months ago, there was intense concern about fighting in the NHL and stiff new penalties.

Today, the gong show is back.

With Brian Burke’s brawling Maple Leafs among the clubs leading the way in an NHL pre-season filled with fisticuffs, hockey fans who remember the league announcing new rules against fighting last winter must be a tad confused.

Wasn’t there supposed to be a crackdown on dropping the gloves?

continued

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

The Wandering Scotsman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gareth Edwards of the Edinburgh News,

He is a sporting legend who is still virtually unknown in his hometown of Edinburgh.

The first Scotsman ever to win a place in Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame, Charlie “Chuck” Gardiner is still regarded as a local hero in Winnipeg, where he first made his name in the sport….

He went on to become one of the game’s pre-eminent goal tenders during the 1920s and 30s and was known as the “Wandering Scotsman” as he used to charge down strikers.

He rose to NHL stardom with the Chicago Blackhawks and his greatest achievement came in 1934, when he led the Blackhawks to their first triumph in the Stanley Cup.

Just a few weeks later, however, on 13 June, 1934, he died of a brain hemorrhage brought on by a tonsil infection he had been fighting. He was only 29.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlie+gardiner

Rod Phillips Ready For The Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,

On the NHL Network’s online broadcast of the Oilers-Flames game on Wednesday night, (Rod) Phillips started to roast referee Chris Lee about halfway through the first period and didn’t let up. Lee did give the Flames two two-man advantages in the first, but there might well be some concern that Phillips’ response wasn’t exactly in proportion, not that the nutbar Oiler diehards like me who actually watch the game online would care about his bias.

Indeed, we love Phillips for it.

“It doesn’t matter how long you see the game, when you see bad officiating, it just ruins it,” Phillips said of Lee. “This guy has just started off the game absolutely horrendously.”

Free speech, alive and well on the radio.

“He’s obviously an American Hockey League referee and you should be surprised to see him in the NHL this season because he’s not ready,” Phillips then said of Lee.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rod+phillips

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Anybody find it a coincidence that Sean Avery is unable to “suit up” for practices and preseason games due to a knee injury at the same time Fashion Week ‘09 is exploding onto runways in New York?

-via Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge.

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

Lidstrom Selected Sporting News Player Of The Decade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance & Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News,

Lidstrom is an anomaly—the first European-born player to win a Conn Smythe ( 2002) and the only one to captain a Stanley Cup champion (‘08). But the Swedish defenseman’s accomplishments cannot be trivialized. Twice in this decade—from 2001-03 and 2006-08—the 17-year veteran has three-peated as the winner of the Norris Trophy. In a word: ridiculous.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Older Players On Tryouts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

Right now, there are at least 15 veterans in NHL camps on tryouts, and (Brad) May is proof that all it takes is one phone call for that number to grow.

“We certainly had a lot more phone calls this year about guys,” Thrashers GM Don Waddell said. “With many more young players breaking in the league, it’s harder and harder for some of these players with experience to get contracts.”

NHL general managers can construct their rosters from a pool of elite players from all over the world, so the competition for roster spots is more intense then ever.

Teams also have learned the value of salary cap flexibility, which means a younger player on an entry-level contract is more likely to get a serious look than a longtime veteran making good money.

Plus, for small-market teams on a budget, one or two bad contracts can sink any chance of contending.

“There is a squeeze on the salary cap so you don’t want to commit to a veteran player. You can’t move a player like you used to,” Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “Smaller market … you have to live with your choices. If you sign a guy on a one-way deal making money, you know you can’t get rid of him.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Richards Wired For Sound

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers was wired for sound during a recent Flyers practice.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“Let me tell Andrew Ference, one defenseman to another, he should spend more time worrying about going to back to get the puck than to worry about Paul Kelly’s ability to do the job as head of the PA, said Park, who turned 61 years old in July. ‘‘When [Ference] was in junior, I assume he wasn’t going to college…so I ask, what makes him so [expletive] smart?! They had a guy like Chris Chelios in that room [in Chicago] who disagreed, told them to wait and think.

‘‘Maybe guys like Ference should take time to listen to guys who are older and smarter.’‘

-Hall of Fame Defenseman Brad Park on the comments Andrew Ference made about Paul Kelly.  More by Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe.

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference, brad+park, paul+kelly

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