Kukla's Korner

European Goalie Likely To Win The Stanley Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lucas Aykroyd at IIHF.com,

It’s looking more likely than ever that this year, for just the third time in history, a European goalie will backstop his NHL team to the Stanley Cup. The two previous examples were the Czech Republic’s Dominik Hasek (Detroit, 2002) and Russia’s Nikolai Khabibulin (Tampa Bay, 2004).

In 2010, three of the NHL teams that moved on to the conference finals have European starters. The lone exception is the Philadelphia Flyers, who eliminated the Boston Bruins and their Finnish starter Tuukka Rask on Friday in a stunning rally from a 3-0 series deficit.

Unquestionably, the best individual performance put on by any netminder in the 2010 playoffs has been that of Jaroslav Halak. Slovakia’s Olympic starter shocked the world by helping his eight-seeded Montreal Canadiens knock off the league-leading Washington Capitals in a seven-game first-round series. Halak (2.42 GAA, 93.3 save percentage) then compounded the shock by doing the same against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in Round Two.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Third Round Playoff Predictions

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The second round of the playoffs came to an end last night.  I went 2-2 in my second round playoff predictions, which combined with my first round predictions give me a 7-5 record.  It is interesting, that the predictions most challenged in the comments in the second round were San Jose and Chicago (the correct ones) and not Pittsburgh and Boston (the incorrect ones).  At this point, I have been perfect in West Conference predictions and only had one correct prediction (Pittsburgh over Ottawa) in the East Conference.  I guess that is to be expected when the 1 and 2 seed have survived in the West and the 7 and 8 seeds in the East.  My strongest prediction at this point is that a West Conference team will win the Stanley Cup.  In the regular season, San Jose finished 2nd, Chicago 3rd, Philadelphia 18th and Montreal 19th.  It doesn’t take much to see that the talented teams are in the west right now and that the western final is likely the de facto Stanley Cup championship.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Challenges For The Canadiens

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Iorfida of the Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,

Montreal is deserving of plaudits after containing arguably the three most skilled players in the league over the first two rounds: Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

The Flyers don’t have that one galvanizing offensive force, but they have something that the Penguins and maybe even the Capitals lack—consistent secondary scoring.

Philadelphia, even without Carter, still has six players in the lineup who scored at least 14 goals this season. The list doesn’t include talented late-season pickup Ville Leino, who stepped into the lineup in the Boston series and contributed two goals and four assists.

The list is headed by Mike Richards. The captain isn’t quite on the level of Ovechkin, Crosby or Malkin, but he can score regularly while also giving maximum effort in his own end, something that can’t always be said of that trio.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Waiting For The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hoogkamp of TSN,

The Chicago Blackhawks may be in the midst of the longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL, but it has also been more than a few years since the other three teams in the Conference Finals have enjoyed an up-close look at hockey’s Holy Grail.

The Blackhawks have not won since 1961, a stretch six years longer than that of the playoff-challenged Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Philadelphia Flyers changed the face of hockey and their opponents, using intimidation to win the Cup way back in 1975.

It’s been 17 years since the Montreal Canadiens had a parade down Rue Ste.-Catherine, which is an eternity for the most storied franchise in the league.

And while the San Jose Sharks have yet to win the Cup since joining the NHL in 1991, with recent playoff failures, some feel the organization is overdue to win their first title.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Gonchar Wants To Stay In Pittsburgh, But Money Will Matter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

“Walking out of here and not knowing if you’re going to come back, it’s not a great feeling,” Gonchar said. “But we have plenty of time until July 1.”

Gonchar said he met with Penguins general manager Ray Shero yesterday and plans to speak with him again before the opening of free agency. His agent, JP Barry, agreed in March to resume negotiations after the season….

“I’d like to stay here, but the deal has to work for both sides,” Gonchar said. “We’re not going to look at my contract and say it’s the last one. We’re going to weigh in everything - the city, the fans, the length of it, the teammates, the coaches.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+gonchar

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

In the same way fans are wondering how teams like Washington and Pittsburgh could be standing on the sidelines at the start of the conference finals, the Bruins’ inability to close the deal in four straight outings against a Flyers team that was minus its top scorer (Jeff Carter) and starting netminder (at least at the start of the series) is a colossal embarrassment.

-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read more on Bruins/Flyers.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Gary Bettman- Winnipeg Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press,

Free Press: “Are you aware of how many Gary Bettman sightings there have been in Winnipeg in the last two or three months?

Gary Bettman: It’s funny you should ask. The reports come streaming in on a regular basis, people asking me what I ordered for dinner at a particular restaurant or where I was staying. I haven’t been in Winnipeg in the last year or even longer and for example, I haven’t spoken to Mayor Katz ever. But I get reports that I’m in town and meeting with the mayor and neither of those reports are accurate.

FP: Interest is high here in current NHL events. Emotions are starting to run again. Is it your impression about Winnipeg there are any carts before the horse in this matter of the Coyotes?

Gary Bettman: It’s not a question of carts before the horse. What I’m more concerned about is people getting their expectations up when they shouldn’t be. I was very uncomfortable and unhappy over the last few years when people in southern Ontario were misled about what was going on. Some of that comes from people actually trying to do the misleading and some of it comes from media reports, and that’s not to knock the media because they’re attempting to do their job….

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

No Excuses

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Awful? Worse than awful. The Bruins tomorrow night should be playing in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, but instead they are framed in shame after last night’s diabolical 4-3 loss to the Flyers.

“We had a 3-0 lead in the series. We had a 3-0 lead tonight. And we blew both,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “There are no excuses.’’

In a season-ender that will live with them forever and a day, like the ball that rolled between Bill Buckner’s legs in the 1986 World Series, the Bruins essentially dismissed themselves from the 2010 postseason — and they underscored their own undoing by getting caught for having too many men on the ice with 11:10 gone in the third period.

Too many men. Haunting. Almost sadistic. A ghost from more than three decades ago, dating to an identical call at the Montreal Forum in 1979, revisited the Boston bench on Causeway Street, and had Vladimir Sobotka jumping on the ice as a sixth, and most unwanted, Boston skater.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Team Of Destiny?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Destiny on Ice continues its run Sunday night, when the Flyers open the Eastern Conference finals - at home, of all places - against the Montreal Canadiens.

This can’t be happening, but it is.

“This is like a storybook,” said Ed Snider, the man who brought hockey to Philadelphia. “How can you go down, 3-0, in their barn and come back and beat them, 4-3? How can you come back from 0-3 in games and beat them 4-3? These guys are unbelievable. They just won’t quit. They’re incredible.”

It happened because Simon Gagne chose team over caution, returning for Game 4 despite a surgically repaired toe. All Gagne did was score the overtime game-winner to avert a sweep in Game 4, net a pair of goals in Game 5, and then fire the series-winner past Boston’s Tuukka Rask in Game 7.

“I was so happy at the end,” Gagne said. “We just put everything on the line. There is no better feeling.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Monumental Defeat For The Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Mark Recchi could barely speak as he sat in full uniform at his dressing room stall, 20 minutes after one of the biggest playoff collapses in NHL history.

“This is a pretty awful feeling right now,” said the 42-year-old veteran, barely above a whisper as he digested the enormity of the disaster at hand.

Milan Lucic, on the other hand, had no problem voicing his thoughts.

“There was definitely some complacency,” he said angrily Friday night after the Boston Bruins finished blowing a 3-0 series lead, beaten in Game 7 and bounced from the Stanley Cup tournament by the exultant Philadelphia Flyers.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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