Kukla's skinny on hockey's biggest questions

Tuesday, 01.27.2009 / 11:56 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - Correspondent

It seems some fans have some burning questions about hockey. Fortunately, Paul Kukla has taken on the role of answer man. So, let's get down to business.

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and your team is protecting a one-goal lead.  What six players do you want on the ice to defend the lead?
Martin Brodeur in goal, Lidstrom & Zdeno Chara on defense and up front, Henrik Zetterberg, John Madden and Jarome Iginla.
What four teams -- two from the East and two from the West -- do you see playing in the Conference Finals?
Boston and Washington in the East and San Jose and Detroit in the West.
Best beat writer and best hockey announcer?
A three-way tie when it comes to beat writers --  Tom Gulitti who covers the New Jersey Devils along with Mike Heika (Dallas Stars) and Michael Russo ( Minnesota Wild).  The best play-by-pay guy is Jim Hughson of CBC.
You wrote about a month ago the Dallas Stars would make the playoffs. Do you want to reconsider that?
Nope, the Stars are only four points out of the playoffs and have a few games in hand on the teams they are chasing.
I'm confused. When the League took out the center-ice red line it was supposed to open up the game.  More and more, I see that neutral zone become a trapping zone.  Am I wrong?
The long passes we were supposed to see really are not happening and you are right, it is becoming a trapping zone; but I am not sure if they put the red line back into play, that it would make a drastic change.
Fighting in the NHL, yes or no?
The fighting just for the sake of fighting has to stop. The fights where the puck drops and the gloves are off need to be out of the game. Other than that, I am OK with fighting in the NHL. Our game is one of passion and taking that out will make the game less exciting to watch.
Have you heard any trade rumors?
Nope, not one whisper, interested in, could be moved or possibly traded has been sent my way.
If you could live in any hockey city, where would it be?
Does Key West, Fla., have a hockey team?
I am getting frustrated by the play of the Islanders.  Is there any hope?
We have all been there and a sign of a true fan is sticking with your team, in good and bad times. 
You seem to follow hockey a lot, do you ever get tired of it?
At times I feel I have no life, but I took advantage of the All-Star break and re-charged my batteries.  I am good to go until the middle of July.  That is when the season ends for me, after the Stanley Cup Finals, after the NHL Awards Show and after the UFA period has started.
As always, feel free to email me at with any questions, rants or even if you just want to talk hockey.

Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday