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Answering a few of the critics

Tuesday, 09.22.2009 / 10:06 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

Boy, I sure did not expect this. After my submission to NHL.com was posted last week, the e-mails started flowing in.

Before I get to the e-mails, let me state the story from last week was not a prediction by me for the upcoming season. I only mentioned a handful of teams that came to me off the top of my head, but it sure is nice to see the passion fans have for their team.

Following is a very small sample of the e-mails I received. The names have been withheld to protect the innocent.

Hey Kukla, where is Fran and Ollie? You need to know the Ducks will be a powerhouse this year. Failure to mention them just shows your East Coast bias. Do you know anything about hockey?

Boy, that is the first time I have heard that line of Kukla, Fran and Ollie (if you are under age 45, a search engine is your friend). No East Coast bias from me, my friend. As a matter of fact, I tend to follow the Western Conference more than the East.

I do know some things about the game of hockey. Doing a quick calculation, I have probably attended or watched more than 50,000 hockey games.

Your Wings are dead, it is the Blackhawks' time to shine. Old and slow doesn’t cut it anymore, the Wings won’t be able to keep up with my Blackhawks.

Careful, son, I would not bury the Wings. They just may have another long playoff run in them. The Blackhawks are a fine, young team and now must prove to hockey fans that they can take the next step.

The Flyers “look very good on paper?” How about giving them some real credit and mentioning how no other team in the East can match their overall team strength?

Come back in late April and we can talk again. I have to question their goaltending until they show me they can perform in pressure situations.

No mention of the Dallas Stars? Come on, Marc Crawford has them playing his system and Marty Turco will once again be a dominant goalie. I predict a Western Conference Finals appearance for the Stars.

Slow down, Dallas fan. Can you say, Vancouver, Detroit, Calgary, Anaheim and San Jose? Can the Stars be a dominating team? Yes they can, but it will take the perfect "system" to do so.

You claim the Penguins will be skating with a bull's-eye on their back every night. I say the teams they are facing will be intimidated by the power of Pittsburgh and will be taken off their game. Penguins in four to win back-to-back Cups. The League’s next dynasty has arrived.

Don't get ahead of yourself. Sure, the Penguins have all the makings of a team to be feared, but let's just wait and see.

Did NHL.com just pull your name out of a hat and that is how you were chosen to write for them? I swear, not mentioning the Washington Capitals will come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

Hey, Halloween is next month, save the haunting talk until then please. But I have avoided walking under a ladder lately and I suggest you check back in mid-October -- I just may have a Capitals surprise for you.

Keep those e-mails flowing folks. I can be reached at pk@kuklaskorner.com and you can also follow me on Twitter.
Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic