Kukla's Korner

Schedule Changes For The North Division

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 16, 2021) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2020-21 regular-season schedule for the Scotia North Division:

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Lucas Raymond Signs His ELC

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings today signed left wing Lucas Raymond to a three-year entry-level contract beginning with the 2021-22 season.

Raymond became the Red Wings' highest draft pick since they took Keith Primeau third overall in 1990 when he was drafted with the fourth-overall pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft last October. The 19-year-old spent the 2020-21 campaign with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League, notching 18 points (6-12-18) and 12 penalty minutes in 34 games. Despite missing 18 games due to injury, Raymond still finished 10th on the team in points and tied for fourth in SHL scoring among junior-aged players, with fellow Red Wings prospects Moritz Seider and Albert Johansson among the group of players ahead of him. His offensive output also bested his SHL rookie-year totals of 2019-20, when he tallied 10 points (4-6-10) in 33 games. Raymond debuted professionally with Frolunda at age 16 and has skated in 77 games with the team since 2018-19, totaling 30 points (12-18-30), a plus-eight rating and 16 penalty minutes. He also won back-to-back championships with Frolunda in the Champions League tournament in 2019 and 2020.

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The Too Old, Too Slow Montreal Canadiens

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

The perfect symbol of the 2021 Montreal Canadiens is their captain, Shea Weber. I have nothing against the Man Mountain, but he more than anyone perfectly represents general manager Marc Bergevin’s lack of a vision for this team.

Weber has played some great hockey, though not recently. It’s not his fault. He’s just too old for today’s game, just like another Bergevin acquisition, Eric Staal.

As an aside, it’s hilarious to note that three key members of the current Habs squad — Weber, Staal, and Corey Perry — were all on that epic Canadian team that won Olympic gold in … 2010! That plays right into the jokes about how Bergevin is building the perfect team to win the 2010 Stanley Cup, complete with a big, lumbering defence corps that seems so out of line with today’s speedy National Hockey League.

But let’s return to the curious case of Weber. He looks terrible out there. He keeps making costly mistakes that would result in anyone else being benched by interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. The entire Canadiens team, with the exception of Jake Allen, sucked eggs Wednesday in a must-win game against the Calgary Flames. But it was Weber who made sure they lost with a boneheaded play in his own zone that led to third Calgary goal and the final nail in the coffin.

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Time For The Chicago Blackhawks To Change Their Name And Logo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David McGrath of the Chicago Tribune,

So if in 2021, in the middle of the season, or at the end of the playoffs, which the Blackhawks may still manage to squeeze into, would it be that big a deal if they shortened their name to simply the “Hawks”?

And if instead of the head of an Indian person with war paint and feathers, they changed the logo and mascot to that of a literal winged bird? Say, for instance, the red-tailed hawk, common in Illinois, which would then not necessitate changing the team’s colors.

It’s an opportune time to do so, since the U.S. Senate has just confirmed Deb Haaland as secretary of the Interior, the first Native American in history to hold a cabinet post.

And after decades of protests and complaints about the stereotyping and dehumanizing that results from sports teams’ use of logos, mascots and names based on Native Americans, hundreds of high schools, colleges and pro teams have eliminated offensive monikers.

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Video- Hits Of The Month

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A little over 3 minutes of hits.

 

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It Was A Very Optional Practice Today For The Wings

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

added 2:24pm, Videos of Jeff Blashill and Gustav Lindstron after practice are below.

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The Kraken Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of The Fishler Report,

Who cares that the soon-to-be 32d NHL team hasn't played a game yet; the Kraken's future is as bright as searchlights on the city's Space Needle. 

Enthused fans have shown their dedication by flooding the Kraken combine with ticket info and requests.

Meanwhile, the Seattle savants would love some news about their pre-natal franchise. One question that will grow in heat during the next month comes down to who the estimable Ron Francis chooses as head coach.

A few of the marquee names have a certain glow about them. A couple even wear Stanley Cup rings. Try these on for size and see if you like them:

MIKE BABCOCK: He's a proven winner -- despite what the Toronto media says -- and still has the glow, although it's fading fast. 

CLAUDE JULIEN: The French-Canadian maestro won a Cup in Boston and got the best out of a mostly  mediocre Montreal market. Claude is lower key than Babcock but just as savvy.

JOHN TOTORELLA: Another Cup-winner, Torts does well in his first year and that's vital with this new franchise. He'll get attention by intimidating the media, benching stars and wearing his emotion on his spectacles.

BRUCE BOUDREAU: Cousin Brucie would be the Don Cherry of the Northwest in the best possible way. His players, the press, the fans -- everybody -- will love this guy. His resume is lengthy and impeccable;

MY CHOICE: Cousin Brucie because I like smart coaches who are as funny as they are smart. 

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: seattle+kraken

Cole Caufield Is One Step Closer To His NHL Debut

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

The Montreal Canadiens have recalled forward Cole Caufield from the Laval Rocket, their AHL affiliate, on Friday and assigned him to their taxi squad.

The team has not officially said when Caufield could make his NHL debut, but the earliest date would be Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.

Caufield, who won the 2021 Hobey Baker Award as the best player in the NCAA, was one of the most prolific scorers in college hockey this year, scoring 30 goals and adding 22 assists in 31 games for the University of Wisconsin.

In two AHL games with the Rocket, Caufield scored three goals and added an assist.

Montreal also recalled goaltender Cayden Primeau on an emergency basis.

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On The Road For The Canadian Division Later In The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic,

A little update on a story I first reported on in early March regarding what happens with the Canadian division winner once we’re down to the NHL semifinals.

As I wrote on March 5, the idea of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, playing past the second round of the playoffs in nearby Buffalo remains on the table. And given where the COVID-19 numbers are these days in my country, it’s looking less like fantasy and at least like a realistic possibility that this happens.

The new wrinkle now is that the NHL will want to put the Canadian division playoff winner in a U.S. NHL facility closer to its semifinal opponent.

So sure, if the Leafs happen to come out of the Canadian division and match up with the New York Islanders, then yes Buffalo would still make sense for the Leafs in that case. But if it’s Toronto-Vegas in the final four, then maybe Arizona or L.A. would make more sense for the Leafs? Or if it’s Colorado-Toronto, would Chicago make sense for the Leafs as a home base?

Again, whether it’s Edmonton, Winnipeg or Montreal (or Calgary!) coming out of the Canadian division, the league will have a plan in place.

Here’s another wrinkle to consider: I’m told whichever U.S. adoptive city the league would potentially choose for the Canadian division winner, it’s most likely that’s their home for the remainder of the playoffs. They wouldn’t move the Canadian team around to another locale if it reached the Stanley Cup Final no matter what the championship matchup is.

continued (paid)

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Power Play An Issue In Toronto After A Loss To Winnipeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

An optimist would find comfort in the fact that the referees typically start hiding their whistles by the time the playoffs arrive.

Because at this stage, the only thing that could have the Toronto Maple Leafs feeling good about their power play is the prospect of having fewer of them.

On Thursday, the punchless PP was the main culprit for a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets — bringing a nagging itch to the surface. They’ve been able to string together a lot of wins while going 1-for-42 with the man advantage since March 9 because of excellent results at even strength.

But there are going to be times where you can’t outskate that level of futility. In tight games against quality opponents, special teams are often the difference.

“I think it’s quite obvious the impact that the power play could have had on the game today and [we] failed to get it done,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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