Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Glowing Evaluation Of Michael Rasmussen

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

Former NHL defenseman Jason Smith, who also was an Ottawa Senators assistant coach, is in his second season as Kelowna’s head coach. In his playing days, Smith was a big, stay-at-home defenseman who retired following the 2009 season. He knows what it takes for a player to have success in the NHL and in Rasmussen, he sees skills that are immediately transferrable to the Red Wings. Most notably, the way Rasmussen thinks through the game.

“Whether you call it hockey IQ or game management, awareness and vision, the players who can transfer the quickest and give themselves the best opportunity to grow and become players at the next level quicker than the rest are the ones who have that knowledge of the game,” Smith told The Athletic.

Rasmussen showed Smith that hockey IQ with his adjustments on the fly, and his ability to be a factor in all aspects of the game. It was the little things, like having a good stick after a lengthy shift in the defensive zone to knock the puck down and get a clear, or creating offense off the rush with a smart pass in the offensive zone.

“You can look at vision with the puck,” Smith said. “Being able to process the next play at a pace where you don’t have to double clutch and stickhandle the puck three times to make the pass.”...

“Whether it was 5-on-5 or the power play, they found a way,” Smith said. “He’s an elite player.”

more (paid subscription) including Jeff Blashill on a recent visit with Rasmussen...

added 10:40am, Below, Carley Johnson with a draft lottery preview video...

Continue Reading »

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The Season Continues For The Grand Rapids Griffins

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

Matthew Ford and Ben Street, who helped the University of Wisconsin win an NCAA national championship 12 years ago, teamed up again Thursday to keep the Grand Rapids Griffins' postseason hopes alive.

Ford and Street scored 1:16 apart at the end of the second period to break a scoreless tie and lead the Griffins to a must-win 3-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose in the Central Division Semifinals.

It staved off elimination for the Griffins and set up a deciding Game 5 at 7 p.m. Monday at Van Andel Arena.


Highlights are below.

Continue Reading »

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Not So Fast With The Youth Movement

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

Holland, on hand for the Griffins' 6-3 loss to Manitoba on Wednesday, insisted the evaluation process from the AHL to the NHL remains the same even as the Red Wings put a premium on young talent. The Red Wings missed the playoffs for the second year in a row and have 10 picks in the first six rounds and one in the seventh in this year's NHL draft.

"Obviously, we have a lot of draft picks so, yes, the theme of the Detroit Red Wings over the next two or three years is youth," Holland said. "That doesn't mean it's youth on Oct. 4 (when the season opens). Then they have to be an NHL player. And if they're not, in short order they'll lose their confidence and they won't be in a lineup. That's not productive."

read on

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A Few Details On The NHL Draft Lottery Broadcast

via a press release from Sportsnet,

For fans with a vested interest in teams outside the playoff picture, Sportsnet presents the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday, April 28 on Sportsnet, CBC and Sportsnet NOW. The NHL Draft Lottery special, hosted by Daren Millard and NBC’s Kathryn Tappen, will unveil the lottery results through the course of the evening. Picks 15 through 4 will be revealed during Hockey Central Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT, with the top three picks unveiled during the second intermission of the San Jose vs. Vegas game. 

The game between Vegas/San Jose starts at 8:00pm ET.  The game will be broadcast on NBC.

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Teams In Need Of A Goalie May Target Jimmy Howard

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

“It’s always a question of who needs goalies,” said one NHL source in projecting the summer goalie market. “There are teams that are probably not pleased with their goaltending situation, like the Islanders. There’s a handful of others I would say are in need.”

Buffalo (No. 28 overall) had an even-strength save percentage of .916 and Carolina (No. 30) was at .908. Both are young teams looking to make strides next season and would benefit from an upgrade in goal. The Flyers certainly could have used Howard in the playoffs and need a steady veteran until Carter Hart is the starter. Howard has a .918 save percentage in the playoffs over 48 games played.

For those teams, the better plan may be to convince Washington to move Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer to clear money for potential free agent John Carlson. But at some point, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Howard again become a target.

more (paid subscription)

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How Did Dennis Cholowski Do Last Night?

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

The defenseman's performance was uneventful in a game memorable for a series of fights, including at least three after the Griffins' first goal with just under five minutes left in the first. Those occurred a minute after another fight.

Cholowski had one shot and a zero plus/minus for the night. He was on the ice for Eric Tangradi's goal in the second period and an empty netter by the Moose in the closing minutes....

"I thought he did fine ... maybe a few jitters here and there but he made some plays out there," Nelson said. "When you have seven defensemen, sometimes it's hard to get in a rhythm but with what happened, after we scored our first goal, I dropped down to five, so he got some ice there.

"But I think it was just a situation where he was kind of thrown into the fire, (we) wanted to see what he could do, but I thought he was fine."

Cholowski wasn't on the ice for the fights, but the 20-year-old acknowledged a different level of play from juniors.

"It's a little more chippy. It's pro hockey," he said. "The guys are bigger, they're older and they want to play hard. You're getting slashed, you're getting whacked, you're getting hit, cross checked. So, I got to get used to it and give some of it back."



Wallner's recap of the GRR l6-3 loss to the Manitoba Moose.

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All About The NHL Draft Lottery And Top Prospects

from Arthur J. Regner of DetroitRedWings.com,

Regardless of where the Wings end up in the first round, the selection will be their highest at least since drafting Keith Primeau third overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

This year's draft has been called one of the deepest in recent memory, and depending on where it ends up selecting, Detroit should acquire a high-end talent who could make the Red Wings' roster this October.

Dahlin will certainly be selected by the Red Wings if Detroit is fortunate enough to earn the first overall pick. How gifted is Dahlin? One NHL scout said Dahlin would not only be the Wings' best defenseman, he would be the team's best player - high praise for an 18-year-old.

But it's premature to get caught up in Dahlin fever. Every team that's in the lottery has visions of the young Swede patrolling their blue line. And remember, if the Wings do not win the lottery, they could still select a difference maker.

A puck-moving, offensive-minded defenseman and a pure goal-scoring forward top the Wings' wish list heading into the draft on June 23 and 24 in Dallas.


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Petr Mrazek On His Contract Status

Mrazek will have RFA status and if the Flyers do sign him, they owe the Wings a 3rd round draft choice in 2019.


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Daniel Cleary Before The NHL Draft Lottery

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Cleary, who won a Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008, will be sequestered as a witness to the behind-the-scenes lottery draw Saturday afternoon. At stake is the first, second and third overall picks. If the Wings don’t win one of those, they will make their first selection anywhere from fifth to eight overall. General manager Ken Holland will be on hand for the televised presentation of the results during the evening.

Question: What will you be doing Saturday?

Answer: As far as I know, I have to be in the studio around three or four in the afternoon. They give you a piece of paper with your odds on it, then draw the lottery balls. Hopefully Detroit gets lucky.

There will be food, I know there are TVs. Just no communication. And I don’t remember the last time I had no phone for several hours. I might bring a book. Do some crossword puzzles. If we win, I am going to be going crazy. I hope they have alcohol.

It’s an exciting day coming up. I’m already nervous.

Will you bring something for luck?

A: I’m bringing one, a good one that’s been lucky. It’s rosary breads that were blessed by Pope John Paul II. They were blessed in August of 2002. 


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Tonight Is The Night For Dennis Cholowski

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com


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