Kukla's Korner

What’s Next For Joe Thornton?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,

Thornton is 37 years old. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. But after putting his knee on the line for his team, he underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair the damage.

Which means: Any team that was thinking about signing Thornton to a free agent deal would surely want to see how his knee recovers from the surgery–but with a six-month recovery and rehab period ahead of him, no one will know for certain about his status until October, which is when the NHL season starts.

Which almost surely means: Thornton is likely to receive no free agent offers this summer–or at least no multi-year offers, which he’s said to prefer.

Which furthermore means: Thornton’s unfortunate injury could benefit the Sharks. They have exclusive rights to Thornton regarding a contract extension until July 1.  It’s a safe assumption that the team wants him back. But if general manager Doug Wilson wishes, he could use the situation as leverage for terms that are more favorable to the team. That could include less money or a shorter contract term.

Which calculatedly means: Thornton is not in the best negotiating position, despite being one of the NHL’s all-time top 25 point scorers.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton

The old penalty box mind f…I mean mind game

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Grand Rapids Griffins PA announcer and radio host Eric Zane found himself in the middle of an exchange between Evgeny Svechnikov and Milwaukee Admirals player Trevor Murphy during Sunday's game.

Murphy dropped his gloves during a scrum with Svechnikov at the end of the 2nd period, and Svechnikov kept his gloves on, which apparently irked Murphy:

"So they're in the box and dude (Murphy) gets in there and he was like, 'I thought you said you wanted to fight!'" Zane said during his Monday radio show on WBBL-FM (107.3).

Zane continued:

"Evgeny doesn't say a word. Then out of the blue, like three minutes later, Evgeny goes, 'Do you want to go? Do you want to go?' And the guy goes, 'Are you asking me if you want to fight me?' He was confused and was like, 'good thing you can play hockey because I can't understand you.'"

Griffins winger Eric Tangradi, who was being interviewed at the time, laughed.

"The impressive thing ... is that he's only 20 and actually speaks English really well," Tangradi said.

The veteran then added tongue-in-cheek, "the advantage for those guys who speak broken English is that they can pretend to not hear what they don't want to hear and hear what they're not supposed to hear."

Wallner continues with a link to the interview, and I can tell you that Svechnikov's English is pretty damn good, so he was probably screwing with Murphy.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Video- Plays Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A bit over four minutes long....

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Travis Green Close To Being Named Head Coach In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: travis+green

Khan updates Abdelkader, Tatar and Sproul’s injury statuses

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

MLive's Ansar Khan penned a Locker Room Clean-Out Day story about Jimmy Howard's reinvention as a more patient goaltender during the 2016-17 season, and that part of his article is more than worth your time, but Khan also issues a more pressing news update:

Holland said Justin Abdelkader will not require arthroscopic surgery on his knee after an MRI revealed only a bruise and not a tear. Holland wasn't sure if Abdelkader will join Team USA for the World Championship, but he has been cleared to play.

Tomas Tatar and Ryan Sproul both need four-to-six months of rehab following surgery. It remains to be seen if they'll be ready for the start of training camp in mid-September.

Tatar had a torn labrum, an issue he's had for some time. Sproul had ACL reconstruction surgery after getting injured March 4 in Edmonton.

"The found his ACL was torn 90 percent, hanging by a thread basically," Holland said.

Again, Khan continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Ken Holland On The Players In Grand Rapids

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

So, who's ready for the NHL? Who's not quite there? This season, forward Andreas Athanasiou and defensemen Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul made the Red Wings out of camp, while in-season call ups Anthony Mantha and Nick Jensen stuck and became regulars.

Overall, 13 Griffins played with the Red Wings this season.

"There are two ways I look at it," Holland told MLive. "How many will make Detroit (for the opener in October) and how many will play games in Detroit next season?

"Realistically, two or three can make our team out of camp, but I'm hoping five, six, seven of these players at some point in time next year can either get an opportunity to get their feet wet and play some NHL games as they go along with their development. Or, 20, 30, 40 games in, they'll do what Anthony Mantha and Nick Jensen have done. There's an injury and they come up, get an opportunity, grab a job and never come back."

Defenseman Robbie Russo and center Tomas Nosek received extended late-season time with the Red Wings and are strong candidates to make the team to start next season. Tyler Bertuzzi, off to another strong start in the postseason, is another consideration.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

On The Upswing In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

As Davidson put it, after mentioning bricks: “There’s good things that are happening. We’ve talked from day 1 about the foundation. I think the foundation is stronger. We still have a ways to go, but we’re in a decent place.”

Coach John Tortorella’s debriefing, held two days earlier, had a different tone. His message: The Blue Jackets haven’t done anything yet; the next step is to become a winning playoff team (“Good is the enemy of great”). Tortorella did everything but pound his fist as he described the organization’s new standard.

JDJK struck a happier tone. They are entitled. The Blue Jackets went from the fourth-worst record to the fourth-best record in the league during the regular season. They won 50 games, racked up 108 points. Then, they were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Penguins, and it took only five games....

“We may not have a Malkin or Crosby, but we have a lot of good depth and balance on our forwards side, and we have some good young players coming,” Kekalainen said. “We also have a back end we can compare to any in the National Hockey League, and a (Vezina-caliber) goaltender. (Bobrovsky) will be better. I’m convinced of it. ... I’m 100 percent confident he’ll get over that hump.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Big Changes Not Expected In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

Bergevin conceded that he’s working on finding help up the middle, but he flatly rejected the idea of trading Price for a first-line centre. Price has one season remaining on his contract and there’s some urgency to sign him to an extension before he’s in a position to become an unrestricted free agent.

“I don’t have any worries about it,” Price said. “I’m sure it will all take care of itself. I love playing here and I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”

When asked whether he would be willing to take a hometown discount so Bergevin could sign other key players, Price said:  “That’s part of the business, right? That’s a tough question to ask me right now. Put me on the spot, huh? Like I said, I want to stay here. I know we’ll figure out a way to make all the pieces fit and bring a championship here.”

The Canadiens can’t sign Price to an extension before July 1.

When Bergevin was asked what would happen if Price wasn’t signed and there was a possibly of losing him to free agency, he said: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Radulov said he was grateful to Bergevin for giving him a chance to return to the NHL and wanted to stay here. He said his one hope was a deal longer than the one-year contract he signed last summer.

As for the 38-year-old Markov, he expressed a desire to stay here “for the rest of my life.” There’s never been a problem signing him in the past and he probably rates a two-year deal.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RECORD-SETTING OVERTIME NUMBERS HIGHLIGHT FIRST ROUND . . .
The First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured 18 overtime games in 42 contests (42.9%), a record for any round in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The previous record of 17 overtime contests, established in the 2013 opening round, was set in 47 games (36.2%). There were 20 overtime games in the entire 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (91 GP).
 
* Three days saw every game extend past regulation, including April 17 when all four contests went into overtime – the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that four games required overtime on the same day (also April 11, 1980 and April 10, 1985).
 
* The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals and No. 2 Wild Card Maple Leafs played past regulation five times in the opening round, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (Games 1-5, 4-1 TOR W vs. MTL) and equaled in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (Games 1-5, 4-2 PHX W vs. CHI).
 
* Three of eight series were decided by an overtime goal, scored by St. Louis’ Magnus Paajarvi, Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur and Washington’s Marcus Johansson. There only were two such goals in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The record for a single postseason is six, set in 1993 and matched in 1999.
 
* Nine of the 12 games in the Capitals-Maple Leafs (5) and Senators-Bruins (4) series required overtime. Only two other rounds in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have featured two series with at least four overtime games – all within the past six years: the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals (Coyotes-Blackhawks: 5, Capitals-Bruins: 4) and 2014 First Round (Wild-Avalanche: 4, Blackhawks-Blues: 4).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

St. James: Holland getting back to his scouting roots this spring

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The vast majority of the Red Wings' front office, coach and director of player development took in Sunday's game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Milwaukee Admirals, and it's "that time of year" for the Wings' braintrust as the Under-18 World Championship just concluded, the AHL, ECHL, OHL, QMJHL and WHL playoffs are all underway, and the World Championship will begin in Paris and Cologne next Friday.

The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland is doing his best to scout as much hockey as possible prior to the draft this June:

Today saw him travel to Toronto to catch the OHL playoff game between Mississauga and Peterborough. Next up is a trip to Kelowna, British Columbia, to see the Rockets take on the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Hockey League semifinals.

“I’m focused on the draft,” Holland told the Free Press this afternoon. “Got to see the kids. (I) was at under-18 worlds, got to see a lot of good games there.”

Holland spent last week in Slovakia taking in the U18 world championship -- the Wings had eight scouts there all together, Holland said. He returned in time to catch the Wings’ top farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins, win both weekend games to take a 2-0 lead on Milwaukee in the AHL playoffs. Several Wings prospects are off to good starts in the Calder Cup race, including Tyler Bertuzzi (two goals), Evgeny Svechnikov (goal, assist), Tomas Nosek (goal, assist) and Axel Holmstrom (goal).

St. James also has an update on Justin Abdelkader, reporting that Abdelkader won't have surgery on his troublesome knee for the present moment.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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