Kukla's Korner

Some Adjustments Needed For The St. Louis Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Minnesota Wild gained the upper hand in this series by skating past the Blues 3-0 Monday night and taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven battle.

The status quo didn’t cut it for the Blues in Game 3. After surviving the first period in the lively Xcel Energy Center, they capitulated in the second period.

They allowed two goals and nearly a few more.

The third period wasn’t a whole lot better.

“They checked us really hard and they got us to crack,” Hitchcock said.

Added Blues defenseman Barret Jackman: “We helped them beat us. We didn’t stick to our game plan.”

“That was a tough one,” fellow defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. “We got what we deserved.”

So tactical, personnel and attitude adjustments are in order. The Blues do not want to fall into a 3-1 series hole against a such a confident, skilled opponent.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What A Night In Winnipeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

It was one of those nights. One of those crazy, old nights.

History offered a challenge, and hockey responded. As did Manitoba’s capital, producing an unforgettable occasion, a sporting memory pure and firm and lasting.

We shall remember this night.

It ended not as Winnipeg wanted, not as much as Canada wanted, not as one of Canada’s richest men wanted, but with a redirection by the relatively unknown Rickard Rakell off a point shot from Francois Beauchemin at 5:12 of overtime to end a raucous, rollicking night of hockey in favour of the Anaheim Ducks, not the hometown Jets.



Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Videos- Highlights From The Three NHL Playoff Games Played Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Two choices today.

First up is Sportnet's recap of the games played last night...



Below, the NHL's version...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Jim Rutherford Has Words With Columnist Who Fights Back With The Pen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Crisis is supposed to reveal true character, right?

General manager Jim Rutherford lost his cool after the Penguins' 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday night to fall within two defeats of a first-round elimination in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

After exiting a media elevator and while walking with other reporters to the Penguins' dressing room, Rutherford addressed this columnist, a frequent critic since his hiring last June, in an obscenity-laced diatribe.

“Thanks for your support,” Rutherford said repeatedly.

“You're a (expletive) jerk,” Rutherford said repeatedly.

Rutherford followed the jerk comment with a suggestion to “go sell ice cream now,” then a challenge to look him in the eye, which I did while explaining my role as Trib Total Media's lead sports columnist.

My role is to provide opinion.

“Well, your opinion is (expletive),” Rutherford said.

As (expletive) as my opinion might be, it remains that Rutherford has botched an attempted retooling of the Penguins. If this unfortunate incident is any indication, he lacks the poise necessary to move that project foward.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+rutherford

The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning Game 3 set-up: taking the lead in an uneven series

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a slightly early (7 PM EDT start, not 7:30 PM, on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) Game 3 this evening, and sometimes the people who are paid to put things into context summarize a whole game's worth of jitters in one paragraph.

The Free Press's Steve Schrader issues a perfect reading of the temperature and/or atmosphere of Red Wings nation in his "Octopus Garden"...

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that winning one game at Tampa is a good thing, a bright side, it's what the Red Wings needed to do, they now have home-ice advantage and all that. But this time of year, you only feel as good as the last game. That's just the way it is.

And WDIV's David Bartkowiak, Jr. summarizes everyone's feelings about Brendan Smith rejoining the lineup:

He has to be smarter. Period. And if he is he can be a huge asset on the back end. He can jump up into the rush and help pop in a goal or two and rely on his speed to get back into position on defense.

If you don't already know the Wings' story, we'll get to it soon enough, and Smith and Justin Abdelkader's respective returns to the Red Wings' lineup play large roles in the narrative.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

On Yzerman’s legacy and the fact that his team is the ‘other one’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Like everybody else who cheers for the Red Wings, I have some very strong and positive feelings for Steve Yzerman, but given that the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning are playing against each other in the playoffs, I also believe--and have believed since I was hacking, whacking and slugging my friends in the tennis court across from Divine Child High School in the 90's that there is one and only one axiom in hockey: when someone doesn't represent your side, and the puck has been dropped, there are no friends on the ice.

The Red Wings will host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 600 Yzerman Drive at 7 PM this evening, and I will make sure that my Steve Yzerman poster will be where it's been for the last ten days--down and facing the wall. These are Steve Yzerman's Lightning trying to end the Wings' season, so there's no question of loyalty or sentiment for me.

That's why this superb article from the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman gets its own entry--Yzerman is an executive, the other team's GM, and as grateful as I am to him as a Red Wings fan, he's on the other side now, and he is not rooting for the Detroit Red WIngs:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The last one is always the hardest…

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

...or is it? Is it possible the Habs will have a harder time, and win, than they did Sunday night? Ottawa led 1-0 until there were 5 minutes left, when Dale Weise tied it up, and of course Weise then won it in overtime. However, along the way, the Habs were vastly outhit, and faced the best defensive performance I've seen against them in the playoffs since the late 80's, when a fellow named Ray Bourque used to give Canadiens fans fits. Erik Karlsson did everything he could on Sunday to push his team to victory, and still the Habs found a way to win. So if they win a fourth game against Ottawa, be it Wednesday or otherwise, will it really be the hardest win of the series? 

Sunday was an interesting lesson in analysis for a hockey fan, for the Habs were destroyed physically, with thundering hits from start to finish. Yet, the Habs still won, and controleld large swaths of the game. How is that possible? I've always seen hitting as overrated. It can change momentum, absolutely, but constant hitting is just a sign that a team doesn't have the puck. You can't hit if you're trying to make a play. I'm never too concerned with the hitting aspect of a game. I'd much rather my team control shots and possession. That's much more likely to lead to a win.

So what will happen Wednesday? I can tell you this: the Habs don't want a game 5. They want to rest, regroup, and get ready to move forward. So they'll do everything they can to finish things on Wednedsay evening. Which Senators team will show up? The physical behemoths, or the skill driven team that had the NHL's best record down the stretch? Will the Burglar be back in net, or will his helper be between the pipes again? Some were blaming Anderson for giving up a weak goal in overtime, to which I say come on: any game where a goalie faces 50 shots and lets in 2 is a good performance in my books. 

Wednesday should be agood tilt, and these Sens won't go down without a fight. That said, I expect the Canadiens to come out quite motivated. I suspect this one will be over in four. 

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink

Open Post- Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Feel free to comment on the games tonight or anything hockey related.

via a press release from the NBC Sports Group...


NHL Live begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, hosted by Kathryn Tappen with analysts and former players Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick. Roenick will join host Dave Briggs to anchor CNBC’s studio coverage.


NBCSN presents Game 3 between the Rangers and Penguins tonight at 7 p.m. ET, as both teams look for a pivotal victory with the series tied at one game apiece. After the Rangers’ 2-1 win in Game 1 on Thursday night, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins responded in Game 2 on NBC. Crosby scored twice in a three-goal Penguins’ second period, and Pittsburgh held on for a 4-3 win to seize home-ice advantage in the series.

Gord Miller (play-by-play) and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening news: On Abdelkader and Smith’s returns, Mrazek, Game 3 and multimedia

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening, and in the vein of stuff that didn't make it into the practice post before I ferried the mom to the accountant's:

If there was a theme to the Red Wings' practice and post-practice activities, it was this statement from Wings coach Mike Babcock, as noted by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, that embodies the Wings' outlook going into Game 3:

“The think I would say when you evaluate our team, we have a lot more to give,” Babcock continued. “We’re two games in and we’re 1-1, we have a lot more to give. We need everyone on deck. We can’t be one on or one off. We need everyone onboard. Abby’s a competitor. He’s a guy that’s good at the net. He plays hard. He competes hard. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”

The Wings are looking forward to the return of Justin Abdelkader, as they told CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Update On Compensation For Hiring A Coach Or Executive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

An update on a blog I wrote a few weeks back about team personnel compensation:

There has been confusion in NHL circles about where exactly fired coaches/executives fit into all this if they remain under contract.

The initial explanation on this I got from someone in the know was that he thought if you were fired, even if still under contract, that the team in question did not qualify for draft pick compensation from the team hiring the fired person. It is also what most team executives I had spoken with thought.

However, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who authored the memo on this, told ESPN.com Monday that for coaches, general managers or presidents of hockey operations who are fired but remain under contract, their teams are privy to draft pick compensation if they choose to pursue it.

But the team can also waive the draft pick compensation if they want, Daly said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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