Kukla's Korner

Enjoy Your Holiday Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Depending on the province it is- Civic/Provincial Day, Heritage Day in Alberta, Terry Fox Day, New Brunswick Day, British Columbia Day or Natal Day.

If you live in Quebec or the Yukon, it is not a holiday.

The hockey news cycle may be slower today.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Gordie Howe’s “Favorite Place On Earth”

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from CBC,

In 2012, about four years before beloved Saskatchewan hockey legend Gordie Howe died at age 88, he went back to the place his son Murray says was Mr. Hockey's favourite place on Earth — Waskesiu, Sask. 

"I said, 'Dad, you talk about this Waskesiu place all the time, you gotta show me it,'" Murray told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.

"So I took him up there and he showed me where him and mom used to stay in the tent cabins and the burger joint and ice cream joint that he would take my mom to wine and dine her."

He said Gordie Howe loved fishing and golfing at Waskesiu, which is about 200 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Gordie once spent a whole summer there working as a greenskeeper so he could spend more time golfing.

more (Murray Howe was there yesterday for a book signing).

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Will Anthony Mantha Reach 30?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Ansar Khan of Mlive wants to know?

Can Mantha become the first Red Wing to score 30 goals in 10 years (Marian Hossa 40, Johan Franzen 34, Pavel Datsyuk 32, Henrik Zetterberg 31 in 2008-09)?

find out and that question is eye-opening to me, 10 years without a 30 goal scorer!

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Questions Remain For The Vegas Golden Knights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

It has been true all along that the Knights could prove even better than last season and still not come close to advancing as far in the playoffs. They could miss the postseason entirely, because while they remain a very good team when healthy, many of those in the Pacific Division have improved since the Capitals skated away with the Cup.

“We are pretty much in the same place,” Knights general manager George McPhee said. “We think we have excellent goaltending, and our defense is very good and we have very good forwards. We like where we are. We didn’t make predictions in the past. We said, ‘Let’s just go play the games and try to win and see what develops.’”

It begins in training camp, when coach Gerard Gallant no doubt will mix and match lines after his top one, needing to find out where Erik Haula now fits after the signing of center Paul Stastny, whether Alex Tuch is better on the second or third, if Tomas Tatar is more comfortable and prepared to produce after arriving at last season’s trade deadline, whether it will be Ryan Reaves or William Carrier.

Are the Knights really convinced that should goalie Marc-Andre Fleury again go down injured, that Malcolm Subban is a capable long-term answer?


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vegas+golden+knights

Summer Showcase Standouts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,

A number of players have stood out during the eight days of games and practices at Sandman Centre and made strong first impressions toward their goal of playing at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

Here are NHL.com's top 10 players, in alphabetical order:

Noah Dobson, D, Canada (New York Islanders)
The 18-year-old showed poise and skill that belie his age. In his first time competing at the U-20 level he had little problem excelling at both ends of the ice. He scored two goals in Canada's 4-3 overtime win against Sweden, and had three in two games.

"He doesn't play like a 2000 (born player), he plays like a 1999," Hunter said. "He's got composure, he's got confidence, he's a big guy (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), he's got presence on the ice. That's going to bode well for giving him an opportunity to play on this team come December."

9 more players plus honorable mentions too....

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Do You Believe In Hockey Analytics?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

“Most teams haven’t yet really become interested in hockey analytics,” Rob Vollman, the hockey analytics writer, was saying in a recent interview....

“Suffice it to say, I have had many, many discussions with many teams trying to persuade them to build an analytics department,” Vollman said. “It’s a tough battle.”

Vollman still has to point out to hockey executives that analytics departments, if they’re being used correctly, aren’t simply in the business of crunching the so-called advanced stats with which they’ve become synonymous in some circles. It’s not about ranking players via Corsi. It’s about using intellect and research and industriousness to find edges in a salary-capped league.

“Analytics serve best as a sober second thought to challenge or confirm your traditional opinion, and/or find things you’ve missed. That’s what it’s for,” Vollman said. “If you’ve come to a traditional opinion about a trade or a free-agent contract or a draft pick or a coaching strategy, the numbers can actually tell you if you’re right, if your assumptions are correct. (Analytics) can test your beliefs. Most of the time it will confirm them. The numbers usually line up with what we think. If they don’t, that’s where it gets interesting.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Preparing To Demolish The Joe

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

Joe Louis Arena is in its final stages of being picked through and cleaned out before demolition and the results are a bit jarring. Walk down the hallway, past the dressing rooms to where the ice once was and the remaining seats are piled up, waiting to be sold.

Brennen Lubbers, operations manager for Miedema Asset Management Group, which is coordinating the sale of Joe Louis Arena remains, estimates that about 25 percent of the available seats remain for sale. They’re implementing different sales strategies to finish off the last of the sale on TheJoeSeats.com. Seats can still be picked up for $150 per seat....

“Everyone wants the troughs,” he said. “Those will be on the auction. The home team locker room, the urinals, the toilets, the partitions in between. You can take a leak where Stevie Y took a leak.”

more ($$$)...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

August Hockey Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- What we’re about to find out: Can Phil Housley coach? The Buffalo Sabres have added first pick Rasmus Dahlin, scorer Jeff Skinner and impressive Casey Mittelstadt to an already emerging group of young talent. If this team isn’t in the playoff hunt — or really, in the playoffs — say goodbye to Housley.

- Could you say William Karlsson hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, where he will earn more than five times his 2018 salary on a one-year deal next season? Or did the Golden Knights hit the jackpot by bringing Karlsson in from Columbus?

- William Nylander wants a long-term contract with the Maple Leafs and that shouldn’t be overly complicated to negotiate.

There’s no reason to pay him more than $6 million a season. Nathan MacKinnon is on a long-term deal in Colorado at $6.3 million a year. With all due respect to Nylander, he’s no Nathan MacKinnon.

A better comparable for Nylander is Nik Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets. Nylander was the eighth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Ehlers was chosen ninth. To date, in 185 NHL games, Nylander is scoring at a 61-point pace, 21-goal pace per season. Ehlers is scoring at a 56-point pace through 236 NHL games, but at a 24-goal pace in that time. 

more on Nylander...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Young Talent For The Philadelphia Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

Don’t look now, but the Flyers have one of the slickest and most enviable groups of young talent in the league, perhaps behind only the Sabres.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny made Philly’s big club last year, joining middle agers Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Sean Couturier. Look past Jori Lehtera, making $4.7 million on Philly’s fourth line, and you’ll see the two draft picks they got with him in the Brayden Schenn deal: American playmaker Joel Farabee (40 points in 26 games with the National Team Development Program) and Morgan Frost, who led the OHL in scoring (112 points in 67 games) and finished plus-70 for Sault Ste. Marie. Bruins prospect Zach Senyshyn scored 42 goals as his winger two years ago.

Goaltending is forever the sticking point in Philly, and about that: Carter Hart, the most heralded WHL goalie prospect since Carey Price, will play his first pro season with AHL Lehigh Valley. Expectations are high.

“They’re not going to rush him,” said his agent, Allain Roy. “Carter will let them know when he’s ready.”

more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Boons Or Busts?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Here is a look at the best lower-round picks and the worst higher-round picks the Wings made between 1999 (the last draft to still have an active player on the team) and running through 2012 (players need time to develop). 


F Gustav Nyquist
Fourth round, 121st overall, 2008.

How the selection turned out: After producing 21 points in 15 games with the Griffins to start the 2013-14 season, Nyquist was called up and went on to score 28 goals for the Wings. He followed up with 27 in 2014-15, often finding himself on a line with Zetterberg or Datsyuk. Nyquist’s production fell to 12 goals in 2016-17 (a season that saw many Wings struggle) but he bounced back in 2017-18 to record 21 goals. His NHL playoff history is meager, with eight points in 35 games. Nyquist is not an assertive player, but he’s shown he can score on a talented team.

Grade: B.


F Tomas Jurco
Second round, 35th overall, 2011.

How the selection turned out: It looked promising when Jurco produced 15 points during 36 games with the Wings in 2013-14, and the following season Mike Babcock wanted Jurco on the team, leading to Andrej Nestrasil being put on waivers. Babcock’s insistence baffled, as Jurco struggled to scored and finished 2014-15 with just thee goals and 18 points in 63 games. When Jurco wasn’t a healthy scratch in 2015-16, he registered six points in 44 games. Jurco had 15 goals and 24 assists in 159 career games with Detroit when the Wings traded him to Chicago in February of 2017 for a third-round pick. He wasn't any better with the Blackhawks, scoring one goal in 13 games when he wasn't a healthy scratch. After 10 points in 29 games last season, the Blackhawks did not qualify Jurco.

Grade: D.

more boons and busts...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

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