Kukla's Korner

Detroit’s Top Line

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Tyler Dellow via The Athletic (paid) on first lines around the NHL that are producing; or not.

Dylan Larkin is the proxy for their first line and they’re shooting 5.3 per cent when he’s on the ice. One of the issues that rebuilding teams run into sometimes is that they have young players, good young players, but they aren’t superstars. You sell them as the next big thing when they’re really guys who might play down the order a little bit on a real Stanley Cup contender. Through 2017-18, Larkin wasn’t an elite 5-on-5 finisher by any means, shooting 8.5 per cent. That’s not particularly good for a forward — league average for forwards this year is at 10 per cent. I believe that’s up a bit over past seasons but the evidence that Larkin is a high-end goal scorer is awfully light.

Add to that Anthony Mantha enduring a Riley Sheahan-esque season when on the ice with Larkin and Detroit’s not getting much from their first line. They almost certainly aren’t *this* bad from a true talent perspective but the lows are lower when your top line doesn’t have really top end players.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Tom Dundon On A Few Topics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Make sure to read the other tweets regarding this topic.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+dundon

Top Prospects

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Button of TSN,

New Year’s Eve at the World Juniors is set to feature a clash of the top two prospects on the December edition of Craig’s List ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Team USA and Jack Hughes will face Finland and Kaapo Kakko in Victoria that night, with the two talented forwards sure to be in the spotlight.

Hughes has continued his torrid pace for the U.S. National Development U18 Team this season, racking up 48 points (10 goals, 38 assists) in 25 games. He has been firmly entrenched atop these rankings since September and shows no signs of going anywhere but first overall next June in Vancouver.

Kakko, a winger, has impressed playing against men as a 17-year-old for TPS of the Finnish Liiga. Our No. 2 prospect has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 25 games this season.

Russian right wing Vasili Podkolzin has jumped three spots from our October ranking to land at No. 3 this month. Podkolzin, who is currently playing for his national team at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., is a complete player who can excel in all situations. His style of play and approach to the game reminds me of Pavel Datsyuk.

Two Western Hockey League forwards round out the top five. Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens (16 goals, 25 assists in 30 games) and Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach (14 goals, 28 assists in 33 games) both have the skating and skill necessary to thrive in today’s NHL. There isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t covet their combination of size and talent.

continued with a Top 62 list...

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

Another Hall Of Fame Induction For Gary Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Tuesday to celebrate his more than a quarter-century of raising the game's profile on television and for the pioneering work the League has done under his leadership.

"This (honor) is a testament to progress and innovations our game has made and on my 26-year journey with and through the broadcast industry -- it is really about the people I've met along the way," Commissioner Bettman said in his induction speech.

Commissioner Bettman pointed to the 10-year broadcasting and media rights deal the NHL signed with NBC on April 19, 2011 as a big step for the League. 


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Afternoon Line- Jared Clinton On The Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Blackhawks’ intention entering the campaign was never for this to be a lost season or a consecutive campaign outside the playoff picture. Results over the past month, though, have left Chicago in a position where that will almost certainly be their fate. Is there a way to save the season? Maybe, but it’s likely a season that’s beyond the point of no return. And that’s OK, so long as the Blackhawks keep their sights set on ensuring this lost season sets them up for a better future.

-Jared Clinton of The Hockey News where you can read more on the Blackhawks.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Thoughts On Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- The Flyers have made it clear they are looking for a goalie, but aren’t the first team to survey the market and not be thrilled with the options. Anaheim, looking to replace the injured Ryan Miller, claimed Chad Johnson on waivers and traded for Jeff Glass from AHL Toronto. Detroit’s made it clear it wants at least a first-round pick for Jimmy Howard. Craig Anderson’s carried a huge load for Ottawa, facing a ton of rubber without much rest. At least one team indicated it was concerned about acquiring him for that reason. Not convinced Montreal is willing to move Charlie Lindgren. As both Chicago and Los Angeles look to the future, and Cal Petersen (in particular) shows potential, could they be tempted to discuss Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick?...

- Ken Hitchcock said after Tuesday’s 6–4 win over Colorado that Oscar Klefbom will be out weeks after an injury suffered during that game. That’s brutal for a player who arguably was winning the unofficial Comeback Player of the Year Award, a horse on that blue line. There have been 14 30-minute games so far this season. Klefbom has three of them, more than anyone else. (Drew Doughty and Hampus Lindholm were next with two each.) In his absence, Darnell Nurse played 30:44 — fourth-most single-game TOI in the NHL in 2018–19. So it looks like a huge opportunity for him. (Most TOI in a single game this season is Jeff Petry, 33:51 on Nov. 19 vs. Washington.)

more Thoughts...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kevin Shattenkirk Out Up To A Month With A Separated Shoulder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK, December 12, 2018 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will be sidelined for two-to-four weeks with a shoulder separation suffered on Monday, Dec. 10 against Tampa Bay.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+shattenkirk

Too Much Partying In Edmonton?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Journal.

The current edition of the Edmonton Oilers is more than a little surprised to hear Andrew Ference teeing off on his ex-teammates, saying they treated hockey games like something to occupy the time between late night bar hopping episodes during the time he was captain here.

In a podcast with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Ference described a culture of party animals who routinely stayed out until three or four in the morning and actually mocked any teammates who tried hard in practice and didn’t share the same zest for nightlife.

It’s not often you hear a former captain shred the work ethic and dedication of the team he had led, which is why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the only remaining regular from the 2013-14 team, thought it was a rather bizarre outburst.

“I don’t have too much to say about it,” he said after Tuesday’s morning skate in Denver. “But I’m a little surprised that he would come out now and say these things. It’s strange. I always got along with him, too.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Teams Looking To Make Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic,

Talking to people around the league over the last few days, and it’s clear that new Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is not wasting any time. He’s talked to about half the teams in the league. The sense is that he’s eager to make a move before the Dec. 19 holiday freeze, even if it’s just a small one. It’s also a multi-faceted objective. There’s the obvious desire to upgrade in goal, but what we’re also hearing is that Fletcher is asking about veteran D and top-nine forwards....

...Nick Kypreos on HNIC over the weekend certainly raised eyebrows when he dropped Alex Pietrangelo’s name as a potential trade target if the Blues make major changes before the end of the season. I don’t sense his name has been mentioned in talks to this point, but I suppose you can’t rule out anything in St. Louis. It’s worth pointing out that Pietrangelo has a full no-move clause, and that I think the Blues captain is happy in St. Louis. But whether it’s Pietrangelo or any other veteran core player on the Blues, all bets are probably off between now and the summer as Armstrong tries to figure out how to rattle the cage in St. Louis.

more (paid subscription) trade talk and a look at Pittsburgh and Anaheim...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

More Consistent Goaltending Needed In Colorado

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

We are dazzled by the artistry of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, but here in Colorado, it’s difficult to sleep easy, because of the monster under the bed.

Semyon Varlamov makes it impossible to take the Avalanche seriously as a Stanley Cup contender.

For the second game in a row, Varly was yanked from goal, during a 6-4 loss to Edmonton.

In his consecutive starts against the Oilers and Florida, Varlamov has surrendered eight goals on 41 shots in a little more than 61 minutes of labor in goal so arduous it was painful to watch.

When Varly is good, he’s very, very good. But when he’s bad, the Avs are horrid.


Game highlights below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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