Kukla's Korner

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Home Team in Caps
WASHINGTON 1, NY Rangers 0 – WSH leads series 2-1
Braden Holtby stopped all 30 shots he faced and Jay Beagle scored the lone goal at 7:31 of the second period to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 series lead over the Rangers.

* The Capitals earned a 1-0 postseason victory for the third time in franchise history. The other instances: April 12, 2001 vs. PIT (Olie Kolzig: 16 SV) and May 4, 2013 vs. NYR (Holtby: 24 SV).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Time Is Running Out For The Minnesota Wild

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

The Wild is familiar with this “2-0 hole” thing in the playoffs.

This is the fourth time in five years the Wild has put itself into a series abyss and third consecutive year against the Chicago Blackhawks. Down 2-0 twice last postseason, the Wild won Games 3 and 4 at home, going on to victory in the Colorado series.

So all hope isn’t lost. But this year was expected to be different, the year the much-improved Wild would be able to force at least a split in Chicago.

So far, nothing has changed. The Blackhawks’ lengthy roster of lethal finishers has yet again broken the Wild’s will with quick-strike conversions seemingly any time a Wild player goofs up.

The Wild’s disappointment was palpable Monday. Hoping to get its act together in Game   3 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild used Monday as a day to recover mentally and learn from the plethora of glaring, uncharacteristic mistakes it committed during two games in Chicago.

“I think no one was too thrilled about coming here today, but we knew it would be good to look at our mistakes and kind of regroup from that,” veteran Thomas Vanek said. “We’re down 0-2, but we’re down 0-2 because we didn’t play well. We played our game for two periods out of the six.”


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

End Of The Playoff Road For The Calgary Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

The Flames can’t be criticized for being down 2-0 in a second-round playoff series they’ll have a hard time prolonging past Friday.

These are simply two teams with different goals.

This Anaheim Ducks team has been carefully constructed for years with only a Stanley Cup in mind.

The Flames focus this year was simply making the playoffs — a large enough step in itself.

Try as one might, it’s damn near impossible to deny the ultimate demise of the Flames will be at the hands of the big bad Ducks — a team that utterly dismantled the Flames in the first 120 minutes of this Western Conference semifinal series.

Former Ducks boss Brian Burke, the head honcho of the Flames, would likely tell you as much over a beer as he’s been on record many times before his self-imposed silence as insisting the Flames simply aren’t hefty enough to skate with a team as big and truculent as the Ducks.

Not yet anyway.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Ray Shero

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

What are your thoughts initially on the kind of head coach you want to hire?

“That's a good question. Again, that's one of things that I really want to ask a few questions here before I get started. With anything, when you're looking for a coach, whether it's internally or you're talking to people outside, there's some different criteria in terms of coaches that can discipline, coaches that can motivate, coaches that can teach. There's a lot of good coaches that are available and there's two people in Jersey right now in Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. Adam's been a head coach before and Scott I've heard real good things about him. So, in terms of the proper fit or the right guy for the New Jersey Devils, time will tell on that from asking some of the questions and seeing things.

“I certainly have some ideas in terms of coaching styles, philosophies, but I need to find out more about the New Jersey Devils because it's an important decision not only just for next year, but moving forward and buying into that. There's some good coaches available and I look forward to talking to the coaches that are there (in New Jersey) and getting their feedback and their philosophy. I hope to do that a little bit maybe before I leave (for the world championships) and certainly when I get back and then go from there.”

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+shero

Off-Season Questions For The Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are three questions regarding the Red Wings:

Which players who spent all or most of this season in Grand Rapids will be on the Red Wings' roster in 2015-16?

Teemu Pulkkinen is out of options, so the Red Wings need to keep him on the NHL roster. He provides a dimension with his booming right-handed shot. He led the AHL with the 34 goals in just 46 games. He had only five goals in 31 games with Detroit but was starting to figure out how to create space for himself.

Landon Ferraro's hopes for an NHL career were resurrected after he earned a spot in the Red Wings' lineup for the playoffs. His skating ability and competitiveness will enable him to battle for a roster spot in training camp as a bottom-six forward.

Mantha had a disappointing first pro season with the Griffins and needs more AHL seasoning.

On defense, Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet are NHL-ready; there could be a roster spot for one of them at the start of next season (Marchenko has the inside track). If not, both are waiver-exempt for another season, as are Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen.

read on for Stephen Weiss and perhaps a buyout and trading for Dion Phaneuf...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Montreal Canadiens Need A Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

... Monday was a day to get on a plane and lick some wounds, now that Montreal is down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Games 3 and 4 set for Wednesday and Thursday at Amalie Arena.

"Today is not an easy day, especially when you end up losing those two games at home," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said Monday on a conference call. "We've traveled to Tampa, and tomorrow we need to have a good practice, stay upbeat and be ready for Wednesday. But [the two off-days] could be a good thing for us."

Habs forward Torrey Mitchell was part of the 2011 San Jose Sharks team that jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over Detroit, only to see the Red Wings push it to seven games. That's the kind of personal experience he can glean from right now.

"Absolutely, and even more recently, just in the last series, you saw how difficult it was to close out Ottawa," Mitchell said Monday on a conference call. "By no means do we feel like we're done. We're excited about the next game, and that's where our focus is at right now."

You never want to count out a team that has Carey Price in goal. He can single-handedly change the script, as he did with his 43-save, Herculean effort in Game 6 of the first round to finish off a rabid Senators team smelling blood.

The thing is, I just don't see the same team of a year ago, which had more pizzazz about it. Montreal had that "it" factor in sweeping Tampa and upsetting Boston in seven games.

read on

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

The System Is Working For The Washington Capitals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,

The fortress erected by the Washington Capitals, the one built to protect their stonewalling goaltender, contained a gauntlet of traps guarding the front gate. They hurled bodies at airborne pucks, clogging shooting lanes and shuttering windows of opportunity for the New York Rangers. They boxed out with their butts and cleared rebounds with their sticks, ushering traffic away. They had always held the utmost confidence in Braden Holtby, because no sane person would consider otherwise, but when chaos came knocking at Verizon Center, even the NHL’s active leader in postseason save percentage needed help.

“It’s something we’ve been working on all year, just boxing out and trying to make sure that Holts can see the puck,” forward Jay Beagle said. “Whether it’s trying to block a shot, there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve gone over this year that we’ve changed just a little bit to his liking to give him the best chance to see the puck and not to become a screen. Our ‘D’ have been unreal in front of him.”

Three games into these Eastern Conference quarterfinals, a fluky bounce off two skates the only separation in Washington’s 1-0 victory and thus a 2-1 series lead, the Capitals have withstood slow starts, prolonged defensive-zone shifts and the Rangers’ speed. They have relied on Holtby, who made another 30 saves for his second career postseason shutout – both against New York, in this building, with the calendar reading May 4 — but also on themselves, trusting their system to steer them through the harrowing waters of close games.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

On Blashill, revisiting the Phaneuf trade and outdoor hockey in Denver

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

It's not an "Overnight Report" as much as it's three stories, so:

1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa was also in Grand Rapids this past weekend, and he's penned a novella...erm, I mean article...about Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, framing him as Mike Babcock's possible successor.

With Mike Babcock admittedly undecided as to whether he's going to return, and me taking Babcock at his word, that means Blashill has to be evaluated on his merits. His merits include a USHL championship, a Frozen Four berth, a Calder Cup, and if I may be blunt, a manner of coaching that is both remarkably similar to Mike Babcock's in its preparation, attention to detail, decisiveness and intensity, and at the same time, he's...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

New Jersey Hires GM Ray Shero

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Lou Lamoreillo has been general manager of the New Jersey Devils since 1987.  He is the longest serving GM in the NHL.  As he ages inevitably he is going to want to slow down.  Now that he is 72 that has happened.  Lamoreillo has decided to hire a new general manager in Ray Shero.  He will remain with the Devils as their president but his role will be reduced.

Shero is a proven NHL GM.  He had a successful run in Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2014.  He was fired somewhat unfairly when Pittsburgh failed in the 2014 playoffs.  Things haven't changed much in 2015 under Shero's replacement Jim Rutherford.  The firing was a mistake for the Penguins.  It is surprising that it took Shero a season to find a new job. 

The main question in my mind is how much of the reigns is Lou Lamoreillo willing to relinquish.  Will Ray Shero really get to run the show or will he have to answer to Lou for big decisions?  Both Lamoreillo and Shero are proven Stanley Cup winning successful GMs.  If Shero takes over for Lamoreillo this is a good thing.  If there will be friction between Lamoreillo and Shero there will be problems.  Let's hope they can be professional if any disagreements occur.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Beagle’s goal all the Capitals needed

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Jay Beagle's off-two-skates goal was all the Washington Capitals needed to defeat the New York Rangers 1-0 on Monday night:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+beagle, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

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