Kukla's Korner

Talking Changes In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Same Page, Sarah Kwak and Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated discuss a few hockey topics...

Losing three of their past four games has pretty much put the kibosh on the Sharks’ playoff hopes. Following on the heels of several years of postseason frustration, you have to think change is coming to San Jose. Which shoe drops first?

KWAK: Change must come in San Jose, but the Sharks have been parroting that line for the last two years and so far, nothing. So I don’t know if change is coming. If it does, it’ll be GM Doug Wilson because he’s the one who has promised change and then not delivered.

PAGE: Wilson has to go first, right? It’s the order in which these things usually go, and he’s the instigator of the team’s recent dysfunction. It will then fall to the new GM to decide what to do with Todd McLellan and Joe Thornton, though it’s hard to imagine that either will be back with the Sharks next year.

 

MUIR: Thornton’s not going anywhere. They’ve stripped the C off his sweater, they embarrassed him in public and he doesn’t care (which really speaks to the bigger issue with Jumbo Joe, but that’s not the point of debate here). He’s happy in San Jose and he wants to stay. And with two years left on his contract and full no-movement protection, you can bet that’s exactly what he’s going to do. McLellan and Wilson, though? I think this is it for both of them. Not to wish ill on either man, but this organization needs fresh thinking before it considers a roster overhaul.

more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kimmo Timonen Returns To Philadelphia Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,

 Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen was in the midst of his first press gathering in Philadelphia since the Philadelphia Flyers traded him Feb. 27.

After eight years as a member of the Flyers, Timonen was asked how the crowd would react for his return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.

Timonen, the stoic 40-year-old Finn, took several beats to gather himself as the memories of the past washed over him.

"I only have good memories here," he finally said. "I'm sure it's going to be good. All the things that happened here. ... I'm happy to be here."

"That guy is such a great human being off the ice, on the ice," Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. "It's a really good example for me. I was 21, 22 when I got here. He showed me the way, how to be a better person and how to be a better hockey player. That guy's a pro every single way. ... I'm very happy for him that he's got a chance to battle for a Stanley Cup because he really deserves it."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kimmo+timonen

The Edmonton Oilers Should Not Be This Bad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

So much time has been spent this season talking about the treasures that await the league's last-place team that you start to think in rainbow terms.

A handful of truly awful teams following that brightly colored arc down, down, down the standings with the hope that what lies at the bottom, the very bottom, is a pot of gold and a ticket up.

Certainly that's how great the promise of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel is, with the duo poised to go first and second in June's draft in South Florida.

But among those teams lurching their way to the bottom as the season heads into its final two weeks is a team that is living proof that finding the "treasure" at the end of the arc guarantees nothing.

The Edmonton Oilers are once again among the worst teams in the league, despite a stretch dating back to 2009 that saw them pick first overall in the draft three times in a row (2010-12, only the second time in the history of the draft that happened), and pick third, seventh and 10th overall since then.

The Oilers have defied the odds by failing to turn such a treasure trove of picks into anything remotely resembling a playoff team, let alone a championship contender.

"By every measure, they seem to be failing," said longtime NHL executive Frank Provenzano, also a frequent contributor to ESPN's hockey coverage. "You shouldn't be picking that high and be that bad. 

continued

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

Coaches Who Soon May Be Available

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The July 1 unrestricted free agent player pool this year leaves you quite cold, but luckily there should be action behind the bench that livens up the NHL offseason like rarely before.

This has the potential to be, quite frankly, one of the most intriguing and dramatic offseasons in the NHL coaching world in quite some time....

The question is whether Babcock has seen enough of the impressive next-generation core of the Red Wings this season and whether that’s enough to convince him to stay, albeit for less money than what he could make in a place like Toronto. Or Philadelphia? Or Buffalo? Or elsewhere?

The Wings will make a very good offer. His decision, either way, will have a domino effect.

The Boston Bruins are sitting out of a playoff spot as we write this and that can’t be good for head coach Claude Julien, at least if you go by the veiled hints made this season by the owner’s son Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely. It seems crazy to me that Julien, one of the game’s most respected coaches and the guy who guided the Bruins to 2011 glory, could be fired. But that’s the feeling you get from the vibes coming out of Boston. And if he hits the market, holy moly, that’s another huge fish.

Media in Philadelphia over the past few days have deliberated at Craig Berube’s future as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and speculated that he might be in danger of being fired. General manager Ron Hextall, after all, hasn’t had the chance to hire his own coach yet. The Flyers’ job would be a plum opening for sure, the kind of big-market job most coaches salivate over.

Which brings us to Toronto, of course, where the Maple Leafs will need a new head coach. Whether it’s Babcock or potentially McLellan or whomever, it’s doubtful it won’t be a marquis name. But the next Leafs coach also will know when he signs on the dotted line that there’s a long-term rebuild that he’s going to have to weather.

Does Dave Tippett stay with the Arizona Coyotes? He’s under contract for three more seasons and loves it in the Phoenix area where he’s built a home, but I don’t think he’s interested in a long, long rebuild. 

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Colorado Avalanche Have Learned A Lesson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Winnipeg has passed the Avalanche because the Jets have size and physicality to go with their skill players, even if MacKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene likely have a higher offensive pedigree than Winnipeg’s stars up front.

It’s not all about scoring. As Colorado learned this season, sometimes it’s about surviving with whatever lineup is left come game time. And just because you win one season, it doesn’t guarantee a damned thing next October.

“We all fall in it. The coaching staff and the players,” Roy said. “A lot of things came pretty fast. You have a tendency to think it’s going to be easier. Then you’re not as sharp when you come to camp. Then you start behind.

“I think the thing that I learned the most is, you always have to adapt to you group,” said Roy. “You have to deal with this. You have to learn to adapt to your team.”

Lesson learned. Too late, mind you, but with this lineup, the Avs will be back.

more

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

Video- How About Those Ottawa Senators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The turnaround...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

“This Is A Save He’s Got To Make”

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

That's ex-NHL player Tyson Nash, the color analyst for FoxSports Arizona on the OT goal by Arizona.

Yes Howard did not make the save in OT but what can you do.

We all know Howard needs to make saves to keep his team in the game and lately his performance has been average at best.

The most popular athlete in Detroit is the backup goaltender or backup quarterback for the Lions.

Mrazek has had some good solid games but he also has had some stinkers too.

There is no doubt in my mind Jimmy Howard has to start showing some consistency or else the Wings are in trouble.

Mrazek is not yet the answer and I believe Mike Babcock feels the same way.

You can watch ot OT goal below, Coyotes broadcast.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

‘Two things’: on Babcock and a DeKeyser Q and A

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

In lieu of a more formal mid-day news post, I find it ironic that even NHL.com's Dan Rosen's mailbag answer regarding a topic heating back up continues to ignore what Mike Babcock and Ken Holland suggested prior to the regular season--that it was more likely than not that Babcock would not sign a contract extension with Detroit after the regular season and playoff run are over so that the coach could focus on hockey instead of negotiating a salary...

How can these Mike Babcock "could" leave the Red Wings rumors continue? As rumors go, this feels incredibly daft? -- @Hoskinsauce

They can continue and will continue until Babcock signs a new contract to stay with the Detroit Red Wings or announces he is leaving Detroit to become a coaching free agent, which in my opinion would make him the most sought after free agent in the NHL this summer. Babcock hasn't discussed his future in Detroit beyond this season for quite some time. There might be quiet, behind-the-scenes negotiating going on between him and general manager Ken Holland, but it's more likely that they're focused on trying to win this season and will address the issue of his future at the end of the season. The longer it goes, the more the rumor will persist. Babcock will have plenty of options and a lot of money thrown at him if he decides to leave Detroit. The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly will court him, but would Babcock want to go into a rebuilding situation?

(No)...

And MLive's Brendan Savage conducted a Q and A with Danny DeKeyser:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Wings-Coyotes quick-and-late-take: What an incredibly frustrating game

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Aside from Mike Smith's James Brown concert reenactment and Shane Doan attempting to smash opponents' knees into the boards and then twist/stomp to snap knee ligaments--and watching the officials sort of shrug the Smith-started-it-with-a-stick-to-Helm's-face, dude-humps-Helm's-stick and all the clutching and grabbing go--because the new "standard of officiating" is just hideously poor on all sides of the puck (and Mike Smith is nothing less than a disgusting actor who consists of 3-day-old human squaline)...

Taking in last night's Wings-Coyotes game as a fan was an incredibly frustrating experence, and that frustration didn't just stem from Jimmy Howard's crappy goaltending.

It was a game where the Wings simply played dumb hockey against a team that probably came into its road trip hoping to beat a Wings team it still despises (that was quite evident in the level of physicality last night, even if the personnel is different, the remaining Coyotes from the playoff series [plural] between the teams let the new guys know that this game was for all the marbles), it was a game in which the Wings took nearly 40 shots but refused to attack the net, it was a game where Niklas Kronwall's absence, Erik Cole having to duck out and Luke Glendening leaving for a short period of time seemed to paralyze the team...

And it was a game in which the Wings got the point they needed to make it very hard for the Senators or Bruins to gain ground, but in every other facet, the Wings laid several eggs on ice.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

The Latest On Ryan Miller

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

The sight of Ryan Miller out early Tuesday in full equipment and working with goaltending coach Rollie Melanson was certainly encouraging — especially with the stopper going into the butterfly and pushing off to replicate reactions he would normally display in a game. However, it was just one of the obstacles Miller is facing before he’s ready to be battle tested after suffering a knee strain Feb. 22.

I asked former Canucks goaltender and current Sportsnet analyst Corey Hirsch what we should read into Miller skating and working on his movements. He suggested there is the initial testing of that inside knee ligament to see if Miller is enduring any pain and the process can also be a means to strengthen the ailment. If a defenceman or a forward suffers a similar injury, the rehab process can include wearing a brace upon returning to league play. Not goalies. The next step for Miller will be to practise with his club and that won’t occur until the second week of April because it’s doubtful he would travel on the upcoming four-game road trip with just one practice day scheduled.

Everybody has a theory about when Miller might be ready for prime time. The injury was significant because of the position he plays, putting tremendous strain on the knees through contact and groins through stretching and straining to make saves. And contact is going to be a huge issue because there’s going to be a tendency to be tentative and back up initially instead of playing aggressively.

more plus other Vancouver topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+miller

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