Kukla's Korner

Red Wings off-day report: On ‘Going long,’ Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi and depth

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As I watch the playoffs for the fourth day sans any Red Wings participation, I find myself strangely proud of the fact that I can’t separate my Wings bias from anything less than subjective playoff viewing. I had wondered, given the fact that the Wings would have at least a week off, whether an admittedly subjective Wings fan would start watching games like a journalist, hoping for a “good story” to prevail or being vindicated by watching the team I pick win the game by the score I predict.

It turns out that I can’t and won’t do that for a millisecond. I’m no journalist: I’m a Wings fan, first foremost and most importantly. Aside from hoping that teams I dislike more than others to be vanquished in the East, thanks to the fact that I keep grudges for a long time, there isn’t a team in the West that I’m rooting for. Instead, I’m cheering for the puck, and time: I want Johan Franzen’s ankle, Henrik Zetterberg’s knee and whatever other injuries the Wings haven’t disclosed to earn as much time as humanly possible to return to manageable levels, and I want whatever prospective opponents the Wings may have in the second round or down the as-earned basis line to get as physically and mentally tired as possible.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Niemi Will Start For Sharks In Game 6

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sharks.com,

There wasn’t much lingering doubt about Todd McLellan’s thoughts on the Sharks goalie situation after Sunday’s Easter practice.

“Nemo will play tomorrow,” McLellan calmly stated. “He is our guy. We feel really good with (Niemi). He’s had a bounce back game already and played extremely well the night after getting hooked.”

McLellan’s quote let everyone know the Game 5 loss couldn’t solely be placed at Niemi’s feet.

“I don’t think we did a lot to help him,” McLellan said. “I think we addressed that after the game. He’s ready to go back in and we have a ton of confidence in him.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

Nashville Favored, Vancouver/Chicago a Toss-Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sports Interaction,

Anaheim at Nashville  
 
Moneyline
• Anaheim   +120
• Nashville   -140

Over/Under
• Over +5.5 +115
• Under +5.5 -135

Vancouver at Chicago

Moneyline
• Vancouver   -110
• Chicago   -110

Over/Under
• Over +5.5 +100
• Under +5.5 -120

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Will The Predators Win A Clinching Game?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Climer of The Tennessean,

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this is The Biggest Game In Predators History. It comes on the heels of The Biggest Game In Predators History on Friday night, which was preceded two nights earlier by The Biggest Game In Predators History.

This is uncharted territory for the Preds. They’ve never before had an opportunity to clinch a playoff series. It’s the first time they’ve won two road games in a series. And even at worst, they are assured of playing in a Game 7 for the first time.

Sure, franchises such as the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Red Wings look down their noses at such things. When you’ve won multiple Stanley Cups, there is little sense of accomplishment by merely making it out of the first round.

But it’s different here. This is an expansion team in a nontraditional hockey market that is making its own history, one shift at a time. After five previous one-and-done playoff appearances, reaching Round 2 is a significant step.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Seabrook Returns Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,

Brent Seabrook will return to the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup in Game 6 as they try to even their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals series against the Vancouver Canucks.

The defenseman, who suffered a concussion during Game 3 when he was hit hard by the Canucks’ Raffi Torres, passed NHL protocol testing Sunday and will play in Game 6 at the United Center.

“He’s an important part of our team,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ““His makeup and his leadership qualities are a big part of our team. “Even though he wasn’t playing, you could feel his presence around the locker room and the guys. They competed for him in ways that was nice to see. The fact he gets to play again is going to help us out in a lot of ways. He assumes a lot of quality ice time in all situations. He gives us some size and some presence back there and has a big shot offensively, so it’s nice to have him back.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+seabrook

The Hockey World On Easter Sunday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

• I’m just throwing this out there to chew on. I haven’t heard it from anybody, but what if the Columbus Blue Jackets, who aren’t crazy about goalie Steve Mason any longer, call up the Colorado Avalanche and offer the former Calder Trophy winner along centre Derick Brassard to the Avs for centre Paul Stastny. The Avs feel Matt Duchene can be their No. 1 guy in the middle, they need a goalie and they’re in a rebuild of sorts and the dollars (Stastny, $6.6 million US salary-cap hit vs. Mason at $2.9 million and Brassard at $3.2 million) are about even. And the Jackets get their top dog to play with captain Rick Nash. And yes, Columbus would still have to find a goalie, but they’re out there.

• If you polled NHL defenceman on which player gives them fits with his speed as they’re heading back for a puck, they’d all say Detroit Red Wings centre Darren Helm. Not only is he maybe the fastest guy in the league, he also likes to hit. A snapshot of his ability came in Game 3 when he hounded Phoenix Coyotes blue-liner Ed Jovanovski, knocked Jovo off the puck with a wallop, then sent it to Ruslan Salei for a goal. He’s the best fourth-line player in the league.

• I’m sorry, but there’s a lot of wallflower in San Jose Sharks winger Dany Heatley. There are plenty of games where you’d say, “Did he play?” He’s a support guy with a staggering $7.3-million cap hit for the Sharks.

more and here too...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

6 Teams In Action Today, 3 Could Be Golfing Tomorrow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Two home teams, Buffalo and Nashville can celebrate moving on to the Conference Semifinals with a victory today while Chicago, the other home team, needs a win to tie the series at 3-3.

Enjoy!

image

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

America’s Team- The Philadelphia Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Last week, the NHL announced a new 10-year deal with NBC/Versus, which undoubtedly will be thrilled to broadcast as many Flyer games as possible.

That’s because the Flyers are, of course, owned by — ta da! — Comcast.

Soon we’ll all be wearing Flyer ties, right?

It’s a cozy arrangement, rather incestuous, really. It’s not David Braley owning two teams in one eight-term league, but it’s in the same conversation.

The Caps, Pens and Flyers are already NBC’s favoured teams, but this new TV deal makes you wonder if the Flyers will become the unquestioned marquee franchise of the NHL. Certainly league decisions involving the Flyers will now be accompanied by a few winks and nods among the conspiratorially minded.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: On stick tape, sticky humor and tip-in notes

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

You may or may not buy into the concept that the way a player tapes his or her stick reveals secrets about that player’s personality, but the tendencies and care with which players and goaltenders alike prepare their sticks for action is nothing less than remarkable at the amateur as well as pro and NHL levels.

You might not wonder why I like to tape my player and goal sticks’ blades with big “X” shapes or be interested in finding out what complications having double-jointed thumbs make in my equipment-picking decisions, but the Free Press’s Jo-Ann Barnas managed to lift the veil from atop the Red Wings’ stick rack, and to the gear-oriented, anyway, what she reveals about the Wings players’ stick-taping habits and use of stick and shin guard tape in general is nothing less than fascinating:

“If you look down our stick rack, it really is artwork,” said Paul Boyer, the Red Wings’ longtime equipment manager. “Some guys, they throw the tape on and go and play. Other guys, it takes them a good amount of time and effort to make a stick. The stick is an extension of their hands, and it has to feel good when they’re holding it.”

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Aaargh! The Blue Jackets hope to beat Red Wings to the East

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

File this one under, “And this is another reason why the Red Wings, the Western Conference’s anchor tenant, will never be moved to the Eastern Conference, even though Jimmy Devellano voted to lock out the players very specifically because he stated that the NHL insisted to both Mike Ilitch and Devellano himself that the Wings would be first up for any sort of move to the Eastern Conference should the NHL consider realignment or expansion.”

The Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace reports that one of the two teams that could beat the Wings to the East plans on bringing up the issue with the NHL, and those teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators, have apparently been told that Jimmy D’s assertion is bunk and/or another empty lockout promise meant to go unfulfilled:

“We have an annual review with the league, and that’s where it came up,” [Columbus Blue Jackets president Mike] Priest said. “I asked the question: What would the procedure be in the event that a team from the West needs to move to the East?”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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