Kukla's Korner

Morning news: On Brad Richards, a mock draft and a Gordie Howe pro-am press release

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Brendan Savage took note of Brad Richards' locker room clean-out day remarks:

"Guys that I grew up and started my career with are retiring," said Richards, who turned 36 this week. "It's probably going to creep into my mind here in the next month a little bit too in what I want to do. I'm not there yet where I want to say I'm retiring. I need to get away and kind of see mentally how I feel and where I'm at.

"It's a young man's game now and it's hard to start a family and all that stuff and put in the time and effort it takes to stay in shape against some of these young guys. You do have to make sure you're 100 percent all in mentally. The offseasons so big at this age.

"That's going to go into a lot of decision-making."

Savage continues...

2. ESPN's Corey Pronman conducted a mock draft as part of an Insider-only blog entry, and he believes that the Red Wings will draft an American forward with the 16th overall pick:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Positive Thinking For The San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,

The Sharks went through a normal off-day routine Wednesday. Holding meetings, getting treatment, keeping it loose with a lighthearted game of two-touch in a hallway in the bowels of Bridgestone Arena.

Nobody on the Sharks was underestimating the importance of Thursday's Game 4 against the Nashville Predators, and how they'll need to improve after a three-goal loss in Game 3 on Tuesday.

But there was no evidence of discouragement, either, with the Sharks well aware they're still leading the second-round series two games to one, and of their history of rebounding after a loss on the road.

"I think the mindset is we're in a good spot, we're up 2-1," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. "We were the best road team in the NHL all year and I like our spot."


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

Jamie Benn’s Time?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News,

Jamie Benn seems to bring out the best in Blues captain David Backes.

It's time for Backes to reciprocate.

The Blues have taken control of the conference semifinal series with the Stars 2-1, and Backes has been at the forefront. He has scored the game-winning goal in both victories and set a physical tone that has resonated in this series, dishing out a game-high seven hits in the Game 2 victory and nine more in the Game 3 rout.

"He's stepped up to the plate," said Blues teammate Alex Pietrangelo of Backes. "He seems to be all over the ice. He's done that all year. But with the big stage right now, he's really stepping it up and playing a big role at both ends of the ice."

The big stage is what defines Benn. He's one of the best hockey players in the world, and it's time he match the performance of the St. Louis captain. I would be surprised if Benn is not the best player on the Stars in Game 4 Thursday night. In fact, I'd be surprised if the Stars captain is not the best player on the ice.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Washington Capitals Once Again Face Adversity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog at the Washington Post,

Washington’s season-long “stick to the script” mantra now gets more complicated now, because the script has been covered with graffiti and red scribbles. Letang will be back Saturday night. Washington’s power play has been one of its bedrocks, but that unit now is 1 for 12 in this series. And it gets ever more difficult to argue that Vezina Trophy front-runner Braden Holtby gives Washington a significant advantage in net, not when Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray has looked so unshakable. For the second straight game, he stoned breakaway wizard Oshie alone in front of the net, and he out-dueled the more heralded Holtby.

Washington’s comfort with adversity was supposed to be another edge. The Capitals were 27-6-8 in one-goal games during the regular season, the league’s best mark. In the playoffs? They’re now 2-4.  They showed backbone, sure, tying the score after Justin Williams won a puck in the corner, and surviving that Alzner penalty despite the absence of two of their top penalty killers. I promise you that those moments will not be fondly recalled if the Caps lose this series.

“We’ve been in some tough spots before,” Alzner said. “It just comes with the job. You find a way to get over it as fast as you can.”

Of course, it isn’t over quite yet. Washingtonians are plenty familiar with blown 3-1 series leads, and the Capitals will get at least one more chance to back up their Presidents’ Trophy. But it’s hard to imagine they won’t look back with regret on this game – against a shorthanded team, and with desperation supposedly on their side.

It’s the kind of game that would have looked great in a Road to the Stanley Cup commemorative book. Because it’s the kind of game a champion might have won.


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

Video- Don Cherry And Ron MacLean On The Slash To Sidney Crosby

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean takes a look at the slash on Sidney Crosby and how it could have been prevented by taking out the instigator rule.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Washington Capitals Had Their Chance Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Riddle me this: If the Washington Capitals, the NHL's best regular-season team by a country mile and a team seemingly built for its best chance at Stanley Cup glory, cannot beat an injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team in a crucial test, what hope do they have to win three straight to stay alive in these playoffs?


The simple answer in the wake of the Penguins' dramatic 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday is that the Capitals, for all their resolve and success and talent, are once again staring into the abyss.

That's how good the Penguins are proving to be, no matter who is in their lineup. And that's how big an opportunity the Capitals let pass in Game 4, a game that was fully set for the taking but which still somehow eluded them, just as previous playoff successes have always seemed to settle just outside their grasp.


from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals are now standing in front of a mirror. What do they see?

Is it the long past of playoff heartbreaks, or the fortitude they claim to have fostered these last several months while compiling the NHL’s best regular season record?

They will spend the next two days hearing about both possibilities before facing a must-win Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins back at Verizon Center on Saturday. This will be an uncomfortable time.


Missed the action from last night? Watch below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Patric Hornqvist (1-1—2) scored at 2:34 of overtime to propel the Penguins to a 3-1 lead in their Second Round series against the Capitals and snap a skid of eight consecutive overtime losses in the postseason.

* The Penguins improved to 8-3 in 11 all-time overtime playoff games against the Capitals, including a 6-2 record at home.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wings need to get boldly informed before they make roster moves

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

So one leads to the other: the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan examined the NHL's free agent marketplace on Wednesday evening, and as of midnight, a corresponding column popped up in which the Detroit News's Bob Wojnowski suggests that [it's], "Time for Wings to make bold move," comparing and contrasting the respective off-season situations of the Red Wings and Pistons:

The word “rebuild” is considered a profanity around Mike Ilitch’s teams. A rebuild suggests a tear-down, and the Wings aren’t in position to do that with Little Caesars Arena opening in 2017. But the makeup of the roster — small players, no imposing defensemen — has to change.

It’s not a great free-agent market, and Holland hasn’t had much success there lately anyhow. Last year’s signings — Mike Green, Brad Richards — brought the Wings more of the same, experienced pieces but nothing resembling a centerpiece. Development of current players is a necessity, and Holland and Jeff Blashill have to decide if guys like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Justin Abdelkader can take the leap, or try someone else.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

‘Two seconds’ for Hicketts

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From Kamloops This Week:

It would have been nice for Kamloops product Joe Hicketts to cap the WHL season with a pair of major awards, but it was not to be.

The 20-year-old Victoria Royals’ defenceman was runner-up for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy, given to the player of the year, and the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy, handed to the defenceman of the year.

Hicketts, who tallied eight goals and 61 points in 59 games, was second to Dryden Hunt of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the player of the year category.

Hunt, a 20-year-old forward, had 58 goals and 116 points in 72 games.

Russian import Ivan Provorov was named defenceman of the year.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Hornqvist’s OT winner gives the Penguins a 3-games-to-1-lead over Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Patric Hornqvist jumped on a turnover from Mike Weber and scored the 3-2 OT winner in Wednesday's game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, giving Pittsburgh a 3 games-to-1 lead in the teams' second-round series:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+weber, patric+hornqvist, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

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