Kukla's Korner

Abracadraba!

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,

Justin Abdelkader has almost always played close to his home in Muskegon. So scoring an insurance goal in his first Stanley Cup Final game with the Detroit Red Wings was like heaven on earth….

“It’s pretty crazy ... first Stanley Cup Final game and I get a goal. Wow! My family and buddies I grew up with are never going to believe this,” the 22-year-old said after his third-period goal helped the Detroit Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “I’ve played on every stop on I-96 from Muskegon to Detroit, so you can’t believe the great taste I have in my mouth after savoring that one….

“He’s big. He’s strong. A tremendous skater. You could say he’s been on our radar for a long time,” Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland said. “Not to say he won’t score goals, because he was pretty productive at Michigan State and at Grand Rapids (AHL). But we see him as a physical player who someday we envision as a shutdown forward, someone who can help neutralize the other team’s best forwards.

“That job may not sound glamorous, but to the Red Wings, it’s an essential part of winning—one of those important puzzle pieces.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: justin+abdelkader

Hockey Talk On A Stanley Cup Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Why Detroit should win the Stanley Cup: Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall are better than any single Pittsburgh defenceman.

• Smart: Hiring Pat Quinn to coach the Edmonton Oilers. Smarter: Hiring Tom Renney to assist him. And now that GM Steve Tambellini has fixed his coaching staff, all he has to do is fix his messed-up roster.

• An NHL scout on pending free agent Jay Bouwmeester: “The hardest thing to do is evaluate a defenceman on a bad team. I don’t think anybody really knows how good this guy is.”

more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

HNIC Does It Right - Game 1 SCF Opening Plus Howe & Lindsay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Get The Breaks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,

All three of Detroit’s goals were a bit lucky. In the end, the Wings were also out-chanced by the Penguins 14 to 13, with Pittsburgh getting 12 Grade “A” chances in total, the Wings only eight.

Detroit’s Zetterberg also got away with a crucial foul, putting his hand over the puck in the crease to stop a goal against. Zetterberg has a knack for smart but illegal plays. Last season in the Cup final, on a key penalty kill, he took out Crosby before the puck was anywhere near Crosby, stopping him from scoring when the puck did arrive.

Neither time was Zetterberg called, so one could blame the referees or give credit to Zetterberg for crafty and stealthy play. I tend to do a bit of both.

In the game, I kept track of scoring chances, counting a Grade “A” chance as a hard shot from the slot or crease area. I also counted the players who were most responsible for each scoring chance for and against, settling on as many as three players who contributed to each scoring chance, and as many as three culprits on each scoring chance against.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Have The Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,

That’s the way the puckie bounces …… around here.

What? You never heard of the famous shoot-it-off-the-boards-and-let-it-trickle-off-the back-of-the-goaltender shot? We use it all the time in Detroit. None of us was surprised when Brad Stuart scored the first goal of the Stanley Cup finals with that old chestnut.

What? You never heard of the shoot-it-off-the-boards-and-backhand-it-lightly-so-it-scrapes-off-the-goalie’s-leg maneuver? Of course Johan Franzen scored the second goal that way. We have fifth-graders who know that move.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Are The Better Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The Penguins are down one game-to-none to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final, just as they were last season. They had major difficulties scoring goals in the 3-1 loss at Joe Louis Arena last night, just as they did last season. They were beaten in the second half of the game, just as they were last season.

No worries.

We are not—say it again, not—looking at a repeat of last season when the Red Wings looked like the old Soviet Red Army teams and dominated the first two games of the final at home on their way to taking the Cup in six games. It was so ridiculously lopsided early in the series—the Red Wings won those first two games, 4-0 and 3-0—that I remember writing they could win in three.

Not this time.

I’m still thinking the Penguins are the better hockey club.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

You Wanted The Best? Well You Got The Best

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

It’s funny.  Almost every series we’ve heard the same thing.  Columbus fans, thinking they were going to witness the birth of some new rivalry….they “wanted the Wings.” 

Then the Poultry.  Strange but they, and their fan Earl Sleek, may have been the only smart ones…I never heard them utter a word, never read a sentence, that would have indicated they “wanted the Wings.”

The Hawks? Oh yes.  They craved that matchup.

And now?  Pens fans will tell you they’ve “wanted” Detroit.  They “wanted” that rematch, that shot at redemption toward Hossa.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Staal Not Filling His Role

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

One obvious weakness of the Pittsburgh Penguins is that their offence is too dependent upon Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  No other Pittsburgh player has more than half as many points as either of the Penguins stars.  Those that lead the pack of the rest of the Pittsburgh scorers are Crosby and Malkin linemates.  For the most part, goals are not being scored without Crosby or Malkin involved.

One key player who should be relied upon to provide these goals is Jordan Staal.  Staal is seen as a key member of the Penguins core.  They drafted him second overall in 2006.  He is signed to a contract that will get him $4 million a year for the next four years.  He will be the third highest paid Pittsburgh forward next year (behind Crosby and Malkin) unless there are further big forward contracts this summer.  For Pittsburgh to succeed they would benefit from secondary scoring and a talented third line centreman should be a big part of providing it.

Continue Reading »

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Luck On Wings Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via the National Post,

If the Detroit Red Wings were feeling unlucky to have to open the Stanley Cup final three days after finishing off an opponent in five games . . . well, they should now consider that luck thing a dead issue.

Luck is two Detroit goals that come off the end boards and wind up going into the net off the back of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s right leg. Luck is a third goal that bounces straight up in the air off the goalie, where defensive centre Jordan Staal loses it in the lights, and leaves seldom-used fourth-liner Justin Abdelkader a free shot into the open net over Fleury.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Quick Thoughts After Game 1

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

• Well, you just knew Wings rookie fourth-line center Justin Abdelkader would be a difference-maker in this game, right? Um, no, I didn’t think so, either. After all, he had just two shifts in the first period. But there was Abdelkader, scoring a monster insurance goal at the 2:26 mark of the third period to give the Wings a 3-1 lead….

• The battle between superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Sidney Crosby is going to be a great one. The two ultra-competitors really dug in during a mid-first-period shift in the Wings’ end. This is an area where last season’s experience should really help No. 87. This go-round, Crosby knows all about Zetterberg’s dogged nature….

• Osgood made a monster glove stop on a clean breakaway chance from Malkin early in the second period. Malkin picked up a loose puck at the far blue line and made a beeline toward Osgood. The Russian sniper looked to pick the top corner with a quick snap….

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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