Kukla's Korner

Consistency The Key For Victor Hedman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,

"Last year was a big step forward, but it's only one season," Hedman said. "I want to be consistent playing at that level. I want to keep that going."

For years, the hockey world had been waiting for this breakout season from Hedman, who set career highs in goals (13), assists (42), points (55), plus-minus (plus-5), shots (170), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (two). Ranking fourth in points among defensemen, this was what fans envisioned the moment the 6-foot-6 defenseman's name was called at the draft.

At age 18, the product of Sweden's legendary MODO club was immediately inserted into Tampa Bay's lineup, hailed as the latest hockey phenom from the town of Ornskoldsvik, whose prominent natives include Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and Tobias Enstrom as well as Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.

"My hometown is 50,000 people. You come to Tampa and it's a whole lot more. It's a big difference and it took some time to get used to it, but I fell in love with the place right away. It's a second home now," Hedman said. "Everything is so big. You need a car everywhere. The people were so nice to me right away. I fit right in."

more

Below, watch a few of the Bolts players as they examine the 'new 3rd sweater'....

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: victor+hedman

Brian McGrattan Is A Poor Puck Possession Player

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When I last posted about a week and a half ago, I posted the worst 20 players by adjusted Corsi as a rate stat.  Corsi is the difference between attempted shots in five on five situations when a given player is on the ice.  In order to make it more of an individualized stat, there are adjustments made for the team and usage of the player and it is divided by five on five playing time.  This is a good measure of the puck possession ability of the player involved.  The worst player among those who played 50 or more games last year is Brian McGrattan of the Calgary Flames.

McGrattan is a goon.  He appeared in 76 games last year scoring four goal and four assists.  His offensive contribution was minimal.  He had 100 penalty minutes, which placed him 32nd in the NHL.  The Flames knew he had little value despite the fact he dressed almost every game.  They only played him a little over six minutes per game.    When he played, the puck was going the other direction.  Calgary's opponents had control of the puck.  McGrattan offered little to his team besides fighting. 

This was predictable.  McGrattan has never been a valuable hockey player.  His four goals and eight points were career highs - as was his 76 games played.  Despite his lack of success in the past and the fact he is into his thirties, Calgary signed him to a two year contract in 2013.  Thus he will be back with the team for the 2014/15 season.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Questioning The Roberto Luongo Trade From Vancouver To Florida

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

So that’s it, then.

It appears, with goalie Jacob Markstrom going on waivers today, that there will indeed be no big upside for the Vancouver Canucks from trading Roberto Luongo, once the team’s captain and franchise goalie, to the Florida Panthers last March.

It was one of Mike Gillis’s last acts as Canucks GM, and it’s probably good for him that he’s no longer around to answer questions on this particular subject.

Like, how’d you get it so bloody wrong, Mike?

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Player Wants The Puck More

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

It is almost Friday evening so instead of the usual I am changing it up a bit...

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"I need the puck more. I can't be chasing it around the ice a lot.  I have to have a quicker release and be ready to shoot the puck when I get it. I can't be afraid to shoot it. Sometimes you're always looking to pass; just shoot it on net and see what happens."

now find out who said it and more on the player too...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Another Cup On Marian Gaborik’s Mind

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

Gaborik made $7.5 million each of the past five seasons. But no one makes that much in L.A. – defenseman Drew Doughty’s average salary is $7 million and center Anze Kopitar’s is $6.8 million – and the Kings also wanted to re-sign defenseman Matt Greene under the salary cap. Gaborik’s average salary will be $4.875 million.

“Let’s face it, he could have made a lot more money if he went out on the market,” Lombardi said. “Here’s the rock star that could have gone out and got a lot more. Obviously that bodes well.”

Why not cash in on success?

“I’ve made enough money in my whole career, so it wasn’t about money,” said Gaborik, whose career earnings total $71.379 million according to capgeek.com. “To get a taste of that Cup, I think that gives you motivation to repeat and to be hungry again.

“That is that motivation – to go back there and to do it with this team and to play in this environment, to play in this state. It’s an awesome mix. I didn’t want to leave.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+gaborik

Mike Babcock On A Few Players After Three Preseason Games

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

... how much can you tell after three preseason games, especially because it means some guys have played only one?

“It’s been good,” Mike Babcock said. “We’ve got one team that’s won both games and another team that’s lost in overtime. So, they’ve got to hold serve tomorrow.”

He ran through a list, using some nicknames, for players like Andersson, Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Gustav Nyquist, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss.

“I think Andy’s been really good,” Babcock said. “I think Glenie’s been really good. I think Sheahan and Jurco had their best games.

“Nyke’s got to get going. Mule’s got to get going. Z’s got to get going.

“Now, you can say all that — (but) they’ve played one game.

“So, it’s a process to get yourself to where you feel real good. That’s what they’re trying to do.”

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line - Ted Nolan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“We do everything in our power to stop an offensive guy from scoring goals,. We do things to break a system, yet when we have fighters on another team we want to fight him? I don’t know why. …

“There’s a purpose for aggressive play, but there has to be a purpose (for fighting) — without it there’s no reason to do it.”

-Ted Nolan, head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.  More from Nolan and a few other coaches by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ted+nolan

Steven Stamkos Getting His Game Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,

When Lightning captain Steven Stamkos takes the ice tonight for his first exhibition action, he'll do so looking - and feeling - more like his old self.

Stamkos said his surgically-repaired right leg feels much better than he did late last season, when he returned after missing 45 games following surgery to repair a broken tibia. While tonight's game against the Stars will provide a better barometer, he's already seen a big difference in practice and scrimmages.

"I think it's that first couple steps, that explosiveness that is a big part of my game," Stamkos said. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in that regards. We'll have to wait and see until the game, but in practices and scrimmages the skating is an asset of mine and I thought I was kind of a step back last year even when I did some back. I'm feeling good, feeling confident and mentally I'm in a much better state as well. You don't realize how much that has an affect on your game until you go through an injury like that and you find yourself protecting that spot a lot of instead of thinking maybe the next play, which I usually do. I'm in a better state that way as well."

The coaches have noticed it,, too.

continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Jacob Markstrom Placed On Waivers By The Vancouver Canucks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Vancouver Canucks have placed goaltender Jacob Markstrom on waivers.

The 24-year-old netminder was acquired from the Florida in March as part of the trade that sent Roberto Luongo back to the Panthers.

Markstrom appeared in four games with the Canucks last season, posting a 1-2-0 record with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .868 save percentage.

Originally selected in the second round (31st overall) by the Panthers, Markstrom has appeared in 47 career NHL games, posting a 12-27-0-5 record with an .896 save percentage and a 3.19 goals-against.

The Swedish netminder has one year remaining on his current contract worth an average annual value of $1.2 million. he is slated to become a restricted free agent at season's end.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacob+markstrom

The Canucks’ Physiotherapist

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Trevor Linden and his crew made a lot of interesting moves in the off-season in hopes of helping the Vancouver Canucks’ fortunes, but one of the best — which may have slipped under the radar — was bringing in physiotherapist Rick Celebrini as a consultant.

Celebrini is tremendously well known already in this city for his work with Steve Nash for many years and more recently with Kevin Bieksa, and of course as a consultant to the Vancouver Whitecaps as well as co-founding Fortius Sports, and his best work often comes without anyone really knowing it’s happening.

While everyone knows that he works with individuals after they’ve been injured or are looking to better overcome an injury, one of the mainstays of his work with the Canucks is expected to be injury prevention, something he feels can be tackled with some success.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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