Kukla's Korner

Red Wings-Islanders game-day post: Wings emphasize attacking the net; is Lashoff on the block?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings and Islanders' morning skates ahead of tonight's tilt between the teams (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM) were very quiet affairs news-wise. Johan Franzen's back in the lineup for Detroit, Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk will rejoin the Islanders' defense, and Jaroslav Halak will oppose Jimmy Howard as their respective teams' starting goalies.

The Wings are of course opening up a set of 3 home games in 5 nights (vs. the Isles tonight, the Avs on Sunday and the Sabres on Tuesday) amidst a 4-game winless streak (0-1-and-3) and amidst a schedule in which the team will have 1 more home game in 2014, New Year's Eve's game against New Jersey, before embarking on a road trip that lasts until January 17th, admist a crapton of January and February road games.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose posited a pair of Tweets of team-vs-team-statistical note...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Should The Boston Bruins Trade Milan Lucic?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

There have been whispers of the Bruins and Blues circling each other for weeks now, but the initial scuttlebutt suggested something smaller was in the works—maybe a deal for the rights to malcontent center (and former Bruin) Vladimir Sobotka, who is currently plying his trade in the faltering KHL. But as the two teams struggle to meet preseason expectations, it's thought that the pot has gotten a little richer and could well include a swap of top-six wingers.

The appeal of Lucic to the Blues is obvious. If they hope to get past the Blackhawks, Ducks and Kings they need to be heavier up front. And Lucic, when he's on his game, is as heavy as they come.

Boston, meanwhile, needs someone that can help them set a higher pace. A bit of an edge would be nice, but speed and scoring touch are paramount. Oshie is struggling this season, but is coming off a 21-goal, 60-point campaign highlighted by his stunning performance in the Olympics for Team USA. He has the wheels and the tools to fill that hole.

more plus other NHL topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: milan+lucic

Olli Maatta Has The Mumps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Defenseman Olli Maatta has tested positive for the mumps and remains in isolation, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford announced today.

Goaltender Thomas Greiss and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo have tested negative.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: olli+maatta

Red Wings-Islanders morning skate Tweetapalooza: Franzen’s in

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 3x at 11:49 AM: The Red Wings face a stiff task in attempting to snapt their their 4-game losing streak (0-1-and-3) against the New York Islanders this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM), and none of the Wings' 3 remaining games will be anything less than challenging. 

The Avs will come to town Sunday (6 PM start) having battled the Buffalo Sabres the previous evening, and those surging Sabres wrap up the Wings' home-friendly schedule when they visit on Tuesday (7:30 PM).

After that, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted, the Wings play 3 more games in 2014, with only the New Year's Eve game against New Jersey taking place at home; then a 6-game road trip kicks off road-heavy January and February schedules.

Tonight's opponent will receive blueline reinforcements in the form of Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic; Johan Franzen should return to the Wings' lineup after battling a set of ailments that most likely spurned his 10-game scoreless streak; according to NHL.com's game notes, Brad Watson and Francis Charron will referee tonight's game, with Trent Knorr and Mark Wheeler working the lines.

When the morning skate began, there were no surprises from MLive's Ansar Khan...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

REMINDER: HOLIDAY ROSTER FREEZE
For all players on an NHL active roster, injured reserve, or with non-roster and injured non-roster status as of midnight (local time) tonight, a roster freeze shall apply through midnight (local time) on Saturday, Dec. 27, with respect to waivers, trades and loans, subject to the exceptions provided for in CBA Article 16.5 (d).

STREAK BUSTERS
The Capitals, Hurricanes and Kings recorded victories on Thursday to halt the winning streaks of the Blue Jackets (7), Maple Leafs (6) and Blues (5), respectively.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The St. Louis Blues Cannot Win In Los Angeles

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Sometimes we talk in terms of Superman and Kryptonite when we're talking about the effect the Montreal Canadiens have on the Boston Bruins. The same dynamic is at play when the St. Louis Blues visit the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blues jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead at Staples Center Thursday night only to have the Kings outscore them 6-1 the rest of the way en route to a wild 6-4 win. According to the Kings' PR staff, the win was the sixth in a row for the Kings over the Blues on home ice.

The Blues have not won in Los Angeles since March 2011. More importantly for a Kings team just hanging around in the Pacific Division, the win marked an explosive night for the team's top players as Anze Kopitar had a five-point night (1 goal, four assists) and Marian Gaborik extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with a pair. He has five goals and one assist over that period. Both Gaborik and Kopitar have been beset by injuries and their production has been uncharacteristically tepid through the first 30 games of the season. If Thursday is any indication, though, look out Blues and look out Western Conference.

read on for Custance on Mike Green and the Capitals, LeBrun on Saku Koivu and Strang on the Jets...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Friday Morning Thoughts On Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- With the Holiday Trade Freeze rapidly approaching, Boston and St. Louis are two interesting teams to watch, not just because they’ve been talking to each other. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is contacting teams with space, seeing what it will cost for them to take players off his roster, so he can free up room to do what he wants. Curious to see if those second-round selections he acquired for Johnny Boychuk are in his plans. For both Chiarelli and Blues’ compatriot Doug Armstrong, it’s not just about this year. Boston, in a tight spot, must deal with Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith in the summer. Armstrong knows the next two years mean extensions for Jake Allen, Jori Lehtera, Jaden Schwartz and breakout sensation Vladimir Tarasenko. With all of the cap uncertainty, you’ve got to be careful.

- If your team is looking for defencemen, watch Anaheim. Ben Lovejoy’s return gives them eight blueliners, with Eric Brewer (expected to be back in January) making nine. That gives Bob Murray some flexibility. Winnipeg added Jay Harrison to stop the bleeding, and Minnesota is another team looking for depth there.

- If there’s one thing Arizona needs, it’s young forwards who can score. That’s the key to Keith Yandle (A nice, high draft pick wouldn’t hurt, either). But Don Maloney is making it clear that he will not do anything with Yandle unless it provides a long-term solution. It’s also possible some teams who don’t desperately need a centre take a look at Antoine Vermette. He can play the wing, and versatility never hurts.

more including Cory Sarich wants one more shot at the NHL...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Preview And Notes New York Islanders/Detroit Red Wings

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from TSN,

The New York Islanders have been perfect when taken beyond regulation. Their next opponent has been far from it.

The Detroit Red Wings might not mind avoiding another shootout after losing three during their season-high skid, which they'll try to end Friday night against the Islanders at Joe Louis Arena.

New York (21-10-0) has been off since Monday, when it improved to 9-0 after regulation with a 3-2 shootout victory over New Jersey. Josh Bailey had the winner in the tiebreaker and started a rally from a two-goal deficit by scoring in the second period.

Of the Islanders' 15 wins in their past 20 games, eight have come via overtime or shootout.

"We have a lot of confidence, whether it's in OT or shootout," Bailey said. "We have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net."...

New York now tries to avoid a season-worst third consecutive road defeat when it faces a Red Wings team that's dropped four in a row overall. Detroit (17-7-8) lost 1-0 in a shootout to Columbus on Tuesday and dropped to 1-6 in that format this season.

Jimmy Howard has been in net for all six of those defeats - backup Petr Mrazek started the only win. Howard has stopped just 11 of 15 shootout attempts for a 26.7 percent success rate, the NHL's worst among goaltenders to have appeared in more than one. By comparison, Islanders goalies Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson have each stopped 80.0 percent....

Pavel Datsyuk is 2 for 3 in the past three shootout losses - all at home - but his teammates have gone 0 for 5. The Red Wings, 3-8 after regulation, are trying to avoid losing five straight overall and four in a row at home for the first time since December 2013.

more

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Praising Mike Green

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,

Here was the Mike Green everyone knew, or at least the one everyone remembered, revived and tearing through all three zones, while everyone else tried to catch up. He zipped across the defensive blue line. He caught one opponent flat-footed and blew straight past. He faked a slap shot and raced by another. He bolted through the right faceoff circle, curled parallel to the goal line, angled himself and, with a simple nudge, slipped the winning pass back into the middle as the Blue Jackets stared.

“He looks slow, but he’s buzzing pretty fast,” forward Michael Latta said. “Hell of a player.”

“Ghost-like,” Coach Barry Trotz said later. “You might not notice him, might not notice them, then – bang – he’s there on offense and he creates something.”

continued

Game highlights are below...

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

Morning Line- John Scott

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“You know players in the league who dive a lot and embellish a little bit. It’s good to single them out. Maybe they’ll be a little embarrassed.

“We don’t need that in the game. We don’t need it to turn into soccer, where it’s embarrassing and where you get rewarded for it.

“Nobody wants to be known as a diver. I hope it stops, it’s a garbage part of the game and it should be out.”

-John Scott of the San Jose Sharks. More diving reaction and some Edmonton Oilers notes from Robert Tychkowski if the Edmonton Sun.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+scott

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