Kukla's Korner

Fan Puts $400 On The Blues In January, Could Win $100K

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Rovell of the Action Network,

In January, Scott Berry found himself in Las Vegas on a business trip, pressed for time.

He usually plays the table games for a couple hundred bucks before making a bet on one of his sports teams, but he was so overworked that he felt like he could only make one bet.

So he headed over to the sportsbook at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. A big sports fan, but not a big bettor, Berry looked up at the board. His St. Louis Blues were 250-1 ($1 wins $250) to win the Stanley Cup.

The Blues, who have never won the Stanley Cup and are tied with the Maple Leafs for the longest championship drought in the NHL at 51 years, were not good at the time and were famously in last place in the entire NHL on Jan. 2. Still, 250-1 seemed a bit high, so Berry waltzed over to the nearby Bellagio to check the price on the Blues.

They were 150-to-1.

“So I sprinted back to the Paris and put down everything I had planned on spending on gambling — $400,” Berry said. “To win $100,000 sounded really good.”


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

Before Tuesday’s Game 6 Between The Blues And Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,

The St. Louis Blues are on the verge of something that has been dreamed about in this city for nearly 50 years, but the players who can make it happen say they aren't dreaming about it at all.

That, they say, will be the key to prospering in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks at Enterprise Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).

Win, and the Blues play the Boston Bruins beginning May 27 in their first Stanley Cup Final since losing to the Bruins in 1970. Lose, and there will be a Game 7 at SAP Center on Thursday....

The Sharks are 4-0 in elimination games during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blues, who have never won the Cup, are 2-0 in games when they can advance. They defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Game 6 of the first round and eliminated the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the second overtime of Game 7 in the second round.

"This is a group that treats every game the same way," St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo said Monday. "We have done that pretty much for the whole second half of the season leading up to this point. That's why we have been such a resilient group."

read on

Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com on the Sharks,

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Colin Miller May Be On The Way Out In Las Vegas

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

With the Golden Knights set to shed salary this offseason, it was only a matter of time before other clubs started putting out feelers for potential trades.

One name that continues to be mentioned is Colin Miller.

The defenseman struggled through injuries and multiple stints in coach Gerard Gallant’s doghouse this past season and now is on the trading block, according to multiple reports.

“We didn’t expect to be having summer this early and it’s frustrating, but there’s always things you can learn,” Miller said during his exit interview with the media last month. “We have the right pieces in place, and hopefully the future’s very bright.”

Miller led the Knights’ defensemen in scoring during the team’s inaugural season, but he couldn’t match that level of consistency throughout 2018-19.

He never appeared comfortable in the shutdown role alongside Brayden McNabb during the first 20 games while Nate Schmidt was serving his suspension and missed 13 games from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15 with an upper-body injury.

Miller then fell out of favor with Gallant during the second half and was a healthy scratch for two games on two separate occasions.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: colin+miller, vegas+golden+knights

Is Ryan Callahan A Fit For The Detroit Red Wings?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Joe Smith of The Athletic,

With the Lightning having $74 million of an expected $83 million salary cap committed to 17 players — and needing to give restricted free agent center Brayden Point a hefty raise — Callahan is expected to be moved this summer. Tampa Bay can try to deal Callahan by the June 21-22 NHL Draft in Vancouver, but they likely would need to sweeten the deal with a pick or prospect. They could also try to buy Callahan out this summer, which would require them to carry some of his $5.8 million cap hit....

With the help of my colleagues at The Athletic, here are five teams that could be potential trading partners with the Lightning in taking on Callahan....

Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings beat writer Max Bultman:
The Red Wings are a natural fit for Callahan for several reasons. First, they have the cap space to take on his deal with little to no trouble. Second, their forward situation is such that Callahan would be a legitimate upgrade on their third line and potentially even a natural fit to play opposite rookie Filip Zadina on a line. And, lastly, because they have Steve Yzerman, the GM who brought Callahan to Tampa in the first place and happens to have the most intimate possible knowledge of the Lightning farm system when it comes to picking out an asset as a sweetener.

A Julien BriseBois-Yzerman negotiation over prospects they once oversaw together would be a fascinating process and, considering the number of intriguing players at the AHL level for Tampa Bay, probably ultimately fruitful for both sides. You have to expect BriseBois to draw the line at the some of the top guns like Joseph, Cirelli or even Barre-Boulet, but because Callahan’s hit wouldn’t be a massive burden on Detroit, someone like Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Carter Verhaeghe or Connor Ingram could still be worthwhile for the Red Wings. Detroit would have to live with clogging up a lineup spot with yet another veteran, but utilizing their available cap space on Callahan would allow them to add a prospect from a system that continues to turn out skilled players. If it ends up making them better next season, too, so much the better.

more ($$$) teams and more on Callahan who is 34 years old...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Team Canada Head Coach Alain Vigneault On Anthony Mantha

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

“He’s a guy who is solid in one-on-one situations, very powerful, really good skills, good hands and able to release a good shot. So far his line with Kyle (Turris, of the Predators) and Jared (McCann, of Pittsburgh) has been our most consistent, offensively as much as defensively. They support each other well and in Anthony’s case, so far he’s been competing with a lot of grit, a lot of intensity, and when you have that talent and that frame, that makes a good hockey player.”

Max Bultman of The Athletic (paid subscription) has more on Mantha.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

The Cup Conversation Is Fading Again For The San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

...the Sharks have a lot of numbers that mean almost nothing, and certainly less to them than the zero Stanley Cups the franchise has won while winning more games than any NHL team over the last 15 seasons.

In that span, the Sharks have made the playoffs 14 times, and in 10 of these seasons advanced past the first round and into the NHL’s final eight. And yet, they’ve played in only one Stanley Cup Final and lost that one in 2016 to Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

San Jose is 1-3 in Western Conference finals, and the betting favourite is now 1-4 after the Sharks were hammered 5-0 Sunday on home ice by the St. Louis Blues, who took a 3-2 lead in this year’s West final.

When the Sharks play Game 6 Tuesday in Missouri, they will surpass the Penguins for the most playoff games since 2004. But Pittsburgh has three Stanley Cups in that time.

Doug Wilson became San Jose’s general manager in 2003 and has never had a down cycle, never needed nor wanted to rebuild, never finished with fewer than 89 points in a full season. By almost any measure, this is an incredible, almost unfathomable, run of prolonged success.

But even with a .629 winning percentage the last 15 seasons, the Sharks are known as much for their failure in springtime as their success during winter.


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

Staying Or Going And Some In Between

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

...it wouldn’t be surprising to see Yzerman do some tweaking this offseason, in an effort to strengthen the roster. The hard part for Yzerman will be the simple fact the Wings don’t have many players who would attract significant building blocks.

Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha, two young players who showed meaningful progress last season, might be the only pieces who could fetch a big return.

Otherwise, there are several veteran defensemen who are likely to be dealt at some point during the season or before, including Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson and Mike Green.

Here's a look at the Red Wings roster, with a forecast on who's staying and who's going.

Likely staying
Justin Abdelkader, F
: Buying out Abdelkader would mean a salary cap hit between $1.2 million and $2.46 million until 2027-28. He has four more years left on his present contract ($4.25 million cap hit) and at age 32, needs to rebound from three declining years.

Jacob de la Rose, F: An accelerated heartbeat ended de la Rose’s season in mid-March, but he had a procedure that apparently fixed the issue. He showed enough to be a part of the fourth line.

Andreas Athanasiou, F: After a 30-goal season where Athanasiou showed significant growth on and off the ice, the only reason Athanasiou isn’t “definitely” staying is that he would fetch a nice return in any trade. And the Wings don’t have an abundance of valuable trade pieces.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Video- Slow Motion Action From The First Two Rounds Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Just a little over nine minutes to watch.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Team Great Britain At The World Championship

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brian Pinelli of the New York Times,

The N.H.L.’s best teams may be competing for a cup named after an Englishman — Lord Stanley, a governor general of Canada who has been dead for over a century — but the ties between Britain and the sport’s highest levels usually end there.

Now, however, Britain’s national men’s ice hockey team is competing at the I.I.H.F. world championship for the first time in 25 years....

“No one knows anything about U.K. hockey, and the first couple of days here people were laughing at us,” defenseman Ben O’Connor said. “We go out and lose, 3-1, to Germany, and they’re not laughing at us anymore.

“Just because you’re from England doesn’t mean you have to play football, or soccer,” he added. “We can play hockey too.”...

Against an American team captained by the three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane on May 15, Britain held on valiantly for 60 minutes. The score was tied, 1-1, nearly halfway through the game, before the United States pulled away for a 6-3 win.

“To play like we did and be in that game was special,” said O’Connor, who regularly skates for the Sheffield Steelers, one of the Elite league’s most popular teams. “You catch yourself thinking, ‘Patrick Kane is coming down on me.’ It’s surreal.”

Forward Colin Shields, 39, a member of the Belfast Giants of the Elite league, recently announced his retirement and is playing his final tournament for the national team.

“To line up against some of the players on Team U.S.A. was definitely a moment I’ll never forget and one of the greatest games I’ve been a part of in my career,” Shields said.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+great+britain

Do The San Jose Sharks Have Another Comeback In Them?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,

So while the Sharks showed their mettle by coming back from a three-games-to-one deficit against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round, and gutted out a Game 7 win over the Colorado Avalanche in the second, the headwinds they’re facing right now are unlike any they’ve had to deal with so far in the playoffs.

They feel much, much stronger.

“For sure we’ve been here before and had to go and win on the road in Vegas in order to get to a Game 7,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “You’re never comfortable when your backs against the wall like that, but we have been here before and found a way. I’m confident we can do that again.”

Count Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski as being among the walking wounded for the Sharks. Their availability for Tuesday’s Game 6 has to be considered in question.

While Karlsson’s injury issues are nothing new, Hertl was injured in the first period after a high hit by Ivan Barbashev. He played only about five minutes after that. Pavelski caught an elbow to the head from Alex Pietrangelo early in the third period, and did not return.

“We’re still alive,” Sharks center Logan Couture said. “We’ve been in this spot before, going to Vegas down 3-2 in a very difficult building. St. Louis is similar, it’s a tough building against a good team. A structured team. We scored one goal in the last two games, that’s not going to cut it. We’re not doing enough around their net or creating enough opportunities on second chances.”


Below, watch a short GIF of the high hit on Hertl.

Continue Reading »

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

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