Kukla's Korner

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Wednesday Evening Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- Heard through the gossip line that a few teams had reached out to Detroit about Andreas Athanasiou when there were some battles over his ice time. Red Wings GM Ken Holland wouldn’t comment, but another team indicated he told them not to even bother asking unless “a 22-year-old top-pair defenceman” was part of the conversation. The Wings have told clubs they are “open for business,” but won’t consider moving any of their young offensive cornerstones unless that kind of player is potentially available. My sense is the same goes for Petr Mrazek. Thomas Vanek likely goes (and could come back in the summer). They will discuss re-signing Brendan Smith in the next few days before a decision on trading him.

- I’m also not certain Detroit will trade Mike Green. He’s got one year to go on his contract, and they need offence from the defence. He delivers. In fact, it’s possible they discuss a short extension, as he’s eligible for a new deal on July 1.

- Thought Patrick Eaves would be a perfect fit to re-sign in Dallas, but word is there have been no talks. So he’s going somewhere. Like Vanek, that doesn’t preclude a reunion later on. Get your asset and “see you in July,” maybe.

- Most-watched body part: Johnny Oduya’s ankle. There is a lot of respect around the league for the defenceman’s game, and, in a perfect world, he’d be an easy pickup for a contender. But, some GMs are leery of his injury, which knocked him out of the lineup in mid-January. Ankles are problematic things.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Look At The NHL Draft

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

“Nolan Patrick is a good solid player and (Nico) Hischier is a good solid player but they are not in a class with those four – they are just not,” said TSN director of scouting Craig Button, a former NHL team executive with almost three decades of scouting experience.

This year’s non-playoff teams won’t find the star power or depth that has been available in the past two years in the draft.

“The top guys are going to be able to have an impact on their NHL clubs,” said Dan Marr, the NHL's director of central scouting. “But the list does get shallow pretty quick.”

Patrick, a 6-3 Western Hockey League center, is the consensus No. 1 pick. He was injured early this season, but has continued to strengthen his status. He has 14 goals and 33 points in 21 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“He has impacted at every level he has played at so far,” Marr said. “He has the size, strength, power package. He has hockey sense, a good skill set. And he does all of the little things.”

Marr said Patrick is a two-way center who works at all facets, including being proficient in the face-off circle.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Night in Punjabi

From Harnarayan Singh at the Players' Tribune:

Nearly a decade before I became known worldwide as the broadcaster who called out, “BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! NICK BONINOOOOOOOO!” on the air after Penguins center Nick Bonino scored one of the biggest goals of the 2016 Stanley Cup finals, I was just a 21-year-old hockey fanatic living in Calgary, Alberta. I was contemplating whether to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a hockey broadcaster, or to give in to those who cautioned me about the unlikelihood of achieving my goal. Then, in 2008, while sitting at my desk as a reporter for the CBC, I got a call from Joel Darling, an executive producer with Hockey Night in Canada, the television program based in Toronto.

He had an idea for me.

The CBC was looking to spearhead a diversity project that would entail covering hockey in my native tongue of Punjabi, and they wanted me to serve as a commentator. I was surprised by the idea, but I’m pretty sure I said yes before Joel could even explain the whole thing.

Within a few weeks, there I was with my colleague at the time, Parminder, calling the 2008 Stanley Cup finals on Hockey Night in Canada. With Punjabi being the third-most-spoken language in Canada behind English and French, the idea actually wasn’t as farfetched as it may have seemed. Once the finals were over, though, I wasn’t exactly sure what would come of it.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Auston Matthews And Patrik Laine Battles Are Just Starting

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Let this be a reminder about why there’s so much hype when Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine are due to face one another.

It’s not so much a showdown between top picks from the 2016 draft, with personal stakes or a determination about who is ahead in some mythical race without a finish line.

No, it’s an event. Pure and simple.

These are two of the three best players in the NHL’s next generation and when you get them in the same arena the odds of seeing something magical dramatically improve.

“(They mean) a lot to the league, but maybe more to Canada,” Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice said before Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss against Toronto. “This is such a passion across the country and (there’s) appreciation for young players. For stars, for gifts, right?

“We’ve all been on the ice as players and we all know how much better Patty and Auston are than we are.”


Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: auston+matthews, patrik+laine

The Rise Of Misha Donskov

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

The tour bus pulled to a stop in a Westerville neighborhood early in September. One by one, some of the biggest names in the NHL — Toronto coach Mike Babcock, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, Washington coach Barry Trotz, Detroit general manager Ken Holland, to name a few — filed onto the curb and into the Donskov family home.

Misha Donskov quit a lucrative job with Dublin-based Cardinal Health in 2009 to pursue his dream of a career at the highest levels of hockey. Only seven years later, Team Canada's staff gathered at his home on the eve of an exhibition game against Team USA.

"It was surreal," Donskov said, who served on the coaching staff for Team Canada in the World Cup. "And to be able to share that with my family, it was pretty awesome."

Paul Donskov, the family patriarch, shared a back-porch beer with Babcock. His wife, Debbie, spun tales of home on an inside sofa with St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. Brother Anthony smoked cigars in the side yard with Quenneville, talking hockey.

"I just remember looking around that night and thinking that all the decisions I made — some of the risks I took — all led me to this time and place, and all of them were worth it," Donskov said. "It honestly was the coolest hockey experience of my life."

Donskov, who turns 40 in April, is just getting started.

Months before the World Cup, Donskov was hired as director of hockey operations for the NHL's expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, which begins play next season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: misha+donskov, vegas+golden+knights

Video- Carey Price Or Petr Mrazek?

And the better save of the night goes to?

Carey Price...



Or Petr Mrazek?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price, petr+mrazek

NHL Short Notes

Home Team in Caps
Pittsburgh 3, CAROLINA 1
Montreal 3, NY RANGERS 2 (SO)
Ottawa 2, NEW JERSEY 1
NY Islanders 3, DETROIT 1
TAMPA BAY 4, Edmonton 1
TORONTO 5, Winnipeg 4 (OT)
Chicago 5, MINNESOTA 3
Calgary 6, NASHVILLE 5 (OT)
Los Angeles 2, COLORADO 1
Rookie forwards Auston Matthews (0-3—3) and Patrik Laine (2-0—2) – the top two picks from the 2016 NHL Draft – each recorded multiple points in their second and final meeting of the season as the Maple Leafs defeated the Jets in thrilling fashion, with Matthews notching the lone assist on Jake Gardiner’s overtime goal.
* At 28-20-11 (67 points), the Maple Leafs again leapfrogged the idle Panthers (28-20-10, 66 points) and Bruins (30-23-6, 66 points) into third place in the Atlantic Division.
* Elias notes that Matthews, 19, became just the second teenager in franchise history to record at least 50 points in a season (28-24—52), joining Ted Kennedy who tallied 29-25—54 as a 19-year-old in 1944-45 (49 GP).
* Matthews registered at least three points for the fourth time this season to move within two points of Laine (30-24—54) for the rookie scoring lead. William Nylander (1-1—2) factored on two tying goals for the Maple Leafs, who have three players among the top four in rookie scoring: Matthews, Mitchell Marner (15-33—48) and Nylander (17-25—42).

* Laine, who has five goals in two games vs. TOR this season (also 3-0—3 on Oct. 19), became the first rookie in Jets/Thrashers franchise history to score 30 goals in a season, besting the previous mark of 29 set by Ilya Kovalchuk in 2001-02. Elias notes that Laine, who ranks second in goals behind Sidney Crosby (33), became just the fifth rookie in the past 25 seasons to score 30 goals in 55 or fewer games played.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Heinz Field to Host Second Cheapest Stadium Series Game

By Tim Dolan,

Traveling to Pittsburgh might not be so burdensome after all: Saturday’s Stadium Series between the Penguins and Flyers is posting near-record low ticket prices on the resale market. On TicketIQ, a search engine that collects ticket data from over 90 percent of the market, Stadium Series tickets are now averaging $178. That makes it the second cheapest Stadium Series game since 2014, trailing only a 2016 matchup between the Wild and Blackhawks ($160 average).

For fans looking just to get past the gates at Heinz Field this weekend the cheapest tickets are currently listed from $91 each. Take a look at where Stadium Series ticket prices stack up all time below: 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line- Michael Arace

It would have taken minimal effort to flash a picture of Johansen on the Jumbotron and have the PA announcer say, "Fans, welcome back Ryan Johansen," before the game, or during an intermission. It would have drawn some cheers and a few boos, and it would have been done, no sweat.

Johansen's contention: He received no "thank you" because Jackets management is still hot about the vicious contract negotiations that took place in the summer of 2014. If he is right, it speaks to a certain pettiness on the Jackets' part. I would hope that management here is not so small-minded. It would be bad for business.

Yet, Johansen's plea for martyrdom does not come off well, either. He has the size and skill to do his talking on the ice, he should have been supremely motivated, and he played one of his average games — which is why he was traded in the first place.

-Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch where you can read more on this...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen

Mike Smith Not A Fan Of The Concussion Protocol

from Bob McManaman of azcentral,

 Mike Smith didn’t allow a single goal that counted in practice on Tuesday, but the Coyotes goalie was still hopping mad a day after being removed from Monday night’s game against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

Shortly after stepping off the ice following a brisk workout at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Smith told azcentral sports that the NHL’s concussion protocol system needs an overhaul.

“I think there’s a lot of flaws in the system, especially with the goalie position, and it needs to get fixed,” Smith said, adding, “What stops a fourth liner from going and bumping into a goalie? It’s just a two-minute penalty to get your starting goalie out? I don’t think it’s happened in a playoff game yet, but I’m sure it will.”...

“When your helmet comes off in a game and you’re the goalie and the whistle hasn’t gotten blown, I think your first instinct is to probably protect your face,” Smith said, explaining what happened Monday night. “I think that was the reason why I did what I did and it has nothing to do with you being injured. It was more to protect myself before the whistle got blown. I didn’t agree with the call at all.


watch the incident below...

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+smith

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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