Kukla's Korner

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The Montreal Canadiens, Not Yet Elite

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

So maybe two rounds, but no more than that. And for even two rounds to happen, Price and Pacioretty have to step up and have great playoff runs, something neither has done in the past. We know Alexander Radulov will be a beast, I have a feeling Andrew Shaw will be gritty and good, and Brendan Gallagher, who appeared to be washed up in the first half of the season, seems to be coming to life at the right time.

Weber? Jury’s out. He looked simply horrible at the end of the Predators’ playoff run last year and he’s been decidedly ordinary for a few months. So we’ll see.

I still don’t think they’re an elite squad. Put in the simplest terms, it’s near-impossible to imagine that a team with Phillip Danault as the first-line centre is a contender.

But you’re all right, now is not the time for negativity. The playoffs start Wednesday, the bars across the city are going to be packed with excited fans, and I’ll be there at the Taverne Normand on Mont-Royal Ave. E. cheering on the lads with all my buddies who’ve been giving me the gears all these years for being too much of a downer. In short, bring it on!


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Dale Tallon Needs To Be In Charge Of The Florida Panthers

from Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel,

If I own the Panthers, I hand the keys back to Dale Tallon. I pray he convinces Gerard Gallant to return as coach. I close my eyes and pretend this year never happened.

The Panthers delivered their traditional parting gift to a lost season Thursday night by having players take off game jerseys and hand them to fans. The braintrust that oversaw the train wreck this season did that jersey tradition one better.

They were undressed completely. Everyone can see, in retrospect, how the front office crushed this season with self-inflicted mistakes.

A year ago, the Panthers were an ascending NHL franchise by any regular-season measure — wins, points, division title, talented young players, blue-ribbon organization and that conversational metric of closest South Florida team to a title.

Then the Panthers’ owners, Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, decided to “fix” their “problems.” Tallon, whose golden personnel decisions as GM built the team, was oddly kicked upstairs to the nebulous role of president of hockey operations. His roster was changed, his organization dismantled.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Gary Bettman Did Not Get The Job Done

from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

When the NHL announced last week it would not permit its players to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the news was disappointing but not surprising. The league had been swinging that stick for a while and opted to get the unpleasantness out of the way before the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Gary Bettman isn't an easy repository for pity, but the commissioner did find himself caught in an untenable position between owners who hate the Olympic tournament and players who love it. And guess who he works for?

A stronger commissioner might have been able to massage the situation, convincing owners that a 16-day annoyance every four years is less trouble in the long run than the public relations gaffe of taking a strong stand against patriotism and the flag - in this case, many flags.

Bettman has been a willing attack dog for management in several collective bargaining disputes - to the point of canceling an entire season - so, again, it wasn't a shock he took his puck and went home after the league was unable to wring concessions from both the International Olympic Committee and the players association, concessions he probably understood would never be made.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

NHL Short Notes

Home Team in Caps
Tampa Bay 4, MONTREAL 2
Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) scored his 40th goal of the season as the Lightning (41-30-10, 92 points) improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Tampa Bay moved within a point of the Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and will conclude its regular-season schedule on Sunday against the Sabres at Amalie Arena.


* Kucherov became just the fifth Lightning player to record a 40-goal season, joining Brian BradleyVincent Lecavalier (2), Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos (4). He has set career-highs in goals, assists (44) and points (84) this season and trails only Sidney Crosby (43) in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.
Yanni Gourde (2-0—2) recorded his first career multi-goal game and has scored five times over his last seven contests after finding the net just once in his first 14 NHL games.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Team USA Wins Gold At Women’s World Championship

Hilary Knight wins it in OT.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hilary+knight, team+usa

Evening Line- Eugene Melnyk

"There’s a certain point in the season, as an owner, where you need to make a bet. You either bet for the team going into the playoffs and on further, as far as you can and, hopefully, to a Stanley Cup and, when you get there, everything is up in the air, you’re now in the Stanley Cup final and it’s got its own dynamic.

“Or, you bet against the team, and you say, ‘You know what, let’s save as much money as we can, we’re going to have revamp this team, that’s three of four years we’re not in the playoffs, we’ve got to change.’ I can’t fire anymore coaches, we’ve done enough of that, so then you’ve got really stick your hands into it and say, ‘Let’s go through every single player and see why this person is going to get us a Stanley Cup next year.’

“I made the bet for the team.”

-Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senators.  Bruce Garrioach at the Ottawa Citizen ha more from Melnyk.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Goodbye Shane Doan?

from Dan Bickley of azcentral sports,

After 21 years of unparalleled service, Shane Doan could be down to his final game as captain of the Arizona Coyotes.

Cheer like you’ll never see him again.

Doan hasn’t made up his mind about whether he’s finished as a NHL player. That won’t change before Saturday’s faceoff. This inconvenient truth makes it impossible for a staged love-in at Gila River Arena when the Coyotes wrap up their season with a game against Minnesota.

Doan, 40, doesn’t look like he has much left in the tank. He certainly has nothing left to prove. He’s also endured an extremely frustrating season, from freak injuries to the salary-dump trade of teammate Martin Hanzal to diminished ice time.

His unshakable faith in the organization has been tested like never before.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shane+doan

Will Butcher Wins The 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

from College Hockey News,

Friday evening at the Aon Ballroom on Chicago's Navy Pier, Denver senior captain Will Butcher was named the winner of the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Named for the former Princeton legend and World War I veteran, the Award is given annually to the top player in Division I men's college hockey. Butcher is the first defenseman to win the award since 2009 (Matt Gilroy, Boston University). The Sun Prairie, Wis., native was also the first blueliner since '09 to be named to the 'Hobey Hat Trick' as one of three finalists for the prestigious award.

All season, Butcher — a 2013 fifth-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche — has anchored the best statistical defense in the nation. The Pioneers enter Saturday's championship game against league rival Minnesota-Duluth having allowed 1.81 goals per game on average this season. Widely considered the best all-around defenseman in the nation, Butcher has chipped in offensively, too, with seven goals and 30 assists.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: will+butcher

Video- Nick Ritchie Suspended Two Games For Roughing

The NHL explains the suspension.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+ritchie

Afternoon Line- Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams On Trevor Linden

"You know, Linden was loved by all the fans in the Lower Mainland and in British Columbia, but he’s the worst guy you could have running the Vancouver Canucks. He’s had no experience, and to throw him into that job that was a bad decision by the ownership group and it’s still a bad decision. If the ownership group, if they don’t know what they’re doing either, they’re hiring the wrong people, then you’ve really got an issue. And I think they’ve really got an issue.

"They've got a great coach, they've got great assistant coaches, they got good scouts, but their leadership at the top is zero."   

-Dave 'Tiger' Williams regarding Trevor Linden.  TSN has more...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+tiger+williams, trevor+linden

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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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