Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Emperor’s still cold

Good morning, George here. I wanted to let you know that Paul's still without power two days after 65-mile-per-hour gusts pulled down power lines throughout Southeastern Michigan, and right now there are still 400,000 Michiganders without power in SE MI.

DTE Energy has stated that 90% of people affected by the power outages will get their power back by Sunday, but there are no indications as to when any specific area will get its power back. I spoke with Paul last night, and he's very cold in the 25-degree weather.

For the moment, you're stuck with me, and today is a Red Wings game day, so that's going to be my focus. I'll do my best to get hockey stories to you, but I'm still baffled as to how Paul stays on top of everything, so I'm admittedly no substitute for The Emperor.

Send him warm thoughts!

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Lightning lose pair to knee injuries

Pretty scary stuff here. Vladislav Namestnikov got tied up with Zach Parise in the Lightning-Wild game...

And then Tyler Johnson was the victim of a knee-on-knee hit by Nino Niederreiter:

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  Tags: minnesota+wild, nino+niederreiter, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson, vladislav+namestnikov, zach+parise

Penguins’ Sestito gets 4 games for boarding Enstrom

PENGUINS’ SESTITO SUSPENDED FOUR GAMES FOR BOARDING

NEW YORK (March 9, 2017) – Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Sestito has been suspended for four games, without pay, for boardin Winnipeg Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom during NHL Game No. 984 in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 8, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 13:10 of the first period. Sestito was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Sestito will forfeit $12,777.76. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, tobias+enstrom, tom+sestito, winnipeg+jets

Is Brent Burns ‘all Hart?’

TSN's Scott Cullen issues "Three Quarter NHL Awards," and his Hart Trophy pick is...intiguging...

HART
Winner
: Brent Burns, D, San Jose
Runners-Up: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh; Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton

This is a difficult decision. Crosby has been my pick through the first two installments, but as his goal-scoring pace has slowed, it gets more reasonable to consider Burns, a defenceman who is leading the league in shots on goal and has more than a point per game. Furthermore, Burns is on pace for 34 goals, and the last time a defenceman scored that many goals, had better than a point per game and four shots on goal per game was Doug Wilson in 1981-1982 (The only other defenceman to meet those thresholds in a season was some guy by the name of Orr, three times).

This isn’t to take away from Crosby, who is having a great season, and McDavid, who is leading the league in scoring in his second season, but Burns’ season is extraordinary, and we’re far enough down the road that I’ve shifted into Burns’ corner, though it’s admittedly a close race.

Some others to consider: Chicago right winger Patrick Kane, who is suddenly second in the league with 70 points, is probably the best candidate outside the top three. Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov and Jeff Carter have all been really good, too, but not quite at the same level.

Cullen continues...

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  Tags: brent+burns, connor+mcdavid, edmonton+oilers, hart+trophy, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, sidney+crosby

Thanks, but no thanks

Finnish politeness from Philadelphia Flyers forward Valtteri Filppula:

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  Tags: philadelphia+flyers, toronto+maple+leafs, valtteri+filppula

On the trade deadline from a player’s point of view

From ESPN's Joe McDonald:

Drew Stafford hadn't seen his wife, Hali, who is pregnant with twins, or his 2-year-old son, Mason, for more than a month when he was traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Boston Bruins on March 1.

Less than 24 hours after the trade, he left Winnipeg and had a brief layover at the Minnesota airport, where he was able to see his wife at the gate for 20 minutes before Stafford, 31, continued his journey to Boston to play for his third NHL team.

"She's about 33 weeks now, so she's coming down to the wire," Stafford said after he arrived in Boston. "She can't travel, so she's back home in Minnesota. She met me at the airport to say 'hi' quickly because I haven't seen her in a while. It was nice to catch up. She's doing good, and I'm obviously monitoring that. The family stuff is extremely important to me."

The NHL trade deadline is an stressful time for players, but the personal pressure and anxiety they deal with often goes unnoticed because their teams are busy fighting for a postseason berth.

Continued

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  Tags: boston+bruins, drew+stafford, winnipeg+jets

Rangers without Nash, Lundqvist vs. Hurricanes

From the New York Rangers:

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  Tags: henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

More Matthews-vs-Laine talk

From TSN's Travis Yost:

The suddenly furious discussion around the Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews Calder Trophy race is a debate worth having, if only because what Laine has provided to his team offensively is remarkable.

As it stands today, only two players – Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Minnesota’s Jason Zucker – have been on the ice for more goals per-60 minutes than Laine. It’s a testament to his wondrous shooting capabilities and the chemistry he’s developed with his linemates.

So, yes, I think it’s a very real argument. As is the case with anything of the sort, you can slice and dice it a thousand different ways. Winnipeg fans will note that Laine plays for a weaker team. Toronto fans will note that Matthews is probably the better defensive player. And round and round we go.

The one piece I keep coming back to is the offence that comes with Laine. I’ve written in the past about my optimism over his individual shooting percentages – he strikes me as a Steven Stamkos or Ilya Kovalchuk type, which is tremendously high praise. It’s exceedingly rare for anyone to sustain high shooting percentages over long periods of time, and even if Laine isn’t a 19.5 per cent shooter, he’s got a real shot at 15 per cent or so, which would be phenomenal.

Continued

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  Tags: auston+matthews, ilya+kovalchuk, patrik+laine, steven+stamkos, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

It’s all fun in Vegas for GM GM

USA Today's Kevin Allen caught up with Vegas Knights GM George McPhee, who's thoroughly enjoying himself as he builds an NHL franchise in the Nevada desert:

General manager George McPhee knew it would be the biggest challenge of his career when he took over as architect of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights organization.

What he didn't know was how much he would enjoy it.

“It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in hockey,” said McPhee, a former Hobey Baker Award winner, NHL player and long-time general manager of the Washington Capitals.

The NHL has grown from six to 31 teams over the past 50 years, and yet it seems as if the Las Vegas-based team is the most important expansion club in league history.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in our franchise,” McPhee said. “Vegas is a worldwide brand and it is the tourism capital of the world. Forty-two million people come here every year. Now it’s becoming a destination for pro sports teams, and we have the unique opportunity to be the very first.”

Continued

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  Tags: george+mcphee, las+vegas, vegas+golden+knights

Willie Desjardins on thin ice

From NHL.com's Kevin Woodley:

Coach Willie Desjardins knows his future with the Vancouver Canucks is uncertain, even with another season left on his contract.

Desjardins was asked Wednesday about comments made by Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden the day before, when he said he plans to "look at our options" at coach after this season.

"I think it always matters to you; how could it not matter? That's your job you are looking at," Desjardins said. "But I can't control that. I can control what I do with the team, I can control the players, and I feel like the organization always has to look at things, they just have to."

The Canucks (28-30-8) are seven points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Linden, asked if Desjardins would be back next season, on Tuesday told TSN Vancouver 1040, "We're going to take our time and look at our options at the end of the season, and I'll have to do a full assessment of our organization, as I always do, and we'll move forward from that point."

Continued

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  Tags: trevor+linden, vancouver+canucks, willie+desjardins

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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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