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Friday Morning Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- While all of the SoCal attention is on Boudreau, there’s no clarity yet with Darryl Sutter and Los Angeles. His contract is up, and he’s said several times he will be back. The question — for anyone who may be looking — is whether or not he or anyone else on his staff becomes available. The Kings take pretty good care of them. John Stevens is believed to be the highest-paid assistant coach in the NHL and, if Sutter ever leaves, is assumed to be the heir apparent.

The evaluation in Los Angeles isn’t just why the Kings lost to the San Jose Sharks. It’s also why they blew what was a 12-point division lead on Jan. 6 and why, when they could have clinched the Pacific Division, they couldn’t hold a 3-0 second-period lead over the Winnipeg Jets on the final Saturday of the regular season.

- Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher received a vote of confidence from owner Craig Leipold during the playoff series against the Dallas Stars. Fletcher said he “needs to decompress,” but will meet with interim head coach John Torchetti, probably early next week.

Is the coaching job open?

“I think you could say it’s somewhat open,” Fletcher replied. “We haven’t had time to talk yet about his vision. He had to inherit everything. I want to hear his view on how he would push forward. He came in and did a good job, deserves a chance to explain why he should be the guy.”

- If there’s one thing Fletcher strongly disagreed with, it’s that his players lack character. While the GM admitted it was “a brutal year,” he is angry at suggestions they did not try.

“We had to fight to get into the playoffs, including win a big game at Colorado. We fought right to the end against Dallas.” What he does believe is “they did not buy in to how we wanted them to play.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHLPA And The NHL Are On The Same Page When It Comes To Expansion

from Gary Lawless of TSN,

The National Hockey League and the Players’ Association have agreed upon the rules of engagement for an expansion draft.

While the NHL’s executive committee has yet to recommend expansion, this is a major hurdle cleared.

The NHL has hundreds of steps to go through before expansion can potentially become a reality and getting an agreement with the NHLPA was viewed as near top of the list. The executive committee would not have recommended expansion to the NHL’s board of governors for the purpose of a vote without an agreement in place with the NHLPA, and in particular, a resolution on how existing no-trade and no-move clauses will be handled.

An NHL source confirmed the agreement on Friday morning but would not offer specifics on the expansion draft.

Time is getting tight for the NHL if it is going to expand. The league has stated if it is going to expand for the 2017-18 season it would have to inform general managers prior to this year’s upcoming entry draft in late June. A source said Friday if expansion is going to move forward, mid-May is the timetable for an announcement.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Understanding Joe Thornton

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Even when DeBoer wasn’t with the Sharks, he viewed Thornton as the solution.  He never tied San Jose’s postseason inadequacies, which included losing in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 after a 3-0 series lead, directly to Thornton.

“It’s a misconception,” DeBoer said.  “When you hear that, and when you are around Joe Thornton, you realize how ridiculous it is. This guy is exactly what you want in your dressing room and on the ice if you are trying to win a championship.”

Thornton’s regular-season scoring rate is .98 points per game and his playoff scoring rate is .75 points per game. But most of the game's stars, including Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, see their production decrease in the postseason when checking is more relentless.

From 2006-12, a period when the Sharks were suffering from annual postseason disappointment, Thornton registered 69 points in 79 playoff games. He had a goal and two assists, and looked strong, in the five-game first-round triumph against the Kings. San Jose begins its series with the Nashville Predators on Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“The fact that he hasn’t won (a championship) has nothing to do with him or the effort he puts in,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think he could be a better leader or example or have more passion for winning. He’s just one of those guys whose stars haven’t aligned yet.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton

Enough Of Tom Wilson

from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The UFC is where somebody like Capitals winger Tom Wilson belongs. He has no place in what should be the NHL's showcase series of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If he's allowed to play in Game 2, the league's Player Safety department has whiffed in front of an open net. Suspending Wilson for his knee-on-knee hit on the Penguins' Conor Sheary — a player shorter than him by 8 inches — should be a tap-in.

Of course, should is a word used way too often at this point of the hockey season.

The playoffs should be when skilled players shine. Instead, hockey fans are too often tasked with watching circus acts such as Wilson's one-ring show.

The NHL's national broadcast partner should sell the great game of hockey. Instead, hockey fans are forced to watch NBC Sports' version of Don Cherry.

Thing is, Cherry is entertaining. Cherry actually knows something about hockey.

And Cherry is a Canadian tradition.

Mike Milbury traditionally makes a fool of himself, a trend that doesn't help the NHL win over the American sporting public. He did it again Thursday night during the third intermission of NBC Sports Network's broadcast of Game 1. He said Wilson “wasn't able to get his leg out of the way.”

The guess here is even Cherry rolled his eyes at the nonsense.

It's one thing to let 'em play. It's something else — and something awful — to let a series featuring six of the last nine MVPs to be taken over by the likes of Wilson.


If you missed Wilson's hit, watch it here.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+wilson

T.J. Oshie’s Night

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

At one point T.J. Oshie was asked about his second goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night.

"Yeah," the Washington Capitals winger said, thinking. "Um, the second one? The five-hole? Backhand? Oh, the breakaway. OK."

And then he started to chuckle as he realized that he was having trouble placing the exact moment he was being asked about because there were actually three such moments on this night.

Three goals, including the game-winner in overtime, that gave the Capitals a 4-3 victory and a one-game lead in this monster of a second-round series.

"I never have this problem," Oshie said with a laugh.

He's absolutely right, of course.

Had Oshie had such problems in the past -- scoring so many goals that he couldn't recall the specific details -- he likely wouldn't have become a Washington Capital.


Watch the game highlights below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: t.j.+oshie

NHL Short Notes

T.J. Oshie completed his first career playoff hat trick at 9:33 of overtime to lead the Capitals past the Penguins in a back-and-forth opening game of their Second Round series.

* Oshie became the first player to record a postseason hat trick that included an overtime goal since June 8, 2013, when Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane did so in the team’s series-clinching win over the Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.
* Oshie recorded the eighth playoff hat trick in Capitals history and first since April 17, 2010, when Nicklas Backstrom also completed the feat in overtime in the team’s Game 2 victory against the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
* Oshie, who scored his first career playoff overtime goal, posted his second multi-goal game in the postseason. The other: May 6, 2013 at LAK (2-0—2 w/ STL).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

T.J. Oshie’s OT goal

Here's T.J. Oshie's overtime game-winner for the Washington Capitals, which required video review to confirm:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, tj+oshie, washington+capitals

Video- Your Opinion On This Tom Wilson Hit

No call for the hit.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+wilson

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

via Sportsnet,

Ron McLean and Don Cherry looks at why did Tom Wilson taunted the Pittsburgh Penguins bench and wondered at the fate of Bruce Boudreau.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your Frank J. Selke Trophy Finalists

NEW YORK (April 28, 2016) -- Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2016 NHL Awards, hosted by actor Will Arnett, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Following are the finalists for the Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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