Kukla's Korner

KK- A Donation Push

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Time for another push for the KK Donation Drive.

At this point we are at 53% of a very lofty goal of $10K.  To all of the 132 persons who have made a donation, I can't thank you enough.

I am planning a complete rebuid of KK over the summer and funds donated will allow me to achieve that goal.

If you can spare any donation amount, it will be greatly appreciated and will be put to good use.


Here is the original post kicking off the GoFundMe drive along with numerous comments made by KK members.

Also, do remember if you donate $25 or more, I will remove the majority of ads for you over the next year.  Also, if you have donated in the past, $20 will get the ads removed for you too.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Home Team in Caps
NY RANGERS 3, Washington 2 – series tied 1-1
Derick Brassard scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 6:07 of the third period and Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves to help the Rangers even their series with the Capitals.


* Each of New York’s seven games this postseason has been decided by one goal. In fact, 14 of the Rangers' last 16 playoff outings have been one-goal decisions, including nine consecutive contests dating to Game 4 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final vs. Los Angeles. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers are the first club in League history to skate in nine consecutive one-goal games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

No Quit In The Calgary Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The laundry list of what the Flames need to do differently to compete with the Ducks does not require an advanced math degree. Defensively, they need to get better inside position on the Ducks’ forwards, who steamrolled their way to the net at will against Calgary’s smaller rearguards.

Offensively, they needed to get far more traffic in front of Ducks’ goaltender Frederik Andersen, who had a solid and efficient night in goal, but except for an early breakaway save against Josh Jooris, wasn’t tested much.

A superhuman effort from Ramo in goal wouldn’t hurt, either. The Flames were underdogs heading into the series and usually the underdog’s best chance occurs when a goaltender morphs into the second coming of Georges Vézina and just stops every puck.

Naturally, Ramo was excited to get his first-ever playoff start, after two consecutive appearances in relief of Jonas Hiller, noting that while the Ducks are “talented and skilled and not afraid to go the net … it’s still just a hockey game.”

Hartley was in there, promoting good cheer, the way he usually does.

“I can’t fault the effort on our team,” Hartley said. “Those guys, they always prepare well. They always go hard. Are we the perfect team? No, we’re still a young hockey club and we’re learning every time we step on the ice. That’s the way it is. Our players try to play the right way. Will we always have our execution as good as we like, or play our best game? No. But it’s a game of mistakes and those guys go through the wall for us.

“This team has no quit.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Chicago Blackhawks Know How To Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

What is it about the Hawks that makes them so resilient in close games? “Number one, it’s skill,” Yeo said. “And it’s the ability to finish on opportunities. You can chalk it up to a bounce or whatever you want to call it. At the end of the day, you give them an opportunity and they can capitalize on it.

Yeo still seems to think his team controls its fate against a team that wills itself to victory almost out of habit. “When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of us getting better,” Yeo said, “just being a little more determined in certain situations and limiting a few more of those mistakes that they can capitalize on.”

As Blues coach Ken Hitchcock observed last year against the Hawks, it might not be that simple. “You’re trying to beat their resolve,” Hitchcock said. “You’re not trying to beat their skill. Everybody’s got skill. And it is one hell of a challenge.”

It remains to be seen if the Wild are up to that challenge.

“They’ve won two Cups, so they know what they can do,” Wild defenseman Marco Scandella said of the Hawks. “They have a good team. We just have to bring a lot of speed. We’ve got to be faster next game. It’s definitely one thing we’re going to bring next game that’s going to have an effect.”

Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. The Hawks are like a high-wire act working without a net in the playoffs — always at risk of a calamitous fall. In 24 of their last 27 playoff victories, they’ve had no more than a one-goal lead in the third period, including 19 times when they’ve been tied or were losing. In Game 1 against the Wild, they lost a three-goal lead in 8:09 and didn’t flinch.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Montreal Canadiens Need A Win Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Coming off a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in double overtime to the Bolts in Game 1 on Friday, the Habs cannot afford to head to Tampa for Game 3 on Wednesday trailing 2-0. Montreal has lost six straight to the Lightning and hasn’t beaten the Bolts since completing a four-game sweep in the playoffs last April.

Are the Habs worried? Not a chance. But you get a sense that if it doesn’t turn around in Game 2, their confidence could quickly turn to doubt.

“We did a lot of good things,” said coach Michel Therrien. “We had a really tough time during the regular season, we hadn’t played our best against Tampa Bay in the regular season for different reasons.

“But we all understand that, when you get to the playoffs, it’s a new season. Teams get a chance to get prepared. We know what we’re facing. Our focus is only on one game. And I think from the team’s standpoint, we did a lot of good things to be really upbeat and confident for (Game 2).”

Though Tampa goalie Ben Bishop didn’t look good when he allowed Habs winger Max Pacioretty to tie it up 1-1 at 14:57 of the third to send it OT by allowing the puck to slip through his glove, it didn’t matter in the end because Big Ben made 44 stops as Nikita Kucherov scored the winner.

Bishop has moved his record to 11-1-2 lifetime against the Habs (including the regular season and playoffs) with a 1.46 GAA and .945 save-percentage. Those are heady numbers, which means Montreal has to do a better job getting to him which they tried Friday by going to the net constantly.


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

Fixing The Power Plays

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Two changes would make the power play more of a must-watch event than a two-minute window to scurry to the fridge. First, the shorthanded team would be penalized for icing the puck. It’s too easy for penalty killers to gain control of the puck and fling it 200 feet. It’s much harder to advance the puck properly out of the defensive zone.

This year, the USHL tried a two-game stint in which icing was called during power plays. Leaguewide, power play success was 22 percent during the two games, double the USHL’s 11 percent average in 2013-14. The NHL should advance this one step by calling an additional minor penalty if a shorthanded team ices the puck.

Second, the opening faceoff should be in the power-play team’s defensive zone. It would give the power play an opportunity to gain speed through the neutral zone, push back the penalty killers, and start the offensive-zone sequence with momentum.

The way it is now, it’s too easy for the shorthanded team to identify an upcoming play based simply on how the power-play team lines up for an offensive-zone drop. For example, if a right-shot center takes a faceoff at the left dot, it’s likely he’ll backhand the puck to a left-shot wing for a quick snapper on goal. Set plays are predictable. It’s not as easy to plan against five skaters barreling through the neutral zone.

These would be big changes. The NHL has the perfect test lab in the AHL to see how they’d work.

many more hockey topics...

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

Steve Simmons Says

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- I figured Ken Hitchcock to be the perfect coach to bring structure to the Edmonton Oilers, until they won the Connor McDavid lottery. Now you want a coach who can bring structure to the Oilers AND develop a superstar. The job just got more complicated.

- Thomas Vanek, lousy in last year’s playoffs in Montreal, is goal-less this year in Minnesota.

- What if Steve Yzerman had chosen Seth Jones ahead of Jonathan Drouin in 2013 NHL draft? How much different would this very good Tampa Bay Lightning team look then?

You can’t call Drouin a bust yet — it’s still early and clearly there’s a lot of internal disagreement between where the player sees himself and how the Lightning views him. But Jones has been a ready-made NHL defenceman who keeps getting better.

Add him on a second pairing behind Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman and on the Tampa special teams and how much would the Lightning change in terms of talent and size?

more on the Drouin/Jones topic plus additional hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The overnight report: Taking the long view isn’t easy, but in the Wings’ case, it’s the franchise

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

There's a point when you watch a highly-heralded prospect who you think is using a stick that's 3-5 inches too long continue to look over his head in the AHL playoffs, you continue to watch the player's fundamentals, their comparative "greenness" compared to an OHL graduate that's under the weather but playing above his weight in more ways than one, and you say, "OH! That player could have gone to the ECHL and gained some confidence, but for a lack of a better term, the decision was to let this kid suffer a bit and realize how much game shape he'd lost" (a la Darren Helm coming off his back issues) "and how far he has to go to play up to the level of his competition as more than a goal-scorer," and you're understanding why Anthony Mantha has Keith Gave's scouts suggesting that a highly-heralded prospect is already on the road to "washed up" when that's the furthest thing from the truth.

That's a very long-winded way of saying that yes, I'm paying attention to the Grand Rapids Griffins with significant attention to detail over the next couple days, and it's a very long-winded way of saying that nothing is the way it seems in hockey until you put in the observation time to attack the issues that are concerning and confusing you.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Prospect news: Griffins force fifth game vs. Marlies; Walleye win 2nd straight vs. Fort Wayne

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins rallied to tie their best-of-5 series at 2 games apiece on Saturday, defeating the Toronto Marlies 5-4, but the score was somewhat disproportionate to the game's narrative.

Grand Rapids surrendered an off-the-crossbar-and-in goal only 46 seconds into the game, but the Griffins rallied to build a 5-2 lead; in the final 1:04, however, the Griffins gave up two late goals after the Marlies pulled goaltender Chrisopher Gibson, yielding a razor-thin margin of victory in a game that was plain...plain weird.

Grand Rapids will play the 5th and decisive game of the 1st-round series at 5 PM on Sunday, and the Griffins were kind enough to allow me to take in Saturday's affair, so I'll be traveling back across the state (I live just far enough from the rink that it's cheaper to drive home for the night than it is to stay in Grand Rapids) to take in that game; in the interim, the Griffins' website has posited a game recap...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Habs down 1-0

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

Well, you never like to lose a game in double overtime - but this is especially true when the goal is scored on an offside. That's what the Canadiens were faced with Friday night, as Tampa Bay scored despite being 2-3 feet offside when entering the zone. I've never been a huge fan of a coach's challenge, but this sort of play sums up the argument perfectly. As Michel Therrien put it, this is a black and white issue. A penalty is subjective, an offside is not. No doubt it hurts to lose in such a situation.

All that said, the Canadiens played the Lightning hard, outshooting, outhitting and outskating them. Carey Price was stellar. Ben Bishop was too, but he was shakier as the game went on. The Canadiens PP also had signs of life, though no goals. If they can sort that out, they'll be fine. I sitll think the Habs take this series.

Tomorrow's game is a 6:00 start, so make sure you don't miss the first half. Should be a good one. Do the Habs make changes after a game one loss? I've got my opinion: slot Sergei Gonchar in to assist the PP, and go with seven defencemen. Double shift Pacioretty and Gallagher. That would be my move. We'll see what Therrien does.

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink

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