Kukla's Korner

Time For You To Make Your Picks For Round Two Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Most of you know the drill, pick the winner of each second round series and add anything you wish to your comment.

The matchups are below and this post will remain sticky until Wednesday at 6pm ET.

If you want to review your first round picks (I went 4-4), do so here.

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Wings’ Alums to hold charity game to raise funds for high school player paralyzed by hockey accident

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings Alumni Association is holding a game to help benefit a young man paralyzed by a hockey injury in Fraser this upcoming Sunday. WJBK Fox 2 Detroit has a report about the game and the family of Dave Mastronardi:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Prospect news: Walleye advance to second round; Marsh scores in return

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL, Nolan Zajac had 2 assists, Zach Nastasiuk scored a goal and Jeff Lerg and Jake Paterson split netminding duties as the Toledo Walleye defeated the Kalamazoo K-Wings 3-1 in Game 7 of their first-round series.

The Walleye will advance to play the Fort Wayne Komets in the second round of the ECHL playoffs, starting on Friday and Saturday at the Huntington Center, and you can find out more information about the games and tickets here.

Paterson's status for the series is up in the air as the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that Paterson suffered a high ankle sprain.

And in the QMJHL, Adam Marsh returned from a 3-game suspension by scoring a goal on 2 shots, finishing at +2 with 6 penalty minutes as his Charlottetown Islanders lost 5-4 to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Islanders trail their Conference Final series 2 games to 1.

 

Update: Here's the Walleye's website's recap:

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St. James on Axel Holmstrom

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Axel Holmstrom had something of a throwaway season in the SHL as he recovered from and then reaggravated an ACL injury, but Holmstrom's hit his stride since he joined the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins a month ago, and the "power center" earned a positive review from the Free Press's Helene St. James:

The Wings’ seventh-round pick from the 2014 NHL entry draft scored in his second Calder Cup playoff game to help the Grand Rapids Griffins take a 2-0 lead on the Milwaukee Admirals in the first-round, best-of-5 series. Game 3 is Wednesday at Milwaukee.

“He’s got great vision and his puck skills are excellent,” Griffins coach Todd Nelson told the Free Press. “He does have to work on his skating ability.”

That latter phrase seems to go with the name Holmstrom; former Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom (no relation) endured endless good-natured – and some less so – ribbing for his poor skating, but he found a way to stick around for 1000-plus NHL games, gain prominence for his net-front play, and win four Stanley Cups.

Axel Holmstrom, 6 feet and 198 pounds, plays a similarly greasy game, going to the net and into corners. He has looked at home in the playoffs on a line with Evgeny Svechnikov, Detroit’s first-round pick from 2015, and Kyle Criscuolo. Sunday saw Holmstrom score when he was in position in the low slot to finish a pass from Svechnikov. The plan is for Holmstrom, who signed a three-year entry-level deal in 2015, to spend next season with Grand Rapids.

St. James continues, and Holmstrom isn't going to plant his butt in front of opposing goalies, but he does go to the net and he scores goals in the slot. He's an intriguing prospect who's made his way onto the Griffins' playoff roster thanks to his late-season play.

He's ready to play in the AHL full-time, and I think he's going to take some time to adjust to playing on a 200'x85' rink instead of a 200'x100' sheet of ice, but once he gets used to having less time and space to make plays, his pro experience in Sweden should ease his transition to North American pro hockey.

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Your NHL Foundation Player Award Finalists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds are the two finalists for the 2016-17 NHL Foundation Player Award, which is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community," the National Hockey League announced today.

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Watching The NBC Sports Group - First Round Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 25, 2017 – On the strength of a record 18 overtime games, dazzling performances by young stars like Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid, and side-by-side coverage for the first time in local markets, NBC Sports Group’s Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged 742,000 viewers, up 4% vs 2016 (713,000 viewers).

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Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc+sports+group

The NHL And China

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Tuchman at Forbes,

The NHL is hoping to use its own talent to promote the sport in China. In 2015, Canadian-based Andong Song was drafted by the New York Islanders and became the first Chinese-born player to be drafted in the NHL.

Commissioner Bettman is hoping that the NHL will see the same boom the NBA experienced after China embraced basketball as a new national pastime. In 2015, the NBA signed a five-year online streaming deal in China worth up to $700 million....

But Gary Bettman is not the only person excited about the prospect of expanding the NHL’s realm into China. Team owners in smaller markets are keen on raising revenue to become the most popular team in China. Many owners are interested in the idea of having Chinese investors claim stakes into teams that are interested in expanding their brand or may be struggling to stay competitive due to a low market value....

The future of hockey in China is looking bright and the NHL is poised to breathe life into a market hungry for new competitive endeavors.

more

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A Step At A Time For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at Sportsnet,

The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to keep expectations in check for next season.

The Leafs leaped from last-place in the NHL to an unlikely playoff spot and near upending of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in the first round. But the organization appears to be guarding against expectations jumping too high too fast for a young team led by 19-year-old Auston Matthews.

“It’s a step,” Lou Lamoriello, the Leafs general manager, said of the team’s surprisingly positive 2016-17 campaign. “(But) it’s going to get more difficult. Teams are going to look at you a little different — the way they approach you. Teams are going to know your tendencies as a player and how they can stop you. So there’s a lot that has to transpire. That’s why it’s just a step.”

continued

The Leafs posted some videos today too, you can watch them all here.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Logan Couture

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I had a couple fractures in my face from the injury, that’s why I was obviously wearing a cage to begin with, just to let my face heal a little bit longer, they’re not fun.”

-Logan Couture, via Paul Gackle of the Mercury News.

Couture posted an Instagram picture, view it below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: logan+couture

Two Wings-related ‘Thoughts’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":

19. It is very rare that players reach out to me to promote their coaches, but one did last week. He texted on behalf of AHL Grand Rapids coach Todd Nelson, who was in Edmonton before Todd McLellan. The Griffins are up 2–0 on Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs. Anthony Mantha took big strides under Nelson. He felt Nelson deserved more “buzz” around his name.

...

25. Watching the closing of Joe Louis Arena, seeing the outpouring of emotion for Yzerman... you couldn’t help but wonder if he’s thought about returning someday to the Red Wings. He wasn’t going there. “I’m the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning,” he replied.

Two thoughts of my own: Nelson is a consummate pro, and the Griffins are only going to have him for so long before he returns to the NHL as a full-time head coach. Nelson really teaches the Griffins to "play the right way" and he's added some snarl to the players' repertoires, which is impressive;

And I'm going to repeat my take on Yzerman as many times as necessary: I do not believe that Steve Yzerman will even consider leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning until he wins a Stanley Cup with the franchise. Until that time, there is zero chance that he "bolts the Bolts" for Detroit, and even after the Lightning win their Cup, I believe that Yzerman knows that he's in a situation in Tampa Bay where the media won't micro-analyze every move. I don't think he'd be all that comfortable in Detroit.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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