Kukla's Korner

Problems Still Exist With The Los Angeles Kings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,

Everyone knows Kings Coach Darryl Sutter loves to play youngsters. That is sarcasm — but Sutter might have no choice.

General Manager Dean Lombardi has noted that the Kings don't have a lot of cap space to make a big move, which is why they weren't able to keep "rental defenseman" Andrej Sekera, who went to the Edmonton Oilers for a six-year, $33-million deal, or veteran Justin Williams. The forward went to the Eastern Conference, joining the Washington Capitals for a two-year deal worth $6.5 million.

There are two problematic issues for the Kings, the first concerning center Mike Richards, whose contract has been terminated by the club. But the expectation is that the NHL Players' Assn. will appeal that move. Until the matter is resolved, the Kings won't know their options for sure. If worst came to worst, they could always put him in the minors indefinitely.

Equally problematic is the situation revolving around defenseman Slava Voynov. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor in the wake of a domestic violence charge, Voynov has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, meaning there is a chance he could still be unavailable as the Kings prepare to start their regular season Oct. 7 against the San Jose Sharks.

Complicating matters, he is still recovering from surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon and the league still needs to conduct its investigation into the domestic violence incident.

So the uncertainty over the futures of Voynov and Richards will keep the Kings in limbo for the foreseeable future.

more on the Kings...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Blaming Brandon Saad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

If fans want to place blame anywhere, it should be with Saad, who said he allowed his agent to handle all contract negotiations with the Hawks.

Had he been willing to accept a deal in the $5 million range, he'd probably still be a Blackhawk. He'd hear that earsplitting national anthem 41 times a year, be playing in front of a packed house every night and on a team that figures to compete for the Stanley Cup year after year after year.

Instead, he wanted an extra $1 million a year. And that's his right. So now he's playing in Columbus.

Then there's Andrew Desjardins, who signed a two-year deal with the Hawks on Friday for less than he could have made elsewhere. He stayed for the chance to win and because he loves the city and the players in that locker room.

And he played here for less than four months.

"Obviously the desire for players is to win. That's why they play," Bowman said two days after the Hawks eliminated the Lightning in the NHL Final.

"So there's always that point -- what is enough for them and that's something I can't answer. That's always an individual thing.

"But we know that all of our guys that are here, that have been here for a long time, they all sacrificed. And they all took less money than they could have, because they wanted to be part of something special.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+saad

One Thing Still Missing With The Boston Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,

That missing element? Hunger. It was gone when the Bruins went up to Montreal for Game 6 in that series and seemed quite content from the outset to forget about the business at hand and aim to win Game 7 at home. We all know how that worked out.

Any sense of urgency was missing at key points of last season’s non-playoff campaign. Emblematic was their second-to-last game of the season at Florida when all they had to do was win a period to stay alive in the playoff race, against a Panthers team that had already been eliminated from playoff contention. And we all know how that went down.

That’s not to say everyone quit. Zdeno Chara played the last week on a broken fibula. Brad Marchand battled to the end. Bergeron remained Bergeron.

But that intangible team quality, that desperate drive that was so evident in their two runs to the finals was not there. Sure, the team battled significant injuries all year. But with a little more will, they could have got themselves into the playoffs in that final week.

Why that grit disappeared is anyone’s guess, but there was a slow elimination of the leadership group ever since they lifted the Cup in 2011.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The St. Louis Blues Have Made Changes, Will They Be Better?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Last week, the Blues bid farewell to Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie, who had combined for 19 years and 1,315 games with the organization.

On the same day that Jackman became an unrestricted free agent, he signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Nashville. A day later, Oshie was dealt to Washington for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in 2016.

Though both moves were anticipated, the departures of Jackman and Oshie represent radical change on a roster that has remained relatively intact over the course of three previous playoff ousters.

The Blues are expected to have Petteri Lindbohm, who will still be considered a rookie, assume Jackman’s role and Brouwer step into Oshie’s spot. In an under-the-radar move, they also signed free-agent center Kyle Brodziak from Minnesota last week to replace Marcel Goc.

Along with Robert Bortuzzo, who will be a regular after arriving late last year from Pittsburgh, the club will have four new starters constituting one-fifth of the starting lineup for opening night of the 2015-16 season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Calgary’s #3 Defenseman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

By acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Flames now have the deepest blue line in the league. On their depth chart, Hamilton is No. 3 behind Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie. Ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, and Deryk Engelland round out the six-pack. “In a lot of ways, our blue line carried our team,” Calgary GM Brad Treliving said in a conference call announcing Hamilton’s extension. “Not only just in terms of their play, but a lot of nights, they drove our offense as well. To add a player like Dougie into that mix, you not only look at what he brings, but how it complements the rest of the group. It gives us another tool in the toolbox for the coaching staff to distribute minutes.”

Hamilton is also an internal asset in case negotiations with Giordano go sideways. The No. 1 defenseman will be unrestricted next July 1. He has an average annual value of only $4 million. This will be the 31-year-old Giordano’s final swing at a blockbuster deal. He’ll want big money and term, especially after suffering a season-ending biceps injury in 2014-15. Re-signing Giordano is Calgary’s priority. But talks could always break down. If so, Hamilton is a good Plan B.

many more hockey topics...

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

Steve Simmons On A Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- Teams that could use Tyler Bozak: Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota, Detroit and Boston, if it could afford him.

- On the greatest day of his hockey career, Phil Housley shouldn’t be in the same Hall of Fame as Sergei Makarov, let alone the same sentence.

- Talked to my mom and my wife this week: They seem to be in the minority. They don’t think I’m the worst person in the sports world ... Amazing how many fans were offended by my column on the Kessel trade and how many hockey people — coaches, GMs, scouts, media — thought it was dead on.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning news: On Larkin and camp coverage

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated at 7:53 AM: Among this morning's Red Wings-related news items:

MLive's Brendan Savage penned a particularly thorough article discussing the development of Dylan Larkin through the eyes of Larkin himself and Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer, who believes in Larkin's potential:

"Basically since we drafted him he's been portrayed in hockey circles as one of the best prospects outside the NHL," said Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings director of player development. "He's an elite character. He wants to be a hockey player. We're very excited about his future."

Larkin himself understands that he's going to serve an apprenticeship in Grand Rapids, and he tells Savage that his whirlwind 2014-15 season, spent in the NCAA, at the World Junior Championships, the World Championships and the AHL playoffs, should benefit his development in the long run:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

‘Four Things’: Free agent busts, unkind words, #91 and a Larkin video

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This evening's Red Wings-related news stories consist of four items:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posited an annotated photo gallery of 10 of the Wings' best and 10 of the Wings' worst free agent signings;

2. The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons, who believes if you have something unkind to say, just say it (because that is many a sportswriter's job), said this...

The best free agent signing to date: Williams in Washington. The one I don’t understand: Wanting Mike Green, who played third pair defence with the Capitals, makes sense. Paying him $6 million a year, even on a three-year contract, doesn’t compute with the usual common sense Red Wings. Detroit signed both Green and Brad Richards, whose best days were at least four years ago.

3. The Free Press's Steve Schrader, who believes in saying something if it's clever, issues this "Stevie Award"...

The "Those Were the Days" award To Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov, both elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Was there ever a more entertaining time for the Red Wings than their era, with the personalities and the Stanley Cups? And nobody was a bigger part of it than Sergei, so the Wings should stop thinking about it and put his No. 91 in the Joe Louis Arena rafters while they're still playing at the rink he starred at.

To which the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reminds us that Ken Holland offered a tepid response to any discussions of raising #91 to the rafters, saying there had never been any discussions thereof previously:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Impressions from the Saturday scrimmage at the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘15

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I just had an entire entry eaten by a blogging glitch--a glitch that ate 2-and-a-half hours worth of work, which is why Paul is working so hard to get to KK 2.0 software-wise--and as such, I'm going to give this to you the short version route:

The scoring in the Red Wings prospects' scrimmage went like this...

And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and MLive's Brendan Savage told its tales:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Audio from the second day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘15, scrimmage version

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' development campers engaged in a spirited scrimmage on Saturday, with Team Lindsay winning 6-5 and a slightly-more-than-10-man shootout 4-3. After the scrimmage ended, players hustled off to post-game interviews with the management, so I had very little time to speak with them, but I was able to speak with four people, and here's the audio from their interviews:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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