Kukla's Korner

St. James: Holland, Wings preparing for the draft at organizational meetings

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings are holding their pre-draft/free agency organizational meetings this week (next week, the Draft Combine takes place in Toronto), so Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the Free Press's Helene St. James regarding the team's outlook as it prepares to select 9th overall--and make a total of 11 picks--at next month's draft in Chicago:

“Everybody knows in our sport, it starts at the draft table,” Holland told the Free Press. “In order to be successful, you need to have a good draft. We need to wake up in a few years and some of these picks are important players for us.”

Discussions include the possibility of maneuvering to move up in the draft; the Wings twice have gone in the other direction in recent years, moving back in 2013 to gain an extra second-round pick, and again last year to unload the contract of Pavel Datsyuk, and gain a second-round pick. The 2013 bonus selection has turned into a terrific story, as forward Tyler Bertuzzi is leading the Grand Rapids Griffins in scoring two games into the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs. The 2016 bonus pick, defenseman Filip Hronek, turned pro this spring after producing 61 points in 59 games for the OHL Saginaw Spirit. He had two points in 10 regular-season games for the Griffins, and has appeared in two playoff games.

“We’re open to anything, to moving up, to moving back,” Holland said. “But it’s got to make sense. The more picks you have, the more opportunity. We are going through lists, we have lots of picks this year, and we think there are lots of good players in this year’s draft.”

St. James continues, and we will talk about the draft shortly; I'm spending three of the next four days in Grand Rapids to cover the Griffins, and my player grades are half-finished (if you're still interested in 'em).

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Open Post- Game 6 Eastern Conference Final

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Penguins seem to be on a roll and the Senators look like they have run out of gas.

But this game will go to the team that wants it more.

Do we get a long break, first game of the Stanley Cup Final won't be played until next Monday or do we have a game 7 on Thursday?

The comment section is yours, use it if you would like to.

Pittsburgh @ Ottawa, PIT leads 3-2, 8 p.m., CBC, TVAS, NBCSN

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It’s A ‘Trap’ Game Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

They have had some frank discussions since an embarrassing 7-0 loss pushed them to the brink of elimination.

Now the Ottawa Senators need to turn those words into action.

“It doesn’t matter how you feel tonight, it doesn’t matter what your intentions are, at the end of the day you have to do what’s right for the team,” Clarke MacArthur said Tuesday before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. “You know, it’s blocking the shots and making the little plays, frustrating the other team, finishing your hits. It’s all those little things combined tonight.

“That will give us our best chance.”...

“I think we’re through with the run-and-gun thing,” added coach Guy Boucher. “We know that. We tried that last game, and we got killed.”

They will attempt to rebuild the Kanata Wall after watching the Penguins smash through with 10 goals in the last two games. The message to the Senators players was that they don’t need to go out and make a spectacular play when the safe one will suffice.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Toledo Walleye say, ‘Thank You’ to fans

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Toledo Walleye's players thanked their fans on Monday night, two days after being eliminated from the ECHL playoffs:

The fans came one last time to salute a team that seemed well-equipped to go the distance and hoist the Kelly Cup. Walleye team members and coaches came to say thank you to some of the greatest fans in hockey. All came to share thoughts of what might have been, falling just short of the ultimate goal.

If victorious, it would have been Toledo’s first cup since 1994.

A crowd of about 800 turned out at the Huntington Center on Monday evening to pay tribute to a Toledo team that won a regular-season championship.

The Walleye reached the Western Conference Finals of the Kelly Cup playoffs, but were eliminated by the Colorado Eagles on the road on Saturday.

The coaches, players, and team officials were greeted with cheers from a throng of fans of all ages. Every player filmed a brief tribute segment that was shown on the video board during the “Thank You” event.

“Sorry we couldn’t get it done for you,” rookie Tylor Spink said. “Hopefully next year we can get it done for you.”

This year’s club set 33 team and individual franchise records including most road wins (25) and longest winning streak (nine games). The team also set several Toledo ECHL records including a new mark for most wins (51).

Monroe continues, and, via the Red Wings, the Walleye thanked their fans via a Twitter video as well:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Wallner: Grand Rapids’ player development rides a fine line come playoff time

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner asked Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson whether the Griffins would play a prospect ahead of a veteran during the playoffs, and Wallner received a nuanced answer:

"It's been the philosophy of the organization that everybody has to earn the right to get into the lineup," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said. "If somebody is out-playing someone then they'll play. That's always been the philosophy.

"If he can't beat out someone from the ECHL or AHL contract, how is he going to help the big club? What I'm trying to say is there's no entitlement here."

The Griffins, with a veteran-laden roster that's gone 8-2 in the postseason, host the San Jose Barracuda at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Game 3. The series is tied 1-1.

Wallner asked Axel Holmstrom about the situation as he earned the opportunity to play in playoff games while Martin Frk was sidelined:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Crain’s Detroit Business’s Shea: Little Caesars Arena construction costs at $863 million

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea reports that the total construction bill for Little Caesars Arena exceeded the original $650 million estimate by quite a bit:

It will cost nearly $863 million to build Little Caesars Arena, which is the latest estimate from the state after $40 million in taxpayer-financed funding was approved Tuesday to cover the Detroit Pistons relocating to the venue.

The revised deal also includes increased public subsidies for the Ilitch family's The District Detroit commercial development around the arena.

The new cost estimate made public Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund, which unanimously approved the changes to the 2013 financing deal for the arena, includes $34.5 million in new bonds (and $4.85 million in closing costs and interest) that will be used to pay for changes to the downtown Detroit venue that will allow the NBA team to play there when the building opens in September at I-75 and Woodward. A deal was worked out in November by the owner of the building's primary tenant, the Detroit Red Wings, to have the Pistons leave the Palace of Auburn Hills for Little Caesars Arena.

The nearly $40 million in Pistons-related arena costs, which had been previously disclosed, is atop $250 million in tax-exempt bonds previously issued by the Detroit Downtown Development Authority — which ultimately owns the arena — to finance some of the construction. The Michigan Strategic Fund issued the original bonds used to finance the DDA bonds under a deal approved in 2012 by the state Legislature.

Shea continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Watching The Vegas Golden Knights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

VEGAS (May 23, 2017) – Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley and President of AT&T Sports Networks Patrick Crumb announced today May 23, a television rights agreement making AT&T Sports Networks and its ROOT SPORTS-branded regional sports network the official television home of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Under the agreement, ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain will be the exclusive television rightsholder for Golden Knights regional telecasts of regular-season games, beginning with the 2017-18 NHL season, for the length of the agreement. The network will have the opportunity to carry preseason and playoff games as well. All games will be produced in high definition and contain a pregame show and postgame show, subject to live event conflicts.

Broadcast talent for Golden Knights telecasts on ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain will be announced at a later date.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vegas+golden+knights

Seats Still Available In Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Like everybody else across the National Hockey League, Eugene Melnyk is mystified.

The Ottawa Senators are only two wins away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final but, as they prepare for Tuesday's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the club’s owner is surprised the Canadian Tire Centre isn’t completely sold out.

As the hours ticked towards the 8 p.m. faceoff between the Senators and Penguins, with Pittsburgh leading the series 3-2, the club was still trying to move a large inventory of seats. A check of the seat map in the building indicated there were a lot of the lower-priced seats in the upper decks still available.

Melnyk is choosing his words carefully because attendance has been an issue all season but he is taken aback by the fact there is no guarantee the building — which has a capacity of 18,572 — will be full Tuesday night.

Nobody is certain how many seats are left for the game but it’s fair to the game wasn’t close to a sellout Monday night.

“It’s very disturbing, however, knowing the players and coaches they will be trying their hardest for Ottawa,” Melnyk told Postmedia.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Videos- From The Anaheim Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

This time was going to be different. After four straight seasons of backing down at the moment of truth, after building what they thought would be enough depth to get through a playoff grind, after bringing Randy Carlyle back to coach them because they believed his calm and resourcefulness would guide them past their mental and emotional postseason hurdles, the ending was the same for the Ducks.

Maybe even more painful than in previous seasons, because they clawed and scratched and were on the brink of forcing a seventh game in the Western Conference finals before they let their last chance slip away.

They got a few steps further than they did a year ago. But if losing to the Nashville Predators in a six-game conference finals one year after the Predators had booted them out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs meant the Ducks had accomplished something, that theory was contradicted by the tears welling in Ryan Kesler’s eyes and the vacant stares of Andrew Cogliano and Corey Perry after their efforts to mount yet another remarkable rally fell short in a 6-3 loss Monday.

“Personally, I don’t think the better team won tonight but it doesn’t really matter what I think,” said Kesler, who sat at his locker for long minutes with his head buried in a towel before he began to unlace his skates and unpeel the tape that held him and his equipment together. “They got the victory and they move on and we’re going home.”


Below, Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News and video of Perry, Getzlaf and Carlyle post-game...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Dream Away Nashville

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

“Wha-choo gonna have, honey?”

The woman in the Union St. sandwich shop reminds us every time that Nashville has loaned the National Hockey League an entirely unique brand of Southern hospitality. It’s about as far from Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, or Sarge’s Deli in New York City, as hockey people could possibly find themselves.

It’s kind of Dallas-like down here in Tennessee, but to a Kenny Chesney soundtrack. With a shot of Jack.

Well, guess what, y’all? The Preds are fixin’ to win it all, two-stepping all the way to their first Stanley Cup in 20 years with a 6-3, series-clinching win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

“It’s a dream come true,” the big Finnish goalie Pekka Rinne, who came here as an eighth-round pick and has become this club’s longest standing member and de facto captain. “But it's a funny thing, though. When everything is happening around us, you still feel hungry, and now we have a chance to play for the Cup.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling. And you’ve been working for that for a long, long time.”


Highlights and handshakes are below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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