Kukla's Korner

Good Goal Or Bad Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Dave Hodge of TSN,

Thumbs down to the ongoing confusion about what constitutes a "good goal" that is propelled into the net by a skate.

The first goal in yesterday's 4-2 win by the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers was a deliberate attempt by Boston's Milan Lucic to score a goal that way. He slid his right skate to make contact with the puck, thus, changing its direction, and sending it into the net. "No goal" was the call on the ice. Video review changed the call and the Bruins were ahead 1-0.

The ref's opinion was easily supported, but so was the decision to award the goal. If that sounds crazy, it fully explains the problem the NHL has dealt with for what seems forever. And there is only one solution, which is to allow all goals scored directly from skates.

You hear it said that players, especially goalies, would be in danger if kicking at pucks became legal, but kicking at pucks is legal. You just can't kick them into the net. It doesn't mean players don't use their skates to try to control pucks, to free them from scrums. What players don't do is kick wildly with their skates, near the crease or anywhere else on the ice. They wouldn't start doing that if a rule said they could score goals with their skates in any fashion. As it is, they try to score goals with their skates and hope they get the benefit of the rule that nobody really understands.

You can review the goal here...

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

The Great Connor McDavid

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matt Higgins of the New York Times,

For Connor McDavid, an 18-year-old center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and the most anticipated N.H.L. prospect in decades, compliments accrue as steadily as goals and assists.

The Otters’ assistant coach Jay McKee, who played 13 seasons as an N.H.L. defenseman, has been known to pull out his phone on the bench during games to record a clip of McDavid’s dazzling play.

Tim Murray, general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, a self-described “glass-half-empty guy” not given to giddy appraisals, said he has not seen a better junior player. “I watch him too much and I think too much about him,” said Murray, who has been scouting teenage N.H.L. prospects for 23 seasons. “I wish I could help myself.”

Sherry Bassin, the Otters’ 75-year-old owner who possesses a lifetime of hockey memories and a voice like an old record, scratchy and faint, recalled that the Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who coaches the O.H.L. rival Barrie Colts, said of McDavid: “He skates like Bobby Orr. He has the vision of Wayne Gretzky. And he handles the puck like Mario Lemieux.”

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid

Prepare For A Long Playoff Run In Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

Tampa Bay will be in the playoffs. The biggest question that remains is how far it can go once it gets there.

In one word: deep.

This team is noticeably better — and more playoff-ready — than the one that got swept in the first round by the Canadiens last April.

"It's night and day," coach Jon Cooper.

The difference starts in net. Had Ben Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist last year, not dislocated an elbow shortly before last year's playoffs, Tampa Bay might have had a different fate. Sure, Bishop doesn't have playoff experience, but with him and touted rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy as his backup, Cooper feels like he has two No. 1s.

There's also better depth. Tampa Bay, the league's highest-scoring team, can wear teams down by rolling four lines. The "Triplets" — Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov — form one of the most productive, dynamic lines in the league. Steven Stamkos has 40 goals. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said the Lighting's third line is like a first line. And fourth-line center Brian Boyle has 15 goals. Usually in the playoffs secondary scoring is vital, and few teams have more of it than Tampa Bay. Every forward is a threat and responsible defensively.

read on

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

The Play Of Jimmy Howard And A Dougie Hamilton Offer Sheet?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Cam Ward, Mike Smith, Kari Lehtonen, and Antti Niemi are examples of well-paid goalies who are not doing enough to earn their salaries. At his current pace, Jimmy Howard may join that group. The ex-Maine Black Bear, under contract with the Red Wings through 2019 at nearly $5.3 million annually, is not up to his previous standard of play following a groin injury. Howard missed most of January and part of February. He’s been struggling to catch up. On Thursday, Howard was pulled after letting in three goals on 10 shots to San Jose. Petr Mrazek, who relieved Howard, could be the starter in the playoffs at this rate. Detroit is a good team. But below-average goaltending will sink anybody in the playoffs.

- Dougie Hamilton has missed four games because of an undisclosed injury suffered March 21 against Florida. The Bruins remain optimistic that Hamilton will return before the end of the regular season. They could use his three-zone presence. This has been a strong third NHL season for Hamilton (10-32—42, 21:20 of ice time per game). Hamilton’s growth only increases the odds that a desperate team such as Edmonton will sign him to an offer sheet. The Bruins will match at any price, but an offer sheet of $6 million annually would throw off the Bruins’ budget. They’d prefer to sign him to a second contract more in line with what Minnesota gave Jonas Brodin ($4,166,667 per season over six years). This may be wishful thinking.

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

More Goals Needed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

So, how to bring back the scoring? Cutting down the size of goalie equipment would be the place to start, but that has become a fool’s discussion. The league has talked about it for nearly 20 years, the goalies have pushed back, and tiny nips and tucks have led to status quo offensive stifling. The goalies won’t give up their pads and the Lords of the Boards don’t have the temerity or common sense to stand up to the puck-stopping brotherhood who have taken the game’s offense hostage. Sad, really.

I see two ways out of this:

1. Maintain the icing standard throughout the game. If a team must kill a penalty, it gets no relief — it must play the puck just as if the sides had equal manpower. No question it will result in more power-play goals. The team that committed the penalty will suffer the consequences. How novel. As of late last week, 22 of the league’s 30 teams failed to score on more than 80 percent of their power plays.

2. Borrow from lacrosse’s rulebook a bit and prohibit clubs from skating five players in their defensive end during five-on-five play. In this scenario, the team that advances the puck into the attacking zone will have five skaters battling against four skaters and one goalie. That sounds like even strength to me. Truth is, under current rules, all clubs are really shorthanded in the attack zone during five-on-five, with five skaters opposed by five skaters and one goalie (who wears the pads of nearly two skaters). We call that an even deal?

For a game that often appears to be in a state of mayhem, with players darting around faster than ever before, there rarely is much mayhem around the net. Passing and shooting lanes are typically sealed up, and goalies, overpadded and too influential in the game’s outcome, too easily prevent fat rebounds. The two changes suggested here would bring on the mayhem.

more

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

Sunday Hockey Topics And Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- There is one way to avoid the sad spectacle of dumping teams playing dump games at this time of the year, and that is to freeze the standings relating to lottery seeding at the trade deadline.

- The more numbers and the more information the better, but I will allot more value to the points-per-60-minutes stat when players begin to play 60 minutes a game.

- Sidney Crosby is an outstanding player, but is anyone honestly trying to suggest he is having a better season than Ryan Getzlaf? Stop. Just stop.

- Boy, that Tom Wilson of the Caps has sure made a splash in the NHL, hasn’t he?

more topics....

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

Video- Recap Of The 13 NHL Games Played On Saturday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It will take you 5 1/2 minutes to watch the highlights....

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up; on Babblespeak, Mrazek and Abdelkader’s hit(s)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings faced a pissed off Tampa Bay Lightning team on Saturday, and they're going to be dealing with another angry team on Sunday in the New York Islanders (5 PM EDT on FSD Plus/MSG Plus/97.1 FM).

The Islanders dropped from second to third in the Metropolitan Division via their 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, and with the Wild Card-battling Washington Capitals only 3 points behind the Isles' 93, with a game in hand on the Isles' 76 games played, New York's going to have all sorts of urgency to take the final of 3 meetings from Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

The Isles are also "due": they've lost 3 of their past 4 games, and their 3-6-and-3 March record looks a whole helluva like Detroit's 4-7-and-1 record, so it's not surprising that Islanders coach Jack Capuano painted an, "Us against the world" mentality after Saturday's defeat, as the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis noted:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

On Al Arbour and his St. Louis legacy

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

These kinds of articles are so superb that you can only begin at the beginning, and this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill is a helluva read:

The way Scotty Bowman sees it, three components turned the St. Louis Blues into Stanley Cup finalists during their first three seasons. One was goaltender Glenn Hall. One was a trade to acquire Red Berenson and Barclay Plager.

And one was Al Arbour.

“He was the toughest competitor, most courageous player I ever coached,” Bowman said. “He was the guy all the young players looked up to.”

Alger Arbour now leans on every bit of that resilience and fortitude. He is being treated for Parkinson’s disease and dementia near his home in Sarasota, Fla. He has difficulty with balance, with recollection and with words. He is in hospice care. The prognosis is dire.

But you can count on one thing. Arbour will battle, as he did as a defenseman for the Blues, as he did throughout a career in which he has been with teams that won the Stanley Cup eight times, representing four cities. The fact one of those locations isn’t St. Louis is a pockmark on a franchise that is without a championship 48 seasons into its existence.

Continued...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: al+arbour, scotty+bowman, st.+louis+blues

Prospect news: Holmstrom stars in Skelleftea win; Pope, UNO advance at NCAA regionals; Griffins win

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' prospects are mostly engaged in playoff hockey at present, and one player stole the show on Saturday--early:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored two goals (click the link for the highlights) in Skelleftea AIK's 5-2, second-round-opening win over Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC. Holmstrom scored the 3-1 and 4-1 goals in only 13:01 in ice time, while the former Wings prospect Backman finished at -2 in 16:47.

As DRW Prospects on Twitter noted, Holmstrom's having a fantastic playoff run, especially given that he plays as Skelleftea's 3rd or 4th line center:

In the KHL, I get to be honest: because Alexander Kadeikin isn't playing, I'm rooting for Sergei Fedorov's team, CSKA Moscow, in the "Army Derby," and CSKA took a 2-0 series lead in via a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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