Kukla's Korner

Preview And Notes- Detroit Red Wings vs. Florida Panthers

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

via Brian Hedger at NHL.com,

Season series: Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo earned wins in the first two games against the Detroit Red Wings, making 67 saves on 72 shots for a .930 save percentage. Center Pavel Datsyuk has a goal and two assists to lead the Red Wings.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit went into the break on a high note after winning five straight games. The Red Wings are 10-3-0 since losing six straight games in December, which has vaulted them back into the race for the Atlantic Division lead despite goalie Jimmy Howard's torn groin. Veteran backup Jonas Gustavsson is still recovering from a separated shoulder, so the starting role currently belongs to Petr Mrazek. The 22-year old has responded well; he's started all five games since Howard got hurt and is 4-0-0. Howard skated for about 20 minutes at practice Monday and hopes to return in the original 3-4 week timeline. Forward Tomas Jurco (back) practiced, but is questionable. Forward Johan Franzen (upper body) didn't practice and is out. Defenseman Jakub Kindl (elbow) may come off injured reserve, but isn't likely to play over rookie Xavier Ouellet.

Panthers team scope: Florida stumbled into the break winless in the past four games. The Panthers earned one of eight possible points in that span, which helped widen the gap between themselves and the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.. The Panthers (50 points) are seven points back of the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, the East's current wild-card holders. Defense and Luongo's goaltending are keeping their odds of making the postseason alive at this point. Florida's 107 goals ranks 25th in the League, but the Panthers are in the top half of the NHL (13th) in goals allowed (122). Coach Gerard Gallant said Monday that injured forward Shawn Thornton (groin) is getting close to returning, but probably won't play against Detroit.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

What To Do With Mike Richards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cullen of TSN,

He still has positive possession numbers but, given how well the Kings fare without him on the ice, Richards is practically being dragged to respectable shot differentials. While in previous seasons he at least faced a reasonable level of competition, Richards has continued his descent this year while facing relatively-soft competition.

There may be an argument to make that a motivated Richards could still be a useful contributor, but his contract is going to make it challenging to find a new opportunity.

After this season, Richards still has five years remaining on his deal, at a cap hit of $5.75-million per season, a big ticket for an underperforming player. The easiest way for the Kings to rid themselves of that contract would have been to use a compliance buyout on Richards last summer, but it's hard to ante up $20-million for a player not to play on your team.

Difficult as it may have been, the decision not to buy out Richards then leaves the Kings in a tight spot now. They don't get much cap relief ($925,000) by putting him in the AHL, and while that has value to a team jammed against the salary cap, it doesn't clear the decks in the way that it would have under the previous collective bargaining agreement, when Wade Redden, among others, got buried in the AHL with a big NHL salary.

The hope for the Kings has to be to find a trade for Richards, but that's going to require some creativity. It may require eating up to half of Richards' salary, taking on a bad contract from another team, or both.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Who Is Andy Barroway?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,

Meet Andy Barroway: the 49-year-old hedge-fund manager and lifelong Philadelphian who is now a member of one of the most elite clubs on the planet.

He is not a hockey purist. He didn't grow up playing the game. He has no connection to Arizona. When he visits the Valley of the Sun, he stays in a hotel, because he has not yet had a chance to scout out a secondary residence....

"What a thrill," Barroway said. "I've wanted this since I was a kid. It's a very weird feeling. It's such a tough process to get in [as an owner]. This is something I wanted very badly. I'm a huge sports fan, I'm a huge hockey fan. I love the game, I love the pace of the game. I'm tremendously excited."

The biggest question for this Cherry Hill East, Rutgers undergrad and Penn Law School grad is: Why the Coyotes? They are buried in the brutal Western Conference. They play in the desert in a beautiful arena situated far from their core fan base in Scottsdale. They were operated and funded by the NHL from 2009-13 after previous owner Jerry Moyes was stripped of his ownership in bankruptcy. They have won two Stanley Cup playoff series since moving to Arizona in 1996.

The short answer for Barroway is that they were the next team on the market.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andy+barroway

Morning Line- Pierre LeBrun

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“They are the only ones in the Eastern Conference not in a playoff spot that have a chance. Toronto is toast, Ottawa isn’t getting back into it. Florida has the best shot, although I don’t think they should be aiming for Boston.

“The Bruins will be top three in the division soon I think. But maybe Detroit or Washington starts to slip. That would help the Panthers.’’

-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN/TSN on the Florida Panthers chances of making the playoffs.  More on the Panthers from George Richards of the Miami Herald.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Columbus Blue Jackets Need To Get Hot Right Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

“We have 37 games to go,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “We have to win 25 of them to give ourselves a chance. That puts us in the mid-90s (in points).

“It’s not going to be easy, we know that. But we’ve done it before.”

The Blue Jackets have ended the past two seasons on stunning runs, barely missing the playoffs in 2013 and finishing as the No. 7 seed last season.

They recently tore through December with a 10-1-1 record.

“It’s in us,” right wing Jared Boll said. “We’ve shown we can do it.

“We’re not happy where we’re at. And it doesn’t look good, if you do the math. But we know it’s possible. It’s just important for every guy in this room to do more, to play better. We have to bring it every night.”

There are two huge hurdles in front of the Blue Jackets.

They are a whopping 14 points behind eighth-place Boston in the Eastern Conference, an almost insurmountable deficit even though they played three fewer games than the Bruins.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jonathan Drouin In The Early Stages Of His NHL Career

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

“This isn’t a one-year investment. It’s long term with (Jonathan),” Cooper said. “It’s a different game than what he came from in junior. But he’s gotten better and better and better. It’s clear when you watch the games now. There’s more command of the puck. He doesn’t rush plays anymore. He knows he has a little more time.”

“The comfort level is way higher,” Drouin said. “Just confidence-wise, system-wise, I think I’m playing a little bit better.”

“It’s definitely not easy,” Stamkos said. “You’re that go-to guy in junior and you come in here and you’re not necessarily given anything right away. It’s tough to put up the same kind of numbers and have the same kind of expectations.”

On to the second half of Drouin’s first NHL season. He has shown star flashes, that stick work, a move or two that faked defenders out of their skates, some pretty assists to set up goals. There are moments with Drouin when we wonder “How’d he do that?” There are more moments when we ask when he’s going to do more.

Did you remember that Jonathan Drouin doesn’t turn 20 until March?

Everyone wants things to happen right away.

Life doesn’t usually work that way. No matter how fast you skate.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+drouin

The New York Rangers May Want To Avoid Playing The Boston Bruins In First Round Of the Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Regardless of whether Mother Nature (or Gary Bettman) allows for this Rangers-Islanders showdown at the Coliseum to be played as scheduled on Tuesday or if it is pushed back to Wednesday — when both teams and the building are free — this next Battle of New York represents the Blueshirts’ best, if not last, chance to join the race for first place.

Which, other than ninth place, could be the worst place for the Rangers to be when the playoffs open.

Have you thought much about a hypothetical first-round matchup against the potential wild-card Bruins? No, didn’t think so.

But now do you see my point?

First things first: True enough, the Rangers still will have 35 games to go following this one, and at worst, a regulation defeat would drop them seven points back and still with two games in hand, so it might seem premature to get out the “Sky is Falling” placards.

But the NHL’s three-point game that creates the opportunity for losers to pick up points along the way has created an illusion of proximity in the standings. Even with games in hand, the likelihood of making up seven points in a little over two months on a team as strong as the Islanders is negligible.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

When Loans Go Bad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Back in November, a few paragraphs of an Associated Press wire story out of Erie, Pa., made their way into Canadian newspapers and websites. The item noted that Sherry Bassin, owner and general manager of the major-junior Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, lost a $4.6-million (U.S.) judgment to Daryl Katz, owner of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

On the face of it, is seemed just another business-deal-gone-bad – the settlement amount was for a loan Katz advanced to Bassin, plus interest, nearly three years earlier. It was before the Otters had drafted the bankable teen phenom Connor McDavid, and Bassin needed the money to prop up the financially struggling franchise. Then, for reasons that weren’t made clear in the wire story, Katz called the loan. Bassin couldn’t pay, so off to court they went.

But a closer look at the dispute and what led to it reveals the indecorous underside of sports franchise ownership, not to mention the fickle relationships between teams and their communities, and the fragile “partnerships” between owners in various leagues. So much for the honour in pro sports.

The details will follow, but in short, Katz made the deal with Bassin not because he was interested in the welfare of fans in Erie. Instead, if he could quietly buy the Otters, he could move them to Hamilton and take control of his ultimate prize – the hockey lease at Copps Coliseum – even though a fellow NHL owner, Michael Andlauer, was the existing leaseholder at the Hamilton arena. 

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: Red Wings-Panthers set-up; Stadium Series talk; Fetisov, Lidstrom & Pulkkinen

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings begin their "second half" and/or "stretch run" campaign with a pair of games in the Sunshine State--tonight, the Wings battle the Florida Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) and Thursday, the Wings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Over the next 5 days, the Wings play a trio of games against teams the Wings have historically had particular difficulty defeating this week in the Panthers, Bolts and Saturday's opponent, the New York Islanders.

The Wings' 63 points and 27-11-and-9 record are good for 2nd in the Atlantic Division (one behind Tampa; Detroit's also tied in points with the Islanders and sit 3rd in the Eastern Conference), tonight's game is of particular significance: the Panthers have 3 games in hand on Detroit's 47, but the Panthers also sit 13 points behind the Wings, and carving out a 15-point lead would at least give Detroit a nearly unassailable margin for error...Against the Panthers, anyway.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Zac Rinaldo Suspended For 8 Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Video will be posted when available.

added 7:20pm,

 

 

If you want to review the hit, watch it below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zac+rinaldo

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