Kukla's Korner

Tim Thomas’s ‘Mage’ places Tony Priolo, Sportmask in spotlight

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As a hockey equipment nerd, I know that Tim Thomas wears something its creator, Sportmask’s Tony Priolo, calls a “Mage”—a hybrid of a “helmet-cage” mask and a conventional goalie mask—and as Priolo’s always done a fantastic job of making top-quality goalie masks, I think that it’s very cool to see the Thomas’s “Mage” and Don Beaupre-inspired cage receive spotlighting via a Conn Smythe Trophy-winner’s endorsement. The Toronto Star’s Dan Robinson spoke to Priolo about Thomas’s mask, and it’s a good read:

Adecade ago Thomas, then relatively unknown, walked into Tony Priolo’s custom goalie mask shop in Oakville. The burly minor-league netminder wanted a new mask that would give him better vision than the sleek design that most goalies wear.

“He asked me about a whole bunch of crazy stuff,” Priolo recalled on Tuesday. “He wanted some crazy ideas. So I said, well, I definitely can do it.”

Thomas, as you may know, is anything but typical. The 37-year-old has flopped and flailed his way into NHL lore. In Thomas’s run to a likely Conn Smythe trophy, his play has shown similarities to a legendary goalie of equally criticized aggressiveness — Dominik Hasek. It’s a deeply rooted connection. When Thomas came knocking at Priolo’s door in 2002, he asked specifically to design a cage similar to that of the ever-unique Czech.

Continued

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

NHL’s buyout, team-elected arbitration periods begin today

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

In a story about the Edmonton Oilers possibly dealing tough guy Zach Stortini, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson makes an important point:

The Oilers can officially buy out the last year of Sheldon Souray’s contract at two-thirds of his salary starting today. They have a two-week window to do so. Neither Souray nor his agent Paul Theofanous have replied to interview requests.

We already know that the New York Rangers are highly likely to buy out Chris Drury and Wojtek Wolski, but the buyout period is always fascinating because at least two or three players that one wouldn’t assume teams would buy out, even at 2/3rds of their salary, spread out over twice the length of their contract (thus yielding, in the case of Chris Drury and Capgeek’s handy-dandy buy-out calculator, taking on half player’s cap hit for a certain number of seasons and then a smaller amount for the remaining seasons).

Even with a potential lockout season and a possible penalty-free buyout period on the horizon, I would expect a few players that we didn’t expect to be bought out to hit the market, and they’re usually attractive commodities during the free agent period, red flags regarding performance and/or injury included, because of their more affordable prices.

And as several reporters and bloggers have noted, including In Lou We Trust’s John Fischer, teams can begin filing for salary arbitration with their players today (the Devils are all but assured to do so in the case of Zach Parise to ward off restricted free agent offer sheets on July 1st), yielding a second buy-out period after their arbitration hearings.

To some extent, the off-season truly begins today, regardless of Game 7’s significance. We should know where the salary cap stands, based upon the NHL’s final tally of revenues and whether the NHLPA chooses to automatically apply its 5% inflator, by the entry draft on the 24th and 25th in Minnesota ($62-63.5 million are the estimates at the present moment), and unrestricted free agency begins only two-and-a-half weeks from now, so it’s going to get interesting for every team’s respective fan base in short order.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Adios, Paul MacLean, Red Wings fans hardly knew ye!

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The best thing I can say about Paul MacLean’s tenure with the Red Wings is the worst thing I can say about his tenure with the Red Wings: it was a quiet one. In Detroit, assistant coaches decide whether they want to talk to the media, not the other way around, so while Todd McLellan was outspoken and engaging, we knew that Paul MacLean had a laugh as hearty as his moustache was thick and that he got along very, very well with his players and coach during a six-year run alongside Mike Babcock in Detroit, but we never really got to know him.

It’s just not how things are done around here. If an assistant coach wants to just work behind the scenes, he’s given a wide berth, and the fact that MacLean didn’t seek out the media doesn’t besmirch his character at all. It just means that we’re learning more about the coaching philosophies of MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ new head coach than we did via his execution as (usually) the man in charge of the Wings’ forwards, and it should come as no surprise that, via the Canadian Press, when MacLean was introduced in Ottawa today, he suggested that his team would employ an up-tempo, Red Wings-like offense:

“I don’t know if we’re going to play the Red Wing way, but we’re going to play a game that’s going to be played with some pace and tempo,” MacLean said. “You’ve got to play 200 feet (of ice), you’ve got to be able to skate and if you have the puck, you can dictate what’s going on.”

MacLean also emphasized engaging his players in a Mike Babcock-like level of communication…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

No guarantees, but Red Wings hope Nicklas Lidstrom will return; Hitchcock’s not coming to Detroit

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Per MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Red Wings are not, in fact, offering guarantees as to Nicklas Lidstrom’s future with the team, but the Wings’ brass finally sat down and spoke to Lidstrom during the team’s organizational meetings, and they believe that Lidstrom’s strong season, the fact that he could play in his 20th season in Detroit and the fact that the Wings will be a contending team after their summer makeover all point to a relatively certain bet that Lidstrom will return:

Holland met with Lidstrom on Tuesday, following the first day of the club’s pro scouting meetings, but said he doesn’t know yet whether the team captain will play next season or retire. Holland said they will talk again at the NHL Awards Show on June 22 in Las Vegas.

Babcock is convinced that Lidstrom will return, though he hasn’t heard it from him.

“I’m 100 percent optimistic,” Babcock said Tuesday.  Asked why, Babcock said, “Why not? He’s too good. And our team is too good for him to quit.”

Khan also reports that Ken Hitchcock is simply not in the running to replace Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon as an assistant coach:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Last Chance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

Some Game 7s are like a bridge wired to blow, and the tension builds and billows and flares until, the next thing you know, you’re white-knuckling your armchair. And some Game 7s are like a bridge that collapses, and the losing team is suddenly grasping at air, wishing they could just start over, reset the clock, and just get one more chance to get it right.

But the whole point of a Game 7 is that you get one chance, and one chance only. The Boston Bruins have faced this scenario twice in these Stanley Cup playoffs; the Vancouver Canucks found themselves on the precipice once. Both these teams went to overtime in Game 7 in the first round, meaning they were a bounce from the void. But that bounce never came, and Wednesday night, they will play the last game of the season, with the whole of the season on the line.

continued

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

NCAA Goalie Winning The Stanley Cup Does Not Happen Very Often

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Snow at NHL.com,

Since the NCAA began crowning a national champion in 1948, there are only three goalies from the college ranks that have played the primary role in their team claiming the Stanley Cup.
 
Now, Tim Thomas, the former University of Vermont star, is hoping to add his name to that elite list. To do so, he will have to win one more game in the 2010-11 season—Wednesday’s Game 7 in Vancouver.
 
Ken Dryden, Ed Belfour, and Mike Richter have already accomplished this rare feat.

continued

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

Who Knows What Happens Next

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province at the Montreal Gazette,

As of this writing, the 2011 Stanley Cup final is like one of those questions you get on high-level math exams where you’re supposed to determine the next number in a sequence, But, in this case, the numbers are 1, 9,045, 8, 457,892, 43, and a googolplex and no one in their right mind would try to predict what Game 7 will hold.

The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo could pitch his third shutout of the series and forever cement his reputation as a big-game goalie. Or he could allow three goals on the first eight shots, as he did in Game 6 in Boston, and be remembered forever as one of the greatest choke artists in Stanley Cup history.

The Canucks, meanwhile, could overwhelm the Bruins with their speed, skill and tenacity, as they did in the third periods of games 1, 2 and 5. Or they could be dominated physically, as they were in the Boston games, looking like they were incapable of mounting any resistance to the Bruins’ aggression.

read on

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

Watching Game 6 On CBC

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via CBC press release,

Last night’s Game 6 delivered a new ratings record for CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, with an average audience of 6.6 million Canadians tuning in. That’s the most-watched NHL broadcast in CBC history* – beating the 6.1 million that watched Game 5. \

The game, which saw Boston defeat Vancouver 5-2 to tie the series 3-3, peaked at 8.1 million viewers at 9:06 pm ET near the end of the first period. The game reached a total of 16.2 million Canadians, the most ever for the Final on CBC.

The game also delivered spectacular ratings in the key 25-54 demo, with an average audience of 2.9 million viewers.

(Source: BBM Canada, Total Canada, Preliminary Overnights, Ind.2+, 2011)
* Based on metered television audience data only

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Suspension for Boychuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From James Mirtle at the Globe & Mail:

The NHL’s acting disciplinarian, Mike Murphy, confirmed Tuesday that Boston Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk will not be suspended for his hit on Canucks winger Mason Raymond in the opening seconds of Monday’s Game 6.

According to Canucks GM Mike Gillis, Raymond “sustained a vertebrae compression fracture” on the play and is expected to miss three to four months.

Murphy said via email that the league’s hockey operations department reviewed the play but deemed it an “awkward collision” and not worthy of a suspension.

“[It was an] awkward collusion between two players battling for space/room,” Murphy wrote. “[You] rarely see a player bumped when in the position Raymond was in (bent over forward).”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: johnny+boychuk, mason+raymond, mike+gillis, mike+murphy

Ticket Prices for Game 7

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From a StubHub press release today, these observations about their sales:

• Today, fans have been paying an average price of $3082 per ticket
• Yesterday, that average price was $2413
• The most expensive ticket purchased has been $6500 – 2 tickets each at this price for Club 106 (Row 12), purchased by a Vancouver buyer yesterday

And you could even spend more, if you want.  TheFourthPeriod notes this on Twitter:

2 tickets, 2nd row for GM7… $10,345 on stubhub… hot damn.

That’s EACH ticket. 

Over at SeatGeek, they’re comparing prices across multiple sellers and see even higher asking prices for the game. Average listing price? $$8,688 per ticket. You can see their seat map here.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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