Kukla's Korner

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

There are many ways to evaluate the New York Islanders’ controversial addition of Thomas Vanek in a blockbuster deal Sunday night, but let’s start with this one: Why, in the name of Billy Smith, did they not also insist on getting goaltender Ryan Miller in the deal? Vanek, playing with John Tavares, will be a potent scoring combination, but Tavares, playing with Matt Moulson – who went to the Buffalo Sabres in the deal, along with a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick – was already a potent scoring combination.

-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this plus other NHL topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings prospect Phillipe Hudon suspended for 4 games for illegal check in QMJHL

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings prospect Phillipe Hudon has 2 years to prove that the undersized-by-today's-standards (at 6'1" and 205 pounds) is worth signing to an entry-level deal, an the affable young man has done his best to add a physical bite to his meat-and-potatoes grinding game, registering 7 points and 23 penalty minutes over the course of 12 games for the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres.

Phil made a bad decision on Friday night, receiving a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for an illegal check to the head of an opponent, and the QMJHL suspended Hudon indefinitely on Saturday.

Today, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald's Wily Pavlov reports that the Q chose to suspend Hudon for four more games.

Per the QMJHL's website:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Trailing after two periods for the first time this season, the Avalanche scored a pair of third-period goals (by Jan Hejda and Paul Stastny) to improve to 10-1-0, matching the club’s best start in franchise history (Nordiques: 10-1-0 in 1994-95). Colorado also equaled the franchise record for wins in October, set in 2009-10.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Avalanche are the seventh team in NHL history to win 10 of their first 11 games of a season, but only the third to do so while recording each victory in regulation-time. The other two teams to post 10 regulation wins in their first 11 games both did so during the 1994-95 season: the Penguins (10-0-1) and the Nordiques (10-1-0).

Matt Duchene scored his ninth goal of the season, tying the Avalanche record for goals in October (Joe Sakic, 1997; Peter Forsberg, 2000; and Chris Stewart, 2010). Duchene’s nine goals are a career high for a single month, surpassing his previous best of eight in December 2010.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Regier Appears To Be Staying In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

So Sabres fans, particularly those who have been chanting, “Fire Darcy!” at every Sabres home game, it would probably be best if you got used to it. It appears now that instead of firing Regier, Pegula has handed the GM the keys to the station wagon after Regier has accidently driven it in a demolition derby.

The Sabres, it appears have made their decision. It will be Regier who trades goalie Ryan Miller. It will be Regier who ultimately fires a coach (Ron Rolston) who appears to be in way, way over his head at the NHL level and looks like he’d be more in his element coaching in the Federal League. It will be Regier who will decide whether or not to auction off the expiring contracts of Steve Ott and Henrik Tallinder at the trade deadline. Heck, if the Sabres are bad enough, maybe he’ll even deal the guy he got from the Islanders, Matt Moulson, to a contending team that needs to rent a scorer.

So the question now is, does Regier have the chops to get the Sabres out of the cataclysmic mess he himself has made? Regier has his critics, legions and legions of them, but his history also suggests he can rebuild a team as well as anyone. After all, Regier was at the helm when the Sabres were truly putrid, missing the playoffs each of the three seasons before the 2004-05 lockout, then retooled the team into one that had back-to-back 100-point seasons and advanced to the Eastern Conference final in successive seasons.

And if Regier has done one thing right in Buffalo, it has been drafting and developing players.

read on

added 10:05am, Bob McKenzie of TSN was on the NHL Network last night to breakdown the trade, listen/watch below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darcy+regier

Losing Continues In Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal,

How much longer will fans continue to support an organization that can’t win, never mind be competitive?

Prior to the 2004-05 lockout, the Oilers had a financial disadvantage compared to the big spending teams such as the Devils, the Detroit Red Wings, the Colorado Avalanche and the Philadelphia Flyers. The fans accepted and understood the Oilers didn’t have the money to buy consistent, winning teams, and they seemed to relish the underdog role.

That changed after the lockout ended.

The Oilers no longer have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. Owner Daryl Katz has given president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and general manager Craig MacTavish, as well as MacTavish’s predecessor Steve Tambellini, the green light to spend money, yet despite the added payroll, they are still no closer to being a playoff team.

It is clear something isn’t right within the Oilers. Their plan isn’t working. They can’t keep blaming the head coach for all the failures of the franchise.


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

Canadiens attempt to aid better player-name pronunciation

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The NHL's definitely a linguistically diverse league, and IIHF.com's Szymon Szemberg noted that the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein penned an article about the Montreal Canadiens' attempts to properly spell their players' names on the backs of their jerseys, diacritical marks included:

The Montreal Canadiens’ decision this season to include the accents in players’ names on their uniforms was not born of cultural politics. It arose simply out of one man’s desire to be accurate.

“I like to write things the right way,” said Pierre Gervais, the longtime equipment manager in charge of putting name bars on the Canadiens’ uniforms.

General Manager Marc Bergevin signed off on the idea, and voilà, linguistic sports history was made. Montreal is the first N.H.L. club to have a policy of rendering players’ names accurately on their uniforms.

The grave accent in Daniel Brière’s surname is still the only diacritical mark on a Canadiens name bar, and he is out with a concussion sustained Oct. 19. Another player whose name includes a diacritical mark is Joonas Nättinen of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. (Jérémy Grégoire, who is in a junior league, was with the Canadiens in the preseason.)

“If Nättinen gets called up, I’ll put the double-dot over the A,” Gervais said. “I’ll try to do the right spelling, which should be done.”

Continued, and as a Wings fan who tried to explain why Dominik Hasek's name was pronounced with a "sh" because there's a "hacek" over the s, I think this is a great idea.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere, montreal+canadiens

Red Wings overnight report: laying the Wings’ faults plain ahead of an answer-searching week

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings have a significant amount of work to do when they return to practice today, and they've got some 'splaining to do, too.

The Wings didn't anticipate facing "must-win" situations during what's going to be a particularly difficult Western Canadian Swing (the Wings play 4 games in 4 different cities over the course of 6 nights, starting with Wednesday's game in Vancouver and continuing on Friday in Calgary, Saturday in Edmonton and next Monday in Winnipeg), but dropping consecutive games to Phoenix, San Jose (albeit via a shootout), Ottawa and the Rangers--with three of those losses coming a home-stand--means that the 6-4-and-2 Wings need to right their listing ship as soon as possible.

As noted in the Wings-Rangers wrap-up, coach Mike Babcock was particularly disappointed with the high number of turnovers the Wings are committing between their own blueline and the opposition's blueline, suggesting that the team's tendency to give up 30+ shots an evening has everything to do with the team's inability to move the puck up ice without surrendering possession and control to their opponents.

This morning, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness notes that Niklas Kronwall seconded his coach's remarks:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Matheson engages in a fascinating conversation with Rob Blake about the suspension process

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's posted at least half of his weekly Hockey World articles on his blog page (I believe that he's still working on "Ask Matty" as I'm posting this, and I don't see any "Short Shifts" yet).

Especially given a) the fact that Don Cherry decided to suggest that John Scott and Cody McLeod require the sympathy of fans who don't understand "their role" or their obligation to "make a difference" and b) the endless suggestions that it's up to players and only players to police themselves when Sportsnet's John Shannon so wisely suggested that coaches, GM's and owners also share responsibility for employing players in "punishing" roles (we tend to forget that both players, coaches, GM's and owners are generally concerned about their team's well-being and competitive interests ahead of safe working environments)...

It's refreshing to hear now-NHL Department of Player Safety employee Rob Blake tell Matheson that there's a significant amount of push-back from teams when players are facing Sheriff Shanny's Wheel of Justice:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, colorado+avalanche, department+of+player+safety, jiri+hudler, john+scott, magnus+paajarvi, matt+duchene, rob+blake, st.+louis+blues

Red Wings prospect news: McCollum backstops back-to-back wins for Griffins; Mantha, Bertuzzi roll on

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects wrapped up a busy weekend in mostly winning fashion, and a Red Wings prospect who's essentially on "probationary" status via an AHL-only contract took two big steps foward over the past two days.

The Grand Rapids Griffins lost a 5-0 home decision to the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night, and then they headed on the road for what will end up being a thousand-plus-mile bus trip across the midwest.

On Saturday, Tom McCollum stopped 32 of 34 shots en route to a 3-2 Griffins win over Chicago, and on Sunday, McCollum stopped 26 of 28 shots as the Griffins defeated the Iowa Wild 3-2.

The Griffins' website provides a superb game recap:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Sabres Trade Vanek To Islanders

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

As you've probably already learned, the Sabres have traded Thomas Vanek to the Islanders for Matt Moulson, a 2014 1st-round pick and a 2nd-rounder in 2015.

Both Vanek and Moulson are set to become unrestricted free agents after this season.

Buffalo GM Darcy Regier will be speaking with the media in a few moments.

Keep it tuned here and I'll forward info and comments as they become available.

UPDATE 10:05pm: Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald was at the presser and just posted a piece complete with quotes from Regier.

Or, you can listen directly to audio of the press conference courtesy of WGR-550.

Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: "matt+moulson", "thomas+vanek"

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