Kukla's Korner

Two Canadian Prospects Playing Their Hockey In The NCAA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

One is from the High Park area in the west end of Toronto; the other is from Pickering, the first community east of Metro Toronto.

One just turned 23; the other won’t turn 21 until June.

One is a late-blooming 6-foot-5 goalie who may be closer to 6-foot-6, with the size, confidence, calm demeanor and puck-stopping ability that has NHL teams falling all over themselves to sign him as an unrestricted free agent; the other is a 5-foot-10 goal-scoring left winger who may be closer to 5-foot-9, with an edgy, chip-on-his-shoulder mentality and high skill level that is perhaps, finally, causing some NHL teams to at least consider the notion the unrestricted free agent can be successful in pro hockey in spite of his size, or lack thereof.

For all their differences, though, there is much Matt O’Connor and Drake Caggiula share: two Canadians, both products of the Greater Toronto Area, who have taken the hockey path less travelled to play pivotal roles for their respective U.S. college teams in a head-to-head match-up against each other a week this Thursday, in the semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four at Boston’s TD Garden.

One is a junior who wears the red and white of Boston University in Hockey East; the other is also a junior but in the green, black and white of the University of North Dakota in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

One will win; one will lose; which means only one is guaranteed to play for a U.S. college hockey national championship a week this Saturday in Boston.

continued

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

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders wrap-up; prospect playoff news

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 5x at 8:21 AM: The Red Wings flew back to Metro Detroit perhaps feeling a little flummoxed after their 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders. After a stellar performance on Saturday, Petr Mrazek struggled to keep the puck out of the net on Sunday, as did Jimmy Howard--at least on the first of the 16 shots he faced--and as a result.

The Red Wings will host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and the Boston Bruins on Thursday, and due to Ottawa's 4-2 loss to Florida and Boston's 2-1 OT win over Carolina, the Atlantic Division standings look like this:

Boston sits 3 points behind Detroit, as well as 2 wins and 3 Regulation-or-OT wins behind Detroit, having played one more game than the Red Wings; Ottawa's 5 points behind Detroit, three wins and five ROWs behind Detroit, and they've played the same number of games; and Florida is now 7 points behind Detroit, with 5 fewer wins and 10 fewer ROWs, having played one more game than the Wings.

It's still not likely that the Wings, who also play in Minnesota and host Washington next weekend, before playing Carolina twice and Montreal once to close out the season, are going to fall out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but it is imperative that the Red Wings stop losing to ensure that their 3-8-and-1 March record does not push it into a Wild Card sport.

The Islanders had done just that due to their March struggles, so Sunday's game was far more important for the desperate Isles, and it showed, as the New York Post's Dan Martin noted:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Quick take, Red Wings vs. Islanders: desperation vs. desperation yields dumb hockey

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings faced a team dealing with an equally baffling slump and a March record nearly as bad as Detroit's 4-7-and-1 tally in the 3-6-and-3 Islanders on Sunday afternoon, and playing in a building that's vexed Detroit for the last 20 years in the Nassau Veterans' Memorial Coliseum--for perhaps the final time...

You had to worry that Detroit was going to look ahead to Tuesday's match-up against the Senators and Thursday's showdown with Boston instead of focusing on the task at hand, and the Islanders were so incredibly pissed off after losing yesterday's tilt vs. the Ducks that the player-and-coach comments made it sound like the Wings were in for a world of hurt.

How did it play out? It played out like a gigantic brain fart, with the Red Wings scoring 2 goals on the game's first 2 shots but Petr Mrazek giving up 3 on the first 3 shots he faced, only to be pulled for Jimmy Howard--who gave up what ended up being the game-winning, short-handed goal on the first shot he faced, all en route to what was an ugly, mucky, clutchy-grabby-hooky-holdy and just plain old dumb 5-4 Islanders win.

The Florida Panthers defeated the Senators 4-2 and the Bruins are tied 1-1 with the Hurricanes as I type this, so the Wings remain 5 ahead of Ottawa, who comes to the Joe on Tuesday, and are either 5 or 3 points ahead of Thurdsay's opponent with a game in hand.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening Line- Ed Willes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

... love the spin coming out of Toronto that Mike Babcock will charge over to the Leafs following this season. Yes. MLSE can make him rich but, for pity’s sake, he’d be inheriting a team that is chaotic in the boardroom, directionless and spiritless in the locker room and is at least five years away from competing for a playoff spot.

Sure, Babcock likes a challenge as much as the next guy, but let’s get real here. If he decides to leave Detroit he’ll have his pick of jobs, and stepping into that toxic waste spill in Toronto won’t be at the top of his list.

-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province where you can read more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Los Angeles Kings Are Playing For Home Ice Advantage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,

“They were very effective,” he said. “I’ve said it lots, right? You need everybody every shift to make the playoffs. Kopi’s line was a little off last night. Basically, all it is is Koivu’s line – three big players – dominated the game.”

And while the Kings are still fighting to get into the playoffs, and while Minnesota has risen past the wild-card fray into a divisional playoff berth for the time being (and perhaps longer), Sutter crossed one particular landing point off the postseason itinerary.

“Everybody’s trying to make the playoffs,” he said while rejecting an allusion that the team would face another “desperate” team in the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. “We still have the opportunity to get home ice, as ‘desperate’ as we are. We still have the opportunity to go home in two weeks, so it’s one of the two. You’re not going to get a wild-card spot. The wild-card’s out of the picture.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Condolences issued: Mike Babcock’s father has passed away

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I thought about making this into an entry or leaving it be, and I did so as someone who knows that the Red Wings' coach is a very private family man who happens to have lost his mom to cancer when he was still a kid.

The last thing you want to do in this kind of situation is to step on people's toes or to make public something that they should be allowed to grieve in private. But I lost my dad when I was 14, and am dealing with the fears of chronic health issues affecting the one parent I've got left, so:

Most sincere and heartfelt. I know that Babcock admired and looked up to his father, and I'm terribly sorry to have to report this. It's...it's hard to lose your parent.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Two More, Please

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit

What a difference a day makes 'eh? So, I'm inclined toward keeping this on the positive.

A special thanks to MO for being a game saver/lucky charm. Here's to the beginning of a nice run.

Time to grab two more important points.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

The Slumping Chicago Blackhawks Are Now A Wildcard Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The Hawks have lost three of four games, all to teams outside of the playoff picture, to fall to fourth place in the Central. They have two games in hand on the Wild (and on first-place Nashville, which is eight points ahead), but those two games come back-to-back against the Jets (who’ve won three of four against the Hawks this season) and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings.

Oddly enough, that might be the best thing for the Hawks, who have long had a penchant for playing to the level of their competition.

“I feel we’ve taken some teams lightly as of late, and they’ve taken it to us,” Andrew Shaw said. “Tonight’s a big game. We need the two points, they need the two points. When you’re playing a great team, everyone always steps up even more.”

Toews agreed.

“When the motivation is right in front of our faces, I think we’ve always been good at stepping up and being prepared for those types of games,” he said, adding that the urgency hasn’t been high enough lately. “We played some teams that have nothing to lose, and aren’t sitting in playoff positions, and they’ve been the ones playing the more desperate style of hockey. Tonight, there’s no excuse.”

more

Chicago plays tonight in Winnipeg.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon news: Red Wings-Islanders tidbits; on Howard and Abdelkader

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Update: No Sheahan today...

And here's the Wings' game day preview video:

There's no morning skate prior to today's tilt between the Red Wings and Islanders (5 PM EDT on FSD Plus/MSG Plus/97.1 FM; Dave Jackson and Francis Charron are scheduled to ref today's affair), so "what's left" is a scattershot set of previews, game-day articles and miscellaneous stuff.

NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright has posited a Wings-Islanders game preview, and here's the Islanders-related part thereof:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Vincent Lecavalier Just Wants To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at Yahoo,

"Maybe it's just a better opportunity I need," Lecavalier said. "It happens to a lot of guys. Sometimes you just have to get out of it, try to get out of it and work hard through it and maybe another opportunity will happen."

Lecavalier is in the process of selling his home in Tampa, Fla., and is renting a house in the Philadelphia area. After 14 seasons as the face of the Lightning franchise, uncertainty has become the new normal for the Ile Bizard, Que., native.

Owed another $2 million roster bonus this summer, Lecavalier will have made $14 million of the $22.5 million from his contract before stepping onto the ice next season. Counting buyout payments from the Lightning that run through the 2026-2027 season, Lecavalier could earn the most money of any player in NHL history, with Jaromir Jagr the only active challenger.

Lecavalier said he wouldn't ask the Flyers to buy him out of this deal. He just wants to play.

"I feel like I've trained my whole career to extend those years and feel good when I'm 35, 36, 37 years old," he said. "I feel like it's not a matter of not having legs or anything like that. I was never a really fast guy. I've always been the same speed. I feel good."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vincent+lecavalier

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