Kukla's Korner

Bickell Emerging As A Top Power Forward

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cal Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

When did Joel Quenneville first realize that Bryan Bickell could be this good?

“Five years ago when he was first called up,” the Chicago Blackhawks head coach said Sunday morning. “We played him with Toews and Kaner that year. There's ability there. You like his size, his speed. He can shoot and be physical.

“He's got all the elements that you look for in a power forward. Putting it all together has been a process.”

Well, that’s five years sooner than most of the hockey world.

To those less familiar with the Blackhawks’ process, Bickell might as well have emerged from the womb, fully grown, sometime during the last two weeks, when his 6-foot-4, 233-pound frame began raising welts on the Detroit Red Wings’ puck handlers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, although that may have been the least surprising aspect of his game.

The fun part was that he played his way into a top-six role on one of hockey’s most talented scoring squads, doing what hardly anyone else -- on his team, or the Red Wings -- could do in a very hotly-contested, well-coached, positionally-demanding series: make an offensive impact.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+bickell

Monday Morning Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Information below provided by the NHL PR department,

TIME TO SHINE
Bryan Bickell’s goal early in the second period proved to be the game-winner, his second of the playoffs. Bickell has six goals overall in 14 games this postseason, or one every 2.33 contests. He recorded nine goals in 48 regular-season games this year, or one every 5.33 contests.

GOOD TO BE HOME
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford improved to 8-1 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in nine starts at United Center this postseason. That matches his home win total from the entire regular season, when he went 8-2-3 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 13 appearances.

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

Red Wings overnight report: a backhanded comment, ticket gnus, Sunday sports show talk and Babs

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

First and foremost, beware: auto-play videos lurk within!

Five days after the Red Wings' season-ending loss to Chicago and two after the team's locker room clean-out day, I'll admit it: I'm still pissed off. I'm still pissed off about the way the series unraveled and I'm still pissed off about the fact that the even-up refereeing gods as well as the outside-of-Detroit-press's insistence that the "hockey gods" both intervened in determining the outcome of Games 6 and 7.

I'm not thrilled with the fact that the lack of any sort of standard of officiating, and the complete and total absence thereof after whistles, are turning "scrums" from discipline-defining exchanges to sidehows. But that's beside the point.

The Blackhawks are still standing, and, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Adam L. Jahns, the Blackhawks have raced out to a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings because they're not letting the Kings frustrate them the way the Wings did:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Grand Rapids Griffins take Game 5 of Western Conference Final, lead OKC 3-2

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins faced a must-win situation in their last of three straight games in Oklahoma City, OK (the AHL utilizes a 2-3-2 playoff format), and tied 2 games to 2 with the Oklahoma City Barons, the Griffins stood up and delivered a command performance, defeating the Barons 3-0 and taking a 3-2 lead in the AHL's Western Conference Final--with Petr Mrazek pitching a 37-save shutout and Joakim Andersson registering 2 assists.

The Griffins now head home and will host the Barons on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, with the winner of this series slated to battle the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL's Calder Cup Final.

The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a superb recap:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Chicago Goes Up 2-0 On The LA Kings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Final score was 4-2 but the Kings scored late to make the score closer than it actually was. 

Los Angeles still hasn't been able to sustain any offensive momentum and I imagine the media will be pointing the lack of scoring from Kopitar, Brown and others needs to change in a hurry. 

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

Game 2 Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Playing just over 24 hours after the final horn sounded yesterday, the Blackhawks will try to keep home-ice advantage with another win.

The Kings certainly don't want to go home down 0-2, so expect them to create more offensive opportunities while cutting down the chances they allowed Chicago yesterday.

Puck drops a little after 8:00pm ET and can be viewed on NBCSN, TSN or RDS.

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

No Better Time To Start Fleury Than Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

If now is not the time for Marc-Andre Fleury, then when?

Or more to the point, if it is not time now for the return of the longtime Penguins starter and former number one overall draft pick, then the answer "never"....

... there remains a prevailing feeling at least from outside the Penguins dressing room that if the star-studded Penguins are to make good on their significant promise and advance at least to the finals it will be with Fleury in net.

One NHL coach said simply he did not trust Vokoun to get the job done while another Eastern Conference scout said the goaltending matchup between Vokoun and Tuukka Rask, who delivered his first-ever playoff shutout with a fine 29-save performance Saturday, is a mismatch in favor of the Bruins.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sunday evening Red Wings chit-chat: Tootoo, Samuelsson discuss frustrating seasons with Pleiness

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James pondered where Jordin Tootoo fits into the Red Wings' lineup going forward, pointing out that Wings coach Mike Babcock both lauded Tootoo's regular-season performance and stated taht Tootoo's essentially not the kind of player who's going to find himself skating during the playoffs lest he take an unnecessary penalty. Tootoo chose his words wisely while speaking about his situation with St. James, and he also did so while speaking to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

“Playoff hockey is very intense and that’s my kind of game,” Tootoo said after cleaning out his locker at Joe Louis Arena on Friday. “Obviously you’ve got to make sure what you think is the right combination of guys in the lineup to win, and obviously I wasn’t part of that combination. But you never know, guys go down, things happen, there are a lot of ups and downs. Mentally, physically, I was prepared to be thrown into the battle.”

As Pleiness notes, Tootoo didn't play during the Predators' playoff win over the Wings during the 2011-2012 season (and he was benched after taking a costly penalty in the first game of the Wings-Ducks series), and issuing frustration-based comments regarding his benching helped pave his way out of town. Tootoo bit his lip a slightly while telling Pleiness that he more or less dealt with not playing as best as he could:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Pittsburgh’s Goaltending

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

One of the more heavily discussed topics in the playoffs right now is Pittsburgh's goaltending situation.  For most of the season Marc-Andre Fleury has been the Penguins number one goalie.   Tomas Vokoun was brought in last summer to be an experienced backup goalie and potentially somebody who is capable of carrying the number one job. During the regular season both goalies put up roughly equivalent numbers with Fleury playing more games (33 vs. 20).  In the playoffs Fleury was the number one goalie at the outset of the playoffs.   He played the first four games against the Islanders and wasn't particularly impressive.  He posted a .891 saves percentage with two wins and two losses.  His final game was his worst with six goals allowed on 24 shots.  At this point it was time to try Vokoun.  Tomas Vokoun played pretty well and has posted a .937 saves percentage and a 1.98 GAA so far.  However, after losing game one to Boston by a 3-0 score there have been calls for Pittsburgh to return to Fleury in net.

This isn't a situation where a team has a proven starter and a more unproven backup and when the starter struggled the backup performed admirably, but inevitably gave the job back to the starter.  It is quite possible (probable even) that Vokoun is the better of the two goalies.  Fleury has won a Stanley Cup and he was the unused third goaltender on the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team as a result, but at no point has proven he is an elite goalie.  He has always been the weak link on a strong Pittsburgh team that is among the top teams in the league.  At best he has been good enough for Pittsburgh to win but they have never won because of him.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Video- Comparing The Dave Bolland Hit Last Night To The Recent Raffi Torres Hit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul


First the Bolland hit from last night and in case you are wondering, the NHL will take no action on the hit.

 

 

Below is the Shanahan video of the Torres hit and to refresh your memory, Torres was suspended for the rest of the WC semi-finals.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+bolland, raffi+torres

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