Kukla's Korner

Red Wings’ captain, coach and GM tell MLive’s Khan that the team’s on an upward trajectory

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Yesterday we received some strong indications of where the Red Wings' players, coach, possible soon-to-be alumni and the Wings' beat writers believe the team is headed, and this afternoon, MLive's Ansar Khan provides words of cautious optimism from the team's captain...

“It's a fine line here,'' [Henrik] Zetterberg said. “But, it feels better to stand here and look to the future than it did last year. You're a lot more positive. We know we have a good group of guys. We'll make some additions and keep building on what we have. We know we're going to do good things."

The coach...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The NHL Conference Finals Start Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I will be watching to see if Chicago will adjust to the constant hitting they are about to receive from the LA Kings and will Tomas Vokoun still be a steady influence for the Pittsbugh Penguins.

Feel free to discuss both games in the comments below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

More Red Wings free agent-to-be remarks and roster talk

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As noted in an update to the overnight report, MLive's Brendan Savage posted a few more comments from the Red Wings' unrestricted free agents-to-be--Valtteri Filppula, Drew Miller, Daniel Cleary and Ian White--and White sounded exactly as disgruntled as you'd expect him to be.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke to White as well, and if Wings coach Mike Babcock's, "We wish him luck" is any indication, the Wings have as much desire to bring back a player who went straight to the media stating that he hadn't asked for a trade yet after being benched and then playing crappily when he did get a chance to proveh himself (okay, that was a very long and rambling "who/what-used-as-a-prepositional phrase" clause) has to remain a Wing:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

A Bad Idea For Top Executives

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It shouldn't be too controversial to say that coaches, GMs and other top NHL team executives should be hired based on their track record in coaching, GM and executive positions.  Playing experience is a different skill and it doesn't make sense to hire a coach because he was a top NHL player.  That isn't to say that top NHL players cannot be NHL coaches and GMs, but that they should succeed in lesser coaching, GM and executive positions before they get their promotion.

The Colorado Avalanche do not agree with that theory.  This summer they have made Joe Sakic their executive vice president of hockey operations and Patrick Roy their new coach.  Sakic appears to be fast-tracked to eventually take over as their GM.  This decision appears to have been made before we learn if he is successful in his new position.  Roy was a part owner, GM and coach in the QMJHL.  His Quebec Remparts were a good team that finished third in their division.  It is hard to argue that he was the top coaching prospect in the QMJHL if he was not a Hall of Fame goalie and it is definitely true that the QMJHL is not the top league to produce coaches for the NHL.  If he name was anything other than Patrick Roy, he would have had to work his way up to the NHL with at least one higher level coaching position before he was seriously considered to be an NHL coach.  I expect that this experiment in Colorado will end badly.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

He Shoots, He Scores

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hold on, I have to answer my phone.

Long-time readers of KK may recall an Android app we introduced here some time ago which instead of the old, ringtone, your phone would ring via a video of a goal you chose to show.

Well, the 123on Android app, available at Google Play, has basically rebuilt their app from scratch thus enhancing the features in so many ways you must check it out.

You have a free 14 day trial period, no strings attached, not even going through any registration process, to try out as many videos as you would like. Just download the app and pick your videos.

I have taken a personal interest in @123onAndroidApp and know of the struggles they went through, then when they were ready to make a splash on the scene, the lockout hit, basically grinding everything to a halt.

But now things are different, quality hockey is being played and the videos they are delivering are very impressive.  Make sure to use the search feature on the app to find a particular video of a player or NHL team.

You really have nothing to lose by trying the app out and one thing to remember, they have partnered with both the NHL and NHLPA on this product, so no funny stuff going on.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: 123on

NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee to discuss hybrid icing, visors and goalie gear on Tuesday

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

If you recall the result of the NHL's general managers' meetings in March--suggestions that the league should adopt "hybrid icing," that it should tweak goaltending equipment to lower thigh rises and slim knee protectoin, and that it should grandfather in mandatory visor use? Or how the NHLPA reponded with a de-facto, "Hmm, we should talk about this" level of skepticism? Well, the NHL and the NHLPA are indeed going to "talk out" the GM's recommendations at a meeting of the "competition committee" this upcoming week, and the PA named the representatives who will attend said meeting...

With the Competition Committee set to convene on Tuesday in Toronto at the NHL’s offices, it was announced Saturday that David Backes (St. Louis Blues), Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks), Michael Cammalleri (Calgary Flames), Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg Jets) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) will represent the members of the NHLPA as the player contingent at the meeting. Mathieu Schneider, the NHLPA’s Special Assistant to the Executive Director, who is a non-voting member of the Competition Committee, will chair the meeting.

The Competition Committee has been in place since 2005 for the purpose of examining and making recommendations concerning issues affecting the game and the way it is played. The committee examines issues such as the development, change and enforcement of rules, equipment regulations and standards, dressing room and in-arena facility standards, scheduling and outdoor games.

The Competition Committee consists of five players as designated by the NHLPA and five club officials as designated by the NHL.

And, via RedWingsFeed, the NHL has essentially responded in kind:

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Two Powerful Teams Ready To Faceoff In The East

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,

The Bruins and Penguins locking up for their first conference final showdown in 20 years is an intriguing contrast because it pits strength (intense, punishing defensive team) vs. strength (high-powered, skilled offensive team), and will boast some of the most fascinating storylines in any playoff series. The B’s/Pens series will also include many of the marquee match-ups befitting a playoff series between the two most seasoned, experienced, deep, talented teams in the East.

Bergeron vs. Sid the Kid.

Chara vs. Malkin.

Jarome Iginla vs. a Bruins fan base he gave the stiff arm to.

Matt Cooke vs. the rest of the civilized NHL world.

The list goes on and on.

read on

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

Mike Smith Wants To Play For A Contending Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,

Smith is the team’s top unrestricted free agent, and he’ll be the most coveted goalie July 5 when the free-agent market opens for business. After only two seasons as a No. 1, Smith has made it clear he considers himself among the elite of the position and expects a salary to match.

And if the Coyotes let him reach free agency, it’s very likely another team will meet Smith’s monetary expectations. He’s enjoyed recent playoff success, has a likeable personality and is the star attraction in a shallow goalie market....

“I’m not gonna be selfish with this whole situation and demand this stupid contract that we’re not going to be able to build a team around,” Smith said. “I believe you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There’s good players that make a lot of money, and I think I deserve a fair contract. By any means I’m not expecting to hit a home run.”

A hometown discount, it seems, is a possibility, but Smith needs other assurances before agreeing to stick with the Coyotes.

“The biggest part about me signing back here will be: Is the ownership group coming in, is this going to be a place that free agents are going to want to come and play and are they going to spend the money to make this a better team on an every-year basis?” Smith said. “I think that’s the most intriguing piece of the puzzle.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+smith

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I could care less what people think about our game, or talk about ‘growing the game.’ We’ve found something that’s successful for us as a group, and sometimes people don’t think it’s exciting, it depends on your opinion.

“Some people thought our series with St. Louis was really boring because we only scored x amount of goals. But I think there’s things that make playoff hockey exciting and it’s not always about goal scoring.

“You look back last year to the Philly-Pitt series and everybody thought that was the greatest series ever, (but) from a player’s standpoint, I don’t know when you give up 10 or eight goals in a game that that’s very good hockey. But we found what makes us successful, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

-Dustin Brown, captain of the LA Kings via Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.  Read more on the LA/Chicago series.

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

Shorten The First Round Of The Playoffs?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sarah Kwak of Sports Illustrated,

We’ve reached the midpoint of the NHL playoffs, and maybe it’s the heat, with the temperatures in the upper 70s and 80s outside each of the arenas in the four cities remaining in the playoffs, or the two empty days before the conference finals start Saturday, but it’s got me thinking that maybe the NHL should think about tightening up the postseason. And maybe — just maybe — consider making the first round a best-of-five series.

Hear me out.

Of course, this year brought extenuating circumstances with the shortened schedule and the late start to the season, which necessitated a late finish. But still, one could argue a quicker first round would ensure better hockey at the end. Fresher players, fewer injuries, etc. I agree, of course, the first round is absolutely the best, with multiple games every night and the intensity of playoff hockey at its height. But a best-of-five first round would only magnify the intensity.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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