Kukla's Korner

The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning set-up and more Babblespeak

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings begin a stretch of 4 incredibly important games in 6 nights against the Tampa Bay Lightning this afternoon (2 PM on FSD/Sun Sports/97.1 FM), and while this game isn't necessarily as possibly playoff-trajectory-changing as Tuesday's 4-pointer against the Senators or Thursday's 4-pointer against the Bruins (both teams remain 5 points behind Detroit)--and unless the Lightning lose their last 7 games, and the Wings win their last 9 (see also: Wings have 2 games in hand on Tampa), Detroit's not likely to close the 9-point gulf separating its 90 points and Tampa Bay's 99...

But it would be nice if the Wings, who are now in a fight to earn the visitor's spot in an opening-round battle against either the Lightning or Canadiens (who have 100 points), haven't defeated the Lightning this season (last Friday's 3-1 loss was the Wings' 3rd loss of the season to Tampa and the Wings' 7th loss in their last 8 games vs. Tampa Bay), so it would be nice if the Wings skate into the playoffs having proven that they can defeat the Lightning at least once over what amount to three seasons' worth of losses-and-a-win-in-November-2011.

The Lightning are obviously in a different place than Detroit; they've won 4 of their past 5 games and 8 of 12 March outings (see also: Detroit, 3-7-1), and their 3-2 loss to Nashville on Thursday produced headlines like Bolts falls to Nashville, can’t seal playoff spot instead of, "Our goalie can't stop more shots than the other goalie this March...again..."

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Prospect news: Marshall’s NCAA career comes to a close; OHL, WHL playoffs underway; Griffins win

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings have exactly one NCAA-playing prospect still playing as of this evening: David Pope and the University of Nebraska-Omaha will battle Harvard at the NCAA East Regional in Hartford, CT on Saturday (at 7:30 PM on ESPN3), and that's...

That's it now. Ben Marshall and the University of Minnesota dropped a 4-1 decision to Minnesota-Duluth on Friday, ending Marshall's NCAA career and casting his future in some real doubt as Marshall's senior season yielded 2 goals, 9 assists and 11 points in 38 games played (and those stats are indicative of his four-year career's worth of being an offensive defenseman who didn't necessarily produce points).

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Maybe, just maybe, the ‘Abdelkder no-goal’ might bring about some positive change

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Almost a week after it happened--as a Red Wings fan--I still don't give a flying *#$%@& about the hubbub surrounding Justin Abdelkader's broken-stick-shoves-it-in goal save exactly one problem: agendas of the article-writers and Wing-fan-provokers aside, by the letter of the law, the goal was in fact illegal, and it should provide an opportunity for the NHL to explore ways to get the call right by reviewing it.

Sportsnet's John Shannon figured that he could leverage some of his connections to survey general managers regarding plays like this applying to the proposed "coach's challenge," and he received some positive feedback:

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LeBrun: Hockey Hall of Fame bylaw change—> Fedorov eligible for 2015 class

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

On Friday, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reported that a tweak to the Hockey Hall of Fame's bylaws made Chris Pronger eligible for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, and LeBrun's Tweeted out a note about the bylaw tweak that might make Nicklas Lidstrom's induction this November that much more Red and White:

3 Stanley Cups, 2 Sekle Trophies, a Hart Trophy, a Lester B. Pearson Award, 483 goals, 1179 points, 176 playoff points....That's Hall of Fame stuff.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Tough call. But we want to try to limit the amount of reviews.”

“I saw the broken stick incident, tough call for the ref. In my opinion this should be another call for the guys in the war room. It’s no different than being kicked in.”

“In a perfect world it would be nice to have all goals reviewed. Problem is, that goal is easy to make a decision on. Once you go down the path of reviewing all goals, etc.. there are issues that will arise on calls that are not as clear cut.”

“Boy, that’s a tough one. Seems like logic would say that it should be reviewable.”

-a few NHL General Managers when asked about the 'broken-stick' goal by Justin Abdelkader.  More from John Shannon of Sportsnet.  

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Nick Bjugstad Had Back Surgery Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Florida Panthers,

Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that F Nick Bjugstad underwent successful surgery on his lower back today at the Mayo Sports Clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He will be out for the remainder of the regular season and a full recovery is expected.

“After consulting with Nick and thoroughly evaluating the extent of his injury, we mutually felt it was important to have this procedure done as soon as possible,” said Tallon. “Nick showed a tremendous amount of character over the past month, playing through an injury, while helping our club compete down the final stretch for a playoff spot. He will be closely monitored by our medical staff during his rehabilitation process and will be ready for the start of training camp in September.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+bjugstad

Who Is The Fake Sean Monahan?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The creative force behind the fake Sean Monahan Twitter account (Boring Sean Monahan) remains an unsolved mystery in the Calgary Flames dressing room, though the suspect list has generally been narrowed down to two possible candidates, both of them long gone from the team.

It might have been defenceman Chris Butler, now with the St. Louis Blues, because of his quiet sneaky sense of humour. Brian McGrattan, now in the minors, is the other option, a loud and boisterous dressing-room presence who took Monahan under his wing last year, when the latter was still an NHL rookie.

Whoever created – and still maintains – the account (@boringmonahan) follows just one player (McGrattan), which is either a too-obvious clue or a clever red herring.

Defenceman Dennis Wideman thinks it’s the latter.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sean+monahan

Using Advanced Stats In The Scouting Process

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

Will the age of enhanced statistics one day change the way NHL Central Scouting goes about its business in evaluating the top players eligible for the NHL Draft?

There's no denying the fact enhanced stats have taken the NHL and its fans by storm. In February, the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP to provide many new statistics via NHL.com. If this stats revolution changes the way people now analyze the game, what could it do for NHL scouts?

"If you add ingredients to help you evaluate someone, you have to use those ingredients," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "But you can't go overboard; we've been baking a cake our whole life and now, if you put icing on the cake, it's better. But if it's all icing it's not a good cake, so I think if you take it too far it might not work.

"The eyeball test still has to be there, you still have to apply what analytics do. It could help you decide between one guy or the other, and I believe it is good for the game."

Chris Edwards, who does a majority of his scouting in the Ontario Hockey League, isn't completely sold on the enhanced stats revolution.

continue

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

Oilers Prospect Houck Graduates from WHL

Blog: Oil Patch By Lisa Brown

The WHL season is over for most players, and this means tremendous opportunity for some including Jackson Houck. His Vancouver Giants team came in dead last in the WHL but now Houck’s season is not over. Instead of getting an early summer, Houck is being given the opportunity to play with a playoff team in the Oklahoma City Barons. Even if Houck doesn’t see ice team, the opportunity of practising with the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate and getting more attention, and working closer to the NHL team that drafted him will be a tremendous boost to his development.

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Filed in: AHL, Edmonton Oilers, WHL, | Oil Patch | Permalink
  Tags: jackson+houck

Auston Matthews Another Example Of Hockey’s Growth

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

Once again, there’s a seismic shift going on in the hockey world.

The last major one, you could argue, came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when European players started coming overseas in large numbers to play in the NHL, minor pro, U.S. colleges and in the Canadian Hockey League.

At around the same time, the seeds were being planted in the southwestern United States for a harvest that would take more than two decades to be realized, but is now coming into plain view for anyone paying attention.

The indicators are all around. Since 1992, the registration of hockey players in the Pacific, Rocky Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Texas) and southeastern U.S. has increased by 240 per cent, more than half of that has come over the past 10 years.

In the same time period, there have been NHL teams added in Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Anaheim, San Jose and Nashville, joining the Los Angeles Kings, whose acquisition of Wayne Gretzky in 1988 undoubtedly accelerated interest in the sport in virgin territories.

Not surprisingly, all these NHL teams and registered skaters have started to produce more and more elite players.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: auston+matthews

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