Kukla's Korner

Afternoon news: On Axel Holmstrom, the Red Wings’ goaltending and the impending Wings-Sens game

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Instead of starting our late afternoon/early evening survey of Red Wings-related news with goaltending talk--a topic that's becoming so overdone that soon it will be made of dead-horse glue--let's start with some prospect news:

1. In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin isn't going to be watching SKA St. Petersburg play much longer. The Russian center whose intentions are to come to North America watched SKA St. Petersburg drop a 3-1 decision to Sergei Fedorov's CSKA Moscow, and CSKA leads the "Army Derby" 3 games to 0;

2. And in the SHL, despite having lost seven key players to the NHL, KHL and other leagues, Axel Holmstrom's Skelleftea AIK are also 1 game from returning to the SHL final to defend their championship. Holmstrom had a goal and an assist in 15:56 of ice time (click for highlights) as Skelleftea defated Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC 7-2. Holmstrom is Skelleftea's 4th line center, but he's registered 4 goals, 5 assists and 9 points in 6 playoff games. Those numbers are astonishing by SHL rookie standards.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled programming regarding the goaltending of the 4-8-and-1-for-March Red WIngs:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Best Defenceman

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

In mid-March I picked PK Subban as the Norris Trophy leader.  The Norris Trophy race has become the tightest award race with several possible candidates.  I think Subban has been caught by Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.  Karlsson is similar to Subban in that he is a former Norris Trophy winner who plays a stronger offensive game than he plays a defensive game.  His defensive game has clearly improved since his Norris Trophy winning season.  He has come on strong at the end of this season.  He is a puck possession leader on his team.  The biggest difference is that Karlsson has better offensive numbers.  Karlsson's 61 points leads the NHL among defencemen and his 20 goals is second.  Subban is seven goals and eight points behind his offensive numbers.  Karlsson is a big part of the reason that Ottawa has come on strong and may make the playoffs.

Karlsson is clearly on a Hall of Fame track.  This is only his sixth NHL season.  He has played 390 career regular season games.  This is not enough of a sample size to guarantee a Hall of Fame career.  If he does win a second career Norris Trophy this season it would go a long way to completing such a career.  That may happen this year, although given the number of viable Norris Trophy candidates, there is no guarantee of his victory.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

This Tells The Story

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Playoff Battle In The Western Conference

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

We’re coming down to it in the West, with the Los Angeles Kings and three Western Canadian teams vying for a total of three playoff spots between the four clubs. (The Sportsnet election desk has awarded the first wildcard spot to Minnesota).

Heading into tonight’s action, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Los Angeles are grouped within three points of each other. Calgary has the easiest remaining strength of schedule by a few percentage points, but the Flames also have the heaviest road schedule, playing four of their last six games away from the Saddledome.

Vancouver has a two-point cushion and a game in hand on Calgary, while the Jets are going to feel either very nervous or super confident on Wednesday morning, after their home game against the New York Rangers Tuesday night.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

$50 To The Winner Of The BoltDraft/KK Free Fantasy Game On Tuesday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

We play another BoltDraft/KK free fantasy game on Tuesday and the winner once again will be $50 richer.

Use passcode kukla26 if this is your first time playing, then select one forward, one defenseman and one goalie from the 14 NHL teams in action on Tuesday.

Remember to submit your roster by 7:00pm ET on March 31st, then sit back and watch how the games play out.

Scoring rules are below and if you have any questions regarding the game, the Rules/FAQ page at BoltDraft should be of help.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: boltdraft

The Boston Bruins Need More ‘Fight’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Felger of CSNNE,

Fighting is down across the NHL, and the B's have been all too willing to go with the flow. I don't think that's a good thing.

According to the folks at hockeyfights.com, the Bruins rank 14th in the NHL with 26 fights. And for those of us who have watched most of them, calling some of these altercations actual "fights" is being kind. It's safe to say the B's are at a soft 26.

Anyway, that's way down from last year, when the B's had 46 fighting majors. And that's down from the year before, when the B's had 32 fights over 48 games (a pace of 55 over an 82-game schedule). And that was down from the 61 they put up in 2011-12.

I'm not good at numbers, but I'm sensing a trend. It's gotten so bad that Montreal fights more than the Bruins. 

read on

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

Injuries Hit The Tampa Bay Lightning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

The Lightning blueline was delivered another big blow Monday as veteran defenseman Jason Garrison will be out 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury, coach Jon Cooper said this morning.

Garrison, who suffered the injury early in Saturday's game, had gone back to Tampa to get re-evaluated Sunday. That means Garrison could miss the first round of the playoffs.

But that's not all.

Cooper said All-Star center Tyler Johnson is out tonight - and is day-to-day - with an upper body injury, defenseman Andrej Sustr is out 1-2 weeks with an upper body injury. The most amazing thing is that center Cedric Paquette, who looked to suffer a serious left leg injury Saturday, skated in today's practice and is a game-time decision.

Every team deals with injuries, but this is just awful timing for Tampa Bay, which enters tonight's showdown in Montreal just three points behind the Canadiens for the Atlantic Division lead.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Conference Trends

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

What to watch for

Detroit's net presence: The Detroit Red Wings’ crease is becoming more and more intriguing with both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek struggling through some rough outings of late. Coach Mike Babcock handed the keys to Mrazek over the weekend after Howard gave up three goals on 10 shots to San Jose on Thursday, but Mrazek was yanked during a shaky performance Sunday in which he surrendered four goals on 11 shots to the New York Islanders. Who will it be between the pipes for the Wings when the playoffs begin? Stay tuned.

Red rising: With a game in hand on the Islanders and the Penguins hobbled heading into this week’s action, can the Washington Capitals make a push for one of the top three spots in the Metropolitan Division? Doing so could be a major factor in being able to avoid a tougher first-round matchup.

Panthers-Bruins: The Cats and B's will square off twice before the end of the season in games with major playoff implications for both teams. One of those matches is slated for Tuesday, when the Panthers travel to Boston looking to make up some ground on their wild card foe. Florida trails the Bruins by four points for that last wild card spot, but the Panthers finish up the season with a five-game home-stand. Things could get really interesting.


Also from Strang...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Stop The Tanking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonathan Wllis of Sportsnet,

At the 2012 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, PhD candidate Adam Gold presented a simple solution. Instead of relying on a lottery that actually serves to diminish the value of games late in the season, Gold proposed that draft order should be determined by total points recorded after a club is eliminated from the post-season.

“In a way, the season ends once teams can no longer win a championship, yet fans are still asked to pay a premium to go and see their favourite teams perform,” Gold said. “In an attempt to inspire fans, to maintain interest, passion and optimism in their favourite teams while still giving the worst teams that need the most help the best picks to get the best players, I respectfully propose that draft order should be determined based on how teams perform after becoming mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.”

A bad team would have a longer time period to rack up points, while teams on the playoff bubble might have just one or two games.


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

Video- Kris Versteeg’s Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Hometown Hockey,

On October 25, Kris Versteeg scored a goal.  It wasn’t a game winner or a highlight reel play or a career milestone… just another NHL goal like dozens scored that night throughout the league. But to Rochelle and Sara Knapp of Missoula, Montana, it wasn’t just another goal: it was the fulfilment of a promise Kris made to them only hours earlier in memory of Rochelle’s late mother, who died of cancer.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+versteeg

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