Kukla's Korner

Practice articles: Howard says puck-tracking needs adjusting; Datsyuk/Cole/Sheahan injury updates

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 7x at 3:52 PM: The Red Wings' Friday practice did not bring good news: the beat writers reported that Pavel Datsyuk is "questionable" for tomorrow's game, that Erik Cole will probably miss both of this weekend's games and that Riley Sheahan will be, to quote coach Mike Babcock, "out for a bit" with an "upper-body injury" (the playoffs are near = no more injury clarity).

Given the magnitude of tomorrow's showdown with a possible playoff opponent in Tampa Bay, the Wings' horrible historical record on Long Island, and the essential-must-win natures of next Tuesday's battle with Ottawa and next Thursday's tangle with Boston, the Wings don't need to have an entire line of offensively-minded forwards out (the 4-non-roster-emergency call-up cap = Cleary draws in) while also battling defensive issues and shaky goaltending by both the would-be starter and the would-be back-up.

Jimmy Howard made some slightly strange comments after practice, telling the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that his issues with tracking the puck--which is an absoultely essential, fundamentally important skill for goalies--involve "little things" as opposed to being something minor that he needs to "tweak"...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

More ‘Tanking’ Teams?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brian Costello of The Hockey News,

If you’re Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche, for example, you’re now in a position to draft 10th overall in June, with a 3.5 percent chance of winning the McDavid lottery. If you can manage your roster in such a way as to get as few points as possible in your remaining eight games, maybe a few teams slip ahead of you in the standings and you move to seventh pick – with a 6.5 percent chance of getting McDavid.

Don’t you do that? It’s in the best interests of your organization.

Despite what some people think, there’s nothing nefarious about it. You’re gathering information on your players. Don’t you play Reto Berra for a good chunk of games down the stretch rather than Semyon Varlamov? You paid a second-round pick to get Berra a year ago, aren’t you trying to determine if he has what it takes to keep the job for next season? You’re trying to assess the development of 2010 first-rounder Joey Hishon and he’s averaged just under nine minutes in five recent games. Don’t you put him out there for 18-20 minutes and in key situations down the stretch?

And maybe in the process you double your odds of winning McDavid or move up a handful of very important spots in the order of selection for the most important draft in a decade.

You can make a similar case for Philadelphia. Or Florida soon enough. Or San Jose. Or several other teams. Let’s see Anthony Stolarz between the pipes in the NHL. Or Rocco Grimaldi on the power play. Or Konrad Abeltshauser killing penalties.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Practice Tweets/articles: Datsyuk skating ‘on a line,’ Cole out, Sheahan has upper-body injury

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 6x at 1:32 PM: Sheahan has an "upper-body injury":

So there's a goaltending controversy this morning, something close to a coaching controversy, and the out-of-towners are salivating over the marketeability of the Wings' struggles.

What are the Red Wings going to do about it? We can chew off our fingernails worrying or wear our fingerprints thin offering our own solutions, but hockey isn't an interactive business in terms of coach or player decision-making, so...

We'll find out at a sligthly "late" practice, ahead of back-to-back games against Tampa Bay (2 PM EDT on Saturday) and in Long Island (5 PM on Sunday), with both games preceding a Tuesday-and-Thursday set of games against the closely-pursuing Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins.

The Wings took to the ice just before noon EDT, and bad news came in a hurry, per the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

Riley Sheahan not on ice. Not sure if he's injured or a maintenance day. Waiting word from Holland.

And MLive's Ansar Khan:

Cole not practicing today, so he's likely out at least the next two games. Sheahan not practicing. No word yet on reason.

This much = good, again, per Khan...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Tom Wilson Fined For Diving/Embellishment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (March 27, 2015) – Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Wilson was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 936 against Toronto on March 1. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 1057 at Minnesota on March 19. Wilson received a minor penalty for embellishment on the play, at 14:45 of the second period.

You can see the play below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+wilson

Morning Line- Wayne Gretzky

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The commissioner wanted parity in the league and he's got that whole-heartedly. There are 16 teams that get into the playoffs and legitimately any one of them could get out of their conference this year. That's what the league wanted and they did a nice job. But I don't know if they anticipated the parity of the top 8 or 9 top players, how similar and how valuable they all are to their own teams; how valuable a guy like Tavares is to the Islanders, Voracek to the Flyers, Crosby to the Penguins, and so on. I don't know if we've ever seen in hockey so many superstars that are so equally matched at this point in their careers. It's parity in teams, and it's parity with the superstars, that's pretty good for hockey."

-Wayne Gretzky.  More from and on Gretzky from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

Make Or Break Road Trip Starts For The Calgary Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Vickers at NHL.com.

With eight games remaining in the regular season, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley isn't concerned about his poker face.

A critical five-game road trip facing the Flames, one that could have serious implications on their bid to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs, instead has Hartley insisting Calgary's crew is all in.

"It seems that we always find a way to elevate our games in situations that we need to and right now we're all in," Hartley said. "The chips are all on the table right now. There's no bluffs. We have to come up with our best performances and it's fun. I'm enjoying the games. The players are on the job. This city is right behind us."

The Flames, who completed a five-game homestand with a 2-1-2 record following a 4-3 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, begin their final extended road trip of the season Friday against the Minnesota Wild. It continues against the Nashville Predators, Stars, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers.

Calgary will start the trip on the outside looking in.

In ninth place in the Western Conference, the Flames are one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division and three behind the Vancouver Canucks for second.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Even at 1-1 midway through the first period, the Rangers scored four unanswered goals – highlighted by 2-1—3 from Chris Kreider – to improve to 9-2-1 in their last 12 games and become the first team to clinch a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.


* The Rangers clinched their fifth consecutive playoff berth, ninth in the past 10 seasons and 57th in franchise history.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Max Pacioretty

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

What follows is a very lightly edited transcript of our conversation that evening, from beginning to end. So join us now for dinner, but without the calories and the restaurant background noise.

• I get the sense there’s much more to the leadership that’s being asked of you than having had an A stitched on your jersey. And you’re taking French lessons.

Yes. I take this with so much more pride than ever before. Little things used to bother me. The best thing for me was to spend last summer in Florida. I didn’t think or talk about hockey once. I just let it all go and I came back with an open mind and I think that’s something I’ve needed to do for a long time: be more open-minded to different, I guess, environments and situations.

I never grew up in a place like Montreal. It was tough for me at first to realize that if I had a bad shift or didn’t score a goal, it affected another person’s life. That’s just the reality of the way it is in Montreal.

And I’ve grown to love it. Even just this year, I’ve learned to love it more than ever. It was tough for me to understand really at first, but now that I’m more open-minded to everything, Katia and I can’t see ourselves being anywhere else. It’s crazy how much you can change in a year, but it’s not bull, it’s 100 per cent true.

As for the French, I’ve told my teacher she’ll have to be a little slower with me at this time of the year, my mind isn’t always there and I can be a little tired. I can read French because I understand Spanish, but the accents — they’re tough. And she’ll be telling me, “il est” or “elle est.” (laughs) What makes an object male or female?

• The other night in Tampa Bay, without an A on your road jersey, you went to discuss a call with an official at the timekeeper’s bench. Without the A, that’s not often done.

Relationships with the referees is probably one of the biggest parts about being a leader. I’ve talked to Berge and Mike about that early on and they said, “It’s really important because everything goes through you, on the ice. We can’t be out there, you have to have a good relationship with the refs.”

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty

McEichel Race Reveals Cold Truth About Loyalty

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

I walked into the locker room last night and made a hard stop when I got within ten feet of Mike Weber, who was doing his postgame media scrum.

I wasn't getting any closer.

It was nothing more than a natural reaction. The Sabres defenseman was fuming, angry and bitter at Buffalo's home crowd for cheering for the Coyotes.

While I subconsciously knew it wouldn't happen, Weber looked upset enough to randomly take a swing at someone, and I didn't want to be the guy making the headlines.

Arizona won 4-3 in overtime, and the gap between the guarantee of a McEichel brother and 29th place, to the delight of most Sabres fans, now stands at six points.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: sabres+mceichel

Dallas Stars Activate Valeri Nichushkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has activated forward Valeri Nichushkin from injured reserve and loaned him to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), on a conditioning assignment. 

Nichushkin, 20, has missed the last 59 games after having hip surgery. Additionally, he missed seven games from Oct. 14 - 28 with a hip injury.  He has skated in four games this season for Dallas, posting zero points and two shots.  He also appeared in two games for Texas on a conditioning assignment from Oct. 31 - Nov. 1 and registered an assist. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: valeri+nichushkin

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