Kukla's Korner

The Worst +/-

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The player with the worst +/- rating in the NHL is Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He has a -36 +/- rating.  He is Toronto's leading scorer and is often a scapegoat for the problems in Toronto.

You would think that the top scorer in the biggest NHL market would be a popular player but that isn't the case.  Why doesn't Toronto love Kessel?  He is American in a Canadian city.  He is socially awkward in an interview.  He has a fat looking head and that has unfairly given him a reputation as somebody who doesn't work hard enough to stay in shape.  For a large part, he has a bad rap.

It is true that he hasn't scored as well since Toronto changed coaches and the season fell apart.  For the most part that statement is true of any player on the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He isn't the strongest defensive player and on a struggling team like Toronto everyone has a poor +/- rating.  It isn't too surprising that a player with a lot of ice time on the Leafs should have the worst +/- rating in the league.  The next two highest scorers on the team in James Van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozek are only one point worse than Kessel with a -35 +/- rating.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Video- Jon Cooper On His Tampa Bay Lightning Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Not your usual coach-talk...

via Sportsnet,

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is on set with Hockey Central at Noon to talk about the battle for the lead in the Eastern Conference.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jon+cooper

Messing With The Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,

No one gets under the skin of the Pittsburgh Penguins like the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I think honestly we take them out of their game,” Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds said several months ago. “I think they hate us so much that everyone’s blood is just boiling the whole game.”

Simmonds is injured and won’t play in Wednesday’s game, but the rest of the Flyers will try to continue to get in the Penguins’ heads. They’re artists at it the way captain Sidney Crosby is at piling up points, and to keep the latter from scoring at will, other opponents have begun following the Flyers’ lead.

“Obviously when you play against one of the best players in the world, you want to try and do something to stop him,” Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said Tuesday. “Whatever it takes to get under his skin, I think we’re going to try to do.”


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

The Western Conference Playoff Race

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Care to take an educated guess on what team does not make the playoffs in the Western Conference?

Your choices are LA Kings, Calgary Flames or Winnipeg Jets.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Stephen Brunt On The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"They are the least likable group of professional athletes I think I’ve ever been around. Just the way they play, outside of the arena, the way they come across – they come across as the opposite of plucky underdogs that are trying really hard even if they’re not quite good enough. This is talented guys who are getting paid enormous amounts of money who stopped trying a long time ago and are kind of laughing at everybody. That’s a bad vibe if you’re a consumer."

-Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet.  Scott Lewis of Sportsnet has more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ted Lindsay’s birthday wishes to Mr. Hockey

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Red Wings:


“I would like to wish Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, a very Happy 87th Birthday.  No one to this day can play the game with the same combination of toughness and skill that Gordie displayed for 25 years in a Red Wings uniform.  He was a great teammate and I’m thrilled at the progress he’s made in his recovery.  I wish him all the best as he continues his battle.  Happy Birthday, Gordie!”

                                                                                                -Ted Lindsay, Mar. 31, 2015

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Wayne Gretzky discussed Mr. Hockey as well:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Red Wings-Senators game-day articles: Mrazek vs. Hamburglar; Sheahan returns, etc.

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 10x at 2:24 PM: The Detroit Red Wings host the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 on FSD/TSN 5/RDS/97.1 FM), and Petr Mrazek and Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond will square off in the net as Riley Sheahan returns to the Wings' lineup for this "four-point game."

The Free Press's Helene St. James was first out of the article chute, discussing Petr Mrazek's possible status as the interim starter...

Asked about his decision, [Red Wings coach] Babcock said, "I did the same thing last week. I thought Howie had a couple of good games, he had a tough one, and I went right back to him. I thought Pete's done a good job for us. Didn't do as good a job the other night against the Islanders, so I'm giving him the same opportunity.

"We're in the winning business. It's a huge game for us here tonight, and it's exciting to have the opportunity, and we're giving Pete the opportunity."

Mrazek tends to be either very good or very bad (Sunday was the fourth time he has been pulled this season, in 25 appearances). One of his assets is an unshakable confidence, summed up by Mrazek as: "You've got to stay positive, believe in yourself."

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Vladislav Namestnikov (2-1—3) recorded his first career multi-goal game and first career three-point performance to help the Lightning sweep their five-game season series with the Canadiens and clinch their eighth playoff berth in franchise history.


* At 47-23-7 (101 points), the Lightning moved within one point of the Canadiens (47-22-8, 102 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. They also set a franchise record with their 47th victory of the season, surpassing the previous mark of 46 achieved in 2003-04, 2010-11 and 2013-14.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings-Senators morning skate Tweets: Mrazek starts, Sheahan returns

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated repeatedly: Mrazek starts, Sheahan returns: The Detroit Red Wings face the first of two "playoff-style" games as they hope to vanquish the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/TSN 5/RDS/97.1 FM) in order to keep Ottawa ouf of the "can leapfrog Detroit" sweepstakes, and the Wings promptly hit the ice at 10:30 AM...

Though TSN's Dean Brown is not happy about his work enviroment for today:

Wings hit the ice for their morning skate here at the smelly old Joe Lewis arena.

This much, from MLive's Ansar Khan, is good and not smelly at all:

Cole and Sheahan on the ice as Wings prepare for morning skate.

The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan reported for duty explaining...The "smelly" line?

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Chicago Blackhawks And The St. Louis Blues Are Headed For A First-Round Playoff Series

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Looks like that Chicago Blackhawks-St. Louis Blues playoff rematch is on.

When the Blues took over top spot in the Central Division while the Nashville Predators were going sideways for much of March it, looked like the Blues were going to be the team to beat in the ultra-competitive Central Divison, masters of their own destiny. Not so much now.

The Blues were dumped by Vancouver at home on Monday night by a 4-1 count, and St. Louis has now managed just one win in its last six games. Coupled with the Blackhawks' impressive win over the Los Angeles Kings, the loss puts the Blues just one point ahead of Chicago. So, not only could the two teams face each other in the first round for the second straight year, but the Blues are in danger of giving up home ice advantage as they bumble down the stretch.

Both teams have six games remaining, but the Blues' closing schedule is murderous with five of the six against teams currently in playoff positions. Best of all? The Blues and the Blackhawks play twice before the end of the regular season. Not sure that's good news for the slumping boys from St. Louis.

read on for more hockey tak including LeBrun on the Canadiens, Custance on the Blues and Strang on the Kings...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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