Kukla's Korner

Vezina Trophy Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It was a week before Christmas when I picked Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals as the Vezina Trophy leader.  Listening to commentators in the All Star Game it seemed as though Holtby had already been coronated as the top goalie in the NHL.  However things are not so clear, Holtby is leading the league in wins.  Potentially he could set a wins record this season.  However he is only one win ahead of Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, so that doesn't make him unique.  Wins are not a great individual stat.  Teams win games.  Neither Holtby nor Crawford would be wins leaders if they didn't play for top teams.  Also wins today are easier to obtain since no games end in ties creating more wins for goalies to pick up.  When we look at his other numbers, Holtby is not the league leader.  He is not the saves percentage leader.  His .928 saves percentage is good but a few goalies are doing better.

I think Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers is the Vezina leader at this point.  He does not have the same quality of team in front of him as Holtby or Crawford but he is still putting up very good numbers.  Luongo has a .930 saves percentage and a 2.11 goals against average.  No goalie has more games played and a better saves percentage.  Florida's success so far this year is largely built on Luongo's back.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

WiiM: Niklas Kronwall talks about retirement and more

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Zeb Habs from Habs Eyes on the Prize found a video interview with Niklas Kronwall, from Expressen, that he shared with Winging It in Motown. Among Kronwall's comments:

How long  do you think you will be going?

NK – That’s a bit early to talk about, but I hope to play as long as possible. I know

it isn’t the best of answers but I haven’t really had that thought (about ending my

career) in my head yet. And I really don’t want to think about it either. But

everyone you talk to that has had to retire early, for one reason or another, all of

them say the same thing; "play as long as you can" because the grey boring life

after your career makes you realize that there is nothing better than to play

hockey. So I will try to hang on to this career as long as I possibly can.

Kyle McIlmurray continues with the transcript...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Video- Don Cherry Turns 82

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Happy Birthday Don Cherry.


Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jaromir Jagr posted 1-2—3 and Roberto Luongo made 36 saves to continue their climbs up the NHL’s all-time charts and lead the Panthers to their fifth consecutive victory.
* At 31-15-5 (67 points), the Panthers again moved seven points ahead of the idle Lightning (28-18-4, 60 points) and Bruins (27-18-6, 60 points) – who also won – for first place in the Atlantic Division.
* Jagr (738-1,101—1,839) became the sixth player in NHL history to record 1,100 assists. He also moved within three goals of tying Brett Hull for third place all-time and within 11 points of tying Gordie Howe for third place in League history.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings-Panthers tailings: accentuating the positive

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan noted that Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was particularly insistent in suggesting that the Wings didn't play poorly over the course of their 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers...

"From a process standpoint, I was happy with lots of areas," Blashill said. "That may sound funny to lots of fans when you lose 6-3, but anybody can come watch the tape and see a lot of the good things we did and the execution that was pretty good, to be honest with you."

2. And the Free Press's Helene St. James noted that Blashill defended his decision to utilize an extra skater twice over the game's last ten minutes, with the Wings scoring a goal and surrendering an empty-netter as a result:

"Anytime they get the puck and come in a score right away, it doesn't look good," he said. "But I would have done it again. We hadn't generated anything for about the five-minute stretch before that. I thought it was the right move. I think time is overrated in terms of if you're not generating, you can have all the time in the world, it won't matter. If we had been generating, I wouldn't have done it. But we weren't generating chances, so I thought it was the right thing to do."

3. Khan also noted that Jimmy Howard was in self-defense mode after the game, suggesting that he didn't surrender any goals due to a lack of self-confidence...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Scoring Issues For The St. Louis Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Rarely are the Blues going to win games scoring just one goal, like they did Tuesday in Nashville. The club tried it again Thursday with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester contributing the only offense, and it was not enough in a 3-1 loss to the Sharks in front of a crowd of 18,803.

Let’s go to the running tote board: The Blues have scored five goals in their last five games, and just three goals in their last four games. Though the club is 2-2-1 in that five-game stretch, it will find itself falling out of the battle for the Central Division quickly at this pace. Chicago and Dallas both won in overtime Thursday, leaving the Blues eight points behind the Blackhawks and five behind the Stars.

There appeared to be more concern late Thursday night about the offensive issues than existed earlier in the day.

“This has been going on for a little while, we’ve been getting points, winning games,” Hitchcock said. “Our top guys are going to have to eventually help us here and contribute. It can’t be just one or two guys, like (Bouwmeester) scoring or (Troy) Brouwer. We’re going to have to get more production from other people up the ladder here if we expect to have success.”

read on

Watch the game highlights below...

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

Big Win For The Anaheim Ducks In LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,

The first sign came early on, when the captain who doesn’t shoot the puck did. The next sign came when the skilled defenseman put the hit on the star center, took one to draw a penalty and then let loose his own powerful shot.

Ryan Getzlaf did the former, and Hampus Lindholm came up with the latter. Those were two high points of many for the Ducks in a one-sided 4-2 win over the Kings on Thursday night.

A stunned sellout crowd of 18,230 at Staples Center watched as the Pacific Division-leading Kings were throttled by a Ducks team that hasn’t relinquished one bit of momentum it gained from the Christmas holiday break to the All-Star break.

“Sometimes you have a feeling the way the guys practice the day before,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The way they’re just carrying themselves around the rink, you know that they were going to be really into the game.

“Our guys were really into the game today and I thought it showed. I thought we played really well.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

How Bad Is It In Montreal?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Meagher of the Montreal Gazette,

The lowly Sabres won the game 4-2, but the Habs are not the only ones taking a beating these days. So, too, are the ticket resellers. 

“I can’t give tickets away right now,” one said. “Half price at best.

“There is something wrong with this team, and it runs deep. Very deep. ”

Signs of the Habs’ train wreck are everywhere. Canadiens jerseys, big and small, occupy several racks at the Canadian Wolf shop near the Simons store on Ste-Catherine St.

Store owner Tamer Amhaz says business in general is the worst he’s seen it since he opened in 2011, and the Habs’ slide only makes things worse.

“Business is down 50 per cent,” Amhaz said. “It’s very bad, very bad.

“I feel it, I see it in the face of the people that have become so angry (at the Canadiens).

“You know why? Because they started (the season) very good and after like a chute incroyable (an incredible fall), why has it become like this?”

Habs jerseys of P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty, retailing for $180 apiece, are not an easy sell these days.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Minnesota Wild Searching For Offense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Seravalli of TSN.Which forward will the Minnesota Wild acquire this month?

Which forward will the Minnesota Wild acquire this month?

Ryan Suter described the Wild as “fragile” after Thursday night’s meltdown at Madison Square Garden. They have blown a lead in five of their last six games and are playing like a team begging for a trade.

“That’s not up to us,” Zach Parise told reporters post-game. “You can’t plan on that. You can’t assume that’s going to happen, because what if it doesn’t? Then we’re just going to quit? We have to play better as a group, and as the group that’s here right now.”

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has been trying to make something happen. Fletcher has sniffed around for a forward for a couple months now, starting with Ryan Johansen when he was available from Columbus.

Who will it be? Loui Eriksson would be a nice fit, though the Bruins still want to re-sign him.

Keep an eye on former Golden Gopher Kyle Okposo, who has a very reasonable cap hit as a pending UFA. The playoff-bound Islanders aren’t interested in trading him, but Okposo said this week there hasn’t been much dialogue between his agent and GM Garth Snow on an extension.

four more NHL topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

1000 NHL Games Coached By Mike Babcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

So that’s 50 out of 1,000 games with the Leafs, and given that only four coaches all time — Al Arbour, Billy Reay, Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz — have ever coached 1,000 games with one team, it’s hard to imagine at this point No. 2,000 will come in Toronto.

If it did, it would come 66 games into the 2028-29 season, when Babcock will be 65 years old. He wasn’t quite willing to project that far into the future when asked if he’s got another 1,000 games in him.

“Well, I’ve got this year and seven more, and then I’m gonna stay for two more after that because the team’s going to be that good,” he said.

He said it without irony, without a smile, almost enough to make you believe him. If you’re a Leafs fan, it seems a safe bet that if Babcock’s still around after another nine years, the team will have ended it’s Stanley Cup drought.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

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