Kukla's Korner

It Was A Bad Year In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,

The Buffalo Sabres' rebuild starts in earnest tonight with the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto,  after what General Manager Tim Murray admitted was an "unacceptable" last-place season.

Murray and coach Ted Nolan met with reporters today in a wrap to the Sabres' 21-51-10 trainwreck of a season, the worst by an NHL team in 14 years. And Murray was frank in his assessment of what happened and what he'll do going forward. He said he pulled no punches when he met with his players yesterday prior to the taking of the annual team photo.

"This year was completely unacceptable," Murray said. "I told them it wasn't all on them. It was on management, it was on coaching staff. A lot of it was on injuries where we had to put people into positions that they aren't ready for. So that's out of our hands. As far as coming next year and being ready to battle for jobs, there's going to be competition and we're not going to hand jobs to come in unless they deserve it."

"A lot of nights it was hard to watch," Murray said a few minutes later. "A lot of nights we competed hard and just didn't have enough talent to put us over the top but other nights weren't pretty."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Guaranteed First Round Locks

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

As you are aware, Paul is asking for your Round 1 predictions. I was going to leave mine in the comments of this post, but I like a big room.  And I have things to say that you need to read. 

I have predictions. Quality, unbiased, research-driven predictions based on statistics, history, in-depth knowledge of the game and my unbridled love for the commissioner of the NHL.

And I'm going to share them with you right now.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Thoughts Before The Playoffs Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

- Pending free agent Paul Stastny says he wants to stay in Colorado, and the Avalanche keeping him past the trade deadline shows a sense it can be done. But he will be watched very closely in the playoffs, just in case. Scouts like his two-way game, his intelligence, his positioning and his ability to make others better. If there's one concern, and he's heard it plenty, it's his skating. If you get him on the market, you're going to have to give up term. Will there be a point where he slows enough that it changes his game? Teams will risk it if they think he can help them win soon.

- Another who will be watched closely is Mike Richards. Just 41 points this year, his lowest since he was 21 years old in 2006-07. His points-per-game goes up from 0.71 to 0.79 in the playoffs, so there is an expectation he will be a difference-maker. He seemed slower this season, not as energetic.

- "If you look at their history," said one exec, "If you're going to get Boston, you might as well get them in the first round." The last three seasons, they've gone to a Game 7 overtime in the opening stage, winning two and losing one.

more including Friedman passing out some hardware...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Craig MacTavish On The State Of The Oilers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,

Key quotes from the Craig MacTavish press conference.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a year-end presser, starting off with the expected comments, that the team hadn’t met expectations this year, but everyone in the organization is still committed to winning a Stanley Cup. The culture of the organization is to bring in hard-working, competitive “character” people.

This is exactly what the 14 other NHL GMs who didn’t make the playoffs are now telling their fans.

As for specifics, MacTavish gave a stay-the-course kind of message, with no promise of any bold moves, though he did talk about adding a “high-end” d-man.

On Eakins: “This is the right coach to lead us.”
“I’m more confident in my decision to hire Dallas Eakins than the day I hired him,” MacTavish said. “I’m more convinced that this is the right coach to lead us into much more successful times. … Time will prove that this coach was a very good hire for our organization. I really feel like he’s the guy to add the cultural elements, and police the cultural elements, that are necessary to build the quality team that we’re trying to build.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jeff Blashill Named AHL Coach Of The Year

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League’s outstanding coach for the 2013-14 season, as voted by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"Any place I go, I'm going to be me. I'm going to be involved within the community. I'm going to work my butt off for that NHL team. That's the only way I know. That's how I'm wired."

-Barry Trotz.  Much more on Trotz from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.

Would you want Trotz to coach your NHL team?

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Playoff Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

The matchup I can’t wait for? Chicago and St. Louis. Old Norris Division rivals; speed versus hurt; ample anger on both sides and one team can hold its ability to win Cups over the other championship-challenged franchise. Yes, please.

The fact Tampa Bay goalie and Vezina candidate Ben Bishop is sidelined seems to have made Montreal the consensus pick in that matchup. I follow that logic, but Tampa is an aggressive young team and the Habs defence can get twisted in knots easier than some realize. If Carey Price isn’t significantly better than Lightning fill-in goalie Anders Lindback, look out.

read on for 14 more...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Randy Carlyle Met With The Media Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Randy Carlyle could only speak for the moment when asked about his future as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, addressing the media on Tuesday for the first time after his team's season ended short of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I'm here today,” he said when asked whether he would be back with the club for the 2014-15 season.

“In this business you take on the responsibility of wins and losses, he continued. “You put your best foot forward and try to be honest and forthright with people and that's what we're trying to do as a hockey club.”

Carlyle's future has been the subject of great speculation in the wake of a disappointing season for the Leafs. A March free-fall saw the team plummet from third in the Eastern Conference to a 38-36-8 finish, good for the eighth-worst record in the League.

continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: randy+carlyle

Zetterberg Shooting For Round 2, Still A Way To Go

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Picking The San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

The easy assumption is that the Bruins could get by the Red Wings, Canadiens, or whomever is left for the Conference Final without facing the gauntlet while the Western champion has to muddle through Chicago and St. Louis; San Jose and Los Angeles; just to be left standings for one round.

By form, the rested Eastern champ, Boston, should beat the weary Western champ, be it the Blackhawks, Kings, Sharks, or whomever else. But by form, Colorado and Anaheim shouldn’t have ended up in first place.

Which leads me to my Stanley Cup pick: The Sharks.

Why? In this first season of trying to figure out the new playoff format, why not have the team win we can never figure out?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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