Kukla's Korner

Video- Hits Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sportsnet style...

 

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Wednesday Hockey Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- If I was running the NHL, I’d be terrified of offside video reviews in the post-season. One of them is going to decide a playoff series, and it’s going to be ugly.

- Lots of hoopla over Commissioner Gary Bettman’s “assume we’re not going to the Olympics” comment from Tuesday. “Assume we’re not going,” is different than “We are not going.” It’s getting late, but the patient has yet to flatline. I still assume everyone comes to their senses.

One thing that the NHL says it will not consider: allowing a certain number of players per team to go if the league does not (officially) participate. It does not feel that is a proper solution.

- Bruce Cassidy went almost 13 years between NHL head-coaching jobs — from Washington to Boston. Wondered if that was some kind of record, but that’s fifth-longest in the post-1967 era. John Muckler led the Minnesota North Stars in 1968–69, then went 21 years before being named head man in Edmonton. (Oilers aficionados will say he was the brains behind the operation before that, but you have to hold the title.) Al MacNeil also went 21 years between stints behind the Calgary bench. Between those two and Cassidy are Barry Melrose (14 years, Los Angeles/Tampa Bay) and Craig Ramsay (14 years, Buffalo/Philadelphia).

Cassidy on the difference between taking the Washington job at age 37 and Boston job at 51: “Washington was a long time ago. I was younger and went there trying to make my name. When I was in junior, I wanted to be Bobby Orr... wanted to be a player. It didn’t work out and there were a number of reasons why.”

Cassidy, a defenceman, was Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 1983, but suffered serious knee injuries that damaged his career....

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Henrik Zetterbeg The Grinder

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

“He’s the best grinder who has ever been around the league because he has a fierce competitive level that won’t allow him to lose individual battles on the ice,” Blashill said. “Look at what he has done for this team year after year after year."

With the sixth worst record (29-32-11) in the NHL, Zetterberg has excelled on a team that will be in the draft lottery. This might represent one of the more impressive seasons of his career.

“Any player who plays with him is scoring,” Detroit forward Dylan Larkin said. “You put your stick on the ice and he finds you.”

Larkin said Zetterberg’s backhand is among the league’s best. “And not just on his shot,” Larkin said. “It’s his backhand passes as well. He is so strong on his skates he can hold guys off until he can use that backhand.”

Zetterberg’s objective this season was to be a better start-to-finish performer than he was in 2015-16.

“My second half was terrible – I had no energy,” Zetterberg said. “I couldn’t figure out why. So I changed my approach, not just on the ice, but off the ice as well.”

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Custom-Painted Skates In The NHL?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Lukas of ESPN,

Custom-painted footwear, which has become a huge phenomenon in the NFL, is coming to hockey, courtesy of one of the NHL's biggest stars, Alex Ovechkin.

When the Washington Capitals warm up prior to Thursday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a game that the Caps are promoting as Russian Heritage Night, Ovechkin will be wearing custom-painted skates -- believed to be a first for an NHL player.

The two skate designs feature themes relating to Ovechkin's native and adopted countries -- Russia and the United States. 

With Ovechkin poised to become the first NHL player to wear custom-painted skates, the question now is who'll be next, and whether the phenomenon will catch on as a league-wide trend like it has in the NFL. So many NFL players were wearing custom-designed cleats this past season, despite being fined for uniform violations, that the league designated a specific week in the 2016 schedule when players could wear the flashy footwear to highlight various charitable causes.

Could something like that eventually happen in the NHL? "It's probably too soon to talk about that," said Abrutyn, the agent. "What the NFL did was a really remarkable thing. If that were to occur with the NHL, with this being a jumping off point, that's probably a discussion for others to have, but it would be wonderful."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

The Olympic Debate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated on Tuesday that he doesn't think the NHL players will be taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. But what's really going on here? Will the players go or is this just another bargaining tactic by all sides involved? ESPN writers Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun weigh in.

Burnside: Every time I hear Gary Bettman say how much the owners hate the Olympics and how no one should expect the NHL and its players to be in South Korea for the 2018 Olympics, the more convinced I am that it's only a matter of time until we get confirmation the NHL and its players will be back for the sixth straight Olympic hockey tournament. Why? Simple. Bettman can't afford not to go, no matter how much the Olympic tournament disrupts the NHL schedule. He can't afford to have the world's eyes on a bunch of collegiate players and long-in-the-tooth former NHLers in PyeongChang while the NHLers are toiling away back in North America....

LeBrun: Let's remember how we got to this ridiculous Olympic stalemate. It began more than a year ago with IOC president Thomas Bach saying his governing body was no longer covering costs for the NHL players, as it had at past Olympics. Thank you, Mr. Bach, for poking the bear. Now some NHL owners care about an issue they really didn't think that much about previously -- it gave the NHL an opportunity to make this an issue. This is the same Thomas Bach who referred to his first presence in meeting with the NHL early last month as a "courtesy" visit. Gee, don't inconvenience yourself while people figure out whether or not the best players in the world should be playing in your Olympics hockey tournament....

more from Burnside and LeBrun

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Need To Avoid Bad Habits And A Letdown

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“Now might be more important than ever, doing the right things, getting the right habits down,” Kronwall said. “If you start faulting on that, then the guys that are coming up right now, they see that and they think that’s the norm.

“It doesn’t work like that. That is not how you win. Keep working on the habits every day, try and do the right things. Just setting the work ethic every day is something we are trying to focus on through the last stretch of the year.”

The Wings are using today to rest up after playing back-to-back. They return to practice Thursday and host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday (7:30 p.m., FSD). The playoffs are all but mathematically out, as the Wings sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 69 points.

“Nobody is happy with where we are at, points and standingswise,” Kronwall said. But, he added, “There is great character in the room. Guys work hard.”

For the veterans, such as captain Henrik Zetterberg leading the way with 60 points in 72 games and goalie Jimmy Howard playing the best hockey of his career, it is about maintaining culture and gratitude, no matter the standings.

“You still have to be professional,” Howard said. “This organization has given us all a lot, and our fans over the years and their dedication. We owe it to both of them to still go out there and play.”

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Video- Highlights From The NHL Games Played On Tuesday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It will take you  2:17 to watch.

 

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The Last Time The Detroit Red Wings Missed The Playoffs

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

The Streak will die at 25.

As we pour out a Vernors for what may go down as the last legendary playoff run by a professional sports franchise, we got to thinking.

What was the world — and, by extension, the NHL — like the last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs.

The year was 1980-90.

Saddam Hussein was invading Kuwait. The Simpsons were only in their premiere season. Germanies east and west were making nice again. Early adopters were raving about Windows 3.0. The Milli Vanilli lip sync scandal left us confused and betrayed. And a not-so-insignificant portion of us briefly considered hooking after watching Pretty Woman for the fourth time on two-buck Tuesdays.

A bunch of stuff happened in the National Hockey League that year, too.

It's the NHL Power Rankings: Last Time the Red Wings Missed the Playoffs... Edition.

As usual, all 30 teams are ranked in order of current strength (hey, a new leader), but this time the individual write-ups focus on where they were in 1989-90 — the last, long hockey-free summer in Motown.

continued

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Canadian Sports Bars Faced With A Price Increase From Media Giants

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Stinson of the National Post,

Bell and Rogers, the twin conglomerates of the sports-media landscape in this country, have decided to remove their main sports channels from the bundled packages available to businesses that have a liquor licence. They will then offer TSN and Sportsnet — and their various regional feeds — as standalone packages at significantly increased fees.

So, where they previously had those channels available at a cost not unlike a typical residential subscription, now bars and restaurants will have to pay specifically for the right to have TSN and Sportsnet in their lineups.

Smaller bars — less than 100 seats — will be charged about $120 monthly for both channels on top of existing fees, and the cost increases according to seating capacity. The new prices — not that anyone was keen to put them on the record — will also apply to customers who subscribe to those channels through a third party like Shaw or Telus. Shaw confirmed Tuesday that the new prices are set by the channel owners, regardless of service provider.

It cannot be a coincidence that Bell and Rogers, generally fierce competitors, are making this change at the same time. You might call it collusion, but at the very least there are cahoots involved.

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Anthony Mantha’s Night

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Mantha beat Al Montoya from the bottom of the right faceoff circle for his 15th goal of the season, helping the Red Wings snap a six-game losing streak in Montreal.

Two of his three goals vs. the Canadiens have come in Montreal.

As Dorothy Gale once said while clicking together those famous ruby slippers, there's no place like home.

"For sure," Mantha said. "Today, I got time to spend a little bit with my family and friends just before lunch and after I went back to the hotel and just took it calm before the game. It always feels good.

"I know there's a lot of people texting me on Facebook or whatever, just saying they're going to be at the game tonight. It's fun to have them around and it's always fun to play here.

"It feels good, obviously. Lot of people here in the stands for me. It wasn't going necessarily my way the last few games. Having a good game tonight just feels great."

The past couple of weeks haven't been the easiest of Mantha's young career.

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