Kukla's Korner

The Tampa Bay Lightning Fail To Finish

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

There will be a Game 7. Of course there will be a Game 7. What else did you expect?

In a series where there has been little momentum and even less logic, the Lightning's golden chance to close out the Rangers in its own building was kicked away in a frustrating 7-3 loss. It was a game much closer than the score suggested.

But the ultimate result — a loss — does suggest that the Lightning's inexperience on this big stage had something to do with its inability to close out a series that was there for the taking.

"It's tough," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "You want to finish it out when you can. It's one of those ones you move past. You still got another opportunity. So we got to go the road and win on the road."

Good luck with that. Now comes the long plane ride back to New York and even longer odds to advance to the round where Lord Stanley's Cup will be waiting for the winner.

"Game 7 in Madison Square Garden," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Fun? Sounds like anything but.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Coach’s Corner From Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

In light of the crazy goals being scored in the playoffs, Don preaches advice he gave to all his players: shoot the puck!

Plus more topics...


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry, ron+maclean

Derick Brassard Steps Up His Game Just In Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Challenge accepted.

Challenge accepted by the resilient Rangers, who staved off elimination for the fourth time this spring and for the 15th time over the last four tournaments with Tuesday’s 7-3 Game 6 victory over the Lightning to set up yet another Game 7 at the Garden on Friday, winner getting to go to the Stanley Cup final.

Challenge accepted by Derick Brassard, who recorded a hat trick and five-point night following a morning meeting with Alain Vigneault in which the coach urged No. 16 and fellow 1A/1B center Derek Stepan to lift their respective games.

“I told them that we needed them to step up and be difference-makers,” the coach told The Post. “And they did, they both responded, they both came through with what we needed.

“Brass’ line was great.”


added 8:21am, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Oh yes, Mr. Elimination Game was huge again. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 of 39 shots on the evening, his pad save on Stamkos in the first period an absolutely heart-stopper.

Just Hank being Hank, he now sports a ridiculous .954 save percentage in those 18 elimination games since 2012.

"Everything on the line again and we found a way," said Lundqvist. "I felt like we had a really tough time in the second to get pucks deep, and they're a really good team when you don't get the pucks in the right places. But then in the third, I think maybe our experience in these situations helped us, because we come out and play extremely well, a smart period until you get out of hand a little bit.

"It's such an important time right now, and for us to come through like this in a big game, it's always good for your confidence. It's a good feeling."


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

We Have A Game 7 In The Eastern Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

They keep finding ways to put their backs against the wall. The wall never seems that far away, does it? It’s a constant companion. The Lightning are infuriating that way. We can’t figure them out.

They might have backed into the wall one time too many, against the wrong customers.

It’s their own fault.

There will be a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. Despite a great, gaping opportunity, the Lightning didn’t come close to closing out the New York Rangers in Game 6 at Amalie Arena. Note: The Rangers don’t like to be closed out. They blasted the Lightning, 7-3.

How do you roll out a miserable third period like that when you’re only one goal down and one win from the Stanley Cup finals?


Even with the Rangers practically playing ragged prevent through two periods, begging to be beaten, they led 2-1 heading to the third. Well, maybe the New York goaltender wasn’t begging to be beaten.

And when push came to shove, the Bolts were blown away.


Watch the game highlights below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has to pay $100,000 fee for taking Flyers’ job

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

You would expect a college hockey team to protect itself against a coach potentially leaving for the NHL, but the University of North Dakota found a unique way to dissuade coach Dave Hakstol from leaving for the NHL--though it didn't work.

The Grand Forks Herald's Brad Elliott Schlossman reports that Hakstol will have to pay UND $100,000 for the opportunity of coaching the Philadelphia Flyers:

Although it had been almost 30 years since an NHL team hired a coach straight from the college ranks, UND athletic director Brian Faison was prepared for that possibility.

When negotiating coach Dave Hakstol’s last contract in 2012, Faison put a clause in the contract that specifically outlined a penalty fee if Hakstol left UND for an NHL head coaching position.

The Philadelphia Flyers hired Hakstol to be their head coach last week.

According to Hakstol’s contract, he will owe the school $100,000 for leaving his contract before June 30, 2015, for an NHL head coaching job.

If he were going to a minor league team or taking an assistant coaching job in the NHL, Hakstol would have owed $50,000. If he left for another NCAA team, he would have owed $318,270, which was his base salary for the 2015-16 season.

Hakstol had three seasons left on his contract with UND. The monetary penalties for leaving before the end of the contract would have decreased each year. He was in the third year of his six-year deal.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+hakstol, philadelphia+flyers

Prospect playoff news: Walleye force Game 7 against South Carolina via OT win; Kelowna eliminated

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings fans might not know too much about the Toledo Walleye or the Wings now-singularly-affiliated NHL team, but coach Derek Lalonde and his charges are pulling off quite the playoff feat.

The Walleye fell into a 3-game deficit against the South Carolina Stingrays in their Eastern Conference Final, but they've rattled off 3 straight wins since going down 0-and-3; on Tuesday, the Walleye rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat South Carolina 5-4 in overtime, and as such, the teams will play a 7th and deciding game in Toledo on Wednesday.

Going from the ECHL's worst team a year ago to a team that's a win away from advancing to the Kelly Cup Final is a story in itself; rallying as they have against South Carolina is another damn good one.

Martin Frk didn't register a point and Richard Nedomlel finished at -2, but the Walleye prevailed, as their website's recap notes:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Brassard notches hat trick in wild Rangers win over Tampa Bay, forcing 7th game on Friday

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Rangers forced a 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night, and the Rangers' wild and wacky win included a hat trick from Derick Brassard:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derick+brassard, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Open Post- Game 6 ECF Between The Tampa Bay Lightning And New York Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A game the Tampa Bay Lightning want to win.  At home and a win puts them in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers want to force game 7 and I expect a low-scoring game, decided late in the game.

Watch on NBCSN, CBC or TVA with the puck dropping just after 8:00pm ET.

Comment below if you wish.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

St. James: Holland still to speak with Blashill this week, may be Wings’ only coaching candidate

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

According to the Free Press's Helene St. James, Ken Holland will indeed speak with Jeff Blashill this week regarding the open coaching job behind the Red Wings' bench, and Holland isn't sure whether he needs to interview anyone else:

Blashill is the leading - and, at the moment, only - candidate to replace Mike Babcock, who left last week to become head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I've had some people reach out to me," Holland told the Free Press today, "but as of right now, I haven't expanded the list."

Other names on the market include Dan Bylsma (who is from Grand Haven) and Peter DeBoer (who used to coach the Plymouth Whalers), but Blashill was given a hefty raise last year with the implicit understanding that he would be next in line if Babcock, as he did, opted to leave this summer.

Holland said he wants to talk to Blashill about the Detroit job, but no formal hiring announcement will be made while the Griffins remain in the playoffs. The Griffins play three straight home games before the series would head back to Utica if needed.

Continued, and I can't think of a better-qualified candidate to coach the Wings' kids and veterans alike than the guy Holland will speak with.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Mike Babcock Is Gone But Ken Holland Is Still Here

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Keith Gave of FoxSports Detroit,

Now imagine if General Manager Ken Holland were a free agent this offseason. It could have happened.

"And it might have been even bigger than what we saw this last week," said Senior Vice President Jim Devellano. "I think it would have been if Ken Holland had refused to sign (an extension) last summer."

Babcock hit the jackpot when several teams had coaching vacancies, including the richest of them all, Toronto. He eventually parlayed a magnificent offer from the Buffalo Sabres into an eight-year, $50 million deal with the Maple Leafs. Those same Leafs, by the way, are still shopping for a general manager. Boston, New Jersey, Edmonton also named new managers, while others offered the ever-worrisome vote of confidence to their GMs.

But it never came to that because Holland, who had one year left on his deal with Detroit, signed a new four-year deal last summer. Negotiations with a man universally acknowledged as the best general manager in the NHL lasted 10 minutes, Devellano said.

Holland wasn't even tempted to test the free-agent market after more than three decades with the Wings. Ask him why and he pauses, not wanting to offend his interrogator for asking such a stupid question.

read on

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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