Kukla's Korner

Your James Norris Memorial Trophy Finalists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 21, 2017) -- Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators are the three finalists for the 2016-17 James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Open Post- Two Playoff Games Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I was 4-0 last night so let's try it again.

Both home teams win tonight.

Toronto @ Washington, series tied 2-2, 7 p.m., CBC, TVAS2, NBCSN, CSN-DC
Boston @ Ottawa, OTT leads 3-1, 7:30 p.m., SN, TVAS, USA, NESN

Feel free to comment on the games as they play out.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Change Needed In Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Hough of the Chicago Tribune,

Had the Hawks been eliminated in Game 7, the immediate impact on the organization would be less jarring. Going down meekly in four straight games represented a mandate for change and rattled the Hawks enough to reassess everything. The powers-that-be can't be tone-deaf to what happened in the Music City.

Stop clinging to the Hawks winning 50 games and earning 109 points. Listen to coach Joel Quenneville, who acknowledged his team's postseason failure nullified its regular-season success. The Hawks "One Goal" isn't being the best team from October to April. It's beating four playoff opponents and hoisting the Stanley Cup in June, something the current roster was ill-equipped to do....

Finding a silver lining in the 2016-17 season contradicts everything the Hawks always have espoused. Where was the championship pedigree? Their quest ended abruptly, as Quenneville put it, because the Hawks couldn't find "the all-out button.'' Translation: The Preds showed more heart. Depending on the shift, the Predators alternately made the Hawks look old and slow or young and lost. The pushback everybody expected never came, the response muted by a more relentless bunch. Something was missing from the Hawks and that indicted everybody on the bloated payroll.

Oversimplifying it, the Hawks always appeared too comfortable. What we interpreted as confidence, in retrospect, could have been complacency that often is the residue of continuity. Kane hinted as much in postgame comments to reporters.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- John Glennon On The Nashville Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Dare to dream big, Preds fans. This could be quite a ride.

-John Glennon at NashvillePredators.com where you can read more on the Predators advancing to Round 2.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Once Again Gary Bettman On The Olympics, “We’re Not Going”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Knowles of the Chicago Tribune,

Even if the International Olympic Committee sweetens its offer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insists that his league will not participate in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

"We're not going," Bettman said Friday during his annual meeting with a group of sports editors at league headquarters. "That decision has been made."

The issues on the table included insurance and travel expenses for players, and the IOC appeared to be willing to soften its stance on both. But Bettman said who pays for what is just part of the equation.

"We're not anti-Olympics," Bettman said. "We're anti-disruption."


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Patrick Marleau And Joe Thornton Could Be Playing Their Last Game For The San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,

There are many layers of drama attached to Saturday night’s Game 6 at SAP Center.  The top layer, of course, is whether the Sharks, trailing three games to two, find a way to take the series back to Edmonton on Monday. But there is also plenty of subtext drama. None of that drama is more dramatic than the drama-laden possibility that Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton could both be making dramatic exits by playing their final games in San Jose uniforms at the Shark Tank.

Both are 37 years old. Both will be 38 by October when the next regular season begins. Both are unrestricted free agents this summer. Both wish to continue playing hockey.  Is it even possible that both will be back in teal for the 2017-18 season? They have decisions to make. So does general manager Doug Wilson. Saturday night could be when the storylines merge.

One game will not decide whether Marleau or Thornton or both remain part of the beloved Los Tiburones.  But the result of this series could. Both say they wish to continue playing hockey. But if the Sharks can’t go farther than the first round at this stage of their careers, does the team still want or need them? Or should the salary cap money go to younger players?  Likewise, do Marleau and Thornton still want or need the Sharks?  Or would they prefer joining another Stanley Cup contender in need of a final missing piece?  Will they demand multi-year deals at major money or give a hometown discount?

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Will Ken Holland “Take A Risk”?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Holland overvalued his own players, believed his core would improve with experience, and was slow to react when it didn’t happen. Because of that, he feels the heat entering the final year of his contract....

I respect the Wings’ undying desire to reach the postseason instead of scaling way back to start over. But if they’re going to pull it off, Holland must get bolder, more creative. With so many players on bloated contracts — due to Holland’s miscalculations — it’ll be difficult to make trades. That means he might have to take a risk and deal one of the promising youngsters — Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou — for a much-needed defenseman in a value-for-value blockbuster.

more which included Pistons talk too...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Jim Montgomery Needs To Be Behind The Bench For The Colorado Avalanche

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

The man who should be the Avalanche’s next coach works a little more than six miles down the road from the NHL team’s arena in Denver. If general manager Joe Sakic lets Jim Montgomery get away, it will be a crying shame.

Montgomery knows how to build a winner. He has done it at the University of Denver. The Pioneers won the eighth national championship in school history earlier this month with a 3-2 victory against Minnesota Duluth. And the NHL has noticed.

The Florida Panthers have scheduled an interview with Montgomery. They would be smart to hire him. But Sakic, the former Avs star whose efforts as a front-office executive for the franchise has been an unmitigated hockey disaster, would be crazy to let Montgomery leave town.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Terry Pegula On The Buffalo Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Terry Pegula started his first news conference about the Sabres in 3½ years by pointing the finger at himself. The mea culpa was a step in the right direction after going backward for the better part of six years.

"Accountability starts with me," Pegula said. "We are not happy with our season this year, and there are no excuses. Six years ago, I stood here and told the Buffalo Sabres fans that the reason for our existence was to win a Stanley Cup. That is still the truth."

He didn't complete fall on the sword, but at least he showed an understanding that he made some mistakes along the way. He acknowledged that he regretted not participating in the search that led to Tim Murray getting hired and, by extension, coach Dan Bylsma. Both were fired Thursday.

Several times, Pegula outlined the franchise's core values – discipline, character, communication and structure – when hiring executives and coaches and acquiring players. It was a clear sign he wasn't happy with GM Tim Murray and questionable characters such as Evander Kane.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: terry+pegula

Uphill Battle Now Facing The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

The playoff pressure pendulum that was stuck on the Washington Capitals for the past two games is now bearing down on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Their skate-like-crazy, throw-pucks-at-the-net, see-what-happens style made the Leafs the talk of the NHL for the first week of the playoffs.

But now that the Capitals gave them a good lesson on playoff hockey in Game 4 – yes, the Leafs made it close near the end but that was only on the scoreboard – it is time to see if the roller-coaster team really is ready to stay ahead of the rebuilding plan and finish this upset, which looked so close until the Caps tied the first-round series with that 5-4 win on Wednesday.

Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The best-of-seven series is now a best-of-three, with two games in Washington. The Leafs have more than a chance to win but that means once again bouncing back against the best regular-season team in the league. Game 5 may well decide this, since the winner gets a 3-2 lead, one game from ending it in what is a battle of the psyches as much as on the ice.


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

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