Kukla's Korner

Wings confirm Dr. John Finley’s passing

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Last night, Keith Gave reported that long-time Wings physician John Finley passed away at 88 years of age, and this morning, the Red Wings are confirming the news:

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Wallner’s first-round Griffins playoff takes

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's observations from the Grand Rapids Griffins' first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals:

Tyler Bertuzzi is at it again: The series highlight may have been just watching Tyler Bertuzzi. The left winger, always a bundle of energy, became electrocharged – again - in the first round. He was the team’s leading scorer with four points, including two goals (goal winner and empty netter) in pivotal Game 2. The 22-year-old’s 16 goals in 26 postseason games is second all-time for the Griffins.

Dylan McIlrath's presence: The Griffins were all about playing defenseman Filip Hronek after the touted first-year defenseman joined the team in late March and played well in 10 games. But for the playoffs, the 6-foot, 170-pound 19-year-old sat and veteran Dylan McIirath played to provide a stronger physical presence. The move deprived Hronek – Detroit’s third pick in 2016 – of playoff experience, but the 6-foot-5, 235-pound McIirath initiated enough hits to keep the Admirals aware and off stride.

Penalty kill moment: The Griffins, slightly above average on the PK during the regular season (11th at 82.8 percent), were 90 percent in the opening round (1 of 11). The defining moment was the hard-working, time-eating, game of keep-away between Colin Campbell and Dominic Turgeon in Game 2. They kept the puck in the Admirals’ zone and along the boards for 40 seconds during a crucial stretch in the middle of the third period.

Wallner continues...

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No Sell-Out In Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

One assumed guarantee was a capacity crowd for an NHL playoff game in a Canadian city.

Ottawa fans are turning that notion on its ear.

For Thursday’s Round 2 opener against the New York Rangers, hundreds of empty seats were conspicuous at all three arena levels, a hot topic of discussion between whistles.

The development is stunning considering this is only the second time since 2007 the Senators have been among the final eight teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Just as the first sultry weather of the season screamed, ” Patio Bar!!” the Senators entertained the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. A crowd of 16,744 took in Ottawa’s 2-1 win at the Canadian Tire Centre, the smallest home gate this post-season by about 2,000. Official capacity is 18,572 but more than 20,000 attended Daniel Alfredsson night.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Erik Karlsson At The Top Of His Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

We have reached the point where Erik Karlsson is basically bending the game with his mind.

How else to explain the impossible angle he scored from to make sure the Ottawa Senators didn’t waste a strong performance to open Round 2?

Karlsson’s right skate was on the goal-line, the puck a good foot below it. He was literally standing in the corner when he rifled a shot that banked in off Henrik Lundqvist’s mask with less than five minutes to play on Thursday.

“I don’t know how you score from that area and what possessed him to throw it at the net the way he did,” teammate Marc Methot said after a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. “That’s what separates him from almost every other player in the league.”

It is what has carried Ottawa into the second round and should have fans dreaming of a run that could last even longer than that.

Karlsson appears to be on another level despite playing with two small fractures in his left foot these last few weeks. There were a couple all-world assists against Boston in Round 1 – they are still talking about the pass that travelled more than 140 feet and landed flat on Mike Hoffman’s stick – and Thursday’s goal couldn’t have arrived at a better time for his teammates.


Watch the goal below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+karlsson

Slow Start Cost The Washington Capitals Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

It doesn’t take long at all to lose a playoff hockey game, which is obvious and perplexing at the same time. It takes 60 minutes to win one — at least — and we can all agree on that. But somehow, they can be lost in a single shift or a matter of seconds, in the amount of time it takes to read this paragraph.

The Washington Capitals will wake up Friday morning and rue the third-period goal from Nick Bonino, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ third-line center who was last seen finishing the Capitals off in overtime of Game 6 last May, beginning summer in Washington a month early. On Thursday, in the opener of their second-round series at Verizon Center, it was somehow Bonino on the breakaway, Bonino outracing Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik to free himself for the shot, Bonino beating Braden Holtby to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 victory.

That’s the game-winner for Pittsburgh, and it can’t be disputed. But was it the game-loser for the Caps?

Washington trails in the nascent stages of this series not solely because of that goal. It trails because when it returned to the ice after the first intermission of a scoreless, feel-each-other-out game, it did so without its full faculties. It took just 12 seconds for one Pittsburgh goal, another 52 seconds for the next, and — boom! — previously pulsing Verizon Center was quiet, and the Penguins had a 2-0 lead.


Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The New York Rangers Need To Play With More Emotion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

There was a truck positioned in the arena as a promotional vehicle, and row upon row of empty seats in the upper bowl plus a fair number of prime unoccupied locations in the lower stands, as well. Who knew the playoffs were in Brooklyn this year?

Actually, more to the point, who knew the Rangers would come out with such a pedestrian effort in what became a 2-1 defeat to the Senators in the opener of the second round?

Maybe it was just the natural letdown that comes when a compelling series ends and a new one begins. Maybe there’s a time lapse that goes into revving up a rivalry that has been dormant since the last time these teams met in the playoffs five years ago.

Or maybe the Rangers just were unable to generate enough emotion and momentum on their own in a quiet building that lacked atmosphere, against an opponent whose disciplined trap sucks the life out of a game. And maybe, it’s time the speedy Rangers slowed down in order to grind this thing in their favor.


Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Khan on the ‘trade Nyquist’ vs ‘trade Tatar’ conundrum

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among MLive's Ansar Khan's mailbag questions:

Q: Which of Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist is most likely to be dealt if the Wings are to get that top-pair defenseman? – Jesse

A: Tatar has more trade value, I believe, because he’s a better finisher (team-leading 25 goals this season while dealing with shoulder issues) and the team acquiring him could lock him up to a long-term deal (he’s a restricted free agent). Whereas Nyquist (29 goals the past two seasons combined) has become more of a distributor and will be unrestricted after two seasons.

I think the Red Wings would prefer to retain Tatar. They have struggled for offense the past two seasons and that’s a lot of goals to lose.

But, I’m sure they would take that trade-off if Tatar (and another asset) could land them a young, top-pairing defenseman like Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg.

Khan continues, emphasizing trade and expansion draft talk...

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NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Home Team in Caps
OTTAWA 2, NY Rangers 1 – OTT leads 1-0
Pittsburgh 3, WASHINGTON 2 – PIT leads 1-0
Sidney Crosby scored twice in a span of 52 seconds to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead, but Alex Ovechkin notched the first of two straight Capitals goals to help even the score, setting the stage for Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino to tally the game-winning goal in the third period in Game 1 of their Second Round series.


* Bonino scored his sixth career playoff game-winning goal and second against Washington; he notched the series-clinching overtime goal in Game 6 of the 2016 Second Round against the Capitals, inspiring the famous “Bonino! Bonino! Bonino!” call by play-by-play broadcaster Harnarayan Singh.
* Crosby scored each of his goals in the opening 1:04 of the second period, including a marker 12 seconds into the frame that equaled the franchise playoff record for fastest goal to start a period – a mark he set in Game 3 of the 2008 Conference Quarterfinals at OTT. Elias adds that Crosby scored the fastest two goals by one player to start a period in franchise playoff history.
* Crosby, who has at least one point in each of his past five games (4-5—9), registered his 51st career multi-point game in the postseason (all w/ PIT) to tie Mario Lemieux for the most in franchise history and surpass Jaromir Jagr (50) for the most among active NHL players.
* Crosby has collected 10-7—17 in 14 career playoff meetings against the Capitals (1.21 PPG), while Ovechkin has compiled 11-11—22 in those contests (1.57 PPG).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Former Red Wings physician John Finley has passed away

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Free Press's Keith Gave:

Dr. John Finley, who nurtured and cared for generations of Detroit Red Wings players from Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom and the Russian Five, died tonight at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Bloomfield Township. He was 88.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Finley – “Jack” to his legion of friends – joined the Wings care-giving staff in 1957 and served until his retirement from medical practice in 2003. Then he sat down at his keyboard and began to write. The result was his 2012 book, “Hockeytown Doc,” in which he shared some wildly entertaining stories about his 47 years treating NHL players.

Finley and his wife of 59 years, Genevieve, had a special friendship with Colleen and Gordie Howe, a bond forged through nearly six decades, beginning when “Mr. Hockey” was dominating the league and the Wings were the class of the league.

Gave continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Wings’ Alums to ‘Stick It to Cancer’ on Saturday in Dearborn

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings Alumni Association is playing games on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, wrapping up their season with games in Dearborn on Saturday and Fraser on Sunday.

CBS Detroit posted the details of Saturday's game:

Come watch UAW-Ford take on the Detroit Red Wings Alumni as they duke it out on April 29 for the upcoming charity event for local kids: Stick It to Children’s Cancer 2017! Head to the Dearborn Ice Skating Center on 14900 Ford Road, Dearborn MI to see who will win the bragging rights!

Stop by  starting at 4:30 for some pre-game action with the 97.1 The Ticket Street Team and Ticket Chicks, plus you could win great prizes! Also this family friendly event will have the Monster Truck Brutus onsite.

Admission is a $10 donation, doors open at 6 PM and the puck drops at 6:30 PM. Plus there will be a live art auction and concession stands, with all proceeds benefiting kids kicking cancer and kids without cancer.

Here's the Alums' lineup for Saturday:

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