Kukla's Korner

All John Davidson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Q: You called last season "a kick in the teeth." Now that you have had time to reflect, do you have a better understanding of what went wrong?

A: I think the biggest disappointing thing, and I think the players in talking to them will all agree, is that it was primarily the veteran players that didn’t have a good year, not all of them, but some of them. And that was disappointing. I don’t think I have to say that to them because they know it. For whatever reason it was just strange and at all at once. Just strange.

Q: Then why did you say earlier that last season was on you?

A: Because I am in charge. I’m in charge and winning is my department. I’ve talked to the players, I’ve talked to the coaches, I’ve talked to the general manager and we are all on the same page here right now. But we are not going to panic, even though it was real … it was hard. I think a lot of players here understand it and they don’t want to go through that again. What’s even more astonishing is everyone I talked to in the hockey world, including at the draft, says, “I can’t believe that happened to you guys."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+davidson

Glen Gulutzan Takes To The Ice As Calgary’s Head Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

“Gully’s done a great job so far,” said Mark Giordano, getting a load of, unbelievably, his sixth head coach in Calgary. “He comes in, he’s been clear in what he wants us to do. But really, really positive … and really easy to approach and talk to.

“I don’t see that any player should feel intimidated.”

The on-ice portion of Gulutzan’s term began in the morning with the first of his three groups on the Saddledome sheet.

Nervous? Nah. This is a day he’d been looking forward to.

“I was anxious,” said Gulutzan. “I’m like, ‘I’m done looking at the computer, I’m done looking at schedules. I would like to get on the ice and see these players for myself for the first time.’ ”

Collar popped, hair perfect, the skipper glided out amongst his troops – name-bars, finally, on the backs of their practice jumpers – and demanded, and received, a brisk pace.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: glen+gulutzan

Probably The Last Chance For Devin Setoguchi

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Baxter of the LA Times,

... Four days later Setoguchi took one final drink, then walked through the doors of a rehab center in Malibu. That was 19 months ago and Setoguchi says he hasn’t had a drink since, allowing him to reclaim both his life and his health.

Now he wants his career back too. And he took what he hopes will be a big step on that road Friday afternoon when he skated with the Kings on the first day of training camp in El Segundo, less than an hour’s drive from the rehab center that may have saved his life.

“I’ve been out of the league for a year. It’s not like I can go two years out of the league and have a chance to make it next year,” he said. “So yeah, this is a chance.

“Is it my last chance? Probably.”

The odds against him succeeding are long ones. Setoguchi, a right wing who once made $3 million a year, is in camp on a tryout contract, which means the Kings can cut him at any time. The same is not true of many of the players Setoguchi is competing against for a spot on a team with little salary-cap space.

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  Tags: devin+setoguchi

The Anaheim Ducks Still Feel The Pain From Last Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

“It’s hard to watch the playoffs,” the veteran defenseman said Friday. “You don’t want anybody to win. It feels like you get punched in the gut every time you watch a game.”

Punched in the gut … or some place even worse, the Ducks, for the fourth consecutive season, experiencing the stun-gun zap of being eliminated in Game 7 at Honda Center.

Such punches certainly can knock out your wind. But dropping the deciding, do-or-don’t game four straight times at home turns on its head the concept of breathtaking.

Being eliminated this way – and repeatedly so – can take away more than just your breath. Portions of your heart and soul can go, too.

“Without having much success last year in the playoffs, guys are a little bit snarlier,” Bieksa said. “Guys are little bit more (ticked) off, a little bit more focused, I think.”

That’s a good sign this early, on the opening day of training camp. It’s also a good sign that the Ducks have upped their level of snarly and Corey Perry isn’t even here yet.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

World Cup Of Hockey Round Robin

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The round robin portion of the World Cup of Hockey completed yesterday.  All of the games took place in Toronto's Air Canada Centre.  The teams are divided into two four team groups that each played a round robin.  Group A consists of Canada, the Czech Republic and USA as well as a Team Europe that consists of players from European countries that were otherwise not going to be repesented in the tournament.  Group B consists of Finland, Russia and Sweden as well as a Team North America that consists of North American players 23 years old and younger.  These players were not eligible to play on Team Canada or Team USA.

Here are the results:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Chelios: team defense sank the Americans at the World Cup

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs asked Chris Chelios what Team USA did wrong in the World Cup of Hockey, and, according to Chelios, it wasn't bad personnel decisions that scuttled the Americans' ship:

"From top to bottom, I was more surprised by the way defensively they were cheating and not playing basic 1-on-1 position, blowing the zone, lackadaisical in their own end," said Chelios, 54, who is serving as an ESPN analyst for the tournament alongside Brett Hull in Bristol. "That's where I think it all started, especially that first game against Team Europe, with the outnumbered situations and breakdowns. It's one thing not to score and everybody keeps talking about the guys that didn't score. But I thought their problems started in their own end."

Brandon Dubinsky and David Backes over Tyler Johnson? No Kyle Okposo? Granted, Kessel went ahead with offseason hand surgery, but he didn't get a sniff for this team? Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson over defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk of Greenwich and Justin Faulk or Cam Fowler? The American bosses surrendered goals up front and puck movement on the back. Is Chelios, who has served as an assistant to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and as a Wings assistant coach, buying the roster bashing?

"Honestly? Not really," said Chelios, who served as a Team USA assistant coach at the world juniors. "They played so poorly in those two games. They might have been outmanned by Canada, but the mistakes they made. It wasn't more what Canada did. It was more what the USA team didn't do. I know everybody is going to second-guess Kessel and Shattenkirk and Johnson. But at the end of the day, their whole team was guilty of not playing the way they were capable.

"I don't think it was a lack of effort. I think it was thinking, playing smart hockey, basic plays, get pucks deep, supporting, communicating. I saw none of that. That's the hardest part to accept. I listened to Tortorella. He's still not mentioning their defensive play. He was speaking about guys that didn't score. The message wasn't clear from Tortorella on down. The players have got to accept the responsibility of being terrible in their own zone especially."

Jacobs continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Impressions from the first day of the Red Wings’ training camp ‘16

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings began training camp on Friday, and while the Red Wings are absent their World Cup-playing and World Cup-eliminated players (save Dylan Larkin), and Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are skating on their own, the balance of the Wings' roster is healthy and active, and Teams Lindsay, Howe and Yzerman got to work focusing on breakouts and special teams play.

Last year at this time, the Red Wings went through a good 10-15 minutes of video before practice began, but this year was quite different, despite the additions of Doug Houda and John Torchetti to the staff: the team went through a much more manageable 5-10 minutes of video before practice began, and another 5-minute session between practice and a very unique set of scrimmages (more on that in a little bit).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

MSM takes on the first day of Red Wings training camp

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 3x at 6:38 PM: The Red Wings media corps invaded Traverse City in earnest on Friday, and the topic of the day involved Daniel Cleary's decision to remain with the Grand Rapids Griffins as both player and player mentor. Cleary spoke of his role in discussions with MLive's Ansar Khan...

"It was a great experience to go down there, work with young players," Cleary said Friday, following the first day of Red Wings training camp at Centre I.C.E. "At 38 (on Dec. 18), I know it's the end of the line, but certainly I loved seeing the maturity and the growth of some young players. My goal is to be a good leader for these young guys, help them become great Red Wings.

"I love the Red and White and I've already seen huge strides in a lot of these young players that are going to come up here and be good Red Wings for a long time."

Cleary has had a tremendously positive impact on Tyler Bertuzzi, in particular.

"Me and Bert (Todd, Tyler's uncle) are great friends," Cleary said. "I just made sure I paid real special attention to him. He's a great young kid and I really just saw him come out of his shell. He's going to be a great player, he's exactly what the Wings need. He works hard, he's fit, he eats well, he sleeps well, he does everything that he needs to do as a young pro.

"I'm just encouraging him to keep going. I made sure he read a lot of books (on the mental toughness side of hockey), trying to get his knowledge up and his confidence. It is gratifying."

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

World Cup Of Hockey Semifinals Attracting Interest On Secondary Ticket Market

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By Tim Dolan,

After a thrilling first week of action, the World Cup of Hockey is one step closer to crowning a tournament champion. To date, the tournament games have been intense, highly competitive, and emotional for both sides -- and the excitement should only increase from here on out.

Continue Reading »

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

St. James: Larkin to join the Wings at training camp

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated at 5:11 PM: Good news from the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Update: Here's more from St. James:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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