Kukla's Korner

The System Is Working For The Washington Capitals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,

The fortress erected by the Washington Capitals, the one built to protect their stonewalling goaltender, contained a gauntlet of traps guarding the front gate. They hurled bodies at airborne pucks, clogging shooting lanes and shuttering windows of opportunity for the New York Rangers. They boxed out with their butts and cleared rebounds with their sticks, ushering traffic away. They had always held the utmost confidence in Braden Holtby, because no sane person would consider otherwise, but when chaos came knocking at Verizon Center, even the NHL’s active leader in postseason save percentage needed help.

“It’s something we’ve been working on all year, just boxing out and trying to make sure that Holts can see the puck,” forward Jay Beagle said. “Whether it’s trying to block a shot, there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve gone over this year that we’ve changed just a little bit to his liking to give him the best chance to see the puck and not to become a screen. Our ‘D’ have been unreal in front of him.”

Three games into these Eastern Conference quarterfinals, a fluky bounce off two skates the only separation in Washington’s 1-0 victory and thus a 2-1 series lead, the Capitals have withstood slow starts, prolonged defensive-zone shifts and the Rangers’ speed. They have relied on Holtby, who made another 30 saves for his second career postseason shutout – both against New York, in this building, with the calendar reading May 4 — but also on themselves, trusting their system to steer them through the harrowing waters of close games.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

On Blashill, revisiting the Phaneuf trade and outdoor hockey in Denver

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

It's not an "Overnight Report" as much as it's three stories, so:

1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa was also in Grand Rapids this past weekend, and he's penned a novella...erm, I mean article...about Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, framing him as Mike Babcock's possible successor.

With Mike Babcock admittedly undecided as to whether he's going to return, and me taking Babcock at his word, that means Blashill has to be evaluated on his merits. His merits include a USHL championship, a Frozen Four berth, a Calder Cup, and if I may be blunt, a manner of coaching that is both remarkably similar to Mike Babcock's in its preparation, attention to detail, decisiveness and intensity, and at the same time, he's...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

New Jersey Hires GM Ray Shero

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Lou Lamoreillo has been general manager of the New Jersey Devils since 1987.  He is the longest serving GM in the NHL.  As he ages inevitably he is going to want to slow down.  Now that he is 72 that has happened.  Lamoreillo has decided to hire a new general manager in Ray Shero.  He will remain with the Devils as their president but his role will be reduced.

Shero is a proven NHL GM.  He had a successful run in Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2014.  He was fired somewhat unfairly when Pittsburgh failed in the 2014 playoffs.  Things haven't changed much in 2015 under Shero's replacement Jim Rutherford.  The firing was a mistake for the Penguins.  It is surprising that it took Shero a season to find a new job. 

The main question in my mind is how much of the reigns is Lou Lamoreillo willing to relinquish.  Will Ray Shero really get to run the show or will he have to answer to Lou for big decisions?  Both Lamoreillo and Shero are proven Stanley Cup winning successful GMs.  If Shero takes over for Lamoreillo this is a good thing.  If there will be friction between Lamoreillo and Shero there will be problems.  Let's hope they can be professional if any disagreements occur.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Beagle’s goal all the Capitals needed

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Jay Beagle's off-two-skates goal was all the Washington Capitals needed to defeat the New York Rangers 1-0 on Monday night:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+beagle, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

Open Post- Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The New York Rangers travel to Washington to meet the Capitals.  The series is tied at one and the puck drops just after 7:30pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.

Feel free to discuss the game or anything hockey related.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ray Shero Believes It Is A “Great Opportunity” To Be The GM Of The New Jersey Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

"I think we'll be the beneficiary of [this hire] as an organization," Lamoriello said. "The one thing that has been consistent in this organization and with every conversation I've had with Ray was the ability he has. He has no ego and knows the logo is the most important thing and when you get that that's a good feeling; a very positive thing happened today."

Lamoriello completed his 28th season as Devils' president/GM in 2014-15. During his time, the Devils won three Stanley Cup championships, five Eastern Conference titles and nine division titles in 21 Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances.

"I've known [Lou Lamoriello] since playing against him in college when I was at St. Lawrence and he was coaching Providence," Shero said. "Before Lou was GM, my father [Hockey Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero] was a color analyst when the team started and Max McNab was GM and I hung around there quite a bit when I was in college. So the opportunity for me to work with a Lou Lamoriello, who is a Hockey Hall of Fame member and one of the most respected GMs in the history of the game, certainly was a great opportunity I was not going to turn down and I'm looking forward to working with the team. It's a great opportunity for me and my family."

Shero has most recently been actively involved with USA Hockey and is a member of its National Team Advisory Board. He has enjoyed having an opportunity to spend more time with his family; one of his sons will be a freshman at Boston College and he has another attending Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.

Shero was fired as GM of the Penguins on May 16, 2014, finishing with a 373-193-56 in his eight seasons with the organization.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+shero

On Anthony Mantha and three “veries”

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Highly-heralded prospect suffers a broken leg during a prospect tournament, misses training camp, and "loses his game shape" while rehabbing his leg. Player begins season a month-and-a-half behind the games-played curve and far further behind the confidence curve. Struggles snowball, highly-heralded prospect has very mediocre rookie pro season, is OK in playoffs, but just OK.

Player was expected to dominate as goal-scorer but didn't. GM, coach say that player needs to "hit the gym," but aren't writing him off by any means. Team VP seems to ignore injury in saying player's campaign was disappointing, using "very" three times. Internet asplodes.

Pro Hockey Talk notes the issue. The Hockey News points out that it still ranked player as 6th-best NHL prospect. Some blogger goes to Grand Rapids, watches two games focusing on player, realizes that he's out of shape, that stick is probably five inches too long, that team chose to allow player to struggle at AHL level instead of demoting him to ECHL because prospect from shallowest Major Junior league is still benefiting from struggling as a big fish in a Great Lake.

If you weren't aware, Anthony Mantha actually spoke with the media and this random blogger yesterday, addressing his rookie struggles, Babcock and Holland's remarks about him and his goals going forward, and I thought his willingness to admit to and embrace his struggles as a professional were incredibly encouraging:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Afternoon news: On the Babcock-Holland ride, Miller’s ‘numbers’ and Griffins-IceHogs stuff

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Well, you can take this for what you will: the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Ken Holland regarding the substance of Sunday's post-Griffins win conversation as the pair crossed the state together (I hope it wasn't the white Mercedes SUV that hogged the damn road for fifteen miles...west of Lansing...jerk...):

"We talked about his situation, and now, we need a little time — I'm going to use the word 'stew' — to stew over what we talked about," Holland told the Free Press today. "Then, in a few days, we'll talk again. And eventually, that will lead to some decision. I don't have a handicap on the situation. We drove over and back, had a nice talk."

Holland said he would "give myself the month of May and hope it's concluded by then — or close to it." He leaves Saturday for the Czech Republic to catch the world championships.

St. James also reports that Babcock's looking for a $4+ million salary, which is a lot of pizzas, but that's to be expected.

Otherwise...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Dylan Larkin faces stay-at-Michigan-or-turn-pro decision

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I get to be something of an "old fart" when it comes to discussing whether college athletes should "turn pro" early. From a rational perspective, I look at Dylan Larkin, who won't even turn 19 until this July, and I think, "He's getting an education at one of the best universities in the country, he's still very young, there's no reason whatsoever for Larkin to surrender his college eligibility to start the pro journey early."

But things get muddy when I think about the times I watched Larkin absolutely light up his opposition at the NCAA level, and I see his poise playing as Team USA's second-line center, and I wonder--as both a Red Wings fan and someone who believes that a young player with pro prospects should play at the highest level they can, if not higher than they think they're able to play, to facilitate their development--if Larkin should indeed turn pro.

As the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy suggests (via RedWingsFeed), Dylan Larkin, who you and I both know is gauging his pro readiness at the Worlds, has quite the decision to make:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Ray Shero The New GM In New Jersey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

added 4:05pm,

 

added 4:13pm, New Jersey release is below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+shero

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