Kukla's Korner

Training With Andrew Ference

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,

A buff 36-year-old in a T-shirt and shorts stands at the front. A hockey star in a hockey town, defenceman Andrew Ference has been the captain of the Edmonton Oilers since joining them as a free agent in 2013. Unusual for a professional athlete, he works to bring attention to the matters he is passionate about: the environment, human rights and physical fitness.

Upon arriving in Edmonton, he began staging free workout sessions and invited everyone to come. They happen three mornings a week, with Wednesday reserved for running stairs at the home stadium of the Canadian Football League’s Eskimos.

This week, Mr. Ference begins by instructing everyone to find someone they don’t know and give them a hug. Someone’s sweet-tempered pit bull runs among them, wagging and barking in a studded collar and an Oilers kerchief.

A few minutes later, as the sky brightens, the group files into the empty stadium and bounds up the stairs.

Those waiting at the back of the line exercise their legs by bouncing up and down.

“It’s a great morning,” says Mr. Ference’s sister Jen, who helps organize the free gatherings with her hockey-playing younger brother. It is not quite 6 a.m. and she is cheerful.

“There is great energy here,” she says. “So many people want to get up early.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference

Tyler Ennis On The Rebuild In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

Heading into the season, there is excitement in Buffalo due to the manner their roster was turned over.

“I think it’s like Edmonton right now, there is a lot of turnover and changes in coaches and we have some high-end prospects coming in and there is a lot of optimism,” Ennis said following a session at Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 camp Thursday. “It’s really exciting, we made some really good moves, I think. I feel like the rebuild is finally coming to fruition. It’s been a tough couple of years but it’s going to be worth it, because we have a lot of great players and a lot of guys to be excited about, coming in.”

Shrewd trades and quality draft picks have, seemingly, expedited the rebuild process in Buffalo. As one of the club’s veterans, Ennis is looking forward to playing on a more competitive team this year.

“Time flies by. That’s why the last two years were such a tough two years,” Ennis said. “Your career goes by quickly. It seems just like yesterday that I got drafted and now I’m going into my seventh year of pro. You want to be in contention every year, because you may only get a couple of chances to win it.”

Heading into the year, Ennis is looking to improve on the 20 goals and 46 points he posted last season. He has a point total in mind, which he is hoping to reach, but would not divulge a number.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tyler+ennis

The Outlook For Brendan Smith

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2015-16 outlook: Former coach Mike Babcock kept a tight rein on Smith, a freewheeling offensive defenseman at Wisconsin and in Grand Rapids. A terrific skater, Smith likes to rush the puck and takes a lot of chances, prompting Babcock to comment that he creates as much offense for the opposition as he does his own team.

Will Jeff Blashill give Smith more freedom to branch out offensively? Blashill has indicated he might give Smith an opportunity on the power play, even though the additions of Mike Green and Brad Richards gives the club plenty of options. Blashill said he likes Smith's ability to roam around the tops of the faceoff circles and use his quickness to retrieve pucks.

The team will benefit more if Smith improves defensively – not get caught out of position as often and cut down on turnovers. He's competitive and should continue playing with edge.

Smith might be paired with Kyle Quincey, since Blashill plans to play Green with Danny DeKeyser and might not want to split the top pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.

Key question: Will Smith's offensive production increase under Blashill?

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

New York Rangers Top Games On Secondary Ticket Market

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

by Joe Sudburg,

The New York Rangers were one game away from back-to-back Stanley Cup appearances before being upended by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, a game that the Rangers had everything going for them prior to the puck dropping.

With the support of the Madison Square Garden fans and Henrik Lundqvist’s stellar Game 7 record, it was almost expected to see the Rangers get another shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup. But the night belonged to the Lightning, who moved on to the Stanley Cup Final where they would lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

Continue Reading »

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

Do The New York Rangers Have Another Cup Run In Them?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

So the window question, whether it's wide open or closing, is legitimate for the Rangers. How many chances does a team get before the bottom falls out? Does getting close put even more pressure on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup this season?

Vigneault understands the queries, but he's not concerned with them because he sees the Rangers as a contender regardless of what they have done, or not done.

"We signed most, if not all, of our core guys to pretty good contracts as far as length, so we have to believe that these guys are going to give us good years," Vigneault said. "Are we in our window, and how many years is that window? We're a good team. I'm going to let the experts decide if we're in the window or not."

The Rangers should be in their window for the reasons Vigneault outlined, and many others. They should see themselves as contenders because their core is intact and in its prime.

Henrik Lundqvist will turn 34 this season but should be able to maintain his status as an elite goalie for several more seasons because of the shape he stays in and the way he maintains his body and mind throughout the season. He is entering the second year of a seven-year contract.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh is a 26-year-old captain with four years remaining on his contract. Defenseman Marc Staal is 28 and entering the first year of a six-year contract extension. Defenseman Dan Girardi is 31 and has five years left on his contract.

more

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

Early overnight report: Glendening takes flight; remembering Probie; early prospect news

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Wings posted a video of Luke Glendening flying with the Blue Angels on Wednesday:

2. Michigan State University posted a 2-minute clip in which the participants of their pro camp discussed its importance:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

A New Deal For Elias Lindholm In Carolina

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Elias Lindholm on a two-year contract extension. The deal will pay Lindholm $2.5 million in 2016-17 and $2.9 million in 2017-18.

“Elias played well last season, nearly doubling his offensive numbers from his rookie year,” said Francis. “We expect he will be a very important part of the Hurricanes as he continues to develop as a professional.”

Lindholm, 20, established career highs in goals (17), assists (22), points (39) and games played (81) in 2014-15, and ranked third on the team in goals and points, and tied for third in assists. The Boden, Sweden, native has now played in 139 NHL regular season games with Carolina, scoring 26 goals and earning 34 assists (60 points). The Hurricanes drafted Lindholm (6’1”, 192 lbs.) in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: elias+lindholm

Fox Sports Detroit will air 70 Red Wings regular season games

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From Fox Sports Detroit:

FOX Sports Detroit will televise 70 regular-season and three preseason games during its coverage of the 2015-16 Detroit Red Wings.

Regular-season coverage begins Oct. 9 with the home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. We will kick off Opening Night with a special one-hour Red Wings Live, featuring Jeff Blashill's first game as Detroit's head coach against former Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock.

Among the 70 games produced by FOX Sports Detroit, 12 are slated to air on FOX Sports Plus. The preseason schedule includes three games: Sept. 23 vs. Chicago, Sept. 24 vs. Pittsburgh and Oct. 2 vs. Toronto.

All 82 regular-season games, including 16 Original Six match-ups, will be available on television with 12 games on NBC or NBCSN.

"We can't wait for this new season to get started," said Greg Hammaren, senior vice president/general manager of FOX Sports Detroit. "The Ilitch family's commitment to the Red Wings and Detroit compels us to bring our best effort each and every night."

Continued, and here's their schedule:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Video- She’s Ready For Some NYI Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Here’s the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 2015-16 regular season schedule

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From TheAHL.com and the Griffins' website, here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' 015-16 regular season schedule:

2015-16 SCHEDULE RELEASED

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday released their schedule for the 2015-16 season. It will mark their 20th campaign overall, 15th as members of the American Hockey League and 14th as the primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Griffins and new head coach Todd Nelson will begin their 76-game slate with an Oct. 9-10 road trip to Bakersfield and San Diego, marking the Griffins' first visit to California since 2004 and their only road battles against new franchises from the Pacific Division. Grand Rapids will open the home portion of its schedule on Friday, Oct. 16 when it faces the San Antonio Rampage at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.

Highlights of the 2015-16 schedule include:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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