Kukla's Korner

Is A Captain Really Needed?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

The Canadiens’ decision Monday to bestow the A on four players, and no C, has ignited a wee tempest in our nation’s most excitable NHL market, as loyalists of one player or the other ask why their favourite wasn’t the obvious choice.

But what if it makes perfect sense?

What if it’s just the formal acknowledgment of an observation every NHL coach makes: that no good team can have just one leader — that if you aspire to be a contender for the Stanley Cup, you’d better have a half-dozen of them?

Anyway, the mystique of the C may not be entirely based on imagination, but its importance is grossly overestimated.

Case in point: Dustin Brown of the L.A. Kings. Brown is, without doubt, exactly the kind of pain in the ass to play against that coach Darryl Sutter loves, but he is also an accomplished diver and, logic tells us, the person no referee has any interest in hearing a protest from, when a call needs to be argued.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Daniel Alfredsson’s agent speaks about his client’s situation

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As noted earlier this afternoon, the Wings' beat writers all reported that Daniel Alfredsson hasn't skated with the Red Wings in some time now, and isn't expected to attend training camp. Ken Holland told the Free Press's Helene St. James that the team's willing to wait for Alfredsson to take the time he needs to figure out whether he's healthy enough to play, and this evening, Alfredsson's agent made a statement to TSN:

Alfredsson, who finished second on the team in scoring with 49 points last season, is an unrestricted free agent after leaving the Ottawa Senators to sign a one-year contract in Detroit.

''Daniel had a strong summer training and was feeling great while skating here but suffered a setback on his fifth day of high intensity on ice sessions," Alfredsson's agent J.P. Barry told TSN. "It's the same back issue he has been dealing with for a few years. He needs some time to let things settle and then determine whether his back is up to the rigors of another full season. He will be patient for now before making any decisions.''

"I think I owe him the class and dignity to allow him to get to a point where we sit down and make a decision about his future," Holland added. "Whether we sign him to a contract or not will be based on feedback from his body. Before we even get there, we have to see if Alfie's body is going to allow him to play.

Here's what Capgeek has to say about the deadlines for signing unrestricted free agents:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Are You Concerned About The Russian Players In The NHL?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Blair of Sportsnet,

The world has changed since Igor Larionov wore the uniform of the Central Red Army’s hockey team. The Cold War has been replaced by something much more nuanced; the questions and answers infinitely more complicated in a time of increased economic interdependency and borderless reality.

Russian hockey players? There’s not much mystery about them, beyond the usual stereotypes still given credibility in some of the darker corners of the game. There were 34 Russian-born NHLers in the league in 2013-2014, and in the June draft, 13 Russian-born players were selected, the most in eight years. They’ve been team captains, colossal over-achievers, spectacular under-achievers, coach-killers … pretty much the same as any other nationality.

Yet another ‘political statement’ made by a Russian-born player – in this case, Semyon Varlamov, who over the weekend posted an Instagram photograph of himself wearing a shirt with a photo of Russian president Vladimir Putin and ‘Crimea Is Ours’ written in Cyrillic before taking it down – reminds us that, for the first time in years, Russian players will be competing against a backdrop of Western animosity directed at their government, this time over the crisis in Ukraine.

Should the NHL be concerned? Should its Russian players? You’d have to look back to the political fallout from the invasion of Afghanistan to find political tension like this – to find a time when European powers and the U.S. were jockeying for strategic positioning with an aggressive then-Soviet Union. Russian teams had been playing exhibition series since the 1972 Summit Series, and after awhile the tenor of the games changed from one of mystery to on-ice bitterness. Through it all, however, nobody worried about Twitter or Instagram. The 140-character universe didn’t exist. Neither did the Kontinental Hockey League, for that matter.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Randy Carlyle Under The Microscope

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Breakaway Blog at the Toronto Star,

... But all of the storylines connect at Carlyle.

He wasn't fired at season's end when the team collapsed.

Some believe it was the way they played -- with fire most of the time -- that cost them a playoff spot. Continually outshot. Continually out-possessed, in the new parlance of analytics. Carlyle's teams -- even in Anaheim are horrible at possession games.

Some believe it was simply a matter of goaltending, that if Jonathan Bernier didn't get hurt against the Los Angeles Kings, the Leafs would have sailed into the playoffs, and nobody would have lost their jobs.

Now is Carlyle's chance to prove himself, and do so under less than ideal conditions.

For one thing, it seems evident there'll be more -- oh, what's the word? advice? instruction? meddling? -- from above.

The front office looks like it's going to active, with assistant GM Kyle Dubas communicating the ideas from the team's analytics department. That means Carlyle is going to hear from Dubas about line changes, line combinations and who'd play best with Phil Kessel.

more

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

Red Wings evening news: tonight’s lineup, Griffins jersey winners, Cleary, Alfie and one wise Blash

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

If youwant to follow along with the Red Wings prospects' game against Minnesota this evening (7 PM start), Pointstreak will have the box score, the pre-game notes are already up, and myself, SlapShotgoal, the Wings and MLive's Brendan Savage have been attempting to live-Tweet it.

A very kind gent posted the lineup on Twitter, and it looks like I was right about Ty Stanton and Mitch Wheaton being "in" on defense and Marc McNulty sitting out:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings follow-on rink’s details to be shown to the public this Thursday

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

According to the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar, ahead of the unofficial groundbreaking for the Red Wings' follow-on rink on September 25th, Olympia Development's going to showcase some of the new rink's "specs" this Thursday:

Olympia Development of Michigan is going to show the public new details of its new $450 million venue that will be the home of the Detroit Red Wings and the expected catalyst for a 45-block entertainment district on the northern edge of downtown.

Olympia Development of Michigan will be presenting the plans at a public meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. to the Detroit City Planning Commission. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Committee of the Whole on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, located at 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226.

The plans to be unveiled will show many new details of the layout of the new arena. Next Thursday, is the expected target date for construction to begin for the long-awaited development that will create a new home area for the Detroit Red Wings. The arena would be among the five “new neighborhoods” with hundreds of new apartments, offices and other mixed-use retail that could open by summer 2017, according to the billionaire family that controls much of the land.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Who’s The #1 Goalie In Carolina?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

Buried in the avalanche of information that came out of the Carolina Hurricanes’ media day a few weeks ago was one interesting little nugget from new coach Bill Peters.

Peters said he’d like one of his goalies to play 60 games, which is pretty standard stuff from coaches who generally prefer to have a No. 1 goalie and a backup. Except in these specific circumstances, it’s reasonably explosive proposition.

Not because the Hurricanes don’t have a goalie capable of playing 60 games. They do. They have two, if (and that’s a big if) Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin are each on their game. And that’s the issue. If one goalie is playing 60 games, that means the other is playing 22. There isn’t enough playing time to go around for two goalies who both consider themselves to be the starter.

Peters did qualify that statement, noting the usual hectic early season travel schedule that sees the Hurricanes play two of their first eight games on the road in an attempt to avoid the hassles of playing at home during the North Carolina State Fair will require extensive use of both goalies. But the desire to have a No. 1 guy seems to conflict directly with the players at his disposal.

Peters, who has been nothing less than impressive in his limited interactions so far with the media and public, clearly gets the benefit of the doubt here. Almost every coach would prefer to have a No. 1 goalie who claims the job and runs with it. Making that statement before training camp begins is practically a reflex.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Darnell Nurse With A Knee On Knee Hit In Today’s Prospect Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darnell+nurse

Bryan Murray On The Ottawa Senators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Every team wants to start its season on the right foot, but general manager Bryan Murray says training camp this season is vitally important for the Ottawa Senators.

"Maybe, we were too comfortable," he told TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie. "It looked to me that - the year before we had a lot of injuries and a number of the key guys didn't play very much - we came to camp with a full group, maybe we thought we were going to be better than we were going to be and, certainly, we didn't compete at the same level. There's no question. Maybe there was a comfort that the stars were back, so the other guys didn't have to work so hard."

Murray, heading into his eighth year at the helm of the club, insists that things will be different this season.

"At the end of last year, we had a long, intense meeting with all of management and coaching staff," he explained. "This year, a week ago, we had a sit-down again to review what we had talked about, but also have some objectives going forward starting with training camp and the first visit we have with our players. There's no question that we have a plan that we think it's going to allow our players to be more productive."

continued

Watch the one-on-one interview Bob McKenzie had with Murray. At the beginning of the video, Bryan Murray discusses his health and says he is feeling OK now.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+murray

Red Wings prospect tournament, day 3: practice impressions

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' prospects may have enjoyed a full "off-day" during a dreary Sunday in Traverse City, but this morning's practice ahead of tonight's game against Minnesota (7 PM) was all about managing players' energy and attention spans.

Having played 2 games in 2 nights and heading into their 3rd game in 4 nights--and, regardless of tonight's outcome, a 4th game in 5 nights tomorrow--Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill and his platoon of assistants (Griffins assistants Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, informal assistants Chris Chelios and Mike Knuble and goalie coach Jeff Salajko) focused on extracting the maximum amount of instruction from the minimum amount of time possible.

"Practice" lasted for exactly 24 minutes, and it involved the drills I've discussed before--and again, save Anthony Mantha's "productive demotion" to the Bertuzzi-Athanasiou line (the Wings really need to get some secondary scoring), Colin Campbell's promotion to the Nosek-Frk pairing and Jared Coreau starting, there wasnt much "news"...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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