Kukla's Korner

It’s Not Randy Carlyle’s Fault

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,

As tempting and knee-jerk as it is to blame the bench boss for the calamity that befell the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last month of the season — 2-12-0 — the fault lies with a group of players who could not rally from an ever-deepening hockey stupor, failing the test of character and fortitude, time and time again.

Oh, there were flashes of backbone, when least expected — beating Boston in the second last week of the schedule, especially. Yet those spurts of mettle were fleeting and ultimately misleading. This was more the team that lost to Winnipeg and Florida and New Jersey down the dismaying stretch; less the team that rose to the challenge of the Bruins.

And the core problem, I suggest, is that the players still don’t see themselves for what they are. They scratch their heads and wonder, how did this happen? The answer is staring them in the face, if only they looked hard in the mirror.

read on

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

Playing The ‘Game’ On Paper

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

The Jackets are hurting. Nathan Horton (abdominal surgery) is out. Nick Foligno (knee) and R.J. Umberger (upper body) are still mending. Among the three are 1,700 regular-season and 86 playoff games worth of experience. The youngest team in the league is missing its prime veteran forwards as the series gets underway. That is killer.

There is this notion that Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury — a former No. 1 overall draft pick who is in his prime — might somehow falter, and thus give the Jackets a chance. I don’t buy it.

<> Fleury is coming off one of the best regular seasons of his career. What is he going to be thinking about? That he has the worst playoff stats of any goaltender over the past 10 years? That he was so brutal, he lost his job in the middle of the first round last year? That he is somehow inferior to Bobrovsky?

Come on. That would be like saying the Penguins don’t like getting hit.

So, never mind that the Penguins have lost to a lower seed in each of the past four seasons. The Jackets don’t have a chance.

more

from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Your First Round Picks For The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

note- moved to top of page in order for others to see this, original post was 4/15/14 at 1:30pm.

Are you a hockey expert?

Have you played the game?

It doesn't matter, in my mind all hockey fans should have their say when it comes to predictions, so here is your chance to make them.

Just list the winner of each matchup and if you want to go the extra mile, how many game will each series go?

 

 

Bracket via TSN

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

First Round Playoff Predictions

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It is playoff time and time to make first round playoff predictions.  As always, I expect to get some of these predictions wrong.  If hockey was completely predictable, why would we bother to watch?  I do expect that I will get more of these predictions correct than wrong and that it isn't possible to get them all right without an extreme amount of luck on your side.

Anaheim defeats Dallas.  The Ducks probably overachieved to win the West Conference but they have a good team.  Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf may be the best healthy one-two punch in the game (given that Malkin's health in questionable).  Jim Nill has done a lot to right the Dallas franchise and get them back into the playoffs, but that will likely be their high-water mark this season.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

The Florida Panthers Win The Draft Lottery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

The Florida Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday.

As the 29th place team in the final 2013-14 NHL standings, the Panthers entered with an 18.8 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.

The Buffalo Sabres had the best chance to win the lottery (25 percent) based on their 30th-place finish. The Sabres will pick second.

The draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center, with the Philadelphia Flyers as host.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Break out the Van Halen and put the beer on ice, it’s playoff time

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

It's the most wonderful time of the year. The tulips are sprouting, the birds are chirping...and the snow is falling? Regardless, it's playoff time, and the Montreal Canadiens are getting ready to take on Tampa Bay in the first round. Montreal looks to be a more complete team than they have in at least 6 or 7 years, if not a lot longer. Tampa Bay also look solid top to bottom, and this matchup has the makings of a good series. A quick summary as we get set for puck drop, 23 short hours from now.

Up front:

Tampa Bay has Stamkos. Arguably the most naturally gifted goal scorer in the NHL. Is he at full health? Does he have a partner to dish like Martin St. Louis did? Who cares. This guy can change a game on his own. Beyond the captain, you know the supporting cast well. Ryan Callahan. Purcell. Palat. Johnson. Tampa has more depth than you may think, and they play a strong defensive system. 

Montrea counters with what may be the hottest line in hockey over the past month, as Pacioretty-Desharnais-Vanek lead the way. Their depth is also impresive, as players such as Tomas Plekanec, Brandon Prust, and Travis Moen will be counted on to check the ever-threatening Stamkos. Scorers such as Brendan Gallagher, Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere and Lars Eller litter the second through fourth line. Montreal has the supporting cast necessary to get the job done. But they don't have Stamkos.

Edge: Tampa Bay

On the back end:

Tampa Bay has a strong defensive core, led by Victor Hedman, Matthew Carle and Eric Brewer. However, it gets thin after that, as players such as Keith Aulie, Mike Kostka, and veteran Sami Salo hold down the fort. Tampa's defence isn't exceptionally fast, but they can control the play in their own end, and make a good first pass. Without question though, this is the Hedman show.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink
 

Bryan Murray On The Senators Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,

In Tuesday’s post-mortem on what went so wrong with his team this season, he was an open book about a club that started slowly and only found a degree of consistency when the season was already lost.

He had some harsh words for the work of coach Paul MacLean, saying his approach to players must change. He said captain Jason Spezza’s future with the team is undecided. He acknowledged the loss of former captain Daniel Alfredsson last summer was pivotal.

He recognized that young defencemen Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba didn’t meet expectations, and he was disturbed by the “careless” and “confused” moments inside the Senators’ blueline.

He steadfastly defended some of his own controversial trades. He also said it’s paramount for the organization to find a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for teammates if necessary,” and says there will be other changes.

read on

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

Watching The NBC Sports Group

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 15, 2014 – On the strength of the inaugural NHL Stadium Series, the return of the NHL Winter Classic, and the second season of Wednesday Night Rivalry, the 2013-14 NHL regular season set a full-season viewership record for NBCSN, and is expected to do the same for NBC when final figures become available later this week, according to The Nielsen Company.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc, nbcsn

The Model Franchise

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Chad Finn of Boston.com,

Maybe the rules of superstition suggest we should wait for the Bruins' first-round playoff series with the long-admired Detroit Red Wings to be complete before making such a declaration.. But it's the truth now, and it should be acknowledged now.

The Bruins, not the Red Wings, have become the model franchise in the NHL. And the exclamation point on that sentence will be provided by this series, which starts Friday night at TD Garden.

Make no mistake, the Wings are worthy of the respect Bruins fans are affording them. Much of that is due to their remarkable success over the last quarter-century, give or take a season or two....

No, it won't be easy. The Wings did win three of four matchups this year, including one of Boston's rare clunkers, a 6-1 Detroit win on November 27 in which Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi didn't even play.

The Bruins' lone win was by a 4-1 score in the second game of the season; it was so long ago that Jordan Caron was one of the three stars.

And it won't be easy because they are the Wings. Accomplished, respected, skilled and decorated. They wear that sweater with pride. They have a lot going for them. still.

Just not as much as the Bruins, their successor as hockey's model franchise.
 

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Video- On The Eve Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gary Bettman Talks Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Gary Bettman appeared on the Squawk Box on CNBC today to talk hockey...

 

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

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