Kukla's Korner

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talked game 7's.

 

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry, ron+maclean

Open Post- Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Winner moves on to the Stanley Cup Final which will start on Wednesday.

Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.

Should be a close game and probably a low-scoring one.

Feel free to discuss as the game plays out.

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

St. James discusses Anthony Mantha’s learning curve

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James asked Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill and Red Wings GM Ken Holland to address Anthony Mantha's difficult rookie season, and both gentlemen spoke positively regarding the long-term potential Mantha's reality-check of a 2014-15 season has sent:

"I think Anthony has a skill set to be really good at the NHL level," Jeff Blashill told the Free Press. "He needs to change his habit of how he skates every day in games. Because of his elite ability, he could play without moving his feet in juniors. He needs to learn to skate at a more consistent basis, get into puck battles, and when he has puck, skate to attack. If he gets that habit, he will be an elite player."

I've been saying that for a while--Mantha glides when he needs to be churning his legs and charging forward. He's got an amazing wingspan at 6'4" and 210 pounds of mostly arms and legs, and if he can utilize them more effectively and efficiently and get away from that two-minute-shift mentality he learned in the Quebec League, he can be explosive at times.

General manager Ken Holland said, "When it comes to player development, my philosophy is I'm always nervous. If a player has too much success early, you worry they don't understand how hard it is and that they have to put in time at the gym. When they don't perform to the level expected, then adversity is a great motivator. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. In Anthony Mantha's case, what he did in juniors is hard to do. We're going to support him and push him and educate him and tell him what's expected, and then it's up to the player to decide that he wants to do the things that need to be done."

That's the rub regarding player development. Anthony Mantha has all the talent to regain his title as the Wings' top prospect, if not one of the team's top prospects, but it's up to him to "live in the gym" this summer and work on both his physical and mental gifts to fulfill his potential.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Grand Rapids Griffins-Utica Comets Game 4 open post

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins hope to rebound from Thursday's disappointing 4-1 loss to the Utica Comets when the teams battle again this evening (7 PM EDT on the AHL Live/WOOD Radio), and down 2-1 in the series, it is absolutely essential that the Griffins win tonight to ensure that they're not facing possibile elimination on Sunday.

If the Griffins do win, they'll be able to once again take back home-ice advantage, but Grand Rapids has to get much, much more traffic in front of Jacob Markstrom to solve the Comets' goalie, and they've got to do a better job defensively to stem Utica's ssuperb counterattack.

I'm hoping to contribute to some sort of live blog, but the wireless service at Van Andel Arena is shaky, so contributions will be on a touch-and-go basis; thus far I've had good luck finding, ahem, creative ways to watch the game on OnHockey.tv and stream2watch dot com. The fact that tonight's game isn't facing NHL competition might make it easier to find online.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

The NHL Pre-Draft Scouting Combine Heads To Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel's presence alone at the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine next week is enough to spur league-wide buzz.

There's more. Aside from having two highly touted players included among the 120 prospects scheduled to attend, the combine is finally entering the 21st century.

After spending the past 25 years in stuffy and carpeted hotel and convention centre ballrooms in suburban Toronto, the weeklong event is moving for the first time into an actual hockey facility in downtown Buffalo. Starting Monday and running through June 6, the combine will be held at the newly built hockey/entertainment HarborCenter complex connected to the Sabres home arena.

"This is taking the combine to a whole other level," Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "I'm looking forward to getting in there and seeing how it's run this year and, maybe going forward, that's the way it's going to continue to be run."

Anything would be an upgrade after last year, when the hotel air conditioning didn't work during the team-player interview portion of the combine.

"I felt bad for the kids, because it was like we were sweating them out," Benning said, laughing.

The $200-million facility, funded by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, opened in November. It features two NHL-sized rinks, a training centre, meeting rooms, a bar and restaurant, and will eventually include a 200-plus-room hotel.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Griffins receive reinforcements from Toledo

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Via RedWingsFeed, the Grand Rapids Griffins recalled three players from the recently-eliminated Toledo Walleye:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Friday reassigned right wing Martin Frk from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins recalled forward Alden Hirschfeld and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan from their ECHL affiliate.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

NBA Or NHL Playoffs?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McManaman of azcentral,

Unlikely heroes

If LeBron or Steph Curry have a bad game, there's a pretty good chance their teams are going to lose because of it. Let's face it, NBA teams rely on two or three players to get the job done. But in hockey, it's never just the marquee players that save the day with a big play or a game-winning goal. It could be, and usually is, just about anyone that happens to be on the ice at any given time. It was a third-line center, Markus Kruger, who scored the game-winner for the Blackhawks in their triple-overtime victory against the Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. That series wraps up Saturday night in Anaheim and don't be surprised if a role player emerges as the star.

Overtime

This one isn't even fair. In the NBA, you'll get the occasional thriller. But in the NHL, they happen with far more frequency and the intensity level is ratcheted up a hundred times over. One mistake can kill you. It's sudden-death overtime. In basketball, you can miss a free throw or a three-point shot early in OT and still survive. There has been a combined seven periods of overtime so far in the Stanley Cup Conference Finals – with two games to go. Only one game went into overtime during the NBA's Conference Finals. Playoff games can go on for so long in hockey, you can actually have a pizza delivered to the locker room between periods like Rick Tocchet once did when he was playing for the Penguins. Now that's cool.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nba

Claude Julien Deserves Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

... the fact that the GM was an in-house promotion -- and I think Don Sweeney is going to be a very good GM -- what's the wait now? What does Sweeney not know about Julien now that he didn’t know for the past eight years Julien has been behind the Bruins bench?

I mean, it’s getting to the point where it’s almost unfair. Make a decision, fire him or keep him, but decide already. It’s not just Julien, he’s got two assistant coaches’ whose fates also hang in the balance.

Let’s go Boston, get on with it.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: claude+julien

‘Leftover Sharp’ takes a right turn at Teemu Pulkkinen’s potential

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I haven't seen somebody completely change the focus of an article and produce a new product, but the Free Press's Drew Sharp did just that. Sharp drastically revised the article he posted yesterday regarding the much-watched Grand Rapids Griffins (as noted in the overnight report), producing an almost-new product that discusses the particulars who took in yesterday night's loss to Utica...

There were at least a half-dozen executives and scouts in Blashill's office. Even Johan Franzen, sidelined with concussionlike symptoms much of the season, hung around outside, chatting with Mark Howe and Chris Chelios.

"Yeah, it is a little crowded around here," [Griffins captain Jeff] Hoggan said with a laugh. "But instead of being a distraction, you have to look at it as the organization having a lot of confidence in what we're doing here."

Suggesting that Ken Holland's not long for the general manager's seat, at least assuming that he can pull off another championship via his "rebuild" of the roster minus one Mike Babcock...

He deftly hides his emotions, but privately, Holland must feel the same level of excitement and energy that Babcock acknowledged last week, after taking the Toronto Maple Leafs' head coaching job. If they climb back to playoff elitism in the next couple years -- with zero top-10 draft picks in a salary cap-driven league -- Holland adds one last glorious chapter to an already-illustrious career.

And Sharp's final focus involves Teemu Pulkkinen, who's most likely poised to blossom under an AHL-graduating coach who knows how to get the most out of the Finnish sniper:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Fighting For Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brett Popplewell of Sportsnet,

Used to be the warrior was the noble, set apart from those he swore to protect by his acceptance of violence and by a code of conduct that kept him honourable. Medieval knights called this chivalry; to the samurai it was the way of the warrior. It didn’t matter what he accomplished day to day, all that mattered was that when the time came, he entered the battle and fought like he was already dead. That’s what made him noble. That’s what made him selfless.

Kevin Westgarth knows this. Not because he is a student of history and war but because he is one of hockey’s discarded enforcers. A wandering samurai who now finds himself alone and bleeding in a Belfast arena.

Barely a minute has passed since he threw his last punch, cracked a man’s helmet and ripped the skin from the mangled remnants of his reconstructed knuckle. The residual sounds of the brawl—bloodthirsty shouts and chants—echo through the stands, bouncing off the boards and rafters and finding their way into the corner of the dressing room where Westgarth sits, chest heaving, blood pumping out of that knuckle.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+westgarth

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