Kukla's Korner

Prospect playoff news: Walleye force Game 7 against South Carolina via OT win; Kelowna eliminated

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings fans might not know too much about the Toledo Walleye or the Wings now-singularly-affiliated NHL team, but coach Derek Lalonde and his charges are pulling off quite the playoff feat.

The Walleye fell into a 3-game deficit against the South Carolina Stingrays in their Eastern Conference Final, but they've rattled off 3 straight wins since going down 0-and-3; on Tuesday, the Walleye rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat South Carolina 5-4 in overtime, and as such, the teams will play a 7th and deciding game in Toledo on Wednesday.

Going from the ECHL's worst team a year ago to a team that's a win away from advancing to the Kelly Cup Final is a story in itself; rallying as they have against South Carolina is another damn good one.

Martin Frk didn't register a point and Richard Nedomlel finished at -2, but the Walleye prevailed, as their website's recap notes:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Brassard notches hat trick in wild Rangers win over Tampa Bay, forcing 7th game on Friday

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Rangers forced a 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night, and the Rangers' wild and wacky win included a hat trick from Derick Brassard:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derick+brassard, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Open Post- Game 6 ECF Between The Tampa Bay Lightning And New York Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A game the Tampa Bay Lightning want to win.  At home and a win puts them in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers want to force game 7 and I expect a low-scoring game, decided late in the game.

Watch on NBCSN, CBC or TVA with the puck dropping just after 8:00pm ET.

Comment below if you wish.

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

St. James: Holland still to speak with Blashill this week, may be Wings’ only coaching candidate

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

According to the Free Press's Helene St. James, Ken Holland will indeed speak with Jeff Blashill this week regarding the open coaching job behind the Red Wings' bench, and Holland isn't sure whether he needs to interview anyone else:

Blashill is the leading - and, at the moment, only - candidate to replace Mike Babcock, who left last week to become head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I've had some people reach out to me," Holland told the Free Press today, "but as of right now, I haven't expanded the list."

Other names on the market include Dan Bylsma (who is from Grand Haven) and Peter DeBoer (who used to coach the Plymouth Whalers), but Blashill was given a hefty raise last year with the implicit understanding that he would be next in line if Babcock, as he did, opted to leave this summer.

Holland said he wants to talk to Blashill about the Detroit job, but no formal hiring announcement will be made while the Griffins remain in the playoffs. The Griffins play three straight home games before the series would head back to Utica if needed.

Continued, and I can't think of a better-qualified candidate to coach the Wings' kids and veterans alike than the guy Holland will speak with.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Mike Babcock Is Gone But Ken Holland Is Still Here

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Keith Gave of FoxSports Detroit,

Now imagine if General Manager Ken Holland were a free agent this offseason. It could have happened.

"And it might have been even bigger than what we saw this last week," said Senior Vice President Jim Devellano. "I think it would have been if Ken Holland had refused to sign (an extension) last summer."

Babcock hit the jackpot when several teams had coaching vacancies, including the richest of them all, Toronto. He eventually parlayed a magnificent offer from the Buffalo Sabres into an eight-year, $50 million deal with the Maple Leafs. Those same Leafs, by the way, are still shopping for a general manager. Boston, New Jersey, Edmonton also named new managers, while others offered the ever-worrisome vote of confidence to their GMs.

But it never came to that because Holland, who had one year left on his deal with Detroit, signed a new four-year deal last summer. Negotiations with a man universally acknowledged as the best general manager in the NHL lasted 10 minutes, Devellano said.

Holland wasn't even tempted to test the free-agent market after more than three decades with the Wings. Ask him why and he pauses, not wanting to offend his interrogator for asking such a stupid question.

read on

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Doug Armstrong

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Army on whether Babcock reports impact Hitchcock's ability to lead the Blues: "Not really. I think the players live in the modern ... 

world of social media. When you look over the season, the number of things you read, if 1/10th of that ever came true, I'd be shocked.

I think it's the media's job responsibility to sometimes report the facts and sometimes make stuff up because it's good story."

-via Jeremy Ruthorford tweets.

added 4:36pm

More from Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the press conference with Armstong and Hitchcock today.

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+armstrong

Overtime Is The Norm In The Western Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,

The meager hours between NHL playoff games were not always spent in the most ascetic fashion.

Which is another way of saying that yesterday’s athletes had a different concept of sleep than today’s do.

The old guys thought it could be postponed. Until death.

“After the game, these guys are not going out,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.. “They’re having a good meal and they’re going to bed. I don’t think you could say the same for the 70s and 80s.”

Oh. So what did they do in the 70s and 80s?

“Next question,” Boudreau said.

This comes up because the Ducks and Blackhawks have burned more calories in five games than a bowling team would in five years.

The overtimes define it, of course, They played 116 minutes and 12 seconds in Game 2, and tacked on 85:37 more in Game 4.

On Tuesday, the Ducks were ready to go home after the standard 60 minutes. But Jonathan Toews wanted to keep playing.

His two goals in the final two minutes forced another OT, which Matt Beleskey ended in 45 seconds. The Ducks now lead the Hawks, 3-2.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What To Pay Devan Dubnyk?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

I got some Twitter questions asking if Andrew Hammond’s three-year, $4 million contract with Ottawa establishes the market. Simple answer: Not at all. Hammond has played 24 NHL games. Dubnyk has played 231 and has been a No. 1 in Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Wild will not be offering Dubnyk $1.3 million per year. The market for Dubnyk is basically whatever another team will pay him as a free agent (couple that with the fact there’s no obvious answer for the Wild if Dubnyk leaves).

Now, maybe Dubnyk takes less to stay in a place where he was a solid fit, but this was a $3.75 million goalie in Edmonton. For the Wild to sign him, the deal will obviously average well north of $3 million per.

The final figure will depend on term. Give him three years, the average salary/cap hit is probably more. Give him four or five years, and the Wild can probably get the average salary/cap hit to a more comfortable number. Two years makes little sense to me. 1) Why would he take two years? 2) Two years basically means you have to talk to him about an extension next summer if he has a big year.

As I mentioned recently, the biggest concern is that free-agent interview period in late June. I’d think the Wild would want to avoid it getting to the point where Dubnyk says, “Let me see what else is out there, and I’ll circle back to ya.”

more on Dubnyk and the Wild...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: devan+dubnyk

On Re-signing Joel Ward In Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,

If the Capitals decide to spend some of their remaining cash to re-sign Joel Ward, who will otherwise enter unrestricted free agency for the third time in his career, the versatile forward would welcome returning with open arms. According to his agent, speaking via telephone Tuesday, the proverbial puck sits in Washington’s end.

“Washington is his first choice over going to unrestricted free agency,” Peter Cooney said. “We would like to re-sign with Washington and come back. Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”

Coming off a starring postseason role in which he tied for the team lead with nine points, facing the end of a four-year deal annually worth $3 million, Ward figures to receive a raise, regardless of his destination. At 34 years old, this could be Ward’s last deal structured longer than two years, and MacLellan already predicted that term length would “be an issue,” provided Ward for asks for a three- or four-year contract, which seems all but certain.

With forwards Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr also entering unrestricted free agency, the Capitals likely won’t bring back both of them and Ward, while still satisfying MacLellan’s stated offseason desire to acquire a top-six winger.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+ward

The Tampa Bay Lightning Know What They Have To Do

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Cooper was adamant about ensuring no feeling of complacency had settled in around his group.

"We can't just sit here and say we played a pretty good game in Game 5, that'll just carry us into a win tonight," he said. "If we don't play better than we did in Game 5, we won't win tonight. That's kind of my message."

The affable coach has won five championships during his career, but has never experienced a game as big as this one.

"For me it's excitement, nervousness, fear, anticipation," said Cooper. "I can whip through a bunch of things. It's really an exciting time."

more on both teams...

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

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