Kukla's Korner

Saturday Night Hockey Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- There are times when Maple Leafs players must appreciate the faith Mike Babcock has in them.

Because a whole lot of NHL coaches — past and present — would not have been so steadfast in keeping lines together through this latest Leaf malaise....

You can congratulate Babcock for his consistency or criticize him for his unwillingness to change. Either way, something has to give with the Leafs.

- Quick advice for John Tavares, the pending free agent: Talk to Marcel Dionne. Ask him how he felt about never playing for a Stanley Cup contender or never getting close to a ring. And if after that, he wants to remain with the wonky Islanders, shake his hand and wish him well.

- Add Doug Armstrong’s name to the list of those having trouble getting over the fact that the NHL is not participating in the Winter Olympics next month. Armstrong is a longtime Team Canada executive. He knows why the NHL isn’t going: Still, he hates the fact they are not.

more on the Leafs and Babcock plus additional hockey topics

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Colorado Avalanche Continue To Roll

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

Suddenly, the NHL’s worst team last season has put together the league’s longest winning streak this season; center Nathan MacKinnon has become a Hart Trophy candidate, and coach Jared Bednar is being mentioned as a Jack Adams Award nominee.

A year ago at this time, MacKinnon was having the worst season of his career and somewhat embarrassed to represent the Avalanche at the All-Star Game. And fans were calling for Bednar’s firing just five months after he was hired. Colorado was 13-30-2 at the time.

The league’s Hart (MVP) and Jack Adams (coach of the year) awards are side stories to what has become one of the NHL’s biggest stories — the Avalanche and its winning ways. Next to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights being in President’s Trophy contention as the regular-season’s top point producer, Colorado is eyeing the playoffs and grabbing hockey headlines throughout North America.

Behind MacKinnon and goalie Jonathan Bernier — again — on Saturday, the Avs won their ninth consecutive game, defeating the New York Rangers 3-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,056 at the Pepsi Center.


Below are the game highlights...

Continue Reading »

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

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean discussed a few topics tonight including one of the differences between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, Freddy Andersen's comments on the Leafs and Al Secord on Don Cherry.

Plus a few more topics including Hockey Day in Canada.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Chances Are…

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO


Paul likes to mess with me. When he sends me texts gently reminding me that I may want to do a live blog because it's game day, he sometimes taunts me.

"As of today the Red Wings have a 5.2 percent chance to make the playoffs."

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

St. James’ Q and A with Chris Chelios

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James engaged in a Q and A with Red Wings ambassador Chris Chelios:

What are your duties at the Olympics?

CC: “I’m assistant coach on the bench in charge of the penalty killing and defense. I’ve been assistant coach at World Juniors with Ron Wilson and he let me have free reign, and Tony has basically done the same thing. I think I put in enough time with Blash the last two years, whether it’s video or being on the ice during practices, that I am more than capable of handling it.

“The biggest challenge will be the matchups. In the NHL, you use your top four D against the other team’s top two lines. At the Olympics, the problem is not knowing your opponent and that’s something I’m going to have to know quick. We are going to watch video like crazy. But I’m comfortable with the top six guys we have and I think they can play against anybody. So that’s one good thing, as opposed to the NHL where your fifth and sixth D usually can’t match up against the other team’s top two lines.”

St. James continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Doug Weight On Josh Ho-Sang

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Arthur Staple of Newsday,

“[The fans] can be upset he’s not here,” Weight told Newsday on Saturday morning. “They see his skill, they look at analytics. I understand that. But why did Tanner Fritz get an opportunity? Why did Steve Bernier come up right away? That is how you build your whole organization, with accountability. And there has to be accountability. There has to.”

Weight said Josh Bailey’s injury on Jan. 5 should have been the perfect opportunity for Ho-Sang to come back to the Islanders, where he began this season. But the Islanders organization — that’s GM Garth Snow, Weight (who is also an assistant GM), Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson and assistant GM Chris Lamoriello — didn’t see where Ho-Sang would have learned much since he wasn’t, in their view, working hard in the AHL.

“It’s a crying shame he’s not playing with John Tavares when Bails goes down,” Weight said. “We had six guys out. It was a perfect opportunity. And Josh should be upset with himself.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: josh+ho-sang

Notes By Brooks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- ... When the NHL invites the person known as Kid Rock to perform at next Sunday’s All-Star Game in Tampa, it is not about entertainment, it is offensive.

Further, it is mystifying why this league, whose embrace of the You Can Play program and creation of its Hockey Is for Everyone initiative puts it at the professional sports vanguard on gender issues, would damage its reputation by inviting this barely relevant person to share the spotlight with its greatest athletes.

- ... The young swashbucklers took their talents to Game 7 of the first round against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Caps.

You wanted to see the Maple Leafs. More than that, you wanted every team around the league to be the Maple Leafs. Because that was entertainment.

But just as Dean Smith was the only coach who could stop Michael Jordan while together at UNC, Mike Babcock became the coach to put an end to what he obviously perceived as the foolishness in Toronto, making certain to pound his square pegs into the round holes of the homogenous NHL.

- The Wild always seem to be just a little less than expected, aren’t they? It is worth noting Minnesota has only two playoff round victories in the Zach Parise-Ryan Sutter Era that began in 2012-13 and has six more seasons to run on the homeboys’ twin 13-year, $98 million contracts....

more on each of the above plus other hockey topics...

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

Video- Game Day Preview - Detroit Red Wings/Carolina Hurricanes

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

via the Wings' YouTube page,

Featuring Carley Johnston, Ken Kal, Trevor Daley, Martin Frk, Dominic Turgeon, and Jeff Blashill at Little Caesars Arena


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Hockey By Hitchcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

There were stretches in St. Louis where David Backes met with Ken Hitchcock every day. Backes exited some of those meetings with less-than-fuzzy feelings for his boss.

“Sometimes I left the rink cussing him and not very happy with him,” Backes recalled. “You look back on it a couple weeks later and you go, ‘Oh, he was doing that for a reason — to make us better.’ ”...

The Stars no longer play fast and loose. They are applying their legs differently: sprinting to and staying in high-danger areas, reducing space in open ice, and getting in opponents’ faces to limit their touches. It is Hitch Hockey, applied previously with success in St. Louis, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Dallas the first time around. The Stars are within the Western Conference’s top eight, ahead of Minnesota and Chicago in the Central Division.

“He’s got guys with high levels of skill, and he’s got them playing hard in the dirty areas,” Backes said. “They’re winning puck battles along the wall, committed to back pressure and backchecking so they can get turnovers and go back the other way.

more plus other hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Red Wings-Hurricanes game-day updates: Pre-game remarks from Tatar, Green and Canes coach Peters

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 2 at 1:27 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to make up ground against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight (7:00 PM on FSD/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM), with the Wings sitting 5 points in arrears of Carolina in the Wild Card standings.

Neither team's morning skate was particularly eventful: the Red Wings will swap out Nick Jensen for Xavier Ouellet, but that's the Wings' only personnel change going into tonight's game;

The Red Wings have posted Twitter videos of comments made by Tomas Tatar and Mike Green...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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