Kukla's Korner

More Goals Needed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

So, how to bring back the scoring? Cutting down the size of goalie equipment would be the place to start, but that has become a fool’s discussion. The league has talked about it for nearly 20 years, the goalies have pushed back, and tiny nips and tucks have led to status quo offensive stifling. The goalies won’t give up their pads and the Lords of the Boards don’t have the temerity or common sense to stand up to the puck-stopping brotherhood who have taken the game’s offense hostage. Sad, really.

I see two ways out of this:

1. Maintain the icing standard throughout the game. If a team must kill a penalty, it gets no relief — it must play the puck just as if the sides had equal manpower. No question it will result in more power-play goals. The team that committed the penalty will suffer the consequences. How novel. As of late last week, 22 of the league’s 30 teams failed to score on more than 80 percent of their power plays.

2. Borrow from lacrosse’s rulebook a bit and prohibit clubs from skating five players in their defensive end during five-on-five play. In this scenario, the team that advances the puck into the attacking zone will have five skaters battling against four skaters and one goalie. That sounds like even strength to me. Truth is, under current rules, all clubs are really shorthanded in the attack zone during five-on-five, with five skaters opposed by five skaters and one goalie (who wears the pads of nearly two skaters). We call that an even deal?

For a game that often appears to be in a state of mayhem, with players darting around faster than ever before, there rarely is much mayhem around the net. Passing and shooting lanes are typically sealed up, and goalies, overpadded and too influential in the game’s outcome, too easily prevent fat rebounds. The two changes suggested here would bring on the mayhem.

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Sunday Hockey Topics And Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- There is one way to avoid the sad spectacle of dumping teams playing dump games at this time of the year, and that is to freeze the standings relating to lottery seeding at the trade deadline.

- The more numbers and the more information the better, but I will allot more value to the points-per-60-minutes stat when players begin to play 60 minutes a game.

- Sidney Crosby is an outstanding player, but is anyone honestly trying to suggest he is having a better season than Ryan Getzlaf? Stop. Just stop.

- Boy, that Tom Wilson of the Caps has sure made a splash in the NHL, hasn’t he?

more topics....

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

Video- Recap Of The 13 NHL Games Played On Saturday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It will take you 5 1/2 minutes to watch the highlights....

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up; on Babblespeak, Mrazek and Abdelkader’s hit(s)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings faced a pissed off Tampa Bay Lightning team on Saturday, and they're going to be dealing with another angry team on Sunday in the New York Islanders (5 PM EDT on FSD Plus/MSG Plus/97.1 FM).

The Islanders dropped from second to third in the Metropolitan Division via their 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, and with the Wild Card-battling Washington Capitals only 3 points behind the Isles' 93, with a game in hand on the Isles' 76 games played, New York's going to have all sorts of urgency to take the final of 3 meetings from Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

The Isles are also "due": they've lost 3 of their past 4 games, and their 3-6-and-3 March record looks a whole helluva like Detroit's 4-7-and-1 record, so it's not surprising that Islanders coach Jack Capuano painted an, "Us against the world" mentality after Saturday's defeat, as the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis noted:

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On Al Arbour and his St. Louis legacy

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

These kinds of articles are so superb that you can only begin at the beginning, and this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill is a helluva read:

The way Scotty Bowman sees it, three components turned the St. Louis Blues into Stanley Cup finalists during their first three seasons. One was goaltender Glenn Hall. One was a trade to acquire Red Berenson and Barclay Plager.

And one was Al Arbour.

“He was the toughest competitor, most courageous player I ever coached,” Bowman said. “He was the guy all the young players looked up to.”

Alger Arbour now leans on every bit of that resilience and fortitude. He is being treated for Parkinson’s disease and dementia near his home in Sarasota, Fla. He has difficulty with balance, with recollection and with words. He is in hospice care. The prognosis is dire.

But you can count on one thing. Arbour will battle, as he did as a defenseman for the Blues, as he did throughout a career in which he has been with teams that won the Stanley Cup eight times, representing four cities. The fact one of those locations isn’t St. Louis is a pockmark on a franchise that is without a championship 48 seasons into its existence.

Continued...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: al+arbour, scotty+bowman, st.+louis+blues

Prospect news: Holmstrom stars in Skelleftea win; Pope, UNO advance at NCAA regionals; Griffins win

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' prospects are mostly engaged in playoff hockey at present, and one player stole the show on Saturday--early:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored two goals (click the link for the highlights) in Skelleftea AIK's 5-2, second-round-opening win over Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC. Holmstrom scored the 3-1 and 4-1 goals in only 13:01 in ice time, while the former Wings prospect Backman finished at -2 in 16:47.

As DRW Prospects on Twitter noted, Holmstrom's having a fantastic playoff run, especially given that he plays as Skelleftea's 3rd or 4th line center:

In the KHL, I get to be honest: because Alexander Kadeikin isn't playing, I'm rooting for Sergei Fedorov's team, CSKA Moscow, in the "Army Derby," and CSKA took a 2-0 series lead in via a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.

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Sabres, Coyotes’ tanking could yield change in draft lottery

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch offers his usual amount of rumors in a Sunday column discussing scoops from around the league, but on an evening that even the New York Times profiled Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, Garrioch's most interesting tidbit involves the "TankGate" situation. According to Garrioch, the league is pretty peeved by the Sabres and Coyotes' rather blatant attempts to finish lowest in the league:

“It’s embarrassing,” a league executive said.

The battle for No. 1 pick Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters has been one that teams have been watching all season. For the most part, the Sabres have been sitting in last place, but once the Coyotes cleared the deck at the trade deadline they’ve really gone downhill.

“You can’t blame the teams involved because there is a reward for failure and that’s the highest odds in the lottery,” said the executive. “Maybe you need to change the lottery to give all the teams that miss the playoffs an even chance at the No. 1 pick, or not weight it so much. Who knows?”

The league did change the lottery that gives the team that finishes last only a 20% chance at the No. 1 pick so there has been a major move. Now, they can’t fall below No. 2 so if they don’t win it’s not that big a loss. Perhaps, the league needs to take a second look.

Garrioch continues with a cornucopia of rumors...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, connor+mcdavid, jack+eichel, phoenix+coyotes

Saturday Headlines include a note about the Red Wings’ ‘goaltender controversy’; Zach Hyman, UFA?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Sportsnet's Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman spoke about Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel, the World Championships and other topics such as NCAA free agents during their "Headlines" segment, but Damien Cox spent a decent chunk of time suggesting that the Red Wings have a bona-fide goaltending controversy and a goalie with a very large contract (4 more years at a $5.3229 million cap hit) in Jimmy Howard, and it was strange to hear that out loud...

And for what it's worth, it was also intriguing to hear that a) the Panthers may not be able to sign free agent Zach Hyman and b) that Mike Green won't return to the Capitals.

Cough.

Update: Here's Sportsnet's annotation of Cox's remarks:

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Red Wings-Lightning wrap-up: When a statement is not a statement

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings boarded an early-evening flight to Long Island feeling a lot better about themselves thanks to Saturday's 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Islanders will be coming off a 3-2 loss to Anaheim when the teams tangle tomorrow afternoon (5 PM EDT on FSD Plus), so things aren't going to get any easier for Detroit when Petr Mrazek taps the goalposts and prepares for the opening faceoff.

Regarding Saturday's game, the Lightning were incredibly upset at the Red Wings. They felt that Justin Abdelkader, who was involved in plays in which Jason Garrison and Cedric Paquette were injured, should have been penalized for his efforts, though the NHL referred everyone to this...

Regarding Garrison:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Saturday Night Hockey Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- The Leafs don’t care to share their wish list for a future head coach but here’s a decent guess of where they’re heading: 1. Mike Babcock; 2. Todd McLellan; 3. Bruce Boudreau; 4. Dave Tippett; 5. Ken Hitchcock; 6. Peter DeBoer; 7. Paul MacLean. Not necessarily on the list, for some reason: Dan Bylsma.

- Amazing how stuff turns out: Dallas GM Jim Nill wanted to sign Vinny Lecavalier before he ended up signing in Philadelphia. Now the Flyers want Vinny out, badly. Had Nill signed him, he never would have traded for Tyler Seguin.

- This is easy: Now that Chris Pronger is eligible for Hall of Fame voting, he’s a sure-thing for first-ballot induction this year. The Class of 2015 will include Pronger, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov and if the Hall finally gets it right it will add the surprisingly forgotten Sergei Makarov.

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