Kukla's Korner

‘Early overreactions’

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

USA Today's Kevin Allen and Jimmy Hascup issue "early overreactions" to the NHL season thus far:

Nikita Kucherov could be the MVP: True. His seven-game goal scoring streak to start the season reflects a star entering his prime, not a player experiencing a hot streak. He netted 30 goals in 2015-16 and 40 goals last season. His wicked shot, experience and elusiveness give him 50-goal ability. He meshes well with Lightning linemates Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov. He has a career 54.6% Corsi, which is an indication of puck possession. Kucherov could end up with monstrous statistics. If the Lightning continue to be among the NHL’s best teams, Kucherov will be in Hart conversation.

New York Rangers (1-5-1) are done: False. Regardless if the struggles cost coach Alain Vigneault his job, the Rangers still possess enough talent to be a playoff team. With Kevin Shattenkirk, the defense has been molded to transition the puck better, and it doesn’t seem likely the defense will be this bad all year. The forward group — even without a true star — has the pieces to be effective. Even if they don’t match the scoring rate of 9.3% at five-on-five from last season, they won’t shoot 5.2% all year. At 35, Henrik Lundqvist is still very good.

NHL’s increased crackdown on slashing will create a significant scoring increase: False. Teams are averaging 3.10 goals per game. If that would hold for an entire season, it would be the first time in 13 years teams have averaged three goals per game. But we’ve seen this before: The NHL changes how it officiates the game, and goals go up. We know it’s only temporary. Right now, the number of power play opportunities have increased and shots on goal are up by two shots per game (30.1 to 32.1). But history tells us NHL players will adapt quickly. Before long, we will be back below three goals per game.

Continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alain+vigneault, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, nikita+kucherov, tampa+bay+lightning

Kings lose Jeff Carter

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From TSN:

The Los Angeles Kings will be without Jeff Carter for multiple weeks after the two-time All-Star sustained a lower-body injury in his team's 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Carter was injured late in the first period after being hit into the boards by defenceman Jeff Petry. He left the game and did not return.

According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Carter's left leg was cut by Petry's skate blade.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+carter, jeff+petry, los+angeles+kings, montreal+canadiens

Adrian Kempe scores a hat trick

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Los Angeles Kings rookie Adrian Kempe scored a hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens last night:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: los+angeles+kings

Morning news: On Zetterberg, Babcock and Wings-Leafs tailings

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note:

1. Henrik Zetterberg spoke with the Hockey News's Ken Campbell regarding his playing future:

Henrik Zetterberg raised eyebrows when he suggested he might not play all four years left on his contract, but the Red Wings captain is off to a hot start and said he doesn’t plan on calling it a career any time soon.

In what can only be described as enormously good news for the Detroit Red Wings and their fans, captain Henrik Zetterberg has no plans to leave the organization in a terrible situation the way Pavel Datsyuk did. In fact, if Zetterberg is to be taken at his word – and there’s no reason to do anything but that given his character – it will be health and not contract status that will be the determining factor in how long he plays.

“It’s pretty simple,” Zetterberg told THN.com. “When my body says, ‘Stop,' it’s over. I love doing what I’m doing, but I need my body to be able to do that. I will know when it’s over and hopefully there are many years left.” He was then specifically asked if he would retire in two years when his salary goes down to just $1 million, but his cap hit remains at $6.1 million.

“No,” Zetterberg said flatly. “As I said, when my body says stop, I will stop.”

Campbell continues, speaking with Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill about Zetterberg...

2. Holland also praised Leafs coach Mike Babcock in a conversation with the CBC's Tim Wharnsby:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Eddie Olczyk returns to the booth

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk spoke about Olczyk's battle with colon cancer as Olczyk returned to the broadcast booth to cover the Blues-Blackhawks game on Wednesday night:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, eddie+olczyk, pierre+mcguire, st.+louis+blues

The overnight report: Red Wings-Maple Leafs wrap-up

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs was both much closer than it appeared and exactly as close as the final score indicated, and that's particularly frustrating for the 4-and-3 Red Wings and their fans.

The Wings have lost two straight games, and they've lost two straight games because of mistakes characteristic of last year's misery, as well as plain old inattentiveness to detail, and there have just been some weird happenings, from a pair of goals on both Jimmy Howard and then Petr Mrazek's blocker and glove sides (respectively) to that strange goalie interference challenge that coach Blashill made that seemed to at least temporarily sap the wind out of the Wings' sails.

Continue Reading »

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Christopher Ilitch sits down with Sportnset’s Simpson to discuss Little Caesars Arena

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I've had a weird summer and weirder fall, so I got to see the finished Little Caesars Arena and still-in-progress District Detroit for the first time before yesterday night's Queens of the Stone Age concert at the Fox, and it looks beautiful...but unfinished as the Cass Corridor is still very literally under development.

Before tonight's Wings-Leafs game, Sportnset's Christine Simpson spoke with Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch about the beautiful rink, the District in development and his parents' legacy:

Keep it going, Chris. So far, so gorgeous, and as Gary Bettman suggested, once the "full thing" gets finished, it's going to be spectacular.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: not again!

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings hoped to avoid what has seemed like an inevitable result against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Make it 9-2-and-1, and moslty because the Red Wings didn't get any goaltending (or very little) en route to a 6-3 loss to the Leafs. Detroit rallied from a 2-0 and 4-1 deficits to make it 4-3 halfway through the second period, but Morgan Rielly's power play goal--and the bizarrely-timed Blashill challenge that followed--seemed to pop the Wings' balloon and suck the momentum out of them, and from the start of the 3rd period on (despite the Wings' 15-8 shot advantage in the 3rd period, and despite Nick Jensen's 3-assist performance), it looked like the Leafs' game.

Detroit out-shot Toronto 33-26 and out-attempted Toronto a massive 56-38, but Detroit went 24-and-36 in the faceoff circle, their starts, line changes and over-willingness to chase the Leafs around the ice just made the Wings over-reliant on a Jimmy Howard who was horrible and a Petr Mrazek who had some great moments and had some crappy ones.

Now the Wings are 4-and-3, the Wings will battle the Caps on Friday and Canucks on Sunday, and then head on the road for a week, and it'd be really nice to see the Wings string 3 periods together.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Eddie O back in the booth

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From NHL.com's Louie Korac:

Eddie Olczyk was sitting in a room talking with St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo on Wednesday, getting the nuances that normally aren't discussed with the media following a morning skate.

It's what the 51-year-old color analyst has missed most while being gone from the booth working with partner and NBC lead play-by-play voice Mike "Doc" Emrick.

But Olczyk will be part of the broadcast when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Blues at Scottrade Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV). After announcing that he was diagnosed with colon cancer on Aug. 8, he is six weeks into a 24-week chemotherapy regimen, and after recently taking the third of nine treatments, he called NBC to let them know he felt good enough to work.

"I feel it's going to be great for the soul," Olczyk said. "It's going to be probably one of the medicines I'm going to enjoy taking. Over the course of the last several months, I've been taking a lot."

Olczyk will be part of the WGN broadcast with partner Pat Foley for the Blackhawks game against the Edmonton Oilers at United Center on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHL.TV) and will work other games as his health allows.

Continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, eddie+olczyk, mike+yeo, pat+foley, st.+louis+blues

Turning Tides, Shifting Winds, And Our Uncle Mike

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

I have my NFL Sunday Ticket on auto-renew. Every year it magically re-appears and I watch the Lions and whatever other games are on to my heart's content.  I rationalize that through the huge amounts of money I make every Sunday via Draft Kings (not a plug, just a fact) to support my family. Naturally, I can't confirm any profit and my wife would gently quibble with that statement.

Center Ice? Not so much. It's year to year, kinda like the deals our beloved GM plans to offer anyone under the age of 30.

Last year at this time the Wings were 6-2. I was tempted. Sooooo tempted. But I held off on ordering.  Thankfully I was right because the team that Tick Tock built us was not worthy of my money.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

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