Kukla's Korner

TMR Evening Line: ‘I never thought skill would be a part of my game’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings didn't draft Tyler Bertuzzi to become a second-line goal-scoring, playmaking forward, but a series of concussion and neck injuries--and a whole lot of maturation on Bertuzzi's part as a player and young man--have yielded an intriguing prospect turning pro full-time with Grand Rapids this upcoming season, as the Free Press's George Sipple notes:

Bertuzzi said his game began to evolve after his season in the Ontario Hockey League. He said he had spent his time "hitting, fighting, doing the little things like that. I never thought skill would be part of my game."

Bertuzzi, 20, said the development camp has helped him a lot and he has worked hard to improve his offensive skills. He said the grinder is still there, though.

"I can score goals now, I can get points and help contribute offensively, too," Bertuzzi said. "Growing up I was always a playmaker. I could make my passes. I got a lot of assists here and there. Goal scoring — I wasn't that much of a goal scorer when I was younger. Now I know I can put the puck in the net and now have a good shot. Just working on it more and more."

Bertuzzi (6-feet-1, 190 pounds) is preparing for his first full season in Grand Rapids (American Hockey League). He said he wants to be an "offensive force" and "a guy that's hard to play against."

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

What to expect when you’re Dylan Larkin

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples penned an article in which he spoke with Dylan Larkin about "managing expectations"...

Fans would rather he start the season in Detroit instead of Grand Rapids. But the only one who sets the expectations for Larkin is Larkin himself.

“He is the one that’s managing the expectations, and that’s through his performance,” Red Wings Director of Player Development Jiri Fischer said. “When he got drafted last year, since then, he has evolved in a way that impressed a lot of people, including us.”

Larkin has guided himself through the frenzy. He’s his own biggest critic, and uses it as motivation. His work ethic, which Fischer raved about, comes from within. It helps manage the sky-high expectations he has for his future.

“I probably criticize myself the most, and I think that is what drives me to be the player I want to be,” Larkin said. “I try to focus on what’s next in my training right now. (Red Wings coaches) have told me to stay on track and work as hard as possible.”

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness penned an article regarding the Red Wings' expecttions for Larkin...

“My take on Larkin would be he’s got to be in our top 12,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Coach Blashill’s got to say to me, ‘I want him in the lineup.’ He’s not going to be our 13th, 14th forward. Realistically, just to put him on the fourth line and play eight minutes, I think he’s a real good young player with a lot of potential.

“He’s going to be real important to our franchise as we go forward,” Holland continued. “We want to make sure we do what’s right for him and us. If he comes and is a legitimate top-nine forward we’re going to find a way to get him in the lineup. If he’s less than that then we’ll sit down as an organization and decide.”

Update: The Traverse City Record-Eagle's' Brett A. Sommers penned an article about Larkin as well:

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To trade, to trade?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I don't believe that he Red Wings are going to trade Jimmy Howard, as Ken Holland has told us all as much, and I don't believe that the Red Wings should simply trade their prospects because they have "too many," because--and get this, I'm saying this from a development camp--not everyone develops into a superstar, but the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen believes that Ken Holland's summer is not over until Jimmy Howard is not on the roster and one of the Wings' forward prospects is no longer a Wing:

Here are two modest proposals about moves he should or could consider between now and September when the team heads north to Traverse City.

First, find a taker, any taker for Jimmy Howard. That's easier said than done and the Red Wings would have to take on a chunk of Howard's salary if he played elsewhere next season. But Petr Mrazek established himself as the Wings best option in goal in the playoffs. He was the biggest reason that the series even went seven games and the biggest reason that the Wings had a chance to win Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Mrazek will make $738,000 next season. Howard will make 5.5 million. You know this. I know this. Holland knows this. Every team in the NHL knows this.

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A Two-Year Contract For Evgeny Kuznetsov In Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Kuznetsov, 23, earned 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games with Washington last season, marking the most points a Capitals rookie has registered in a season since John Carlson (37) in 2010-11. The 6’2”, 204-pound center also became the 13th rookie in franchise history to earn 25 assists in a season. Kuznetsov registered five multi-point games last season and scored on four consecutive shootout attempts in 2014-15, matching the longest streak in the NHL. He led all Capitals rookies in goals (11), assists (26), points (37) and games played (80) and ranked eighth among NHL rookies in assists (26) and ninth in points (37). Kuznetsov was selected by Washington in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeny+kuznetsov

Impressions from the fourth day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘15

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I had a conversation with Grand Rapids Griffins equipment manager Brad "Dogg" Thompson that was really enlightening today: Brad and I talked about the players that have impressed us both at the camp and the level of the try-outs' play, and we both agreed that the truth of the matter regarding those who've received short shrift in this blog is simple:

There simply is no vast gulf between the try-outs and the pro prospects any more. Everybody attending the Wings' summer development camp, which wraps up tomorrow with an 11 AM scrimmage, is really good. Everybody can keep up with both the team systems drills and Jiri FIscher's skating drills, no matter how difficult they might be.

Nobody taking part in this camp has stood out in a negative manner, and whether you're talking about 6'9" Jarret Meyer or Korean "exchange prospects" Won-Jun Kim or Jin Hui Ahn, each and every participant has acquitted himself very, very well.

The difference between the tryouts and the pro prospects is simple: they have at least some aspects of their game that are elite, not just professional, but elite, and through a combination of natural gifts and hard work, they can bring their skill levels to heights that are truly at or near AHL or NHL levels.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Open To Expansion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

Do you want to be the owner of an NHL expansion franchise?

If you and your buddies cobble together enough cash, you, too, could put in an application to own the league’s 31st or 32nd club.

You should probably have a sound financial plan in order, though. We’re not talking about beer money here.

The NHL began distribution of application materials for parties interested in expansion on Monday. They are due back to the league by August 10. The fee to apply for an expansion franchise is seven figures - north of $1 million U.S. - and only a portion is refundable.

On top of that, interested parties must demonstrate the ability to pay an expansion fee north of $500 million, prove the viability of their proposed market and evidence the availability of an arena for the team to call home.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Mike Heika

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Heika, Dallas Stars beat writer when asked this question in an online chat today...

Which team in the West improved the most in the first 5 days of FA, and who took steps back? (cough STL)

Calgary is a team to be feared right now. Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik are big adds, and the team has plenty of young players getting better. The Blues are in a strange place, where the pressure will make them better or make them crack. But I think Vancouver is the team that could really slide this season.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Grand Rapids Griffins re-sign Hoggan and Paetsch, re-sign Grant

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday announced that they have re-signed left wing Jeff Hoggan and defenseman Nathan Paetsch and have signed left wing Triston Grant, who returns to the team following a one-year absence. Paetsch inked a two-year deal while Hoggan and Grant each signed one-year contracts.

The trio led the Griffins to their first Calder Cup championship in 2012-13 and will again provide the team’s veteran foundation in 2015-16 under new head coach Todd Nelson.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Nicklas Lidstrom’s Hall Of Fame Case

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It was about a week ago when we learned who will be inducted in the 2015 Hall of Fame class.  It includes four male players in Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley.  Now that the craziest days of the free agent frenzy are over, I will begin to give the Hall of Fame cases for these players.  I use the Keltner List which is borrowed from baseball but does a very good job of characterizing what it should take to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Although Lidstrom never was a serious Hart Trophy finisher, it can be argued that he should have been.  I would have argued that he should have won the 2008 Hart Trophy.  I would argue that he was the best player in hockey around that time and some considered him as such.  Defencemen have often been overlooked for the Hart Trophy (as only 3 have ever won it).  He won the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy which is a lesser claim to being the best player in hockey (did anyone really believe Justin Williams was close to the best player in the NHL?).  I would argue this is a yes, but it isn't the strongest yes that might be offered for a few generational players.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Afternoon news: An unusual UFA rumor, ‘fantasy Green,’ an ECHL award for Toledo & prospect profiles

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:

You'll have to pardon me for raising an eyebrow at this note from the Fourth Period:

Unrestricted free agent forward Alexander Semin would like to find a long-term home in the NHL, but as his agent explains, he's open to a one-year contract.

Mark Gandler, Semin's agent, told Russian media outlet Sport Express that "we have no problems signing up for one year."
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings have reportedly expressed some interest in Semin, who was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes last week.

In fantasy hockey news, NHL.com's Eric Goodman suggests that poolies pick up a certain new Red Wings defenseman:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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