Kukla's Korner

Not Optimistic Views

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet,

Time to rain on your parade. Here are reasons to be pessimistic about each of the 30 NHL teams heading into 2016-17....

CHICAGO
Patrick Kane’s ridiculous 106-point MVP season won’t be duplicated (will anyone get to 100 points this tear?). Duncan Keith — now 33 years old — had to pull out of the World Cup because he’s still recovering from a 2015 injury. And last year was the first time since 2007-08 that the Hawks weren’t top-six in corsi for percentage (they finished 15th).

Everyone’s Cup window eventually closes…

COLORADO
Bad-alytics. The Avs had such a poor corsi percentage last year that the difference between their 30th-ranked mark and New Jersey’s 29th was roughly the same as the difference between the Devils’ and 21st-ranked Columbus.

At least they didn’t trade Tyson Barrie, but that defence is pee-yew, and will be crushed by the Central Division.

COLUMBUS
Sergei Bobrovsky’s injury and poor numbers last season were alarming, and backup Joonas Korpisalo won’t keep posting better numbers in the NHL than any other pro league he’s played in. Nick Foligno had an awful first year of a contract paying him $5.5 million against the cap (a.k.a. David Clarkson money).

Scott Hartnell ($4.75 million) waived his no-trade clause, but the Blue Jackets couldn’t find any takers for a player who looks to be in decline. They will continue to struggle with shots against. Seems a lot could go wrong here again.

27 more teams...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Khan on the outlook for Luke Glendening

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

MLive's Ansar Khan offers a 2016-17 season outlook for Luke Glendening:

2016-17 outlook: Glendening has become a fixture as the fourth-line center, a player coaches trust because of his defensive awareness and knack for doing the "little" things.

He can be matched up against top centers. He is a good skater who brings an element of grit by playing physical and agitating opponents. He's one of the team's top penalty killers and shot-blockers. He has made significant improvement in the faceoff circle since breaking into the league midway through the 2013-14 season.

He is respected for his work ethic on and off the ice and has become a mentor for younger players like Dylan Larkin and Riley Sheahan.

He can provide some offense by going to the net and seems to score many of his goals on backhand shots.

Key question: With Henrik Zetterberg likely playing more on the wing, will Glendening and his line be used more often against top centers?

Khan continues, and I'm hoping that Glendening isn't used as a match-up guy. He's at his best when he's a fourth-line grinder:

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Ted Lindsay continues to go above and beyond the call of duty for fans

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From Today's Slapshot's Monica McAlister, regarding a "one-of-a-kind" performance from Ted Lindsay during the rain delay at the Joe Kocur Foundation's charity softball games this past Saturday:

Part of Lindsay’s legacy as a hockey icon is his devotion to going above and beyond for the sport and its fans. He lobbied for the NHLPA to be formed and even lost his spot on the Red Wings roster over it in the 1950’s. He was the first to take the Stanley Cup for a victory lap around the rink, skating right up to the boards so that fans could see the cup up close.

Ted Lindsay is one of a kind. He has proven this over and over.

This past weekend was no different. As he sat signing autographs for the fans that lined up to meet him, the rain moved in. It started off light and Mr. Lindsay brushed it off as no big deal. Then the rain steadily came down harder. Event staff came to close down the signing but Mr. Lindsay brushed them aside.

If the fans were willing to stand in the rain, then he was willing to sign.

As the weather front continued to move through the area, the rain came down harder, the wind started to blow, yet the man known as Terrible Ted wouldn’t be driven inside. Instead, he sat on a bench inside of a dugout doing his best to keep the fans’ memorabilia dry.

Continued

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Red Wings’ website on the Joe Kocur Foundaton’s charity softball event

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From DetroitRedWings.com's Joshua Berenter, via RedWingsFeed:

Rain also didn’t stop a record number of people from attending the event in support of the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children, which gives back to the local community through a collaboration with children's charities throughout Southeastern Michigan.

The softball event is the foundation’s signature event and is championed through the efforts of an all-volunteer committee and through the kind donations of local sponsors and donors.

And while the fans were beneficiaries of coveted autographs and photos with their favorite NHL stars, the biggest beneficiaries were the charities that received the proceeds from Saturday’s event, which eclipsed an estimated $100,000, adding to the $200,000-plus already raised this year by the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children.

The benefitting charities included Wings of Mercy East Michigan, F.A.R. Therapeutic Arts and Recreation, The Huron Valley Special Olympics, Play Like Jackson Foundation, Team Kendal Kidz, Lakeland High School Public Service Scholarship and this year’s special honoree, Jackets 4 Jackson.

“When we started our foundation eight years ago we wanted to find a way to give back to the community,” Kocur said to West Oakland news outlet, Spinal Column. “We had friends, we have businesses, we had everything that we felt we needed to give back to the community. We are raising money for families that are going through some hard times.”

Continued

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Wallner: Paetsch, Nelson address the Griffins’ changing of the veteran guard

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Grand Rapids Press reporter Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch and coach Todd Nelson regarding a changing of the veteran guard in Grand Rapids, especially with former captain Jeff Hoggan moving on:

"Change is tough but it is a constant in this league," [Paetsch] added. "We all know that Hoggie was a great, great captain and we'll miss his presence, for sure, and it will be strange for me because he's been a teammate for so long."

The Griffins also did not bring back longtime goalie Tom McCollum and lost leading scorer Andy Miele (signed with Philadelphia Flyers), but the organization restocked veterans in the offseason that will crowd the roster again when camp opens next month.

There are six on the roster, and that could expand to eight and does not include the uncertain status of Daniel Cleary.

Continue Reading »

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Morning news: Prospect rankings, single-game tix on sale and golf tourney Tweets

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. ESPN's Corey Pronman ranked every team by its prospect pipeline in an Insider-only entry:

18. Detroit Red Wings
Previous rank: 7

The Wings' farm team has quite a few guys who are on the bubble of being NHL players; Detroit will have to make decisions on them soon, otherwise they risk losing them on waivers. The top part of their system is pretty good, with several players who have a chance to be quality NHL players, even if there's no "star" prospect in this system. The big slide in the rankings is two-fold: Dylan Larkin graduated, and players like Evgeni Svechnikov and Axel Holmstrom didn't have quite the seasons I expected from them in 2015-16.

2. The Red Wings' single-game tickets are on sale presently, but if you're looking for the home opener or last couple of games at the Joe, they're already sold out frown

3. Both the Grand Rapids Griffins and Ilitch Charities are holding their charity golf tournaments today:

Continue Reading »

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Will RFAs Sign Before The World Cup? Does It Matter?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

The calendar still says it’s August so it’s a little hard to ponder the thought that training camps for the tournament start in one week. On Sept. 5, Jack Eichel will be among those gathering in Montreal for Team North America, joining the likes of Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon and Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Matt Murray.

Crosby and Team Canada work out in Ottawa. Finland, featuring Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, will open workouts in Helsinki. Russia, whose roster includes new Buffalo defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, will work out in St. Petersburg. South Buffalo’s Patrick Kane will among those working out for Coach John Tortorella at the Team USA camp in Columbus.

Ristolainen is one of a handful of unsigned restricted free agents who are expected to play in the tournament despite their contract status, as the NHL and NHLPA are combining to insure those players. The list also includes Team North America duo Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary) and Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg) and Russia winger Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay).

Teams would certainly prefer their players to be signed before heading to the tournament and it will be interesting to watch if things progress with those four players this week.

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

‘Retirement’ Talk

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers a few questions from the fans...

Q: Do you expect (Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall) to lace them up for the Wings in 2017-2018? I think they are much closer to retirement and have fewer reasons to stick around than most people probably think.

A: I think they'll play at least two more seasons, but I wouldn't be shocked if they hung up the skates after this year. It depends on their health.

Kronwall, 35, was plagued by knee issues last season, which they said can't be remedied with surgery. He withdrew from the World Cup but hopes to be ready for the start of training camp.

Zetterberg, who turns 36 on Oct. 9, has a history of back trouble, but managed to play all 82 games in 2015-16.

After this season, Kronwall will have two years remaining at a cap hit of $4.75 million, but his salary decreases to $3.5 million and $1.75 million. Zetterberg will have four years to go at a cap hit of $6.083 million but an actual salary of $7 million for 2017-18, $3.5 million in 2018-19 and $1 million in each of the final two seasons.

I don't think either will officially retire before their contracts expire and leave the team facing a cap recapture penalty....

more

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The overnight report: Silver for Hronek; Nosek talks to iSport; on the LCA and Mrazek’s ‘Numbers’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. In translatable news you can use, Hokej.cz reports that a Czech Under-20 team captained by Filip Hronek took silver in a 4-Nations Cup pitting the Czechs against gold medal-winning Sweden and teams from Finland and Russia;

2. In news I could use a hand with, Tomas Nosek gave a very lengthy interview to iSport's Pavel Rysavy, and while Nosek's optimism regarding his chances of making the NHL and determination to work hard to earn his opportunity are evident in the Google translation of the interview, a native-speaker's expertise is going to be necessary to separate Google garble from translatable text;

3. In prospect-in-absentia news, in the Champions League, Axel Holmstrom didn't play in Skelleftea AIK's 4-0 win over KalPa Kuopio, while Christoffer Ehn was a healthy scratch skated in the Frolunda Indians' 5-2 win over Dynamo Pardubice;

4. The Free Press's Helene St. James offered a set of takes from her visit to the Little Caesars Arena 3D-printed model, and among them:

Continue Reading »

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Blashil at the track

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was the Grand Marshal at the Michigan 400 in Brooklyn, MI today, and he talked shop with a friend from his coaching days in the USHL, as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted...

When NASCAR driver Michael Annett was growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the early 1990s, he liked to go to the rink and watch Jeff Blashill play goal for the USHL Buccaneers.

On Sunday, Blashill returned the favour.

Detroit Red Wings coach Blashill served as grand marshal for the Pure Michigan 400 and when he announced to the drivers to start their engines, one of those who answered the call was Annett, at the wheel of the No. 46 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet.

“I played my junior hockey in Des Moines, Iowa, so of all places I went from the hockey hotbed of Michigan to Iowa to grow as a hockey player,” Blashill recalled. “During my time in Des Moines, Michael Annett was a young hockey player growing up.

“We’ve got mutual connections to some real good friends of mine. I’ve always kept track of his career and how he’s doing, so I’m excited to watch him here.”

And part of being the Grand Marshal meant a few laps in a pace car at Michigan International Speedway, as WXYZ noted...

Continue Reading »

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