Kukla's Korner

The Mighty Mite: Undersized, overlooked… and flat out dominant!

Blog: KK Members Blog By Bradley97

The Mighty Mite-

The undersized star that shouldn’t even be on the ice yet dominates play.

My introduction to this elusive player was none other than Theo Fleury. At 5’6” (some say that’s generious) Fleury could not be ignored as the undersized power forward. He was built like a semi truck with the speed and agility of a super car. In his prime he was the number one threat that had to be shut down in Calgary. Good luck with that. When he wasn’t scoring goals he was crushing players all over the ice. And when he got angry he may as well have been the Hulk’s Mini Me taking on players who towered over him and beating the living snot out of them. He was so memorable in my house that a conversation about jerseys turned into reminiscing about when Fleury’s jersey was too bloodied to allow him back on the ice after a cut. A fan volunteered to give him a team signed jersey to get back in the game. Fortunately the equipment manager found a spare jersey with another number on it and quickly added Fleury’s name to the back. I didn’t know number changes were legal during games, but the refs allowed it and back in he went.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

Do You Care About The Stanley Cup Final Ratings?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing,

Heading into the Stanley Cup Conference Finals, the suits at NBC were surely crossing their fingers and doing whatever superstitious ritual they could think of to get a dream Stanley Cup Final in the ratings department: Rangers vs Blackhawks.

Chicago.  New York.  Two members of the original six.  Two of the biggest markets in the country.  Two teams with national namebrand recognition.  Two cities with hockey in their sports DNA.  It wouldn’t get better than that.

Instead, after three games in the west and the east, NBC is looking straight down the barrel at a matchup that is most certainly a polar opposite: Ducks vs Lightning.

Tampa Bay.  Anaheim.  Two of hockey’s more recent expansion representatives.  Warm weather.  Sunshine.  Palm trees.  It’s not exactly the ghosts of Stan Mikita and Eddie Giacomin.

Why is this the case?  The numbers tell the story.

The Ducks were involved in the lowest rated Stanley Cup Final in the last 20 years back in 2007.  Senators-Ducks averaged a paltry 1.2 rating over the course of 5 games and just 1.7 million viewers on average.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Time For The New York Rangers To Play Their Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Despite coach Alain Vigneault’s assertions that the Lightning “aren’t dictating” the pace of the series, it’s pretty clear that’s exactly what’s happened during the past two games. The Rangers may be fast, but Tampa Bay has been faster, more insistent on the attack and far more creative. The Lightning are seizing New York’s zone. They’re scoring off the rush. And the Rangers are all but waving hello as they breeze by.

The Lightning have put them on their heels with breakouts and speed through the neutral zone. It’s easy to blame the defense for not slowing the Bolts down, but much of the problem lies in the failings of the forwards to get back and take away Tampa Bay’s numeric advantage. So instead of mucking it up, as they did so effectively in their 2–1 Game 1 victory, the Rangers’ defensemen have too often been forced to fall back and allow the Bolts entry into their end. That lack of aggression is putting too much pressure on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who looked shaky while facing 40 shots in that 6–5 Game 3 loss.

The All-Star keeper clearly has to find a way to get over the mental hump of his past two beatings. He’s has allowed 12 goals on just 66 shots in the two losses, including the very stoppable 30-foot wrister from Nikita Kucherov that ended Game 3 in overtime, after giving up just 21 goals on 379 shots in his previous 13 games.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Is Jeff Blashill Your Choice?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

I would think most of you would agree, Jeff Blashill will be Ken Holland's choice to replace Mike Babcock.

But do you want another coach?

Coaches who may be available are:

Dan Bylsma

John Tortorella

Guy Boucher

Paul MacLean

Randy Carlysle

Ken Hitchcock and Claude Julien may be available.

Any others?

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Damien Cox On The Toronto Maple Leafs And Buffalo Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Both teams were among the NHL’s worst this season and have a lot of questions to be answered. Today, you can’t accurately say either is absolutely on the right track, and in Toronto, Babcock has predicted “pain” for the near future. Both teams have owners who appear to be committed, but don’t have a track record of winning.

How they build and develop their respective organizations will determine whether the pieces they already have turn into anything at all, and whether Babcock made the right choice or blew it by choosing not to shuffle off to Buffalo.

-Damien Cox of Sportsnet on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.  Read more on this topic from Cox.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Short strokes on the Griffins and Baby Z

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Because I'm swamped with Babcock stuff but don't want to sit on stories:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Dear Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

What can you expect from Mike Babcock...

  • Honesty, to the point that it may hurt at times.
  • Frustration, come on Mike, play someone else, he deserves the ice time.
  • Fantastic- One of his buzz words.
  • Compassion for the game and his team.
  • Won't disclose much, it stays in the room.
  • If he does disclose, there is a reason behind it.
  • If a player sits, it is because he does not give your team the best chance to win.
  • Bottom line, winning, in the end that is what counts most.

Below, the opening of Mike Babcock's presser with the Detroit media.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

Babcock farewell presser stories (in progress post)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 15x at 5:23 PM:

Mike Babcock was emotional to the point of holding back tears during his farewell presser to the Detroit media on Friday. Some stories from the event are already popping up, so here they are, starting with WXYZ's quips and quotes...

"It gives me great pride for what we were able to accomplish in my 10 years here," said Babcock. "My decision was mine totally, it was about a new opportunity and a new challenge."

During the press conference, Babcock became emotional as he thanked the fans for their support.

"I've been here a long fricken time, they're probably getting tired of me," he joked.

Continuing with the CBC...

"It's been real special to say the least," said Babcock, who fought back tears a few times at the start of the media scrum.

Babcock thanked everyone from Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch to general manager Ken Holland, to other executives, players, coaches and staffers for their support and friendship during his tenure in Detroit.

With his contract set to expire, Babcock on Wednesday agreed to become the Leafs' head coach, and he held his introductory news conference with his new team on Thursday in Toronto.

He said it was difficult to leave Detroit, but that he's eager to begin a new stage of his career.

"My decision was about a new opportunity and a new challenge," Babcock said.

And Michigan Hockey posted a 4-minute YouTube clip from the 12-minute presser:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

To be discussed later: Hakan Andersson discusses Swedish prospects, Ehn moves to Karlskoga

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

In the, "I will get to this soon" category, several Wings fans have informed me that Christoffer Ehn has been transferred to Karlskoga IK of the Swedish Allsvenskan, and that Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson praised Hampus Melen in an interview with Visat Sport's Linus Hugosson. I'll get to both of these topics when I can as the Babcock stuff is taking precidence right now:

Andersson says that Axel Holmstrom needs another season in the SHL to round out his game...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Mike Babcock farewell presser streams

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Mike Babcock will appear at Joe Louis Arena this morning at 11 AM to speak with the Detroit media for one last time, and Sportsnet will air the presser live:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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