Kukla's Korner

The overnight report: Looking forward to Lightning showdown; bonus Swedish; on Cleary & the Whalers

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings will battle another "Beast of the East" in the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night (7:30 PM EST on FSD/97.1 FM), and the Wings will do so looking down at the Bolts via a one-point lead in the Atlantic Division, and possessing a game in hand on a team that dropped a 4-2 decision to Carolina on Tuesday.

All of that being said, the Wings are very wary of the Lightning, as Wings coach Mike Babcock told DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

“They got huge talent. They’re good on the back, good up front,” Babcock said, of the Lightning. “They got real good depth, they got a guy named (Tyler) Johnson who’s a star in the league. They got excellent talent base. They got a young team, a big goaltender (Ben Bishop). We’ve had some good games with them over the last couple of years and they’ve come out on top more than we’ve come out on top. We got Florida first and we’re going to focus on that but look forward to playing them both.”

Some of the Bolts' "back end" will be absent--Matt Carle and Radko Gudas are injured--but after Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Panthers, Justin Abdelkader told Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave that the Wings are aware that Thursday's affair is more than a "four-point game":

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Red Wings-Panthers wrap-up: Wings’ new third line stars in a sloppy win

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings earned their 6th straight win and climbed to the top of the Atlantic Division via a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, and the Wings hold a game-in-hand advantage over Thursday's opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning (who lost 4-2 to Carolina)...But Red Bird III's 43-minute trip from Miami to Tampa may have felt like an Escape From Miami.

Detroit's win wasn't exactly a clinic on winning hockey games, but the 28-11-and-9 Wings' 65 points in 48 games played not only give them a slim lead over the 30-15-and-4 Lightning's 64 in 49 and the 30-13-and-3 Canadiens' 63; the Panthers have only played in 45 games, but they now sit a full 15 points behind Detroit, Boston's 8 points behind the Wings, and Toronto and Ottawa sit a full 17 in arrears.

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When friends knock out friends’ teeth

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Edit: Wrong blog, sorry.

Via Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian, this is just an awful feeling, and teammates have to deal with it: Ryan Suter chipped the puck around the boards trying to get the puck out of trouble, and he ended up taking out his friend Zach Parise's front tooth:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
  Tags: minnesota+wild, ryan+suter, zach+parise

More on Gordie Howe’s recovery

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As noted earlier this evening, the Canadian Press reported that Gordie Howe's son Marty, who was in Calgary today to announce the sponsor of a pro-vs-amateur hockey tournament, stated that his father's improved so much since undergoing stem cell therapy that Gordie is likely to undergo the procedure again.

The Canadian Press's Donna Spencer flushed out her story with slightly later-filed quotes, and Marty explained both his hopes for his father...

“He is doing so much better,” Marty said Tuesday in Calgary. “It’s a joy to have him with us still. Hopefully, in my mind, we’re going to have another treatment of this probably within two months. I’m actually hoping if he keeps doing what he’s doing he’ll be able to travel again and maybe get to five or six events a year so people can see him another time."

(Howe will appear at the Kinsmen's Club of Saskatoon's Sports Celebrity Dinner, with his family and Wayne Gretzky, on February 6th; the City of Saskatoon's renaming the Kinsmen's arena after Howe, too)

And the realities of his father's situation (and you can watch Marty's comments made to TSN and Sportsnet as well):

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  Tags: gordie+howe

Emelin boards Spezza, is tossed

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

I don't know what's worse on this play, Alexei Emelin's predictably ugly boarding of Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza or the apologies made for a game misconduct-worthy infraction by the Sportsnet announcers:

Spezza was OK, and Dallas lost 3-2 to Montreal because Emelin scored the game's first goal and Montreal built 2-0 and 3-1 leads.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexei+emelin, dallas+stars, jason+spezza, montreal+canadiens

Quick take, Red Wings vs. Panthers: Six in a row, top of the Atlantic, but the win was scary & weird

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

[edit/note: Yes, I know, the title of this entry is odd, but consider it the only 50 Shades joke I'll make /end edit]

Yes, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4, negating a 2-1 first-period deficit, pushing the Panthers 15 full points behind Detroit in the Atlantic Division and leapfrogging the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost 4-2 to Carolina, to take 1st in the Atlantic, and this win was the Wings' 6th in a row.

Detroit leads Tampa by a point (65-64) despite having fewer wins (28 to 30) and ROWs (26 to 28), and Detroit has a game in hand on Thursday's opponent. Detroit is also tied for 1st in the Eastern Conference with the New York Islanders, Saturday's opponent, and only the Anaheim Ducks have more points than the Wings, Isles and Nashville Predators.

Just as importantly, the Wings' "secondary scorers" led the way on Tuesday, with Luke Glendening scoring 2 goals, Stephen Weiss scoring 1 and adding 2 assists, Riley Sheahan registering 2 assists and the DeKeysers, Quinceys and Ouellets playing quite solidly on defense...

But watching this game was nothing less than *#$%@& terrifying. Detroit showed up late and left early, just as they did in their 5-4 shootout win over Minnesota a week and an All-Star break ago, the Wings' goaltender gave up at least two "squeakers," the Wings gave up 3 power play goals on 4 PKs, and the Wings' game was about as convincing as the frozen octopus thrown onto the BB&T Center ice surface is a solid indicator of any sort of responsible octopus-throwing (it ain't):

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Dreger: Max Lapierre goes east

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Okay, this trade is just weird. Marcel Goc is a solid grinder, and the Blues have grinders. The Penguins already have some acerbic players, but Max Lapierre? He's the king of dick mountain:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marcel+goc, maxim+lapierre, pittsburgh+penguins, st+louis+blues

TSN: Mike Babcock speaks out about reducing stigmas surrounding mental illness

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I'm pretty floored by this:

Quoting TSN's summary of a non-geoblocked video:

Bell Let's Talk: Babcock joins the fight

It's not often an NHL coach will open the doors of his family home to a member of the media, but after watching an episode of Off the Record, Mike Babcock picked up the phone and called TSN. He wanted to do more and invited Michael Landsberg to his home during the NHL all-star break and opened up. Mark Masters was also there and has more in this report.

The coach ain't kidding, and he talks about suicide, the stigma of mental illness...It's...As somebody who deals with severe depression and anxiety, I'm impressed, I'm really impressed.

Edit/update: And if you were wondering about the timing or are unfamiliar with the "Bell Let's Talk" campaign:

Update #2: And from TSN 1200 in OTtawa...

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Mike Richards Demotion

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings has just been sent to the AHL.  He will play with the Manchester Monarchs.  He cleared waivers in the process.  Thus every team had a chance to claim him and nobody did.  Why is this?

Richards is a former Canadian Olympian.  He was part of the gold medal winning Canadian team in 2010.  He has been a contender for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward in several seasons.  He has 481 points in 704 career games.  His career best total is 80 points in 2009.  At 29 years of age it is hard to believe that he no longer has NHL value. 

His problem is his contract.  He is in the midst of a 12 year contract with an annual $5.75 million salary cap hit that he signed in 2008.  He makes $7 million this season.  The contract runs until 2019.  There are significant salary recapture penalties should he retire and not play the last couple years where his salary drops to $4.5 million and $3 million respectively.  No team wants to be stuck with that.

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Refreshed

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit

The mid season break is over, and, here's hoping that the Wings come out flying. The second half of the season should prove interesting with many Teams in the East nipping at our heels.

The Wings are going through growing pains, but, the Team seems to be gelling more often than not. Climbing outta holes dug in the first period, or, blowing leads is still causing angst among the 19, and although the Wings have emerged victorious in a few games, it is a bad habit that has to be broken.

Yes, some of these come from behind wins are going to build character, but, so will a good "start to finish" type of game.

I'm looking forward to a refreshed, ready to go for sixty minutes every night,  Detroit Red Wings Hockey Team.

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