Kukla's Korner

The World Junior ‘Summer Showcase’ is coming to Plymouth next week

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As the Plymouth Observer's Tim Smith notes, the World Junior Summer Showcase is coming to Plymouth at the end of next week, and Team USA, Hockey Canada, the Finnish and Swedish national teams are all sending their best World Junior prospects to the event:

From July 29 through Aug. 5, a number of first- and second-round National Hockey League draft picks from recent years will comprise rosters fans will get to watch at the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase.

“It’s not ‘summer hockey,’” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey headquarters in Colorado Springs, Col. “It’s real competitive, real good hockey played at this time of year.”

Action will begin Saturday, July 29 and continue through Saturday, Aug. 5 — culminating with the much-anticipated matchup between Team USA and Canada at 7 p.m.

Also participating in the showcase, used to gauge what rosters might look like in December for the Under 20 World Junior Championship in Buffalo (N.Y.) will be Finland and Sweden.

“It is a bunch of guys trying to make their national teams,” said Scott Monaghan, senior director of operations for the Plymouth-based National Team Development Program. “You’ll have a lot of guys playing at full throttle. It’s competition within the teams, for guys trying to win jobs. And it’s competition among the teams, because you always want to win when you’re wearing your national team jersey.”

Smith continues, and Keith Petruzzelli (Team USA), Givani Smith, Dennis Cholowski (Team Canada) and Filip Larsson (Sweden) [edit: also Gustav Lindstrom for Sweden and Kasper Kotkansalo for Finland, thanks @RWHockeyJohn on Twitter /end edit] will all be taking part in the "Summer Showcase."

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Trevor Daley’s day with the Cup

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Well this is...awkward. Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley had his "Day With the Stanley Cup" after winning it with the Pittsburgh Penguins this past June, and the Toronto Sun's Jack Boland tagged along as Daley toured suburban Toronto...

The Daley show — with a special guest appearance — was in town Wednesday before a packed house. That’s Trevor Daley, two-time back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning defenceman of the Pittsburgh Penguins and local hometown boy from Regent Park. He brought the Cup to the Parkview Manor banquet hall in Don Mills for a meet-and-greet with about 1,000 in attendance.

On the busy day, the Cup travelled with him and his family to a ritzy downtown condo, a hockey camp for young kids, and at dinner time to the big party.

One special, and private moment, occurred during the day when Daley brought the Cup to rest by the gravestone of his mother, Trudy.

“It’s been an amazing day especially when you get to celebrate this moment with family and friends,” said Daley. “I got to take it to see my mom’s grave and give a little tribute to her. It’s crazy, that’s who gave me all this was her.

“It was only right to go and see her first,” said Daley, whose mom was his biggest supporter growing up.

While NHL.com's Dave McCarthy tagged along as Daley brought the Cup to Stouffville:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

AHL Players On Two-Way Contracts Will Be Eligible For The Olympics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,

The NHL has decided to allow AHL players under two-way NHL contracts to compete in the Olympics under the condition they only be released for the Pyeongchang Games in February.

In a memo sent to the 31 NHL teams this week, the league outlined AHL players can be loaned to national teams for the 2018 Olympic Games. But these players only can be made available between Feb. 5-26, 2018. The Winter Olympics men's hockey tournament begins on Feb. 9 and concludes with the gold-medal final on Feb. 25.

continued, mosty from the Canadian point of view...

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ranking The Off-Season Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

All teams have been ranked from 1 through 31 according to off-season performance only. (This is not an order of strength heading into 2017-18 but strictly an assessment of recent front office moves.)...

The “previous ranking” number assigned to each franchise indicates their official standings finish in 2016-17.

1. Once Brad Treliving got his own contract, the dude put in overtime. Keeping UFA Michael Stone and adding Travis Hamonic gives the Flames one of the best D cores in the NHL. Mike Smith isn’t young but he’s solid and should be motivated to play for a team with a chance. And retaining complementary forwards Micheal Ferland and Kris Versteeg for $1.75 million cap hits is a tidy bit of business on Treliving’s part.
Previous: 16

2. Either Steve Yzerman is part genius, or there’s something to this “athletes don’t like paying taxes” thing. The Bolts locked up RFAs Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat for reasonable rates, secured one of the most enticing defence prospects (Mikhail Sergachev), and took a reasonable two-year gamble on Dan Girardi for blue-line depth.
Previous: 18


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

‘Roughly Translated’: An interview with Filip Hronek

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings prospect Filip Hronek gave an interview to iSport.cz's Pavel Rysavy, and here's a very rough translation thereof:

Chelios learned Hronek's name. The Czech defenseman heard a lot of praise from Detroit

He wanted to talk a lot about him and praise him. Legendary defenseman Chris Chelios joked that he couldn't say his last name. Filip Hronek made a good impression on Detroit during the year. "It was really valuable to listen to remarks from people like Chris Chelios, Shawn Horcoff and Jiri Fischer," says the 19-year-old offensive defenseman from Hradec Kralove.

Actually, it happened right now, in July. Everything started a year ago in Detroit for Filip Hronek. And it ended a few days ago, a camp that made a start for a great season. In juniors he posted more than a point per game, and then moved to the farm team, where the Grand Rapids Griffins won the AHL title. The last stop? He arrived at the development camp, where he heard, 'You got better, you look better.'

Are you in a good mood now? "I don't have a bad feeling out of camp. It was good, a little different than a year ago. We have a new development coach in Shawn Horcoff, so it was different and interesting, he had prepared some news for us compared to last year, when we had, for example, special skill trainers."

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

‘Roughly Translated’: An interview with Petr Mrazek

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Petr Mrazek gave an interview to iDnes.cz's Robert Sara, and here's a very, very rough translation thereof, and it's a pretty weird article in that it suggests that one report and one Wings beat writer were "at fault" for perpetuating a rumor that Mrazek is cocky--which just isn't the case.

"He is bloated," they say about Mrazek. He reacts: Self-realization is needed.

What's next? In the last two seasons, Petr Mrazek played in at least 50 NHL games. He has a contract in Detroit.

It's been four weeks since MLive.com, an overseas website, hit Petr Mrazek hard. Detroit reporter Ansar Khan wrote, "Mrazek has always been full of confidence, which the team's leadership was grateful for. Sometimes, however, he became overconfident, and that hurt him. Besides, it's not easy to coach him now." The goalkeeper was silent and did not respond.

Up till now. In an interview with MF Dnes and iDNES.cz, he returns to the critical words: "I don't do that, because those who know me--the boys in the locker room, the coaches--know who I am."

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

‘Two Things’: On Dominik Shine and Keith Petruzzelli

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Brendan Savage posted a profile of Dominik Shine, who's turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins (or Toledo Walleye) this fall:

The development camp is valuable for players like Shine since it's the only opportunity NHL teams get to work with college players on the ice each summer in order to preserve their eligibility. At age 24, Shine admitted to feeling a bit like an old-timer this year.

"That's one thing I knew coming in," he said. "You're an older guy. For college guys, it's a little different. They still want to see more of you because you're not able to go to the prospects tournament if you want to stay in college. That kind of limits the games you can play.

"I feel a little older but I feel comfortable. A lot of guys like Soup (free agent Brett Supinski, who lockered next to Shine), it's his first camp and things like that so guys who haven't been to camp ask questions and little things. I've been to a couple so I know my way around a little bit."

Shine's goal for this season is simple.

"I hope to first of all make the (Griffins) lineup and take a spot in the lineup," he said. "Whatever I get from there is something I'm going to have to earn every day and I'm not going to take anything for granted."

Savage continues...

2. And I plain old forgot to mention that Keith Petruzzelli will be taking part in the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena from July 28th to August 5th, with Petruzzelli playing for "Team USA blue" (this was announced yesterday).

That makes four Wings prospects that I know of taking part in the "Summer Showcase"--Petruzzelli for Team USA, Dennis Cholowski and Givani Smith for Canada, and Filip Larsson for Sweden.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Attendance Issues For The Carolina Hurricanes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Abbie Bennett of the News & Observer,

The Carolina Hurricanes have the second worst home game attendance in all of major league sports.

Financial news website 24/7 Wall St. published a report on “Sports Teams Running Out of Fans” on Monday that showed the Hurricanes have seen a serious dip in home attendance.

Over the last 10 years, attendance at Canes home games dropped 32 percent, with just 64 percent of all seats filled. Average home game attendance for the Canes is 11,776.

The Hurricanes relocated to Raleigh from Hartford, Conn., in 1997 and lackluster performances in recent years appear to be hurting ticket sales, according to the report.

The team often made postseason appearances during its first 10 years in Raleigh and won the Stanley Cup at the end of its 2005-06 season. The following season, home game attendance regularly topped 17,000.

But last season marked the eighth consecutive year that the Canes did not make a playoff appearance and average home game attendance was below 12,000.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Jacques Plante And The Goalie Mask

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler at NHL.com,

For decades goaltenders never would think of donning a mask. But then again, why would they?

In the years leading up to World War I and the formation of the NHL in 1917, shots on goal were rarely as dangerous, and certainly not nearly as hard, as blasts from today's players. But by the end of World War II the NHL had become faster and more furious than ever, and so were the shots on goal.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard, with his backhand drive alone, could propel a puck at speeds of more than a mile a minute. When his teammate, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, developed a slap shot at even faster speeds, goalies were in big trouble.

Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall once told me in no uncertain terms, "Goaltending is sixty minutes of hell." Hall's teammates had no doubts about his statement; they watched him vomit before every game. Yet Hall, who starred on the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team in 1961, played 502 consecutive regular-season games without facial protection.

As it happened, one of Hall's contemporaries, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens, began getting the notion that being playing goal without a mask was a bad idea. Ever creative, even as a junior player, Plante began experimenting with the idea of a face protector.

At first he did it surreptitiously, and for good reason: He knew that Montreal coach Toe Blake would dismiss the idea of a goalie mask out of hand.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+plante

An Important Year For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal,

“Just wait until Nuge gets his ‘old-man strength’!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard variations of that statement over the time Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been in Edmonton, but forgive me for feeling the expression itself is getting old faster than RNH himself seems to be.

Nugent-Hopkins is now 24 years old, six years removed from being the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft and suddenly the senior member of the Edmonton Oilers.  He’s nearly halfway into a seven-year contract that pays him at an elite level, and I think it’s fair to say that to this point the expectations have exceeded the results.

This season just past saw RNH return to full health after an injury-riddled 2015-16 campaign in which he missed a third of the campaign due to illness, a broken hand, and a concussion that limited him to 34 points in 55 games. Alas, his production remained middling at best, as he produced just 18 goals and 47 points over 95 regular-season and playoff games. Basically, 0.5 points per game in all situations....

All of which leaves the player at a crossroads entering the 2017-18 season. He appears destined to line up somewhere in the middle six, and as McLellan alluded he desperately needs to recover some of the attacking acumen he displayed earlier in his career. Both of his former sidekicks, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, have been dispatched stateside in significant one-for-one trades the past two summers, and Nuge might be next.

With Draisaitl likely to be paid next season and McDavid already signed to big money the following campaign, the cap budget at centre is tight. Whether Nugent-Hopkins stays or goes in the longer term, he needs a major bounceback next season to prove his worth.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+nugent-hopkins

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