Kukla's Korner

Detroit Red Wings Announce Partial Season Ticket Plans

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that partial season ticket plans are now available for the Inaugural Season at Little Caesars Arena. Four pre-selected 10-Game Plans are available, featuring a convenient mix of weekday and weekend matchups against Eastern and Western Conference opponents, Original Six rivals and more. Ticket quantities are extremely limited for partial ticket plans. 

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The Prince George Cougars Sign Dennis Cholowski

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from the Prince George Cougars,

The Prince George Cougars are thrilled to announce that 1998-born defenceman Dennis Cholowski (Langley, B.C.) has signed a Standard WHL Player Agreement with the Prince George Cougars.

Originally selected by the Cougars in the 10th round (200th Overall) in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, the 6’0”, 170 pound Cholowski is one season removed from being selected 20th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 NHL Draft. Last season with St. Cloud State (NCAA) he scored a goal and 11 assists for 12 points in 36 games. Back in April he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings ending his NCAA eligibility. He spent each of the two previous seasons in the BCHL with the Chilliwack Chiefs and was named a BCHL second team all-star in 2015-16 after scoring 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points in 51 games. That same season he added four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in 20 playoff games.

Internationally Cholowski captured a gold medal with Canada at the 2015-16 World Junior A. Challenge and in June, 2017 he was one of 43 players invited to attend Team Canada’s World Junior Summer Showcase which took place from July 29th – August 5th in Plymouth, MI. Of those 43 players, 13 (including Cholowski) were defencemen.

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The Season Outlook For Gustav Nyquist

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking ahead: Consistency is something Nyquist, 27, needs to address. He got off to a great start last autumn on a line with Thomas Vanek and Darren Helm, but once Vanek got injured, Nyquist (and Helm) quieted. At the halfway point, Nyquist had not scored a goal in 21 games, and had just one goal his last 35 games. Of his 48 points, 30 came during the second half, 19 of them after the Wings had signaled defeat by being sellers at the trade deadline – and once he got to play on a line with Henrik Zetterberg.

If the Wings are to be competitive, it is tantamount that players such as Nyquist embrace being a go-to guy. Next season he will have the sixth-highest salary on the team. He averaged 17:26 in average time on ice in 2016-17, an increase of more than two minutes from the previous season. Nyquist does not play physical, but he’s smart, and he’s a good passer, and he has shown in the past he can score goals. He needs to develop better consistency, and he needs to find a way to be more productive especially given how big a part of the power play he is.

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Do You Want Alexey Marchenko Back With The Wings?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

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Morning news: On Will Butcher, Green’s ‘numbers’ and Tweets of note

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. According to Hockeybuzz's Bob Duff, the Red Wings will do their best to land NCAA free agent-to-be Will Butcher when the clock strikes midnight tonight:

The Wings intend to be suitors when defenseman Will Butcher officially becomes an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.

A fifth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2013, Butcher, has opted to explore the market rather than sign with the team that was the NHL’s worst in 2016-17.

The 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner while playing at Denver, Butcher was also named Denver’s male athlete of the year and an NCAA West First Team All-American.

The 5-10, 186-pound Butcher, who shoots left, was second among NCAA defensemen in scoring with 7-30-37 totals in 43 games and was third overall with a plus-27 rating.

2. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji examined Mike Green's 2016-17 season "By the Numbers"...

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Will Butcher Goes UFA Tomorrow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Lambert of Yahoo,

Tomorrow is the day.

It’s another Aug. 15, and a former high-end NCAA player will have his draft rights lapse, making him an unrestricted free agent. In the past, guys like Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes were the guys who got a lot of attention.

This time around, it’s former Denver defenseman and most recent Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher.

The talk about Butcher has been more muted than Vesey or Hayes, for reasons that aren’t totally clear to me. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s a defenseman and not a high-scoring forward. Maybe it’s because the team he’s leaving is the Colorado Avalanche, and there’s no clear big-market destination either (Hayes was leaving Chicago and went to New York; Vesey left Nashville in a more high-profile spat, and also ended up in New York). Maybe it’s because Butcher is undersized for an NHL defender, at just 5-foot-10.

But let’s be clear here: Regardless of these mitigating factors, Butcher is a damn good hockey player who put up a lot of points, has represented the United States internationally and, if he were a prospect for most any team, would have been hyped to the moon.

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The Top 20 Wingers In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Kane led the League in points (106) by 17 and finished second in goals (46) and third in assists (60) in 2015-16. He also had a 26-game point streak (16 goals, 24 assists) from Oct. 17-Dec. 13, the longest by a United States-born player, and won the Hart Trophy (MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (top player as voted by his peers). Kane followed that with 89 points (34 goals, 55 assists) last season, finishing second in the NHL in points and fifth in assists, and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team for the second straight season.

The 2007-08 Calder Trophy winner as the top rookie in the NHL, Kane, 28, has scored more than 20 goals in each of his first 10 NHL seasons and has 752 points (285 goals, 467 assists) in 740 games. He's won the Stanley Cup three times (2010, 2013, 2015). Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013 (nine goals, 10 assists in 23 games) and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players.

"He always had the skill, but now I think he's putting in the time off the ice, conditioning-wise, getting prepared for the season, doing all of the little things to go from a very good player to one of the game's best, one of the elite players in the NHL," said NHL Network analyst Bill Lindsay, a forward in the League for 13 seasons (1991-92 through 2003-2004). "He has proven that the last couple of years."

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The Outlook For Anthony Mantha

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2017-18 outlook: A rough start to his pro career during his first two AHL seasons raised some concerns, but Mantha put many of them to rest with a strong rookie season.

He capitalized on the opportunity to play on Henrik Zetterberg's line. His size and natural goal-scoring ability are important to the team.

Mantha wasn't satisfied, which is always a good thing, calling it an up and down season. His goal is to be more consistent, not experience a prolonged slump, the kind which led to being scratched two games March 10-12. He needs to move his feet consistently, win battles and compete hard.

He was used sometimes as a net-front presence on the power play because of his size, but his good hands and shot might be better utilized in the slot or on the half-wall. Increasing power-play production (one goal, two assists) is one of the goals this season.

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At Age 42 A Hockey Player Trying To Go Pro

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Matisz at the Toronto Sun,

Kevin Porter won’t take no for an answer.

He won’t take “no” from player agents. He won’t take “no” from professional hockey teams.

And he certainly won’t take “no” from his mind or body. Not even at age 42, when he strolls into the arena disorientated after a day-long shift as an emergency worker.

“Hey, just wanna let you know I’m getting off a 24-hour shift,” Porter has warned his skating and skills coach Adrian Lomonaco on multiple occasions.

“He might wipe out a few times during the first drill, but he’ll get right back up,” says Lomonaco, who has also trained NHLer Sean Monahan.

“At the end of our session, we’re getting off the ice before the Zamboni comes on to flood the ice and he’s doing line drills, stops and starts all by himself.”

Despite never pursuing a career in hockey for the bulk of his adult life, Porter, a firefighter and paramedic by trade, is intent on chasing the dream through his 40s.

“I’ve got unfinished business,” he says, stonefaced.

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Caputo discusses two Wings weaknesses

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo suggests that the "Red Wings have lost their credibility," citing the Hockey News's predictions for the 2017-18 season and its list of people of power and influence in the sport, and Caputo suggests that there are two weaknesses that the Wings may be able to address this upcoming season:

The Red Wings had two overwhelming issues last season. Foremost was goaltending. Petr Mrazek was a major disappointment. His attitude, according to multiple sources inside and outside the organization, soured to the point he lost trust in the dressing room. It was mirrored by Mrazek’s subpar and inconsistent performance on the ice. But he is a talented goalie. I expect Mrazek to perform better after no team wanted to trade for him, which is the primary reason, coupled with his $4 million salary, Las Vegas passed on him during the expansion draft.

Jimmy Howard, who has an abundance of competitive character, had a comeback season, but injuries limited it. I can see that combo performing much better.

The often stunning inability of the Red Wings’ defense to move the puck was the other glaring weakness. Trevor Daley, from the Penguins, is older (he will play this season at 34), but was a solid free agent signing. Nick Jensen has time under his belt. Mike Green isn’t a top pairing defenseman anymore, but is still skilled. Those three move the puck relatively well.

It remains to be seen how Danny DeKeyser responds from a decidedly disappointing season, or if 36-year-old Niklas Kronwall, who played better late last season when his knee issues cleared, perform better.

Caputo continues...

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