Kukla's Korner

The Auston Matthews And Patrik Laine Battles Are Just Starting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Let this be a reminder about why there’s so much hype when Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine are due to face one another.

It’s not so much a showdown between top picks from the 2016 draft, with personal stakes or a determination about who is ahead in some mythical race without a finish line.

No, it’s an event. Pure and simple.

These are two of the three best players in the NHL’s next generation and when you get them in the same arena the odds of seeing something magical dramatically improve.

“(They mean) a lot to the league, but maybe more to Canada,” Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice said before Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss against Toronto. “This is such a passion across the country and (there’s) appreciation for young players. For stars, for gifts, right?

“We’ve all been on the ice as players and we all know how much better Patty and Auston are than we are.”

continued

Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: auston+matthews, patrik+laine

The Rise Of Misha Donskov

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

The tour bus pulled to a stop in a Westerville neighborhood early in September. One by one, some of the biggest names in the NHL — Toronto coach Mike Babcock, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, Washington coach Barry Trotz, Detroit general manager Ken Holland, to name a few — filed onto the curb and into the Donskov family home.

Misha Donskov quit a lucrative job with Dublin-based Cardinal Health in 2009 to pursue his dream of a career at the highest levels of hockey. Only seven years later, Team Canada's staff gathered at his home on the eve of an exhibition game against Team USA.

"It was surreal," Donskov said, who served on the coaching staff for Team Canada in the World Cup. "And to be able to share that with my family, it was pretty awesome."

Paul Donskov, the family patriarch, shared a back-porch beer with Babcock. His wife, Debbie, spun tales of home on an inside sofa with St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. Brother Anthony smoked cigars in the side yard with Quenneville, talking hockey.

"I just remember looking around that night and thinking that all the decisions I made — some of the risks I took — all led me to this time and place, and all of them were worth it," Donskov said. "It honestly was the coolest hockey experience of my life."

Donskov, who turns 40 in April, is just getting started.

Months before the World Cup, Donskov was hired as director of hockey operations for the NHL's expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, which begins play next season.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: misha+donskov, vegas+golden+knights

Video- Carey Price Or Petr Mrazek?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

And the better save of the night goes to?

Carey Price...

 

 

Or Petr Mrazek?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price, petr+mrazek

When Will The Sale Start?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

With their playoff hopes all but over, the Red Wings (24-26-10) know some of their teammates could be wearing different uniforms soon but it's not something anyone wanted to address after the loss to the Islanders.

"That's probably a question for someone else," captain Henrik Zetterberg said when asked about the possibility of some trades before the March 1 deadline. "As players we can only focus on what we can do in here."

General manager Ken Holland has said if the Red Wings' playoff hopes are dim as the deadline approaches he would attempt to unload some of his assets with an eye on the future.

That means the Red Wings could become sellers any day now....

So what does coach Jeff Blashill think about the possibility of losing some of his veteran players?

"I have no comment on that," Blashill said. "We'll have 20 guys good enough to win a hockey game on Tuesday against Vancouver. That's all I'm worried about."

Fair enough.

But with that in mind, what was the message Blashill gave his team before they scattered after the loss to the Islanders ended a two-game winning streak?

"It's the same message we've had all year," Blashill said. "We got to come on that Monday and get better at practice and try to win a hockey game in Vancouver. There's no other message.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TUESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Pittsburgh 3, CAROLINA 1
Montreal 3, NY RANGERS 2 (SO)
Ottawa 2, NEW JERSEY 1
NY Islanders 3, DETROIT 1
TAMPA BAY 4, Edmonton 1
TORONTO 5, Winnipeg 4 (OT)
Chicago 5, MINNESOTA 3
Calgary 6, NASHVILLE 5 (OT)
Los Angeles 2, COLORADO 1
 
MATTHEWS, LAINE DUEL AS MAPLE LEAFS WIN OT THRILLER
Rookie forwards Auston Matthews (0-3—3) and Patrik Laine (2-0—2) – the top two picks from the 2016 NHL Draft – each recorded multiple points in their second and final meeting of the season as the Maple Leafs defeated the Jets in thrilling fashion, with Matthews notching the lone assist on Jake Gardiner’s overtime goal.
 
* At 28-20-11 (67 points), the Maple Leafs again leapfrogged the idle Panthers (28-20-10, 66 points) and Bruins (30-23-6, 66 points) into third place in the Atlantic Division.
 
* Elias notes that Matthews, 19, became just the second teenager in franchise history to record at least 50 points in a season (28-24—52), joining Ted Kennedy who tallied 29-25—54 as a 19-year-old in 1944-45 (49 GP).
 
* Matthews registered at least three points for the fourth time this season to move within two points of Laine (30-24—54) for the rookie scoring lead. William Nylander (1-1—2) factored on two tying goals for the Maple Leafs, who have three players among the top four in rookie scoring: Matthews, Mitchell Marner (15-33—48) and Nylander (17-25—42).

* Laine, who has five goals in two games vs. TOR this season (also 3-0—3 on Oct. 19), became the first rookie in Jets/Thrashers franchise history to score 30 goals in a season, besting the previous mark of 29 set by Ilya Kovalchuk in 2001-02. Elias notes that Laine, who ranks second in goals behind Sidney Crosby (33), became just the fifth rookie in the past 25 seasons to score 30 goals in 55 or fewer games played.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Heinz Field to Host Second Cheapest Stadium Series Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By Tim Dolan,

Traveling to Pittsburgh might not be so burdensome after all: Saturday’s Stadium Series between the Penguins and Flyers is posting near-record low ticket prices on the resale market. On TicketIQ, a search engine that collects ticket data from over 90 percent of the market, Stadium Series tickets are now averaging $178. That makes it the second cheapest Stadium Series game since 2014, trailing only a 2016 matchup between the Wild and Blackhawks ($160 average).

For fans looking just to get past the gates at Heinz Field this weekend the cheapest tickets are currently listed from $91 each. Take a look at where Stadium Series ticket prices stack up all time below: 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders wrap-up—Bye bye bye Week

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings' 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders was an incredibly frustrating end to a pre-"Bye Week" schedule that saw Detroit defeat the Capitals and Penguins, but come home and lay an egg--if not a pancake--and I'd argue that this goal may symbolize the Red Wings' season in a nutshell:

Individual player gets mis-direction, tries to do too much himself right away instead of waiting for a better play, flub, goal against, there's your 2016-17 campaign (and Mrazek redeemed himself with some superb saves, too).

If you can't out-score your mistakes, you're not going anywhere but the golf course come April, and now the Red Wings' players will go on their "Bye Week" vacations with some wondering whether they'll return to Detroit to do more than gather their belongings and head out to play for another team.

Our friends from Brooklyn were delighted to spoil the Wings' evening, and they were doubly delighted because the team overcame the in-game losses of Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas, as they told NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Cotsonika speaks with Ken Holland, ‘seller’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the Red Wings' trade deadline plans, and while Holland is most likely going to "sell," it doesn't sound like he's going to clean house:

The Red Wings squeaked into the playoffs last season with 93 points, breaking a tie with the Bruins with one more win in regulation or overtime. Just to reach 93 points this season, they would need 35 points in their final 22 games. Are they going to go 17-4-1, 16-3-3, 15-2-5 or 14-1-7?

"By simple math," Holland said, "we're going to have to have an incredible finish to make it."

Holland has started working already.

"The last week or so, the phones have been busier, both from me receiving calls and me making calls," Holland said.

The question is what Holland has to sell, however.

We know that Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott and Brendan Smith (and, as Cotsonika notes, Drew Miller [edit: and of course Tomas Jurco /end edit]) are available, but that may be it--if the Wings don't re-sign them first:

"I've had a couple brief conversations with the agents for [the unrestricted free agents] to kind of gauge what they're thinking," Holland said. "We're going to make some decisions between now and next Wednesday."

Cotsonika continues, discussing the fact that the Wings may be able to trade and then re-sign Vanek in the summer, but he notes that Brendan Smith is a little more apprehensive about the possibility of leaving the Wings, as Smith told the press on Tuesday.

Quick update: Take what the AP's Larry Lage has to say about Vanek for what you will:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Khan, Savage: Jared Coreau to head to GR during Bye Week; Howard still sore

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

MLive's Ansar Khan and Brendan Savage report that the Red Wings will reassign Jared Coreau to the Grand Rapids Griffins for the Griffins' back-to-backs against Milwaukee this weekend, but their news about Jimmy Howard isn't as encouraging (though it solves some cap problems):

Update: Here's more from Khan:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings-Islanders quick take: self-inflicted wounds doom the Wings, as usual

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to stretch their winning streak to three games at the expense of the New York Islanders, who opened a massive 9-game road trip at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday evening.

The Red Wings came out and laid an egg, coughing up the puck on each and every one of their goals en route to a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders that stung, stung and stung some more going into the "Bye Week."

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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