Kukla's Korner

Do You Consider the Washington Capitals A Cup Contender?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky at ESPN,

"The expectations aren't as big from outside our locker room, but they're still the exact same inside," said Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. "We have some young guys coming up who can bring some new energy and life and change the dynamic a bit. It will be nice to kind of just bear down and get to work right from the start with a good camp, a competitive camp. Zone everything out and just play."

That could prove challenging for a team that has established something of a regular-season reputation over the past 10 seasons, over which the Caps have seven first-place finishes and three Presidents' Trophies -- awarded to the team with the NHL's best regular-season record -- but not a single conference final appearance to show for it. During that span, Washington has a 3-7 record in Game 7s and has been eliminated three times by Pittsburgh, with the Penguins going on to hoist the Stanley Cup each time.

"We get a lot of grief because we haven't gotten by Pittsburgh, but I do know for a 100 percent fact that no one has gotten by Pittsburgh in the last two years in the playoffs. We're not the only ones," said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. "We have to put last year behind us. I look back at us and Pittsburgh in that seven-game series. That might have been the two best teams [in the league]."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Under Pressure Before The Season Starts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Here is a list of NHL people facing added pressure heading into the start of the 2017-18 season. (Opening night is Oct. 4.)

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland

Holland is one of the league’s most respected general managers.

But many in his fan base have turned on him because of the perception that the Red Wings lack promise and they have too many "bad" contracts undermining the team’s effort to rebuild.

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice

The Jets have an impressive collection of young players, and they seem poised to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Tomas Jurco Has Made Adjustments With The Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune,

"There's more speed to his game, more pace, more puck possession, more puck time," Quenneville said. "He has some skills that didn't quite show last year. Getting him some exhibition games, we'll get a better read and he'll get some confidence as well. There's some skill there, and we're looking for him to add an element to our team."

Jurco said there has been a world of difference coming into his second season with the Hawks. He admitted last season was difficult coming over at the deadline and trying to fit in with an established group.

"It's way easier right now," Jurco said. "I get time to get used to things and when I came in March, I had to adjust so quick, I had some difficulties with that. But I'm excited for the season and I feel good. It's much more calm right now."

Even though Jurco said it was difficult for him to adjust to the Hawks' style of play, he thinks it suits his. In Detroit, Jurco couldn't carve out playing time because he was asked to play a more physical style.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+jurco

What About The 2022 Winter Olympics?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

If you missed it, Daly offered an interesting answer when he was asked about the NHL’s involvement in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

“I think it’s early to make that call,” he answered. “Certainly, Beijing raises a lot of the same challenges as South Korea. But I also think, on the upside, in terms of the opportunities that might be available for hockey and for us, it might result in a different equation.”

Translation: After rejecting South Korea, the NHL will be in Beijing because the Olympics are king in China. To spurn the Beijing Games would be an insult to the country, specifically its government, and the NHL needs the government’s support if it wants to succeed here.

The more interesting question concerns the league’s fractured relationship with the IIHF. The international governing body has said the NHL’s participation in Beijing is contingent on its participation in the 2018 South Korea games. It’s also unlikely the IIHF will pick up travel and insurance costs for the NHL, which was a major stumbling block for PyeongChang.

That means another painful four years of bickering between Gary Bettman and Rene Fasel and the drip, drip, drip of more negotiations. 

more

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

What Advice Would You Give To Andreas Athanasiou?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

The hot topic of Detroit's preseason revolves around a player who is not in camp.

Let's say AA reads The Malik Report, what would you say to him?

Sign now, stay strong, get another agent are a few of the comments KK members have made in the recent past.

This post is yours, let your thoughts be known.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Martin Frk Has A Shot

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A player who is trying to break into the NHL, like Martin Frk, must possess quality that most others do not, according to Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"You got to bring an element to the team," Blashill said. "You have to stand out in some way and do something that other people don't do."

He just described Frk, whose blistering right-handed shot is as hard as any Blashill and some players said they have seen.

"If he's going to be around, that's going to be a serious weapon on the power play," Red Wings center Frans Nielsen said. "I don't remember ever playing with someone with a shot like that. If he's open you've got to give it to him, but if teams realize that shot he's got, it's going to open up so much more room in the slot or down low."

continued

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Add An Assist For Rocket Richard

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at CBC,

It's not as if any great injustice was done, but Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice Rocket Richard getting an assist added to his prodigious NHL scoring totals.

Six years of poring over scoresheets and summaries of games between 1917 and 1987 by an NHL statistics team has found and fixed more than 6,000 bits of information that were overlooked or misregistered in the league's early eras.

Among the finds was an assist on a Toe Blake goal at 10:15 of the second period of a 6-5 Boston Bruins victory over Montreal on Nov. 4, 1945, during a time when the Punch Line of Richard, Blake and Elmer Lach was terrorizing the league....

Finding little gems of information like the Richard assist was one product of a massive undertaking to update and modernize the league database, which is to be re-launched this week.

NHL head statistician Benny Ercolani said fact-checking alone, such as adding one more game played to Ron Stackhouse's total, took two and half years.

"Six thousand little corrections isn't that high when you consider how many games were entered,'' he said. "It sounds like a big number, but it's from 1917-18 to 1986-87.''

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: maurice+richard

Jeff Blashill Post-Practice Update

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

 

more Khan...

Blashill said Ryan Sproul (off season ACL surgery) will make preseason debut tomorrow.

Blashill said he hopes Zetterberg, Abdelkader will play one preseason game later in week and Kronwall hopefully two.

Ted Kulfan tweet,

Says Rasmussen and Cholowski have earned longer stays in camp with their play.

added 3:08pm, video of Blashill after practice is below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Statement From The Pittsburgh Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships – touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year.

Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.

added 3:07pm,

 

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

Frk’s Night

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Frk showed off his booming shot in the Little Caesars Arena debut, blasting in the puck from the point for his second goal of the game. That capped the scoring in the Red Wings' 5-1 preseason victory over the Boston Bruins.

"I was glad I was going on that five-on-three," Frk said. "I didn't think I would go, I was a little bit nervous on the bench when Blash called my name, but guys always told me just shoot the puck. I did it and it went in and I was happy."...

"It's a good shot, eh? He's got a weapon, it's a flat-out weapon," Blashill said. "I thought he really found his comfort level in the second, especially on the power play. I thought he was much more confident and comfortable.

"When he hits the net, one of two things happens -- it's either a great rebound chance or it's in the net. It's as good a shot as there is out there, I believe, so he did the things he needs to do to show he wants the job."

more

Watch Frk's 2nd goal of the game below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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