Kukla's Korner

Cory Sarich Slowly Recovering From Bike Accident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,

Sarich had gone out for a morning ride on July 21, taking his hybrid bike along Windermere Loop Road — a challenging, 40-minute training session on a quiet road.

He approached a descent and spotted an oncoming grey Ford F-350 Ford truck. The driver made a left-hand turn in front of him without signalling. Sarich used his brakes and tried to stay in control of his bike but skidded and ended up sliding underneath the vehicle on his stomach.

The driver’s right rear tire had driven over his back, nearly crushing his body. Sarich suffered five cracked vertebrae, burns on his shoulder and wrist from the truck’s muffler, a swollen left arm and leg, a large laceration on his head, and a serious case of road rash.

Shaken, shocked and bleeding extensively, Sarich still managed to stand up and called for help.

“The first thing in my mind was, ‘I’m not going to die here right now, so let’s get this thing moving,'” recalled the Saskatoon native, who was drafted 27th overall in the 1996 NHL entry draft. “I wasn’t sure of the severity of my injuries. I’d worn off all the ends of my fingertips. I was bleeding from everywhere, I had so much road rash.

“My helmet was busted up in probably seven or more pieces. It was just in pieces hanging by the chinstrap and was actually choking me, so good thing I had that on because it helped in saving my life.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cory+sarich

Anahim Lake Honors Carey Price

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from  Caitlin Thompson of the Coast Mountain News,

The gymnasium of the Anahim Lake School was packed last week as community members turned out to honour one of their own: superstar NHL goalie Carey Price.

In town to promote his new role as First Nations Ambassador for the Breakfast Club of Canada, Price was excitedly received by his biggest fans: the Ulkatcho community.

Price’s remarkable story is well known by now. Of both Ulkatcho and Nuxalk descent, Price was raised on the ice of Anahim Lake, which was little more than backyard creeks and outdoor rinks, with his goalie father always by his side.

“It was just me and my dad a lot of the time,” Price said. “We would spend hours out on the creeks, in the cold.”

At age nine his dad decided he should join a team, so they made the nearly 700-kilometre round trip to Williams Lake a few times a week. It got so taxing that Price’s father Jerry, who had his pilot’s license, bought a small plane and the commute was cut to a more reasonable 45 minutes.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price

Questions Facing The Arizona Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Davis Harper of NHL.com,

How much stronger are Arizona's bottom-six forwards? -- This summer the Coyotes acquired Joe Vitale and B.J. Crombeen, two disciplined and physical forwards, to anchor the fourth line. Antoine Vermette, entering the final year of his contract, looks likely to move down to third-line center where he can display his faceoff and forecheck abilities. In all, the additions should help Arizona roll four lines in an unforgiving Pacific Division and Western Conference.

"When you've got players like [Anze] Kopitar, [Ryan] Getzlaf, [Joe] Thornton, players who can exploit you, we need players who can play against them even if they are third- or fourth-line players," Tippett said. "That's what's going to keep us competitive in our division."

Can Mike Smith recover his 2011-12 form? -- If Arizona wants to return to the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup, there is perhaps no more important player on the roster than Smith. The goaltender proved this in 2011-12, when he sparked a run to the Western Conference Final. Smith's past two seasons, however, have been marked by inconsistency. After signing a six-year, $34 million contract last summer, Smith allowed 2.64 goals-per-game and had a .915 save percentage.

"Last year I think he was coming off a big contract and put a lot of pressure on himself with the Olympics and all of the above there," Tippett said of Smith's season. "Speaking with him this summer, he just seems like a more relaxed player. He understands his role, and I expect Smitty to have a wonderful year this year."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: On Pulkkinen, Jurco and good and bad prospect news

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings players are slowly but surely filtering back into town, and within a day or two, they'll be spotted skating informally in Troy as well as closer to the Joe, but for the present moment, Tomas Tatar's autograph-signing in Bratslava this Thursday's the closest thing we'll get to a "media availability" until the post-Labor Day practices begin.

Until Pro Hockey Talk's "Red Wings Day" begins, quite frankly, its a "slow morning." We won't have many more of 'em.

The Wings posited an author-less article which focuses upon Teemu Pulkkinen's successful North American pro debut:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas getting to know NHL business, cautions against ‘magic formulas’

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

According to the Toronto Star's Mark Zwolinski, new Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas is working very hard to learn the ropes in Toronto...

“It’s been a busy summer,” said the new assistant GM. “It’s been an interesting time to come in. In a way it worked out perfectly in that August is a quiet month in the NHL, and it let me get my feet under me. Get to know Brendan (Shanahan, the team president) and Dave (Nonis, the general manager).”

Dubas has spent the majority of his time this summer rounding out the Marlies staff, signing a few players, getting ready for training camp next month, finishing an ECHL agreement with Orlando as well as scouting Canada’s under-18 camp.

“It’s getting a sense of what everybody is doing,” said Dubas. “What each department is doing. Following the guidance of Dave and Brendan.”

And Dubas also has this to say about the "fancy stats" business:

“Hockey is behind other sports for a number of reasons, including the nature of the sport,” said Dubas. “There’s a lot of people that seem to me to be rushing the magic formula and how it all works. A lot of people are trying to sell that.

“The key for me is, if you rush, you’re going to be chasing down a rabbit hole, not really knowing what you’re looking for. We’ve got to determine how we’re going to go about that, how we’re going to develop it internally and not have to outsource that.”

Zwolinski continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan, dave+nonis, kyle+dubas, toronto+maple+leafs

Expansion fervor outpaces economic realities, especially in Las Vegas

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

I (hi, it's George) was going to leave this one for the morning and the boss to deal with, but I'm captain cold bucket of water during non-charitable-challenge time, so here goes:

As Paul noted, the Vancouver Province's Tony Gallagher insists that the NHL expanding to Las Vegas is a "done deal," even if there is no NHL-serviceable rink there as of yet (the Fourth Period's David Pagnotta will fill you in on the inevitability of expansion sooner than later and AEG and MGM Casinos' soon-to-be-built sports facility on the Vegas Strp), even though the Las Vegas Wranglers have folded for the time being and even though three intrepid scribes from the Las Vegas Sun have pointed out that Las Vegas' population (approximate "metro area" of 1.9 million people), TV ratings (or the lack thereof), population working nontraditional hours and the whole Vegas-is-still-recovering-from-the-recession thing all stand as very real roadblocks to any professional sports franchise thriving, for the present moment or any time soon in Vegas.

Then Sports Illustrated's wire posts this:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Latest Expansion Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

It wasn’t very long ago that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was treating talk of expansion as though he was being asked if he’d like an epidemic of Ebola.

But recently the nature of the rhetoric has changed so much that the question is becoming not if, but when.

And then the ultimate question. Will they be able to limit the number of new teams to just two?

Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.

And given how dead set against a team in the gambling haven the commissioner was 10 years ago, this move into another player friendly state-tax-free zone represents a considerable about-face indeed.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Whalers to hold open scrimmages on Wednesday, Thursday

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Update: Times edited!

In case you're getting itchy to watch some hockey, from the Plymouth Whalers:

It's an optimistic time of year as all Ontario Hockey League teams start training camp this week in preparation for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

The Plymouth Whalers skate in scrimmages on Wednesday from 9-11 am and 2-4 pm and Thursday from 9-11 am. The scrimmages are free and open to the public.

34 players are scheduled to participate in the scrimmages, including new players Sonny Milano, Mathew Campagna, Will Bitten (first round pick, 2014) and Nicholas Caamano (second round pick, 2014).  Plymouth has seven National Hockey League drafts in camp, including Milano (Columbus), Alex Nedeljkovic and Josh Wesley (Carolina), Connor Chatham (New Jersey), Alex Peters (Dallas), Matt Mistele (Los Angeles) and Victor Crus Rydberg (New York islanders).

Rosters will be provided at the scrimmages.

After practicing on Friday, the Whalers start the preseason on Saturday at 2 pm at Compuware Arena against the Windsor Spitfires.  The game is called “Play it Forward for Bieniewicz”,  with 100 percent of the proceeds in the game benefit the John Bieniewicz Foundation and C.O.P.S. MI (Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors) Chapter.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings mid-day mishsmash: from prospect tournament and charitable news to videos and ‘outlooks’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 2x at 3:43 PM: This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related stories and catch-up stuff (just getting over the damn sinus infection) fall into bullet-point category more than anything else, so:

  • The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau revealed the New York Rangers' prospect tournament roster, and we should find out the remaining seven teams' rosters over the the next seven to ten days (given that the prospect tournament begins on Friday, September 12th);

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Patrick Kane Or Phil Kessel?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

Kessel will turn 27 in October, while Kane hits 26 in November. Which player would you consider a bigger gift to your team?

The case for Kane: In addition to his sublime skills, Kane loves the spotlight. The guy is a star, pure and simple, a fact exemplified by his Cup-winning goal in 2010 and his Conn Smythe performance in 2013. On the ice, his playmaking and vision are what really set Kane apart. Just seven NHLers have registered more total assists than Kane since he entered the league in 2007–08 and only three of those players—Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marty St. Louis—also have more goals. The Buffalo native may possess the softest hands on earth and when you combine that with the audacity to attempt ridiculous plays, you get things like his shootout winner against poor Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild. A born showman with talent to match; sometimes Kane makes it seem like things just aren’t fair.

The case for Kessel: It really starts during the 2011–12 campaign, when Kessel became the point-per-game player he’s been for the past three seasons. He also hasn’t missed a game since the beginning of the 2009–10 season, his first year with Toronto. That ability to avoid injury contributes to Kessel’s standing as one of the surest things in the league. With the Leafs the past few years, you’ve really never known what might happen from one moment to the next. But the one thing you could count on was Kessel showing up to the rink, skating really fast down the right side of the ice and firing deadly wrist shots to all parts of the net. In the past three seasons, the list of guys who’ve scored more total goals than “Phil the Thrill” is limited to Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry....

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+kane, phil+kessel

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