Kukla's Korner

Duff: Are Holland and Blashill ‘on a short leash?’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff wonders aloud whether Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill are on a "short leash" after the failure that was the 2016-17 season:

Both Holland and Blashill will be on a short leash. The best guess is they’ve got one more year to get this thing turned around and back on track, or expect a blood-letting to follow.

Blashill is also halfway through the four-year deal he signed with the Wings in 2015, and with the costs of opening a new arena, perhaps the Wings weren’t anxious to eat the rest of the pact.

Holland, on the other hand, is entering the last year of his deal with the team, so time could be of the essence for him to show he’s still got what it takes to fix this mess.

Truth be told, the District Detroit development and the new Little Caesars Arena likely saved the hide of both men. The Wings know they can buy at least one season of time, and even if (when?) the team stinks again next season, people will still pack the place to check out all the bells and whistles that the new place has to offer. And with all the work still to be done on that front, perhaps launching a search for a new coach and/or a new GM wasn’t something ownership wanted to add to their plate.

Or it could be as simple as that after a quarter century of playoff appearances, management was given a Mulligan.

Duff continues, noting that assistant coaches may take the fall for Holland or Blashill this season. Given that Dave Noel-Bernier, the team's video coordinator, already has another job might be indicative of more changes to come along Blashill's shoulders.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Rebuild Is Underway In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet,

It’s a term the Canucks have shied away from the past two playoff-less seasons. These days, “rebuild” goes hand-in-hand with “tanking,” which is something the Canucks don’t believe they need to do for their fortunes to turn around. It’s not an option as the Sedin twins come to the end of their careers.

“I don’t know how I walk into the room and tell these guys, ‘Strip it down.’ I’m not sure it’s fair to these guys. There’s different circumstances, be it in Toronto or Carolina or Vancouver, that require different routes. It’s not perfect, but I’m encouraged by the young players we’ve introduced, and we’ve got some young prospects,” Linden told Sportsnet’s Luke Fox in a wide-ranging interview from December 2016.

But after finishing as one of the NHL’s bottom three teams for the second year in a row, leading to the hiring of rookie NHL head coach Travis Green this week, Linden finally admitted this is, indeed, a rebuild.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Open Post- The Second Round Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs Starts Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The comment section is yours, use it if you chose.

My picks to win tonight are Nashville and Anaheim.

Nashville @ St. Louis, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Edmonton @ Anaheim, Game 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN, TVAS

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your Jack Adams Award Finalists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 26, 2017) – Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan is one of three finalists named today for the 2016-17 Jack Adams Award, presented to the head coach who has "contributed the most to his team's success." The National Hockey League announced the finalists for the award today. Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets are the other finalists.

Members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association submitted ballots for the Jack Adams Award at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Following are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Time For You To Make Your Picks For Round Two Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

update 5:50pm on 4/26/17, sticky has been removed and the original post was made on 4/24/17 at 9:45am.

Most of you know the drill, pick the winner of each second round series and add anything you wish to your comment.

The matchups are below and this post will remain sticky until Wednesday at 6pm ET.

If you want to review your first round picks (I went 4-4), do so here.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Before The Puck Drops On The Second Round

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cullen of TSN,

Scott Cullen has 86 points to make before the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

1.    Starting with the 2006-2007 season, when Anaheim won the Stanley Cup, Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf has put up 97 points in his last 92 playoff games. He’s going to be a handful for the Oilers defence.

2.    There was a lot of talk about Marc-Edouard Vlasicgetting matched against Oilers C Connor McDavid in the first round, but it will be at least as interesting to see how Ducks D Hampus Lindholmhandles that matchup in the second round. In 52:48 against Lindholm over the past two seasons, McDavid has a 54.9 CF%, but just one goal and no assists, with 2.27 GF60 notably lower than McDavid’s standard of 3.47 GF60.

3.    The expectation is also that Ryan Kesler’s line will be taking on McDavid. Kesler had team-worst possession stats (38.4 CF%) against Calgary in Round One, but no forward has seen McDavid more over the past two seasons than Kesler, who has played 77:10 against No. 97.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

‘Three Things’ (more or less): the Griffins’ Game-Day Preview video and Tweets and videos of note

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Grand Rapids Griffins and Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Griffins' Game-Day Preview ahead of Game 3 of the Griffins-Milwaukee Admirals series, which starts at 8 PM EDT on the AHL Live and ESPN 96.1:

2. If you're interested, Red WIngs GM Ken Holland will be speaking at Cleary University on May 4th:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Twitter Time With Helene St. James

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

Helene St. James answered a few Twitter questions today..

One of them was basically was 'any major moves coming?'

Beyond goaltending, I think they will try to move a forward or two, because of the expansion draft. Riley Sheahan drew interest at the trade deadline – but as dry as he was this season, he’s a big guy to have at center. Luke Glendening might draw interest from Toronto, as he was a favorite of Mike Babcock’s. Gustav Nyquist had 30 points his last 35 games. The Wings should be able to put together a good package as they try for that upgrade on defense. And come July 1, they will pursue Thomas Vanek if he’s available.

more Q & A...

The key word was major!

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

A Very Candid Nikita Kucherov

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

Lightning star wing Nikita Kucherov delivered some pointed and strong criticism on his teammates and coaches Wednesday.

Kucherov, preparing to play for Russia at the World Championships, told Sovietsky Sport that some teammates "overstayed" with team, "got their money and stopped working." Kucherov also wondered why the team's lines were changed like a "kaleidoscope."

"Some guys overstayed in team," Kucherov told Sovietsy Sport, per translation. "They've got their money and stopped working. They knew there's no competition for their positions and the organization is not going to take someone else. They played not really well this year. You can see it in their stats and way of play. When we played together and I made a pass, they even were not expecting this. That's why this season was hard for me despite good stats."

continued which includes more from Kucherov...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikita+kucherov

The St. Louis Blues Need To Take Advantage Of Home Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy Rutherford and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In the past two years, the Blues' combined postseason record is 5-7 at home and 9-4 on the road. They are 1-1 at home and 3-0 on the road this season, after going 4-6 at home and 6-4 on the road last year.

"Especially when you have home ice, you want to win your home games," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "It's one of those things, late in the year, we've played well on the road, won some games. We feel comfortable playing wherever. If there's something to improve, our home record could be a little better. In the first round, did we win one at home? That's a pretty small sample size though. You prepare like anything else. You want to win the games and take advantage of home ice."

Blues coach Mike Yeo obviously wasn't around last season, and said he doesn't have an opinion on it, but did say "looking at our play on the road, we're going into tough buildings, and I think there's an understanding of how we have to play the game and make sure that doesn't change when play at home. That's part of the challenge. It's the beauty of the game is how you prepare and how you get ready for your opponent and I think watching what (Nashville) did in round one makes it pretty easy for us in terms of our preparation and how we have to approach how we handle them."

In sweeping Chicago, Nashville won Game Nos. 1-2 at United Center by a combined score of 6-0. Goalie Pekka Rinne made 59 saves in the back-to-back shutouts for the Predators.

Rinne said Wednesday that the Preds will try to bring some of that confidence they gained from winning in Chicago to St. Louis.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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