Kukla's Korner

To Trade Or Not

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Holland indicted last week only rentals (players who will be unrestricted free agents after the season) figure to be in play.

Here is a look at some Red Wings trade possibilities, a couple who are certain to be moved and why others likely will not be dealt.

Thomas Vanek

Staying or going? He has had a good bounce-back season after two disappointing years in Minnesota, leading the Red Wings in goals. He is certain to be dealt as a rental. Several teams could use his offense, including the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings should be able to get multiple picks for him, if not a first-round selection then at least one second-rounder with perhaps a mid-round choice or a prospect.

Brendan Smith

Staying or going? He is likely to be traded as a rental. If the Red Wings wanted to sign him to an extension they probably would have started the process much sooner. He will probably fetch a mid-round pick since Mike Stone, a somewhat comparable player, was dealt from Arizona to Calgary for a third-rounder and a conditional fifth. Smith is a good skater with some offensive upside, but hasn’t developed like the club expected after selecting him in the first round in 2007 (27th overall). Pittsburgh appears to be one of several teams interested, as depth defensemen are usually in demand at the deadline.

more on Vanek and Smith plus other names mentioned...

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Penguins Need A Defenseman Or Two

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Let’s start with the injury situation on defense, which seems to be what a lot of people are talking about after this one.

Trevor Daley left with a lower-body injury late in the first period. Mike Sullivan said he’ll be evaluated once the team returns to Pittsburgh. He also said he’s “hopeful with Trevor that it won’t be anything significant,” so this might not be as serious a blow as the injuries to Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz were.

However long Daley is out, the path going forward seems pretty clear to me.

In the short term, Cameron Gaunce, who was a healthy scratch tonight, draws into the lineup. David Warsofsky or Derrick Pouliot could come up from Wilkes-Barre. The well of depth defensemen has not yet run dry.

In the longer term, Jim Rutherford has to go get a couple of defensemen before the trade deadline in a week.

That’s not a revelation. He might have done that even if nobody got hurt. He knows how quickly a couple of injuries can wreck a team’s blue line. He’s not going to get caught shorthanded.

The only question is whether we’re talking about a draft-pick-for-a-rental type deal or a bigger move involving more players with significant cap hits. My guess is the former, since there are so many moving pieces involved with making the latter work, but you could go broke trying to bet on what Rutherford’s going to do at times in his career. This is no different.

more on the Penguins...

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

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Edmonton 4, FLORIDA 3
Washington 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
ANAHEIM 5, Boston 3

CAPITALS DEFEAT FLYERS FOR LEAGUE-LEADING 40TH WIN
Evgeny Kuznetsov (2-0—2), Nicklas Backstrom (1-1—2) and T.J. Oshie (1-1—2) each found the back of the net as the League-leading Capitals became the first team to reach the 40-win mark in 2016-17.

* Elias notes that Washington (40-12-7, 87 points), who played their 59th game on Wednesday, reached 40 wins in fewer than 60 games for the third time in franchise history. The other such instances came in 2009-10 (58 GP) and 2015-16 (53 GP), when the Capitals became the fastest team – in terms of games played – in NHL history to reach the 40-win milestone.

Braden Holtby (30-8-5) earned his 30th win of the season and improved to 15-0-2 in his past 17 decisions. Elias notes that Holtby’s current run of consecutive decisions with a point is the third-longest such stretch by a goaltender in Capitals history, behind a 23-decision run by Jose Theodore in 2009-10 (20-0-3) and his own 22-decision stretch 2015-16 (20-0-2).
 
* Holtby now leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.99) and shutouts (7; tied) and ranks second in save percentage (.927) among goaltenders with at least 25 games played, behind Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk (.933).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A bit more about the ‘Celebration of Life’ ceremony for Mr. I

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As noted this afternoon, the "Celebration of Life" ceremony for Mike Ilitch included comments from Ken Holland, Mickey Redmond, Mitch Albom and President George W. Bush, and Fox 2 Detroit posted a video report about the ceremony and President Bush's remarks:

The Detroit News and Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea also covered the ceremony.

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Discussing the trade deadline and ‘tanking’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening (and boy, is it disparate stuff):

1. Paul was kind enough to post Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts as they related to the Red Wings this evening, but you might guess that I have some "thoughts" of my own. I think it might be most appropriate to utilize the Free Press's Helene St. James' suggestions as to the Red Wings' post-"Bye Week" plans--to quote St. James, "Start selling, and then start losing"--as a plot device:

The Wings have two unrestricted free agents who should garner interest in forward Thomas Vanek and defenseman Brendan Smith. Both become unrestricted free agents this summer.

General manager Ken Holland has talked to half of his NHL colleagues over the past few days, with a handful more calls to come in the coming days. If a good offer emerges for Vanek – say a first-round pick, high-end prospect, or two second-round picks, expect Vanek to have a new home soon. Holland has talked to Vanek’s agent, and there is interest on both sides in Vanek being brought back this summer, as he has been more than the Wings hoped for when they signed him last July for one season at $2.6 million.

Smith should attract interest because teams eyeing a Stanley Cup run always are eager for defensive depth, and Smith is mobile and plays with an edge. It’s possible there could be inquiries about Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, too, from teams looking for scoring depth.

The uglier side of deciding the playoffs are out of reach is realizing it's better to finish as low as possible (the Wings are currently 26th in the league, and Colorado and Arizona have a good lead on finishing in the bottom two spots).

St. James continues, and, put bluntly:

Continue Reading »

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Open For Business

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

Heard through the gossip line that a few teams had reached out to Detroit about Andreas Athanasiou when there were some battles over his ice time. Red Wings GM Ken Holland wouldn’t comment, but another team indicated he told them not to even bother asking unless “a 22-year-old top-pair defenceman” was part of the conversation. The Wings have told clubs they are “open for business,” but won’t consider moving any of their young offensive cornerstones unless that kind of player is potentially available. My sense is the same goes for Petr Mrazek. Thomas Vanek likely goes (and could come back in the summer). They will discuss re-signing Brendan Smith in the next few days before a decision on trading him.

more Wings talk, specifically Mike Green...

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Wednesday Evening Hockey Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- Heard through the gossip line that a few teams had reached out to Detroit about Andreas Athanasiou when there were some battles over his ice time. Red Wings GM Ken Holland wouldn’t comment, but another team indicated he told them not to even bother asking unless “a 22-year-old top-pair defenceman” was part of the conversation. The Wings have told clubs they are “open for business,” but won’t consider moving any of their young offensive cornerstones unless that kind of player is potentially available. My sense is the same goes for Petr Mrazek. Thomas Vanek likely goes (and could come back in the summer). They will discuss re-signing Brendan Smith in the next few days before a decision on trading him.

- I’m also not certain Detroit will trade Mike Green. He’s got one year to go on his contract, and they need offence from the defence. He delivers. In fact, it’s possible they discuss a short extension, as he’s eligible for a new deal on July 1.

- Thought Patrick Eaves would be a perfect fit to re-sign in Dallas, but word is there have been no talks. So he’s going somewhere. Like Vanek, that doesn’t preclude a reunion later on. Get your asset and “see you in July,” maybe.

- Most-watched body part: Johnny Oduya’s ankle. There is a lot of respect around the league for the defenceman’s game, and, in a perfect world, he’d be an easy pickup for a contender. But, some GMs are leery of his injury, which knocked him out of the lineup in mid-January. Ankles are problematic things.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Fox Sports Detroit posts Mickey Redmond, Ken Holland’s tributes to Mr. Ilitch

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Ilitch companies' ceremony honoring Mike Ilitch's lifetime was well thought-out and superbly executed, and the event held at the Fox Theatre included two tributes to Mr. Ilitch from members of the Red Wings organization, as posted on Fox Sports Detroit's YouTube channel:

 

Fox Sports Detroit also posted videos of Mitch Albom, President George W. Bush and Little Caesars CEO David Scrivano's comments about Mr. Ilitch.

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‘Celebration of Life in Honor of Mike Ilitch’ live stream

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Fox Sports Detroit is airing the "Celebration of Life in Honor of Mike Ilitch" from the Fox Theatre today at 2 PM, and the Red Wings are streaming the event as well:

Continue Reading »

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Afternoon news: On the ‘Bye Week,’ Jimmy Howard and Brendan Smith

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Red Wings head into both an unknown in approaching the trade deadline as an organization, and as a team and coaching staff, the 5-day break from practices and games present unique challenges to the players and coach, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted:

As much as the time off is nice, it’s easy for teams to lose their edge, and it’s not easy to recapture that physical and mental state needed to play sharp hockey.

“You come off the break, and other teams are still in training, and it’s hard to get back in it,” forward Tomas Tatar said. “Everybody has to stay ready during the break and focus and do something extra, something to keep your pace and that’s what we have to do.”

What makes coming off the bye for the Red Wings even a bit more challenging is the fact they will be traveling to the West Coast, and battle with the time change on top of everything else.

“It’s going to be a tough stretch for us,” Tatar said. “But we have to be ready.”

Continue Reading »

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