Kukla's Korner

Talking deadline trades or the lack thereof

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

My involuntary hiatus has continued due to a medication change, but I've been thinking about the Wings as much as I usually think about the Wings--most of the time--and the more I look at TSN's Darren Dreger's list of trade deadline targets, the Myerses and Yandles, Petrys and Michaleks included, and the Greens, Sekeras, and Zidlickys...

And then I weigh the cost of adding said players against the Red Wings' current stable of on-the-roster Xavier Ouellet, then Alexey Marchenko, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul in Grand Rapids, the steps forward that Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith and even Kyle Quincey have made in Detroit...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

At The All-Star Break

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of The Buffalo News,

The lack of drama in the East was just one note from the first half. Here are others:

• Los Angeles hit the break outside of a playoff spot. Is a king-sized Stanley Cup hangover finally hitting L.A.?

Not really. The Kings certainly can play better, but they’d be in a postseason position if they could win when the games get past regulation. L.A. has a league-worst 12 overtime losses, including their 1-7 record in shootouts.

• The Toronto Maple Leafs are a mess. They’ve gone through one coach, and the team is struggling to adapt to the defense-first plan of interim coach Peter Horachek. The Leafs have lost six straight and 14 of the last 16.

“What do we have to do, slay a dragon?” exasperated forward Phil Kessel said.

• Detroit is second in the Atlantic Division, one point behind Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay. The Red Wings have won five straight and are 13 points better than were at this point last season. The surprising part is they’ve gotten better with little roster turnover.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The NHL and NHLPA announced that the World Cup of Hockey will return in September 2016 in Toronto, Canada, where eight teams, comprised of the world’s best hockey players, will compete in a best-on-best international hockey tournament.
The World Cup of Hockey is a joint effort of the NHL and NHLPA, in cooperation with the IIHF. It is expected that more than 150 of the best players in the NHL will participate in the tournament.
The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, with each competing in three tournament games (within their assigned group) in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in each group will advance to a single-game semifinal against a team from the other group. Winners of the semifinal games will advance to a best-of-three final round.
All tournament games (round-robin, semifinal and final) will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 – Oct. 1, 2016.
Click here for complete details.

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

Grabbing The Deep Data

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The NHL and Sportvision announced on Saturday a partnership to revolutionize the collection of data in the game of hockey.

With tracking chips implanted into pucks and the back of players' jerseys, Sportvision will be able to gather previously unattainable data from all over the ice by using a series of infrared cameras placed around the arena that will read the chips. The location of each player and the puck, as well as the speed of the puck and each player are among the data that can be collected at a rate of 30 times per second.

"Hockey is an incredibly hard sport to follow," said Hank Adams, the CEO of Sportvision. "It is very dynamic. It is very fast. Players change shifts dynamically during the game. You have guys coming on and off the ice, and fans at home can't see that. With this technology, we can very simply tell fans who has come on, who has come off, how long their shift was. It can be very simple storylines like that, or very complex storylines; when you collect this data over a long period of time, you can really start helping fans understand the game better and maybe even help coaches understand the game better. What happens with the penalty kill against a power play in certain formations. We can start mining this very deep data."


Below,watch Sportsvision in action at the NHL All-Star Skills Event last night..

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Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sportsvision

The Future Looks Very Bright For Vladimir Tarasenko

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In his third NHL season, the Russian right winger has become the Blues’ go-to player. His 24 goals, which rank fifth in the league, include four game-winners and five that were either scored in overtime or the last 10 minutes of the third period when the difference in the score was one goal or less.

The Blues have not seen the likes of Tarasenko since Brett Hull roamed the rink in St. Louis. Tarasenko is on pace for 42 goals, a far cry from Hull’s career-high 86, but gone are those high-scoring days in the NHL and plus, he’s just getting started.

“He is unselfish, has a very high hockey IQ and has a cannon for a shot,” Hull said. “He’s going to be a star because of his skills.”

In 46 games this season, Tarasenko has already set personal bests in goals and points (47), the type of production that will see him, at just 23 years old, play in his first All-Star Game Sunday at Nationwide Arena.

Surveying everyone from fellow NHL stars to league scouts, Tarasenko’s trajectory is one that many believe will continue trending upward.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vladimir+tarasenko

“Smallness” On The Big Stage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

The smallness — you can call it quaint, if you’d like — of the National Hockey League became apparent once again with the naming of Nick Foligno as a captain for the NHL all-star game.

Like anyone really considers Foligno to be a star player?

And in keeping with this theme of small-time Foligno went on to choose fellow Blue Jacket Ryan Johansen with the first pick in the all-star draft.

The captain of the all-star game should be on the big names of the sport. Sidney Crosby (before he pulled out, which he always seems to do), Steven Stamkos. Patrick Kane. P.K. Subban — who somehow was left off the all-star roster.

Nope, it’s Foligno. Son of Mike. Decent guy. Decent player. Who gets the nod to be undeserved captain, thus turning an apparent signature event into a local event.

The NHL comes off as more house league than major league in the way all-star weekend began. One last point unrelated: This is Crosby’s 10th NHL season. He is the face of the game. He has played in one all-star game. Can anyone explain?

more hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Low-Keyed New York Islanders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Arthur Staple of Newsday,

There has been no gloating by anyone on the Islanders. No finger-pointing at the many, many NHL media members who wrote off the team during last season's disappointment.

The closest that anyone, from general manager Garth Snow on down, will say publicly has been coach Jack Capuano's repeated line that "a lot of the people in this room didn't give us much of a chance to be where we are."

Despite being near or at the top of the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference for just about the entire season, the Isles seemingly would rather stay humble and hungry than remind people how mocked they've been in recent seasons.

It's the reason Snow has declined to speak about his team on numerous occasions when asked. All he would give is a response to one question: What do you want to see from your team in the final 36 games of the season and on into the playoffs?

"Wins," he said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Feeling Bad For Sergei Bobrovsky

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Micael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Some All-Stars, such as Sidney Crosby, suddenly get injured. Others, such as Brian Elliott, have no problem leaving a Caribbean isle when the call comes. The vast majority show up, do their bit for the sponsors, fill up recycling bins with plastic cups at the player draft and generally make a good time of it.

And then there is Sergei Bobrovsky. This game meant more to him than the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, or all of Latvia.

Bobrovsky was to make his first All-Star appearance Sunday night at Nationwide Arena, his building. Rarely do stars align like this for any player, anywhere. Never will they again for Bobrovsky. 

Bobrovsky’s father flew in from Siberia to witness another crowning moment for a son whose first set of pads were homemade. It was all so perfect. And everyone knew how it would end, with Nick Foligno throwing a bear hug on Bob in front of a standing-room crowd and an international television audience. 

It is not to be. A day before the All-Star break, Bobrovsky suffered an injured groin. He is a scratch — for another month, at least. There went the weekend.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+bobrovsky

The Importance Of Goaltending

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Want to know how important goaltending is? Last season, Rinne — Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s former backup in Finland — missed almost the entire season because of complications following hip surgery. The Predators not only missed the playoffs, but they had the fifth-worst save percentage (.902) in the NHL and allowed the eighth-most goals per game (2.84). Although he is injured right now, Rinne has been in net for 29 of Nashville’s 30 victories this season, recording a 1.96 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

There’s an adage credited to former coach Gene Ubriaco that in hockey, goaltending is 50 percent of the game — unless it’s bad goaltending. Then it’s 100 percent.

It doesn’t matter how much talent you think you have up and down your roster, if you don’t get the goaltending, nothing else matters.

As much confidence as Rinne gives the Predators — as Carey Price gives the Montreal Canadiens, as Jonathan Quick gives the Los Angeles Kings — if you don’t have trust in your goalies, you have one foot in the loss column before the game even starts.

When you don’t have to worry about your goaltending, you just play.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Talk On An Early Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Alex Tanguay appeared in only 16 games for the Avalanche last season because of knee and hip injuries. This season, the 35-year-old’s good health is showing in his game. Through 46 games (he missed two because of a jaw injury), Tanguay has 13 goals and 19 assists. The left wing is on pace to score 22 goals, a number he hasn’t hit since 2010-11 when he was with Calgary. Tanguay, who’s riding with fellow ex-Flame Jarome Iginla on Colorado’s second line, is skating like he’s 10 years younger. Because he’s moving well, Tanguay is separating himself from defenders well enough to use his terrific shot. Tanguay is signed through next season at $3.5 million annually. He would draw attention if Colorado made him available.

- If Jaroslav Halak follows his career history, he will get hurt or go into a slump. If that happens, the Islanders need Chad Johnson to find his game quickly. The ex-Bruin has an .870 save percentage through 13 appearances. That’s not even close to good enough.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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