Kukla's Korner

Red Wings morning news: on Hicketts, Ferraro, Nyquist and a kind-of-sort-of Wings-Hawks preview

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings will take to the ice at Centre Ice Arena for one last time this morning (pre-game skate from 10:30-11:15 AM; non-game-day-player skate from 11:30-12:15 [or later?]) ahead of tonight's exhibition game in Chicago (8:30 PM EDT on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 FM in Chicago, "alternate means" for the rest of us; sorry for listing the start as 8 PM earlier).

Hopefully we'll find out good news regarding Pavel Datsyuk, who suffered some sort of shoulder injury in the Wings' 2-1 exhibition win over Pittsburgh last night.

The other "intrigue" (if you can call it that) involves the status of Wings camp try-out Joe Hicketts and whether the Wings have signed him to an entry-level contract (he's apparently got to be either signed by the time the NHL season begins or he goes back into the draft next June). He didn't practice with the team yesterday, and the Victoria Times-Colonist's Cleve Dheensaw reports that the Victoria Cougars expect the 18-year-old back in the WHL either way:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Moulson 33rd On TSN’s Top Scorers List

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

If the prediction of one major media outlet is true, the Sabres will have only one player with more than 50 points this season.

TSN has released its 2014-15 Top 300 Projected Scorers list, and Matt Moulson tops all Sabres with 27 goals and 63 points.  That ranks him 33rd and much better than the next highest rated Sabre, Tyler Ennis (20 goals, 49 points) at 96th.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: "tsn+fantasy+hockey", matt+moulson, tsn+top+projected+scorers

Vinny Lecavalier Wants To Forget Last Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

In his first year with the Flyers, after signing a five-year deal for $22.5 million, Lecavalier managed 20 goals but just 37 points after 14 mostly productive seasons with Tampa Bay.

"It's easy to look back and make excuses, but whatever happened, happened," Lecavalier said before he scored one of the Flyers' four power-play goals as their split-squad team beat Washington, 5-4, Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I was put on left wing and I should have been better. It was the first time I ever played that position, but at the same time, you have to try to adapt quicker. Obviously, I didn't. But now's a new year and I want to move on from last year. Right now, I'm in the middle and I'm very comfortable there. It's just more natural for me."

Lecavalier centered right winger R.J. Umberger and left winger Petr Straka on Monday. When the regular season opens in Boston on Oct. 8, there's a good chance that Michael Raffl will replace Straka on that line.

"I'd be really happy" if the line ends up that way, said Lecavalier, who has 403 career goals and will get strong Hall of Fame consideration when he retires. "I think we're three big bodies, and I think there's some chemistry there."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

Both Sides Are Right In The Ryan Johansen Contract Negotiations

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Ryan Johansen is a star-quality player. He is, as his agent is wont to say, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound No. 1 center. Last season, Johansen had more goals (33) than all but three other centers (Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin and Sidney Crosby). He had more points than all but 16 other centers. He is defensively responsible and physically intimidating. He is a rare player, already, at age 22.

Essentially, this is the case being made by Johansen and his militant agent, Kurt Overhardt. If Johansen accepts a contract worth $3 million a year, it would represent 4.3 percent of a $69 million team payroll. They argue that he is more than 4.3 percent of the Blue Jackets.

And they are right.

The Blue Jackets are holding the collective bargaining agreement above their heads and saying that Johansen, as a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights, has no leverage. They are referencing Johansen’s body of work over his first three seasons — and his pedestrian, Derek Brassard-like numbers over that span — and they are saying, “Prove yourself in the short term and there is a blank check waiting for you long-term. That is the system.”

And they are right.

Rock, meet hard place, and add pressure.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen

Ryan Miller On Goaltending Pressure

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

... how Miller plays in this marketplace as the starter and another key face of the franchise will become a daily obsession. However, strong beliefs in how he should attack the position and the attention that’s going to afford are nothing new.

“That’s anywhere, honestly,” Miller said Monday.

“A lot has been made of it here and that’s because there are passionate fans. When you go to any NHL city and you talk about goaltending, it’s all the same. I was compared to Dominik Hasek my entire career and there was always that shadow in the background because he was one of the greatest goalies ever, and you have to live up to that.

“People constantly compare you and they want to see you play to that level. And when you don’t, it’s: ‘Dom was better.’ You just do the best you can. It’s the same in any NHL city and you guys don’t have a monopoly on that here — sorry. You’re under the microscope everywhere.”

Despite going 2-4 with the St. Louis Blues in the postseason with a 2.70 goals-against average and .897 saves percentage after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres,

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+miller

Mikael Backlund’s Abdominal Strain A Concern For The Calgary Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,

Turns out, Mikael Backlund’s injury could be more serious than originally thought.

The 25-year-old centreman has been dealing with an abdominal strain he suffered during the final few weeks of training in Sweden before the Calgary Flames 2014-15 training camp. And although he’s been listed as day-to-day, Backlund has been missing from on-ice sessions since the beginning of training camp,

“I don’t have any news to tell you,” reported Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley when asked about the pivot’s absence from the ice over the past few days. “But I’m worried . . . he’s still not on the ice.”

Not a good sign, especially so early on and especially based on the strides he made last season, becoming one of Calgary’s most reliable pivots.

continue for more on the Flames...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mikael+backlund

Too Much Training?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin. Drew Doughty. Claude Giroux. Nathan Horton. Tyler Bozak. David Clarkson. Jonathan Drouin. We’ve barely started and they’re already missing. They aren’t the only ones.

It’s hard to know how similar each case really is, because Obama isn’t as protected as NHL injury information. But, one thing is for certain, teams are beginning to wonder if off-season training is a bigger injury factor than they realize.

“It can be very hard to identify who guys are training with,” said Anthony Belza, Toronto’s strength and conditioning coach. (He would not specifically discuss Bozak or Clarkson.) “It’s important to ask questions about their routines, what they are doing.”

What concerns you?

“Anything to do with quantity over quality,” he replied. Belza and his contemporaries are asking more questions now: Are our guys getting enough post-season rest? How much are they working out? How much are they lifting? And, are they doing things that don’t help you with hockey?

continued plus 30 Thoughts....

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Previewing The Detroit Red Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

The Red Wings didn't make any splashes this offseason, but Holland's optimism for a 24th consecutive trip to the playoffs stems from what his team did last season despite the injuries.

"If you look at our '13-14 season, for the most part we got a half a season out of [Darren] Helm, a half a season out of [Jonathan] Ericsson, a half a season out of [Johan] Franzen, a half a season out of [Pavel] Datsyuk, a half a season out of [Henrik] Zetterberg and less than a half a season out of [Stephen] Weiss," Holland said.

"Certainly I understand injuries are a part of the program, and we've been hit hard here the last two years, but we qualified for the playoffs both years where 19 teams have missed the playoffs at least once in the last two years. It's not like we've knocked it out of the park, but we've played our way in."

The Red Wings played their way in last season on the backs of players coach Mike Babcock still calls "kids" even though they're between 22 and 25 years old.

Gustav Nyquist, who is 25, scored 28 goals in 57 games, including 12 goals on 30 shots in a 10-game span from March 16-April 2.

"It felt like everything was going in at the time," Nyquist said.

read on

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Wings-Penguins preseason wrap-up and overnight report: crossing Datsyukian fingers

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I guess this might qualify as good news, per Pavel Datsyuk's Facebok page (via Kyle McIlmurray)...

Good game! Did you watch?

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari...

Because the news after the Red Wings' exhibition-season-opening 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins read as this report from MLive's Brendan Savage does...

Datsyuk, who drew an assist on Tatar's goal, did not finish the game. He went to the dressing room under his own power late in the third period after taking a big hit from Rob Scuderi.

A Red Wings spokesman said Datsyuk had a shoulder injury and will be re-evaluated Tuesday.

Darren Helm also emerged from the game with a black eye and gauzed-up nostril due to a high stick, and somehow, Ryan Sproul wasn't injured in this hit from Robert Bortuzzo, as posted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh (and there was no penalty on the play):

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings-Penguins pre-season quick take: mucky win + waiting on Datsyuk

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Update #3: Oh, swell:

It was NOT pretty--and Wings fans will worry like nobody's business until we find out whether Pavel Datsyuk left the game after Rob Scuderi shoved him into the glass near the bench because he was just done for the night or because he was "banged-up"--but the Red Wings defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 to capture their first exhibition game.

Just like Darren Helm and his blackened left eye and gauze-tipped right nostril, the Wings got a little bruised by the Penguins, and the Robert Bortuzzo hit on Ryan Sproul, face-first into the boards/glass, was just downright dirty, but Sproul was OK)...

Detroit will fly back to Traverse City for one final morning skate and practice (10:30-11:15 morning skate, 11:30-12:15 [or 45?] practice); the "B Team" will head to Chicago to play the Blackhawks (8 PM EDT on CSN CH+, Gustavsson Starts, Mrazek finishes the 3rd), while the rest of the team will are pack up after the skate to head back to Detroit, where they will open their preseason hosting Chicago on Thursday).

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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