Kukla's Korner

MSM takes from the second day of Red Wings training camp

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 3x at 9:37 PM: The Red Wings' media corps was very busy today in Traverse City today, and the center of attention was forward Dylan Larkin, who's returned to Traverse City early after his World Cup experience with Team North America ended far too early for Larkin's liking.

The Free Press's Helene St. James noted that Larkin hopes to take ownership of a line this season:

Larkin’s relentless drive is part of why he, at just 20 years old, is entering his second NHL season. It’s one that both challenges and thrills, as coach Jeff Blashill wants Larkin to move from wing to center.

“That's kind of owning a line, right?” Larkin said. “You look at a guy like Henrik Zetterberg, he controls that line. If Z is not on that night, it’s going to be tough for other players.

“I’m going to have to work on face-offs and work on little details that are going to make me a better player all around and be better in the defensive zone. If it doesn't work, then he’ll change it. But if you look at the long picture of me being a Red Wing, it’s ultimately at center.”

The switch reflects how good of a skater Larkin is, how smart he is and how sound defensively he is. If he struggles too much on face-offs -- plans are to have teammate Luke Glendening help as a tutor -- maybe Larkin goes back to win. But with Pavel Datsyuk gone and Zetterberg ailing because of a knee injury, there’s a big opening to fill.

“He’s got a skill set that lends itself to center even better than wing because he likes to hunt pucks,” Blashill said. “As a center, you can kind of anticipate where the puck is going and go get it and get out of your zone. I know, when I talked to the USA Hockey world championship staff, John Hynes said he thought his defensive instincts were better at center. I think it just comes down to how quickly he can get real good at face-offs.

St. James continues, and she posted a video of Larkin's comments...

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Impressions from the second day of the Red Wings’ training camp ‘16

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings continued their training camp activities on Saturday, with Teams Lindsay, Howe and Yzerman engaging in breakouts, positional exchange drills and 3-on-3, 4-on-4 and 6-on-5 scrimmage play. A special guest, Dylan Larkin, joined the fray and played between Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha, and as you might expect, Larkin didn't look like he'd missed a minute of camp as he was fit and flashy from the World Cup of Hockey.

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Where Have All The Quebec Prospects Gone?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky of the New York Times,

When the two-day Quebec Hockey Summit took place in Montreal in 2011, it touched on issues including head injuries and ways to improve the game.

But the prominent topic of conversation in panels featuring former N.H.L. players like Luc Robitaille, Guy Carbonneau and Bobby Smith was a potential crisis looming large over the province: Where have all the Québécois N.H.L. players gone?

The province known for grooming many of hockey’s most charismatic stars has hit something of a developmental rut over the last two decades. Gone are the days of dominant French Canadian stars like Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Gilbert Perreault, Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur.

That may have never been more evident than at the N.H.L. draft in June, when 14 players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League were selected, by far the lowest total since 2004. Of those 14 players, only eight were born in the province.


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

Afternoon news: Ken and Mick; on Ouellet and overseas prospects

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond made appearances on Fox Sports Detroit's YouTube channel, as did Dylan Larkin:

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Audio from the second day of the Red Wings’ training camp ‘16: Larkin, Sadowy, Nelson, Blashill

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The second day of Red Wings training camp was an up-tempo affair which included a significant amount of defense-to-forward communication and some particularly complicated drills, to the point that the team's 3-on-3, 4-on-4 and then 6-on-5 scrimmages yielded a pair of goals and a 1-1 tie.

After the scrimmage, Dylan Larkin engaged in an extended interview, discussing his desire to keep practicing at a high level after the World Cup of Hockey, addressing his disappointment about the results of the tournament, speaking about his positional switch to center and talking about his offseason work to get bigger and stronger:

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Hockey Getting Closer To A Specialized Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Hockey has yet to reach football’s level of specialization. It’s coming. It’s not enough anymore to have a head coach, two assistants, and a goalie coach. In short order, there will be full-time assistants dedicated to each position: goalie, defense, center, and wing. Some teams will hire assistants to work specifically on the power play and penalty kill.

Skills coaches are also en route. In August, the Coyotes hired Dawn Braid as skating coach. The organization believes Braid is the NHL’s first full-time female coach. That’s not the important part. The good news is a team is thinking progressively enough to dedicate a position to skating, the most critical component to a player’s success. On the same day, the Coyotes hired Mike Van Ryn as the organization’s development coach and Steve Potvin as its skills coach. Clearly, 27-year-old GM John Chayka is thinking differently than his older counterparts.

This may seem like overkill to the game’s established minds. It’s not. It’s progress. When a team hires a full-time shooting coach, it will wonder what took so long. Improvement takes place when players are challenged, taught, and coached to do things they have not been prompted to do before.

If nothing else, hiring more coaches leads to an increase in the metabolism of thinking. It will not surprise you to hear that John Tortorella considers himself an alpha male. The Columbus coach is not alone in this category. Lead dogs are used to getting their way, not being tested to consider alternatives. Every coach improves when he’s forced to think differently.

more plus other hockey topics of interest...

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Matt Murray Out 3-6 Weeks With A Broken Hand

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray will miss the next three to six weeks with a broken hand, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Murray suffered the injury on September 19 while playing for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey. 

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  Tags: matt+murray

Video- Day One Interviews From Wings’ Camp

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

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Team Canada Against Team Russia In Primetime

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Saturday night.

Hockey Night in Canada.


On home soil.

In front of a raucous red-and-white clad capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre and a national television audience watching at home from coast to coast.

Yes, we know there are cynics out there who feel the 2016 World Cup of Hockey is nothing more than a lucrative cash grab for the National Hockey League and the NHLPA. If you are in line with this way of thinking, you certainly are entitled to your opinion.

Having said that, if you are a hockey fan and can’t get cranked up for the on-ice theatre that is set to take place in downtown Toronto on Saturday when these two long-time foes clash in a one-game, winner-take-all semifinal, well, you don’t have a pulse.

Don’t take our word for it. Just ask Team Canada’s Corey Perry.


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

Saskatoon gets ready for, ‘Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

On Friday night, the family of Gordie Howe was present as the Vancouver Giants retired Gordie Howe's #9 (Howe was a founding member of the WHL team's ownership group), and tomorrow, Gordie and Colleen Howe's ashes will be interred in Saskatoon, as noted by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix's Kevin Mitchell:

[Steve] Hogle, the Saskatoon Blades president, has been instrumental in planning what they call “Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day.”

It starts with a private family morning ceremony, where the ashes of Gordie and wife Colleen will be interred in front of the Howe statue at SaskTel Centre. From there, the Howe family will visit the bridge that’s been named after him, as well as his old school and a house where he lived as a youth.

Meanwhile, the Blades are staging a tailgate party starting at 12 noon at SaskTel Centre, and they’ll play the Swift Current Broncos in the afternoon, with a Gordie Howe tribute kicking things off at 2 p.m.

Hockey broadcaster Bob Cole is the emcee; a museum will also be set up at the arena for fans to pore over a wide array of Howe memorabilia — from the Hart and Art Ross Trophies, sent over by the Hockey Hall of Fame, to a wide array of loans made by fans and organizations.

“People have gone hard, and they’re still bringing things in and talking about Gordie,” Hogle said. “We think we’ve got something special, but I always maintain, the fans will decide that at the end of the day.”


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