Kukla's Korner

Dawn Braid’s Road To The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated,

Five days after the press release was posted, the buzz had barely dwindled, the surprise still there. “I’ll be honest, it’s a little bit overwhelming,” Dawn Braid says. “I’m not used to this kind of attention. I haven’t really wrapped my head around everything that’s happened.”

Until August 24, when the Arizona Coyotes made Braid their new skating coach and what’s believed to be the first full-time female assistant in NHL history, the 52-year-old had always preferred operating at low-key levels. Her private training business, located in Ontario, maintains no website and buys no advertisements, relying only on reputation and referrals. Her two sons still tease her about social media illiteracy. There is genuine concern in her voice when she says of all this newfound attention, “I was on the ice today, and I was a little worried. Am I going to go in and are there going to be people watching me? Is it going to be fair to the players I’m working with?”

No, Braid didn’t think much of Arizona announcing her hiring, in the final paragraph of a 280-word memo that also welcomed aboard a development coach (Mike Van Ryn) and a skills coach (Steve Potvin). This was merely the next logical step in a long career, ever since her late father first nudged her down this road.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dawn+braid

Don’t Expect Many Changes To The Goalie Gear This Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonas Siegel of the CP at the Winniepeg Free Press,

Now it's appearing likely that only some pieces of new gear will be ready for the upcoming season. A complete overhaul isn't expected to be finished until the 2017-18 campaign.

"I wish no one said that we were going to have this ready for this season because I think that was an aggressive timeline to say that we would have that done," Mathieu Schneider of the Players' Association said in an interview with the Canadian Press. "Given where we are now and given some of the challenges we've had to face, I'm 100 per cent confident that we're going to achieve our goal, but I'm not sure if and what parts we're going to be able to try to implement this year."

"It's been a real battle to get this change put in," Colin Campbell, senior vice-president and director of hockey operations with the NHL, added in a separate interview. "And hopefully we'll get it done."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Savage profiles Zach Nastasiuk

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

MLive's Brendan Savage profiles Zach Nastasiuk today, and he spoke with Nastasiuk regarding his first pro campaign, which was split between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye:

But being sent down to Toledo in the ECHL after starting the season in the AHL with the Griffins did pay some dividends that could better prepare Nastasiuk for his second full season as a pro hockey player.

"Obviously you want to be at the highest level you can be, but it's always good to go down and play a lot more minutes and feel the puck again, get the confidence back up in Toledo," said Nastasiuk, the Red Wings second-round pick (48th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft.

"There's good players down in Toledo. I think the details, the higher level you get, the details and time and space, you obviously don't have as much as that. So I think that was one of the biggest differences that I found for me going down to Toledo is it's good to feel the puck and be able to make plays and stuff like that."

Nastasiuk had 13 goals, 15 assists and a plus-16 rating in 52 games while going "up and down" between Grand Rapids and Toledo.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Chris Osgood joins Saginaw Spirit’s ‘ownership team’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

According to the Saginaw Spirit, Chris Osgood has joined the 'ownership team" as a part-owner in the franchise. This follows last week's announcement that Jimmy Devellano will serve as a part-owner as well.

Update: The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a profile of Osgood:

Chris Osgood, who won three Stanley Cups as a goalie for the Red Wings before retiring to broadcasting, is joining the ownership team of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

Jim Devellano, the senior vice-president of the Red Wings, who managed the renaissance of the franchise beginning in the 1980s, became part of the ownership of the Spirit last week.

Osgood is 10th in career wins for a goalie, at 401 and he played 17 years in the NHL.

An ownership role is somewhat ironic for Osgood, who was not immediately available for comment.

Krupa continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Raffi Torres Gets Another Shot With The Carolina Hurricanes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Pope of the News & Observer,

Oft-suspended enforcer Raffi Torres will join the Carolina Hurricanes during training camp on a professional tryout agreement, the team confirmed Tuesday.

The 6-foot, 215-pound winger turns 35 in early October and brings an experienced resume to Raleigh, having played in 635 career games for seven different teams. But he’s appeared in only 44 over the last four seasons combined due to injuries and a number of suspensions.

After being suspended four times between 2011 and 2013 — including a 21-game ban for a late hit that knocked Chicago’s Marian Hossa out of the 2013 playoffs — Torres was suspended for the entire first half of the 2015-16 season for a hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game. The incident prompted many to call for a lifetime ban of the then-San Jose Sharks forward and the Sharks sent Torres to the AHL after his 41-game suspension ended.

News of the PTO agreement, which broke Monday before being confirmed Tuesday, sent shockwaves through the fanbase as fans expressed dismay and concern on social media.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: raffi+torres

Five Wings prospects make ESPN’s Pronman’s Top 120 NHL prospect list

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

ESPN's Corey Pronman issued a list of his top 120 NHL prospects, and several Red Wings made the cut in an Insider-only entry:

55. Anthony Mantha, LW, Detroit Red Wings
Age: 21 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 214 | 2015-16 team: Grand Rapids (AHL)
Previous ranking: 70

After a down season in his rookie pro campaign, Mantha has bounced back somewhat and looked OK in his brief showing in Detroit to end the season. What the Wings coaches have been yelling in Mantha's ear for pretty much the last two seasons is to play every shift as if it's his last. He still takes some off, but improving that attribute was a big reason why he looked a lot better this season. The fact he's a 6-foot-4 forward who can skate, shoot and handle the puck at above-average levels makes him a very quality prospect.


Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Red Wings, Toledo Walleye renew affiliation agreement

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

The Toledo Walleye and the Detroit Red Wings agreed to extend their affiliation agreement on Monday.

The Red Wings have been Toledo’s NHL parent club since the Walleye’s first season in 2009-10. The organizations signed a two-year extension that lasts through the 2017-18 season.

Toledo will once again develop the Red Wings prospects while serving as Detroit’s AA affiliate in the ECHL. The Walleye will exchange players with the Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids.

The relationship has been mutually beneficial, according to Neil Neukam, the Walleye's executive vice president, and general manager.

“The Wings have been great to work with,” Neukam said. “The Walleye and Wings go hand in hand. It’s been a great pipeline for the Wings to have their top two affiliated teams [nearby]. Anytime that they are in a pinch, they can pluck a guy and bring him up.”

Monroe continues, and the Walleye made things official this morning:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

A Contract Extension For Ron Francis In Carolina

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RALEIGH, NC – Peter Karmanos Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Owner and Governor for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.  Francis will be available to discuss the extension today at 3 p.m. in the fourth-floor conference room at PNC Arena.

“Ron has rebuilt our organization the right way, stocking our team and system with young players who will help this franchise compete for the Stanley Cup year in and year out,” said Karmanos. “I’m thrilled that he will continue to see the job through. The future is very bright for the Hurricanes in Carolina.”

Francis, 53, is in his 11th season in management with the Hurricanes and his third as general manager. Under his leadership, the Hurricanes improved 15 points in the NHL standings in 2015-16, despite utilizing the youngest group of forwards and the youngest corps of defensemen in the NHL. Francis has added young talent to the organization including Noah Hanifin, Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho, Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean and Julien Gauthier. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native previously worked for the team as director of player development, assistant general manager, associate head coach and director of hockey operations.

A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Francis scored 549 goals and earned 1,249 assists (1,798 points) as a player, ranking fifth all-time on the league’s scoring list behind Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jaromir Jagr and Gordie Howe. His 1,249 assists rank second only to Gretzky (1,963), and he ranks third on the games-played list behind Howe (1,767) and Messier (1,756).

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+francis

Mark Giordano On Johnny Gaudreau’s Contract Negotiations

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshand of the Calgary Herald,

“As a friend of Johnny’s, as a teammate, I’m confident he’ll be done,” Giordano says. “There still is that time. Sometimes the back and forth (negotiating), it gets dragged out a little bit, but I’m sure it’ll get done before the season starts.

“Obviously, as camp gets closer and closer, it’ll get the ball rolling more and more.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

Lewis Gross – representative of the wee winger, who turned 23 earlier this month – is reportedly declining to bargain during the World Cup, a production that eats up the bulk of September.

That ploy doesn’t leave much wiggle room for Treliving.

“You know what? At the end of the day, there’s always a little bit of anxiety,” says Giordano. “We know what he is. Everyone knows what Johnny means to our team. We know what type of guy he is. Being optimistic, you hope as a teammate that it’ll all work out.”

Giordano understands that these ordeals can have their own pace.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: johnny+gaudreau

The Season Outlook For Jonathan Ericsson

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

Ansar Khan of Mlive with his outlook for Jonathan Ericsson,

2016-17 outlook: Ericsson's performance declined for the second year in a row, after he appeared to be trending in the right direction the previous few seasons.

He continues to commit too many turnovers, particularly when pressured. He's not a punishing player, or particularly physical, despite leading D-men in hits, but someone his size could be harder to play against. He needs to play with more intensity. He could box out better. He could move his feet more and not get caught flat-footed as much.

After playing on the top pairing with Niklas Kronwall for much of the past few seasons, Ericsson's role might diminish, unless he shows marked improvement. He could be on the third pairing, not playing against top lines as much. He'll likely continue playing regularly on the penalty kill.

Ericsson has been bothered by hip issues the past few seasons.

Key question: Will Ericsson significantly improve his puck management?


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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