Kukla's Korner

The Los Angeles Kings Are Built For The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the past three seasons, without ever finishing better than fifth in the Western Conference in the regular season. Today, the defending Cup champs are in a dog fight just to make the Top 8 and qualify for the post-season, typically beginning to find their game as the playoffs near.

“For sure it’s stressful,” said soon-to-be UFA centre Jarret Stoll. “People keep saying it, and we don’t want to hear it, to be honest, anymore. It’s an easy way out, ‘These guys will flip the switch.’ We’ve done it a couple of times, but we can’t rely on that.”

They can’t. But they do. Truly, these guys are the ultimate “flip-switchers” in recent history.

This just isn’t the same team in the regular season that it is come playoff time, when they relentlessly grind out physical, low-scoring wins — to the tune of 11 playoff series’ over the past three seasons. That is more spring hockey than any other NHL club, and perhaps the answer to why the Kings seem to be wavering this season.

continued plus two more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Preview And Notes- Detroit Red Wings vs. Calgary Flames

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

via NHL.com,

TV: TVA Sports, SNW, FS-D+

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Jan. 7 at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames center Mikael Backlund and Red Wings forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader each had a goal and an assist.

Flames team scope: Calgary is 3-2-0 on its season-high seven-game road trip after a 4-3 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Goalie Karri Ramo made 34 saves through overtime, then denied seven of eight Boston shooters in the tiebreaker. Ramo has started five straight games, so Jonas Hiller might play in the second half of the back-to-back. Defenseman David Schlemko, who the Flames claimed off waivers from the Dallas Stars last weekend, scored the deciding goal. “[Coach Bob Hartley] just asked me, ‘Are you good at these things?’ And I told him I was 1-for-1,” Schlemko said, according to the Flames’ Twitter account. Forward David Jones sustained a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. Forwards Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan each has scored in consecutive games; Monahan’s 23 goals lead the Flames, and Hudler’s 21 are second.

Red Wings team scope: The effects of Detroit’s six-game, 11-day Western Conference road trip were evident in its 2-1 overtime victory against the New York Rangers on Wednesday, when it was outshot 40-31. That fatigue carried into practice Thursday. “We weren’t real crisp today,” coach Mike Babcock told the Red Wings website. “We had a late game last night. I don’t think we had a ton of energy here today, but I expect our energy to be back and us to have no reason to [not] play a lot better than we did. We’ve got to tighten up our game again and get back to the level we need to be at.” One player who was fresh against New York was Zetterberg, who had two assists in 17:56 of ice time in his return to the lineup after missing four games because of a head injury. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky, acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils before the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, scored the overtime winner. He played 17:44 and was second among Detroit defensemen with 2:28 of power-play time. Babcock, who said defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is banged up, will keep forwards Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist and Stephen Weiss together despite not being pleased with his new third line’s performance against the Rangers. “They weren’t very good. Lots of us weren’t good though,” the coach told the Detroit Free Press. “We’ll see if it’s a line that can spend some time in the offensive zone. We’ll give it another try [Friday].”

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Contract Extensions For Torey Krug And Reilly Smith In Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, March 6, that the club has signed defenseman Torey Krug to a one-year contract extension through the 2015-16 season worth a cap figure of $3,400,000 and forward Reilly Smith to a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season worth an annual cap figure of $3,425,000.

In 58 games this season with the Bruins, the 23-year-old Krug has potted 11 goals (sixth on the team) and 20 assists (second among team defensemen) for 31 points (second among team defensemen) with a plus-six rating.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: reilly+smith, torey+krug

Losing Streak Hits Five For The Nashville Predators And A Lawsuit Filed Against Mike Ribeiro

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of The Tennessean,

Despite the high-octane first period, the Predators surrendered the game's opening goal for the 10th consecutive time. In fact, the Islanders scored twice on five shots in the first period before Colin Wilson cut the lead to 2-1 just before the horn sounded.

"We need to stop getting down in these games," Wilson said. "We keep starting off behind and then we have to battle back. We keep having great efforts, but we need to start to get those goals."

And then there was the disappointment of the final period, when – three minutes after the Predators rallied from 3-1 down to 3-3 – Brock Nelson's shot from the slot won it for the Islanders. It was a bit of a fluke opportunity, as Michael Grabner's shot ricocheted off the endboards and bounced over Predators defenseman Seth Jones' stick in front before sliding to Nelson.

"It seems like that's where we're at right now," Laviolette said. "Our guys played hard, fought back and we catch a tough bounce on a rebound that jumps over a defenseman's stick."


John Glennon on the lawsuit filed by Mike Ribeiro's ex-nanny,

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+ribeiro

Video- Recap Of The Eight NHL Games On Thursday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Just about four minutes of highlights...


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The overnight report: Red Wings-Flames set-up, a.k.a. they’re all ‘trap games’ now

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings begin a particularly nasty stretch of 3 games in 4 nights (amidst a 4-games-in-6-nights scrape) against the Calgary Flames this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/TVA Sports/97.1 FM);

If  Wednesday's 2-1 OT win over the Rangers was the classic, "First Game Back From a West Coast Swing Trap Game," this is most certainly the, "The Flames Actually Sit 8th in the West/3rd in the Pacific, Don't Overlook Them Trap Game."

With the Wings seemingly destined to battle for home-ice advantage in an almost inevitable first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 36-15-and-11 Wings' 83 points are pretty damn solid, but Calgary has a 35-25-and-4 record and 74 points, too, and they defeated the Boston Bruins (Sunday's opponent) 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday.

The Flames have won 3 of their past 4 games, and Thursday's win involved a 34-save performance from best-on-the-road goaltender Kari Ramo, a rally from a 2-1 deficit and an 8-round shootout punctuated by a "Forsberg" (it's a Kent Nilsson move, dammit) from David Schlemko.

Hell, let's just go with the highlights first for once:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Prospect news: Playoffs at hand in the KHL, SHL; on Larkin/Mantha, Ouellet and Ferraro

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The last weeks NCAA regular season play + Major Junior hockey teams going down the stretch + AHL and ECHL regular seasons having a little under 20 games left = the weekends are incredibly busy for both the Red Wings' prospects and those who follow them, but the week is a bit up and down. As such, this entry contains two games and three "if you missed it" stories:

First, in playoff hockey, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin remains sidelined with an unspecified injury, but his team, SKA St. Petersburg, is on to the second round of the KHL playoffs, having dispatched Torpedo Nizhny Novogrod 2-0 on Thursday, taking the first round playoff series 4 games to 1;

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 2 shots and won 40% of his faceoffs in 14:20 of ice time as his team, Skelleftea AIK, defeated HV71 3-0, yielding a 1st-place finish for Skellefeta in the SHL.

The SHL playoffs are a little strange as they're going to have to wait and find out which team is the lowest of the 7-to-10th place-team group to qualify for playoff play-in hockey via one-off Wild Card games; the 11th and 12th teams in the league have to play for their SHL lives against the winners of the Allsvenskan (the Swedish version of the AHL) in relegation play;

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Alfredsson receives key to the City of Ottawa, discusses his post-hockey career plans

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This is one of those, "Line 'em up and sell papers/prepare for the clicks to flow" stories, which is fine in Ottawa, but it's enlightening in Southeastern Michigan for a different reason: earlier this evening, Daniel Alfredsson received the key to the city of Ottawa, and the day yielded a very perhaps properly rare glimpse into the post-hockey life of Birmingham, MI's most unassuming resident.

On Thursday morning, Alfredsson told the CBC Ottawa that he's just enjoying helping his four sons in school and coaching his oldest boys' Little Caesars team, and he reiterated said story to the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren...

"This is not going to sell a lot of papers, but it has been drastically different than being an NHL player, but it has been fun,” Alfredsson said, with a laugh, Thursday as he was back in Ottawa to receive the key to the city.

(So yes, I peeked ahead and decided to be cheeky. It will sell papers.)

Alfredsson says he is humbled and proud of the honour, which he believes is as much about lending his voice to discussions about mental illness and for his charity work as it is about his abilities as a hockey player. The off-ice contributions also made him feel more in tune with the community.

“I understand the recognition I get in this city,” he said. “I’m very proud to be getting that recognition. It’s something I want to share with everyone.”

Alfredsson told Warren that he's at peace with his playing career being over...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

What’s Lacking In The NHL?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rock Westfall of GetMoreSports,

The American masses continue to reject a self-described, “Three-two shutdown league” as evidenced by last Saturday night’s abysmal prime time failure on NBC.  A reasonably attractive matchup of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers produced an entertaining game that was worth watching and won by the Flyers 4-2.  Yet the game could muster nothing more than a 1.0 national rating.

There have been too many times in the past that American’s have clicked on boring 1-0 and 2-1 games that have turned them off from giving the NHL another chance.  On far too many nights, guys watching basketball games see 1-0 third period NHL scores on the bottom crawl, giving them little reason to flip over to the NHL and give the game a chance.

The problem remains the real men of genius on the NHL competition committee that continue to tailor rules to cover each other’s rear ends and team needs, rather than open the game up.  The game continues to be the stranglehold of shutdown clod general managers and head coaches that eternally plot its suffocation with insufferable misery.


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

Video- Nothing To Do Tonight?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Check out the extended highlights from the Wings/Rangers game last night.

Compiled by awood40...

Also, it is that time of year to help out KK, I appreciate anything you can give. Thanks.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

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