Kukla's Korner

How About James Neal And The Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

 Patric Hornqvist is off to such a nice start playing with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz in Pittsburgh that one almost forgets the player who went the other was as part of the draft day trade. Um, James Neal, anyone? How about a natural hat trick for Neal on Thursday night as his Nashville Predators topped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at a buzzing Bridgestone Arena? I wrote about the surprising Preds earlier on Wednesday and noted that most people are waiting for their bubble to burst. By handing the Blackhawks their first loss in regulation this season, the Predators -- the Predators! -- are the last remaining club in the entire NHL without a regulation loss. At 5-0-2, they are one of the great unexpected stories of the young season.

continue for Custance on Jonathan Quick and Strang on Pavel Datsyuk...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: james+neal

Jordin Tootoo’s Life On Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,

 It is a long way from Nunavut to Newark.

For Jordin Tootoo, that unusual journey took him from the tundra through junior hockey stardom, a brother’s suicide, struggles with alcoholism and eight seasons as a fast-living fan favorite with the Nashville Predators.

Now Tootoo, the only Inuk to play in the N.H.L., is a little-used 5-foot-9 forward trying to extend his career with the Devils.

He tells the story of that journey in “All the Way: My Life on Ice,” an autobiography written with the prominent Canadian sportswriter Stephen Brunt that was published this week.

“I am very honored to be a role model for the North and for the aboriginal community,” Tootoo, 31, said during an interview after a Devils practice last week. “And for me to open up and tell my story may inspire others from small towns or in the North who face some of the same problems I’ve had.”

continued

Paberback edition available at Amazon (KK affiliate link)

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jordin+tootoo

Avoiding The Head Shots

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Guess how many players had been suspended this season for dirty checks or headshots going into Thursday’s games around the NHL.

The answer: Zero.

That’s right. Zilch, zip, nada.

No players had been forced to watch games for heinous acts on the ice, including in the pre-season. It’s something to be thankful for, seeing as we had more than a dozen a year ago at this point, and around half of them were because of headshots.

Could it be the message has gotten through?

“I’ll put it this way, I’m definitely more aware now of headshots than three or four years ago,” said Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano. “When you had a chance to give a guy a lick three or four years ago, you didn’t think, ‘I’d better not hit his head.’ You’re thinking of giving him a lick as hard as you can.

“In the heat of the battle, you don’t easily think about those things, but I honestly pulled up thinking exactly that, I didn’t want to hit his head.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- ” We All Stand On Guard For Thee”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Last night, the Detroit Red Wings showed their support for the City of Ottawa and all of Canada.

 

added 7:59am, And the Boston Bruins did the same, watch below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line - Ken Hitchcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“We’re not playing the right way. We made a heck of a run here playing the right way, no odd-man rushes, don’t force offense, don’t give the puck away and make hope-for plays offensively. We’ve had a shoot-first mentality that allowed us to be top five in the league in scoring goals. But we don’t want to play the right way. We want to play a different game right now. Until we buy into that, we’re going to have some rough water we have to go through.

 

“When you force offense and you play careless with the puck, when you have defensemen who want to play ahead of the forwards, you end up with a recipe for disaster. … We’ve given up more odd-man rushes in six hockey games than we did in two months last year. You can’t win like that. The alarm bell’s going off.”

-Ken Hitchcock, coach of the St. Louis Blues after losing 4-1 at home to Vancouver.  More on the game from Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Below, watch Hitchcock's post-game...

Continue Reading »

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

Video- Eight Games Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Here are the highlights from those games...

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Didn’t Quit

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Flat in the first period and facing an uphill climb all night, the Detroit Red Wings ratcheted up their desperation level in the final minutes of regulation and skated away with two points when it appeared they wouldn't get any.

Those who stayed witnessed a thrilling finish Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall scored in the final three minutes of the third period to erase a two-goal deficit before Justin Abdelkader delivered with 44 seconds to play in overtime as the Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.

"Pretty exciting, wasn't it?" Abdelkader said. "We just hung around there and I think we got better as the game went on and found a way. That was a huge two points. I think those games can kind of bring momentum for your team.

"Didn't start out like you wanted to but we finished really well, played hard, battled for pucks, battled for ice. They're a good team. It was just a good team effort there."

continued

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Report- Zdeno Chara Has Ligament Damage In Knee

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

 

Below, the play he may have possibly injured his knee.

added 11:29am,

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zdeno+chara

From Pucks To Poker: Greg Mueller Is The Ice King

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It’s often said that the mentality of a professional athlete and that of a poker player go hand in hand. That winning mentality. The never say die attitude. The sitting on a team bus for hours and hours making your way across country. It all transfers across from the rink and onto the poker table. No man can prove that more than Greg Mueller.

The 43-year-old has transferred his talents seamlessly onto the green velvet over the past few years since retiring from the sport in 2000, not only becoming an ex-pro who enjoys a hand like P.K. Subban and Mike Bossy, but a poker pro in his own right.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Arizona Goaltending

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It is still early in the season, but one result which could be very significant is the Arizona Coyotes goaltending.  It was expected that Mike Smith would be the successful starter and Devan Dubnyk would be the lesser used backup.  Smith had been a successful NHL goalie in the past.  He was the number three goalie on the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team.  Although he did not play in the Olympics, given the number of NHL goalies who are from Canada that is an endorsement that he is a pretty good player.

Dubnyk struggled last year playing in Edmonton and Nashville.  He was given a chance to be a number one goalie in Edmonton but struggled in that role. 

So far this season, Mike Smith has really struggled.  He has posted a .849 saves percentage and a 4.54 GAA.  These are the worst numbers for any goalie who has played the majority of his team's games so far this year by a significant margin. Smith will almost certainly improve his play with more chances but if he is not a top flight goalie the Coyotes will struggle.  So far Dubnyk has been adequate.  He has posted a 2.31 GAA and a .904 saves percentage.  That is better than Smith but it is not the numbers of a starting goalie either.

Arizona will struggle to make the playoffs unless they have strong goaltending.  So far they have not had goaltending at all.  If Mike Smith continues to struggle it could be a long year in the desert.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

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