Kukla's Korner

Custance discusses the complicated status of UFA’s-to-be who want to re-sign

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note from ESPN's Craig Custance's Friday Insider column: Thomas Vanek apparently wants to stay in Detroit, and the Wings want to re-sign Vanek, but they don't want to give Vanek a no-move clause before the expansion draft. The result? Vanek will probably be traded and may or may not circle back to the Wings during the off-season:

“I’ve had some good conversations with Ken [Holland],” said Vanek’s agent Steve Bartlett on Thursday. “They’ve been very complimentary towards Vanek and vice versa. Certainly there’s some good will both directions.”

With the Red Wings playoff hopes all but squashed, it doesn’t make much sense for them to sign him right now. And the reality is, it makes no sense for Vanek to sign with Detroit at this point either, because doing so may just lead to him being exposed in the expansion draft. A contract with Detroit could end up being a contract with Las Vegas.

“It is complicated,” Bartlett said. “It’s not every year we have an expansion draft. From our standpoint, we’re not necessarily sure he would be a protected player. Maybe we sign and think we’re in Detroit and all of a sudden we’re in Vegas. Everyone has their own vested interest. We are certainly open to playing in Detroit next year.”

Bartlett has had two or three conversations in the last month with the Red Wings, but there’s no reason to do a deal now. It would take a "no-movement clause" to assure Vanek he wouldn’t be going anywhere, and then that adds another forward for the Red Wings to protect. That wouldn’t make a lot of sense from an asset management point of view.

Custance continues, suggesting that Vanek's situation is representative of may unrestricted free agents-to-be who want to re-sign with their current teams...

And he doesn't believe that the Wings are going to send a 1st-rounder to St. Louis for Shattenkirk given that the Wings will probably draft pretty high in the draft this summer...He doesn't believe that the Wings will get more than a 2nd-rounder for Vanek, either.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Morning Line- Ted Kulfan On The Detroit Red Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Practice Tweets and articles: Red Wings prepare for Caps, Pens

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings practiced at the University Liggett School today, preparing for Saturday's game against Washington (2 PM EST) and Sunday's game against Pittsburgh (3 PM EST).

The team's goaltenders preceded the players onto the ice, as noted by the Free Press's George Sipple:

Henrik Zetterberg, 36, has 877 career points. What will be his final career point total? @DetroitRedWings

MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed the Wings' presence at McCann Arena...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Profiling Chris Ilitch

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit News's Daniel Howes wrote a superb profile of the man in charge of the Ilitch empire, one Chris Ilitch:

The new top guy at Ilitch Holdings Inc. isn’t new.

The youngest son of Mike and Marian Ilitch holds a University of Michigan business degree, but the education of Christopher Ilitch, 51, spans the nearly 30 years he’s worked alongside his parents inside the pizza and entertainment empire they built. Along the way, Chris, CEO of the family company since 2004, learned a few things.

Think big. Be prepared and thorough. Be creative yet humble. Treat people well even as you demand accountability and, yes, performance — be it in the batters box at Comerica Park or the latest quarterly sales report from Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., the multinational pizza company founded in 1959. And do things right.

Howes continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Olli Maatta Out Six Weeks After Hand Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta underwent successful hand surgery, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Penguins head team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas of the UPMC Sports Medicine team performed the surgery.

Maatta is expected to be out of the lineup for six weeks, after injuring his left hand in Thursday's game against Winnipeg.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: olli+maatta

Red Wings’ YouTube Channel posts 34 ‘Joe Moments’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' YouTube Channel posted 34 videos spotlighting "Joe Moments," and as I'm a big believer that the Red Wings need to honor their non-HOF'ers and grinders with some sort of "Ring of Honor," a team Hall of Fame, or a set of "honored numbers" for players like Holmstrom, Draper, etc., I'll go with the "birth of the Grind Line" as my "Joe Moment":

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Alden Hirschfeld named Toledo Walleye captain

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

This is pretty cool given that Alden Hirschfeld is from Sylvania, Ohio:

The Toledo Walleye announced today that forward Alden Hirschfeld will serve as team captain for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Hirschfeld replaces Jared Nightingale who has signed a standard player contract with the Chicago Wolves.  Nightingale first joined the Wolves in December and then again in January.  He has played in eight games with one assist.

“Alden is a true leader on and off the ice,” says Head Coach Dan Watson. “Wearing the C is the natural progression of his leadership role and overall commitment to the team."

This is Hirschfeld’s fourth season with the Walleye.  The 29-year-old Sylvania native has skated in 41 games this season and has tallied 38 points (18G/20A), 21 penalty minutes with a +9 plus/minus rating.

The Walleye play three on the road this weekend with the first stop in Wichita. The team returns to the Huntington Center the weekend of February 24, with Saturday celebrating Toledo’s Hockey Heritage and the 2017 Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame class.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Did The Players Want Michel Therrien Out?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

I’ll throw out another query at you. Did the players give up on Therrien? Is that what happened? Is that why the kindly ol’ coach was fired even though his record during the past five years was 194-121-37 and his team was still sitting in the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s Atlantic Division?

If the Habs players did indeed stop playing for their coach, then maybe all is right in the world for Canadiens fans and, beginning Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets, Nos Glorieux will go right back to their winning ways. But if in fact they didn’t give up, if au contraire they were still giving their 110 per cent for Mike T, then we — meaning Marc Bergevin, Julien, and all of us who care about the team — have a problem on our hands.

Because no players got fired this week — sadly enough. Phillip Danault is still your No. 1 centre — or maybe the No. 2 guy down the middle if the new bench boss decides Alex Galchenyuk gets the top-centre gig. Andrew Shaw presumably hasn’t become a smarter hockey player since Tuesday.

So which scenario is it? Were they throwing games to oust the coach or are they simply a not-very-good team? I know, neither scenario is particularly great.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What Do You Think Of The NBC Sports Group Studio Show?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul


Harrington has more tweets on this topic, mostly Sabres related...

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc+sports+group

Bad Goaltending, Bad Coaching?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

It’s probably not a coincidence that when Julien was fired by the Boston Bruins last week, ending the longest tenure in the league, his exit overlapped with a rare moment in recent Bruins history. For the first eight of Julien’s 10 seasons with the Bruins, the team’s save percentage was never worse than seventh-best in the league. Four times it ranked No. 1. Three times Boston boasted the Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top netminder in Tim Thomas (twice) and Tuukka Rask. And yet Julien was only fired this year, with Boston’s goaltenders combining for one of the league’s bottom-10 save percentages.

There’s little doubt Ken Hitchcock, dismissed by the St. Louis Blues a couple of weeks back, was also a victim of a puck-stopping stoppage. It’s not like Hitchcock, known for grinding his skaters into dust, was any easier on his lineup in previous seasons. But last season the Blues happened to have the NHL’s best save percentage, and he had a job. This year the Blues ranked third-worst in the category, and on Feb. 1 Hitchcock was fired.

“A lot of times you are as good as your goaltending,” is how Dave Cameron, then the coach of the Ottawa Senators, once explained it.

It’s an NHL truism that head coaches don’t often say out loud. And perhaps in part on account of such vocation-exposing statements, Cameron, who spoke it in 2014, is no longer a member of the NHL coaching fraternity. (Cameron was fired by the Senators in April, when team owner Eugene Melnyk pointed to the way Cameron deployed his goaltenders while explaining the reasoning for the axing.)

It’s not the first nor last time a coach’s fate has been tied to the impossible-to-predict ups and downs of NHL goaltending.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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