Kukla's Korner

Jakub Kindl Had A Good Game

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl made the most of his opportunity to play Tuesday night, with a goal and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Kindl had been scratched for 10 consecutive games. He got the chance to play because Niklas Kronwall was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.

The Wings are taking today off, and it's unclear whether Kronwall will miss Thursday's home game against the San Jose Sharks (7:30 p.m., FSD).

"I thought he did a good job," Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Kindl. "He could have closed tighter on the guy (who scored) the first goal of the game, but he got a goal and assist."

Babcock said Kindl made a "big-time pass" to set up a breakaway goal by Justin Abdelkader.

"You have to give the kid credit, he hasn't played since (Marek) Zidlicky arrived and came in and had an impact on the game," Babcock said.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Opinionated Jeff O’Neill

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

If Phil Kessel’s dogging it, which does happen from time to time, O’Neill will go after him. It’s refreshing.

“He never works hard enough,” said O’Neill, when the topic of Kessel is brought up. “It’s my job to watch and talk about it and if the effort’s horrible, then the effort’s horrible. I don’t make it up. I don’t know Phil Kessel. Apparently he likes fishing and he likes playing cards. And I love that s--t. So I’d probably like playing that with him. But when I watch him on the ice, he does a lot of things that I don’t like.”

In particular, Kessel’s lack of effort when he’s not scoring or when the club is in a slump, as it is right now (a profound understatement).

But the irony is — and NHL fans and O’Neill followers will jump all over this — that O’Neill himself was sometimes knocked as a player for his occasional Kessel-like qualities — a gifted goal scorer who wasn’t (or so it would seem) always in the very best of shape.

But the Etobicoke resident admits as much and tells a story about how he spent a summer training with Roberts, a fitness guru and good friend. They were doing sled sprints (with weights) on a baseball field in Muskoka. After some very tough sledding, O’Neill started puking.

“(Roberts) just looked at me and said, ‘What did you do last night?’ And I said, ‘None of your business.’ And he goes, ‘Whatever you did, you can’t do it again if you want to do the sleds, because you can’t f---ing do it.


Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+o'neill

Ed Snider On His Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,

"I mean, for us to give up now and say we're not a playoff team and we've got to be patient and all that kind of thing, sends the wrong message, I think. To the guys who are here, to our fans, to everybody."

Ah, yes, there's the rub. Ed's half-full approach may be fueled by the memory of half-empty buildings - or the fear of them. He's also, at age 82, still one of the most hopeful and emotional fans this town will ever know. Anyone who saw how happy he was in the locker room when the Flyers were a few points from a playoff position a few weeks ago can attest to that.

So he can be forgiven for wanting more in less time. What can't be forgiven is if that leads to the same type of short-term decision-making from which Hextall is trying to dig out.

"That's not my method of operation," Snider said. "There are times GMs do things and I cringe. But the bottom line is that Ron has come in and his attitude is that we have to be patient with the kids and so forth. But I don't think we've ever really been impatient with the kids. It's a question that he wanted to establish his philosophy. Which I respect."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ed+snider

Living With Aaron Ekblad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Baker of Grantland,

“You don’t even want to know what’s been going on at my house,” said Megan Mitchell, and for once she wasn’t referring to a lively dinner party, a messy cooking class, or a late-late-night fishing session off the backyard dock. Her eyes were bright but battle-weary; they had the sanity-deprived look you might see in a mother of triplets or a junior investment banker. She’d been through some shit.

It’s one thing to share a house with a 6-foot-plus, 200-pound-plus NHL player suffering from what his team gently describes as “flu-like symptoms.” But it’s quite another to have to deal with two of them.

Both of Megan’s roommates had come home from work infected with some sort of superbug — “the norovirus,” is how she diagnosed it — that turned her serene home into a makeshift infectious diseases ward. One was her husband, Willie Mitchell, the 37-year-old captain of the Florida Panthers. The other was 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the promising young rookie she sometimes calls her son.

When the Mitchells relocated from Southern California to South Florida this summer, they had no idea they’d wind up harboring a teen.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: aaron+ekblad, willie+mitchell

The Vancouver Canucks Coming Up Big Against ‘Heavy’ Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

Owing to an obvious flaw in their makeup and a perceived lightness in their loafers, the prevailing wisdom states the Vancouver Canucks are at their most susceptible against the NHL’s quote, heavy teams, unquote.

This was certainly the case last season when the three California teams treated the Canucks the way Mike Tyson treated Michael Spinks but this season, as you may be aware, things have changed for this team — and that’s evident in their record against the NHL’s size teams.

Tuesday night, in their fourth game in six nights, the locals spotted the husky Winnipeg Jets a 2-0 second period lead before roaring back to record a 5-2 win, further solidifying their hold on second place in the Pacific Division. But for the Canucks, that win is also part of a season-long trend in which they’ve held a decided edge over the NHL’s heavyweight division. Against Winnipeg, St. Louis, Boston, Anaheim and, just to prove we aren’t being selective, Los Angeles, their record this season is 9-4-1, including a 1-3 mark against the Kings.

If you don’t find that revealing, you should.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Nick Leddy A Victim Of Social Media Harassment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Arthur Staple of Newsday,

Social media threats made to Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy Tuesday prompted local and federal authorities to open an investigation, the team said.

A now-suspended Twitter account posted pictures of Leddy's Minnesota driver's license and a credit card and made violent threats against the Islanders' defenseman and the team's security director contacted the Nassau County police as well as the FBI.

"We alerted local and federal authorities immediately, as well as the NHL," a team spokesperson said. "They're investigating the matter. Nick and his family are safe."


from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

A Twitter user named ‘NoorsSlut’ posted an image of Leddy’s Minnesota driver’s license and a MasterCard debit card with “Nicholas Leddy” on it. The user also posted images of an unidentified woman posing with Leddy, with derogatory words written over her face and body in Photoshop. The same woman appeared as the avatar on user’s account.

While the Tweets were later deleted, there were also reports of death threats towards Leddy originating from the account.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+leddy

The Boston Bruins Need To Find Their Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

When they’re humming, the Bruins are a checking team that scores. Lately, they have done neither.

“We can’t give up five goals a game,” said coach Claude Julien. “That takes away our opportunities to win those. When we take care of our own end, the rest usually takes care of itself.”

The Bruins have been a metal-on-metal team for the last two weeks. They got a lucky 3-1 result in Ottawa March 10 when the Senators dominated the pace of the final 40 minutes. Their good fortune continued two nights later in a 3-2 home win over the Lightning. In the second period, they gave Tampa chance after chance.

The wins disguised what was going on. The Bruins were playing with fire. Their shots, especially on the power play, were finding the back of the net. Rask was spectacular under assault.

High shooting and save percentages are difficult to sustain. It was only a matter of time until Rask became mortal, especially under the heaviest workload of his career.

The wheels have since fallen off. In their wins, the Senators and Lightning maximized their speed and skill against the plodding Bruins. They faced little resistance flying over the blue line because of the Bruins’ turnovers, sloppiness in the neutral zone, and slack gaps between the defensemen and forwards. Because of how fiercely they attacked, both clubs chewed up the scrambling Bruins in front of the net. This season, this has been a familiar sight for Rask.

“One mistake always leads to another,” Rask said. “At some point, that ends up costing us a goal. It’s the sum of a lot of things.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Pittsburgh Penguins Are Having A So-So March

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“Did I see some improvements? For sure,” Johnston said “We were playing a top team, a little bit short-handed. Quite a few players actually had really good games, but we still had four or five guys who need to pick up their compete level.”

Oh. You mean 20 to 25 percent of the roster?

So, three weeks from the start of the NHL playoffs then, the Penguins have four or five guys who aren’t competing hard enough.

By the club’s own public admission.

I’m no expert, but the implications of that numerical sequence, the ol’ 3-4-5, can’t be good.

Chris Kunitz apparently can’t be good anymore, either.

In 12 games this month, he has no goals and two assists.

“I liked parts of his game,” Johnston insisted. “He was at least in the scoring areas.”

David Perron has at least found the net thrice this month, but his shots are so erratic he’s a danger to players of both teams as well as at least a portion of the audience.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Concerned About The Scoring Slump Rick Nash Is In?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

It is seven straight now without a goal for Nash, still one shy of 40 and now third in the league behind Alex Ovechkin’s 45 and Steven Stamkos’ 40. And if this slump — one goal in the past 10 and two in the past 14 — were almost inevitable, it raises uncomfortable questions at this time of year because of what happened last year (and the year before) in the playoffs.

It is the elephant in the room for the Blueshirts and for Nash, who is always diligent in all three zones, who always approaches matters with the utmost preparation and professionalism. But the record is indelible, at least until No. 61 can erase it, and that’s the record that shows Nash with three goals in the playoffs last year, all against Montreal, and four in 37 postseason games as a Ranger.

Given the spotlight (or is it, microscope?) under which he will operate from the opening puck drop of Game 1, it behooves the Big Easy to sprinkle one or two in the rest of the way so his mind is clear when the dance begins.

“That’s a good question,” Nash said to The Post in response to being asked how much of a goal-scoring slump becomes mental. “I want to stay positive, and be here for the team, but I know that me helping the team is by scoring.

“So, it’s frustrating, but I’m trying to stay positive and continue to do all of the things away from the puck and in the defensive zone that helps us win.

“It seems like I’m getting my opportunities. I’ve just got to stick with it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+nash

The Playoff Run By The Florida Panthers May Be Over

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,

In his first year as coach of the Panthers, Gerard Gallant has not let his emotions rise too high nor sink very low based on the outcome of a game.

Tuesday night, however, Gallant couldn't hide his disappointment nor frustration in what could be an extremely costly defeat.

The Panthers' playoff hopes took a major hit when Tampa Bay scored twice in the third period to come back to beat the visitors from South Florida 4-3. 

Florida scored three goals in a span of 1:58 in the second period to take a lead into the third, but the hard-nosed Lightning never stopped coming.

"We battled back, we took the lead. The last goal cost us the hockey game,'' Gallant said. 

"We played well, it's a disappointing loss. We gave up three weak goals -- not by the goaltending but by defensive zone coverage and not battling, not working. We played hard, but you can't give up three goals like that.''


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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