Kukla's Korner

The Spotlight Will Be On Ryan Miller

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

Now the Blues are beaten-up and have lost six straight games entering the first round, and they’re facing the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions and the second-best offensive team in the NHL in the regular season. St. Louis seems on edge. But Miller seems at ease. He joked with reporters about the 18 goals he allowed in his last five games, saying he didn’t think it was too bad and he wasn’t worried, and then he said something interesting.

“I’ve learned some things about playing with this group the last month-and-a-half, and I feel I’ve built my game to be in a good place this time of year,” Miller said. “Over the last year-and-a-half, two years, I think I’ve built a good attitude to play hockey the right way and be a good teammate. Right now it’s about coming together as a group, battling for your buddy and hunkering down and just going to work. That’s kind of what I’m putting my focus into. I’m just going to try and be there and do my job for the boys.”

A good attitude? To play the right way? To be a good teammate? What does Miller mean by that? Well, when you’re a perfectionist, imperfection can drive you nuts, and when you’re a goalie, being a good teammate can mean worrying about yourself. Miller had good times in Buffalo – two trips to the Eastern Conference final, a Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season team, a Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie – but the Sabres slipped and so did he. The frustration affected him. He called out problems like a captain.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Flyers May be Putting A Target On Ryan McDonagh’s Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Question: Do you know the difference between Bobby Orr and Ryan McDonagh?

Answer: The Bruins would never have traded the rights to Orr to the Rangers in exchange for Scott Gomez.

Well, that difference among many.

And yet, as the Flyers approached Thursday’s Garden opener of their opening-round playoff series against the Blueshirts, one can be excused for wondering if Philadelphia’s coaching staff had super-imposed the No. 4 onto the back of McDonagh’s jersey given the emphasis the club seemed to be placing on the Rangers’ best player.

Indeed, coach Craig Berube reportedly had instructed his first line consisting of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek to change its preferred style of rush-hockey to a form of dump-and-crash in order to: a) protect against offensive blue line turnovers that would trigger McDonagh leading the transition; and, b) wear down McDonagh by pounding the defenseman whenever he goes back to play the puck below the goal line.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+mcdonagh

Coach Claude On Playing The Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,

Julien was asked about holding too much respect for the Wings headed into their playoff series and he mentioned the “underdog card” he thinks Detroit is playing given some of their injuries.

“I don’t believe in never respecting your opponent," Julien said. "They’re in the playoffs because they’re a good team, and that’s the respect that you give them. But that doesn’t mean you play on your heels or at the end of your stick because you have respect for them. It just means you have to be ready. I think it’s pretty obvious to us that they want to play the underdog card, which is not surprising. We just have to go out there and not care about what they say.

“We’re not letting them fool us with that underdog card and that they don’t have the players. We’ll just go out there and play our game. I know he’s got players, and he’s got players that have done extremely well for him. The guy that right now is a question mark for them is [Henrik] Zetterberg, but other than that those young players have done a good job even if the [Dan] Clearys and the [Todd] Bertuzzis are question marks in the lineup. They’ve got a pretty good lineup with a lot of choices. That’s how I look at it.”

read on

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Eddie Olczyk On How The Wings Can Beat The Bruins

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

... when it comes to the Detroit Red Wings experiencing success in the opening round against the Boston Bruins, it might be more about offense, according to NBC Sports analyst Ed Olczyk....

"This is a much younger, quicker team," Olczyk said this week in a national conference call. "I think that's the way that they have to play. They're not going to be a physical team. They've got some guys who can bang around and I'm sure Niklas Kronwall is going to look for one of those big hits along the boards just inside the Bruins' offensive zone.

"But to me that will be a real big key, can the Red Wings manage the puck well enough and can they play a fast game and try to keep it a real quick game? There's no doubt that the Bruins are the team to beat for sure and rightfully so. The Bruins can come in four lines and the size and the depth and the leadership of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, but to me is can the Red Wings be able to play that real fast game to maybe get the Bruins on the run a little bit?

more

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I think everyone should have a chip on their shoulder to perform, to get the job done. Last year finished off not the way we wanted it to, so I think it’s important to go into the playoffs with that chip on us.”

-Rick Nash of the New York Rangers as they prepare for the Philadelphia Flyers.  More from Josh Thomson of Rangers Report.

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

Johan Franzen On His Game

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

via Dana Wakiji tweets,

Franzen: Even if I’m not scoring that’s not what I’m doing for this team. It’s not why I go out and play games to score goals.

Franzen: I’ve got a lot of things to do before that. It’s not even fifth on the list, probably, when you go out to a game.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Zetterberg On The Ice For Wings’ Practice

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

More to come as it is made available...

added 11:18am, via Pleiness tweet,

Practice lines: Datsyuk, Franzen, Abdelkader. Jurco, Sheahan, Nyquist. Alfredsson, Helm, Jurco, Miller, Glendening, Legwand. D pairs same.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

WEISE LIFTS CANADIENS IN OVERTIME
After a back-and-forth three periods that saw neither team hold the lead for more than four minutes (TB – 3:34, MTL – 3:58), Dale Weise scored his first career playoff goal at 18:08 of overtime to lift the Canadiens to a 1-0 series lead over the Lightning.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Weise became the first Canadiens player to record his first career postseason goal in overtime since May 18, 1986, when Brian Skrudland did so nine seconds into the extra period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final versus the Flames. Last year, three NHLers scored their first playoff goal in overtime: Gustav Nyquist, Brooks Orpik and Jason Zucker.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Cup And The Chicago Blackhawks Are A Dynasty

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,

You win three Cups in five seasons, including possible back-to-back Cups? You’re a dynasty. Maybe you’re not the Shangs or the Mings, but you’re more than a hiccup.

Do the Blackhawks want to play the nasty Blues in the opening round, starting in St. Louis on ­Thursday night?

It doesn’t really matter. To win the Cup, you beat whomever steps in front of you for the next two months. At some point, you’ve beaten everybody who’s beaten everybody else....

It’s all doable. Not easy. But possible. Likely even painful. There’s a bull’s-eye on the chest of every Blackhawks star. They are the defending champs, after all. As Kane said of being singled out for special treatment by the Blues, “I would expect that, even if I wasn’t coming back from injury.’’

No, it’ll be hard, very hard. And long.

But no dynasty was easy. And none was built in a day.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

“The Kids Have Played Well”

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“Sometimes when you put kids in and they aren’t ready it turns out to be bad for the team and you start to lose your confidence as an athlete and you have to go backwards to regain that confidence,” general manager Ken Holland said. “Fortunately, the kids have played well. That’s not a concern for me.”

Said center Darren Helm: "The young guys add a big element to the team -- excitement, energy -- gets everybody going. They’re going to be important guys in the playoffs."

This is the youngest team the Red Wings have taken into the playoffs in a long time. Youth brings fresh legs and speed. That will be important against the big, physical, veteran-laden Bruins.

“All those kids just love to play hockey, they’re just having fun,” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen said. “They want the puck, they’re skating good and they’re strong on the puck.

“I think they’re ready for the playoffs. They’ve been playing great for us. It’s going to be fun to see what they can bring.”

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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