Kukla's Korner

The Stars Come Out In New York Rangers Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

These were the Rangers with their best players being their best players.

These were the Rangers with a confident Henrik Lundqvist at the top of his game in nets — if there were a blackboard in front of me and a piece of chalk in my hand, I would write 100 times: “I should have known … I should have known … I should have known” — and these were the Rangers with Rick Nash producing the way he had when he carried his team’s offense through the first five months of the regular season.

“It’s frustrating when you feel you’re letting down the guys, the team and everyone around the organization,” Nash said after scoring twice in the Blueshirts’ 5-1 victory in Friday’s Game 4 that squared the conference finals at two-all. “I’ve felt the pressure.

“Believe me, I’ve been trying to contribute offensively as much as I can.”

The goals were Nash’s third and fourth of this postseason and the eighth and ninth in 57 playoff games as a Ranger. Last year, when he recorded three goals, Nash was doing everything else but score. The same pattern held true through the first two rounds this year.

continued

Watch the game highlights below....

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Prospect playoff news: Walleye stay alive vs. South Carolina; Rockets open Memorial Cup with loss

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Toledo Walleye are a hard team to figure out this spring. They've won two straight games after falling into a 3-0 hole against the South Carolina Stingrays, and now the Walleye are down 3 games to 2 thanks to a 5-4 win on Friday night...

But the Walleye nearly surrendered a 4-1 lead on Friday, and the game after scoring a hat trick, Martin Frk was held off the scoresheet.

The Walleye's website posted a game recap:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Don Cherry talks Babcock, again

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

To put it indelicately, Don Cherry is going ga-ga over Mike Babcock, and while he insists that Babcock is no messiah, Cherry spent 85% of this Coach's Corner praising Babcock, praising Babcock, and also praising Babcock as the best coach in the world and the coach who will bring Canadians and Ontario natives to "Canada's team":

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry, mike+babcock, toronto+maple+leafs

Evening news: Does Babcock’s departure spell tougher times ahead?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

If you missed any of the updates to the Babcock farewell presser post, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff adds a few more quotes to the mix...

“Don’t get me wrong - I love it here, but I also think it was time for me,” Babcock acknowledged. “No matter how much I talked to (Detroit general manager) Kenny (Holland) and we went back and forth and he was great, I wanted a different challenge. I went through a long process. I made a decision that was best, I felt, for Mike Babcock and his family. I’m going to a different place with a new opportunity where I’m very, very excited to go.”

It wasn’t an easy decision for him to make, but in the end, it was the appropriate call.

“I went back and forth on it 100 times,” Babcock admitted. “I probably wore Kenny out being a pain in the butt and I know I wore my family out. It was gut wrenching. As much of it is emotional for me right now talking to you, I said it yesterday it was like I was 25. I was jacked up, scared to death. We’ll see. Only time will tell. I believe you put your foot on the gas and go get it and that’s what we’re going to do.”

And it's from this set of quips that we delve into two columns (and an interview) which concern themselves with the concern--for lack of a better term--that Babcock's departure strikes something of a death-knell for the Red Wings' playoff streak, if not an indication that this team can't go any higher than the 1st round regardless of who's coaching it.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Your Finalists For The GM Of The Year Award

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK -- Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.

Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wallner: Playoff bonuses yield a 12-hour bus ride for the Griffins

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

For once, I'm going to point you toward the Grand Rapids Griffins' press release regarding their upcoming series with the Utica Comets, which begins on Sunday and Monday in Utica, NY, and let you read about the Wings' prospects-vs-Canucks-prospects series on your own...

And I'll let the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner explain why the hell the Griffins bused to Utica, NY (a 12-hour trip) for two games prior to next Thursday, Friday and Sunday's home games:

The AHL in the postseason gives 52 percent of the gate from games to the participating players. But certain costs, including travel, come out of those expenses. Taking buses is less expensive than flying and potentially leaves more in the pot for the players.

In the Griffins case, they took two sleeper buses. They pay for one and the other they plan to submit for reimbursed by the league, according to Tim Gortsema, the Griffins senior vice present of business operations.

Two years ago the Griffins bused their first trip to Syracuse, which is about 50 miles less than Utica. When they had to return a second time for a Game Six, the Red Wings provided their team plane. It worked. The Griffins won and took home the cup.

Either way, the bus trip to Utica is the longest of the season. The closest comparison would be Des Moines, which is about 500 miles.

The Griffins had nothing planned but travel today. They will practice Saturday ahead of Sunday's series open. They play the following night as well, and then head home taking the Southern route, which is longer but avoids crossing the border and gives the players uninterrupted sleep.

Wallner continues, noting the gulf of time between the Griffins' last playoff home game and their next one, Mark Zengerle's strong playoff showing and Zach Nastasiuk's health....

And Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser noted that the Griffins arrived in Utica with a new face in the lineup:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Bonus Swedish: Henrik and Emma Zetterberg expecting; Hakan Andersson talks Swedish prospects

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I posted links to two Swedish stories earlier today, and now I've got the time to get to them. Here's a rough translation of Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman's report that Henrik and Emma Zetterberg are going to become parents this summer:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Open Post- Game 4 ECF Between The Tampa Bay Lightning And New York Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.

Almost a must win for the Rangers, they certainly do not want to go down 3-1.

On the other hand, the Lightning hope to go up 3-1 before heading back to New York to play game 5 on Sunday.

Feel free to discuss the game tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bad Response From Gary Bettman Regarding CTE

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.

Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:

“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”

It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.

more plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

There goes one assistant coach…

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Yesterday, TSN's Bob McKenzie told Winnipeg's TSN 1290 (8 minutes into the interview) that assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer were going to Toronto with Babcock, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms that Hiller's gone:

There's no compensation for assistant coaches, and Tony Granato's contract is up this summer, so I'm not sure what will happen with him.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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