Kukla's Korner

Sharks Could Go Where They’ve Never Gone Before

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,

Hold your breath. Twenty-five years of teal-tinted angst and teasing torment could come to an end Wednesday night. The Sharks are on uncharted ice. And it feels ... pretty amazing, actually. Also odd and strange.

Hold your breath. The Sharks, with a defeat of the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center, will earn a trip to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since the team was born in 1991. Shark fans are not quite sure how to approach this. I can tell. One of my Twitter followers says she will spend Wednesday night hiding inside her closet because she won't be able to stand the tension.

Hold your breath. But try to enjoy it. For fans, this will definitely constitute three periods (or more) of apprehension and nerves. So many good Shark teams over the years have never gotten this far. Why not bask in the unease? Would you rather be a fan of the Arizona Coyotes this week?

The Shark players have done this so impressively, all through this six-week skate across nails to reach this point. They have done a good job of staying in the moment, as Joe Thornton says. And they know not to get ahead of themselves.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Tampa Bay Lighting Came up Flat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

Call it flat. Call it uninspired. Call it what you will. But be sure you call it this: unacceptable. The Lightning lost Game 6 because it deserved to lose Game 6.

Yes, there was another team on the ice, a Penguins team loaded with talent, a Penguins team that played with determination and desperation as if its season was on the line. Which it was.

But that doesn't completely excuse a Lightning team that lacked the necessary urgency and energy to close out a series that was there for the taking.

Really, Lightning? That's all you have? That's the best you could do? A trip to the Stanley Cup was a mere 60 minutes away in the comforts of your own house and you played most of the night like it was a meaningless game in November, not an elimination game in May?

"They were a desperate hockey team and we didn't match that," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "We lose an opportunity there."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Deliver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Courage, my word.

The Pittsburgh Penguins stared into the face of possible elimination with a steely-eyed determination. They talked a big game before delivering a big game.

Now both they and the Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to play the kind of game you spend a lifetime dreaming about – Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Sixty minutes – and perhaps a bit more – to determine who plays for the Stanley Cup.

“Man, it’s pretty wild,” said Penguins winger Phil Kessel.

It took a focused, precise effort for 40 minutes and a scrambled, breathless mess over the final 20, but the Penguins managed to deliver on Evgeni Malkin’s promise. They’re heading home with a game to play.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Recap Of Game 6 Eastern Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Just under 4 minutes long.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

CROSBY SCORES (ANOTHER) WINNING GOAL AS PENGUINS FORCE GAME 7
The Penguins built a three-goal lead through two periods – powered by 1-1—2 from captain Sidney Crosby – and held off a Lightning rally in the final frame to extend the Eastern Conference Final to a seventh and deciding game.
 

 
* Crosby scored his third game-winning goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, all of which have come in the Conference Finals. His nine career playoff game-winning goals are tied for the third-most in franchise history, behind Jaromir Jagr (14) and Mario Lemieux (11).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sipple profiles Flint Firebirds coach Ryan Oulahen

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Free Press's George Sipple:

Ryan Oulahen’s hockey path took him to Flint instead of Detroit.

A former Red Wings draft pick, Oulahen was introduced at news conference in Flint on Tuesday after being hired last week by the Ontario Hockey League as coach of the Firebirds.

Oulahen, a former captain of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate, suffered a career-ending hip injury during the 2008-09 season and began coaching in 2011.

He has spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach for the Battalion, the team he once played for in the OHL. He returned to the Brampton Battalion for the 2011-12 season and stayed on when the team moved to North Bay before the 2013-14 season.

The OHL recently took control of hockey operations for the Firebirds after suspending owner Rolf Nilsen after he fired the coaching staff twice in the same season. The OHL hired longtime league coach and former Edmonton Oilers coach George Burnett as general manager, Oulahen as coach and former Philadephia Flyers forward Eric Wellwood as assistant coach.

“I want to create a hardworking environment where the opposition has to know the Flint Firebirds are going to give it all they got,” Oulahen said. “Hard work can win you a lot of games, and we have to create that right from the get-go. I’m a big believer in playing both sides of the puck. You gotta be able to be a 200-foot player. I want to be extremely aggressive, really, really fast and structured.”

Continued with commentary from Ken Holland and quite a bit about Oulahen's career-ending hip injury...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Thinking of the Dark Canuck while he’s still here with us

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I'm still left all but speechless by today's news that the Tragically Hip's lead singer and lyricist, Gord Downie, has terminal brain cancer, and, per The Score's Josh Gold-Smith, the CBC and Sportsnet kept Canada's band's frontman in their thoughts with a superb Hockey Night in Canada opener this evening:

TSN's Bob McKenzie shared a chapter from his book, Hockey Confidential, today, discussing Downie and the Hip's mutula love affair with hockey.

As an American born a few miles north of Canada in Detroit and as someone who grew up listening to the Hip--the only album I stayed up to buy at midnight at the old Rock of Ages was Phantom Power--I speak for more than a few of us two-flags-flying Michiganders in wishing Gord and his family the best at this incredibly difficult time.

Hopefully my cousin Dan and I will see you on the road, be it in Sarnia or Windsor, because it turns out that a Hip tour means as much to the band as it does to their fans.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Early overnight report: Larkin at the Worlds, player appearances and Griffins player-alum-tracking

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff, like MLive's Ansar Khan, spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the performances of the Wings' World Championship participants, and Holland spoke about Dylan Larkin's play in particular on the day Larkin was named the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Rookie of the Year:

“Larkin played a lot of the tournament at center,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland noted. “(Detroit coach) Jeff Blashill and I were pleased about that.

“He was a center (before coming to Wings), we put him on the wing to reduce his responsibility. He played well, he was an important player on their team. He played with determination, tenacity. He went from the fourth line (at last year’s worlds to the top six forwards). He had one point (last year) to (nine points).

“It was a big step in his development as a player. He had a really good tournament. A big part of player development is experience, experiencing a lot of different things. Two years in a row Larkin has been on Team USA and they played their way into the top four. It’s a fabulous experience for these young players in their development.”

Duff continues, discussing the balance of the Wings' participants;

2. In the "player appearance" department, Larkin will be attending the Belle Isle Grand Prix, as the Free Press's Helene St. James notes:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry disscus the offside reviews, the Finnish Don Cherry, and the passing of John Brophy.

Plus a few more topics including Patrick Marleau's stick.

 

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- HNIC Opening Salutes Gord Downie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

In a special edition of the opening montage, Hockey Night in Canada salutes Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.

 

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gord+downie

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