Kukla's Korner

Brent Burns In The Conversation For Top Defenseman In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Travis Yost of TSN,

It’s not often that we talk about a player changing the way we think about how a position should be played.

But, it’s not often that players like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson come along.

Burns’ emergence might be the result of a perfect storm in San Jose: A talented player finding the right guys to play with, a perfectly timed transition from winger to blueliner and an offence that plays an exceptional brand of inside/out hockey in the offensive zone. Whatever it is, Burns and the Sharks are a match made in heaven.

He’s become as much a staple of their attack as Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. For as much as we have talked (rightfully) about Karlsson revolutionizing the position, it’s worth pointing out that Burns has had a similar career arc.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns

The Leafs Have Their Goaltender

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damein Cox of the Toronto Star,

Perhaps somewhere along the way somebody should have sent a scout to Denmark.

Maybe that would have shortened the process of looking for a replacement for Ed Belfour in the net of your Toronto Maple Leafs.

As it was, it’s taken 11 seasons (!!!), five general managers, six coaches and 17 goaltending candidates to find someone capable of doing something approximating the job Belfour did for three seasons in the waning years of his stellar career.

But, it appears, the Leafs finally have located such a netminder.

Frederik Andersen has managed to erase those ugly first impressions he made in October, ones that made many wonder if he was just a rerun of Vesa Toskala or Jonathan Bernier, and in so doing likely set himself up for a lengthy run in the Toronto net as the club’s No. 1 goalie.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: frederik+andersen

The Columbus Blue Jackets Continue To Roll

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

In this Season of Giving, the Blue Jackets have become absolutely miserly.

The club ran its winning streak to four games by limiting the Arizona Coyotes to 18 shots in a 4-1 victory at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.

The Blue Jackets have yielded more than 28 shots on goal only once since Nov. 15. In that stretch, they have gone 8-1-2 to vault into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

“The confidence level is going up and everyone trusts each other to do their jobs,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said. “Everyone is just playing their roles and I think it helps make everyone calm on defense ... It’s day and night from (last season), you can see the shots going down.”

The Blue Jackets surrendered a first-period power-play, but gave the Coyotes few great looks on a night Columbus improved to 15-5-4.

The Blue Jackets entered play fifth in goals-against average at 2.19. In the past 11 games, they have allowed 1.91 goals per game.


Below are the game highlights

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Wings This Week

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch for this week:

Jets, Laine a challenge

... Patrik Laine, the second pick in this year's draft, leads all rookies with 16 goals and 23 points. Mark Scheifle leads the Jets with 26 points. Defenseman Jacob Trouba, who rescinded his trade request after signing with the Jets, has appeared in 13 games (no goals, three assists, minus-3).

Winnipeg is last in the league in shots per game (27.5) and Detroit is 29th (27.8). The Jets also are last in faceoff percentage (45.5 percent).

Protecting leads troublesome

Third periods have been quite the white-knuckle ride for this team in recent weeks. Detroit has squandered the lead or allowed the go-ahead goal in the third period in 11 of its past 16 games, losing many valuable points.

They've had difficulty getting the puck out of their end in some of the games, like in their 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh Saturday. Turnovers and defensive breakdowns also have contributed to some of the blown leads.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Home Team in Caps
BOSTON 4, Florida 3 (OT)
PITTSBURGH 8, Ottawa 5
WASHINGTON 3, Buffalo 2 (OT)
COLUMBUS 4, Arizona 1
Sam Gagner led the offense with 2-2—4 to power the Blue Jackets to their fourth consecutive victory and a 5-0-1 mark in their last six contests.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, at 15-5-4 (34 points) the Blue Jackets are off to their best 24-game start in franchise history in terms of wins and points, besting their previous mark set in 2010-11 (14-9-1, 29 points).
* Columbus has won four consecutive games for the second time this season, with both streaks coming within their last 12 games (also Nov. 12-20: 4-0-0).
* Gagner recorded four points in a game for the first time since posting 2-2—4 on Dec. 23, 2014 at EDM w/ ARI. He has registered 10-7—17 in 23 games this season, besting his point total from 2015-16 (8-8—16 in 53 GP w/ PHI).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Lowest Attendance

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Ten days ago, I wrote that the Carolina Hurricanes are the lowest paid team (by salary cap hit).  This is a financial necessity for this team.  They also have the lowest attendance in the NHL.  They are averaging 10,969 per home game.  This is almost 1500 people per game less than the second worst New York Islanders.

Carolina has problems.  Peter Karmanos is 73 years old and his sons show no interest in running the team.  In fact they have sued their father for over $100 million that he failed to put into their trusts.  This is money that Karmanos has used largely to run the hockey team.  As a result, Karmanos wants to sell the team and there is little appetite to keep the team in Carolina.

The NHL has not had a team that is a former Stanley Cup winner fold or move since the Great Depression.  It looks like Carolina could break that record.  They are the 2006 Stanley Cup champions.  This was the first season after a season lost to a lockout.  An artificially low salary cap prevented any really strong teams from existing.  The Carolina team that won the 2006 Stanley Cup missed the playoffs in 2007.  They were unable to gain any sustained momentum from their win.

The Carolina Hurricanes will likely last as long as Peter Karmanos lasts running them.  They have not been able to draw fans.  There is little appetite for another owner to keep the team in the state.  Likely they will move when he sells or when he dies and a sale is forced.  Their low attendance and low payroll has put the team two points out of last place in the East Conference.  There is little positive going on here.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Dylan Larkin’s 2nd Season With The Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Greg Kruppa of The Detroit News,

Larkin said the comfort afforded him by the Red Wings and their veteran players during his rookie season was a big help. This season is a little different, however, especially playing far more at center than on a wing.

“I was kind of in a good position,” Larkin said of his rookie season. “I think I was trusted in my first year,”

“I think I was put out in all situations and I was able to feel like I could produce and, you know, just play.

“And nothing was complicated. I just went out and played.

“I think in terms of this season, right now, it hasn’t gone terrible, by any means. But you look at stats and there’s a bit of a drop off.

“But you know, I think as a team we want to be to a certain spot, and there’s a lot of pressure on myself to get us there.”


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Video- Jack Eichel Playing Through Ankle Issue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jacke Eichel is trying to play through an ankle injury...




Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jack+eichel

Ken Holland On The State Of The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gary Lawless of TSN,

On Monday, he was attending meetings on the Red Wings new dressing room and how to tie in the team’s heritage through photographs and interior design. Holland isn’t just a quirky ex-goalie with four Stanley Cups on his resume as an executive. He’s a hockey renaissance man: thoughtful, expressive and passionate about the sport from an overall perspective, not just based on what works for the Red Wings.

“I think the game’s in great shape in terms of parity and competitiveness. So many of our games come down to the last few minutes and the tension and nervousness is critical and exciting for our fans,” said Holland, over the phone from Detroit, on Monday.

“I’d like to see a little more offence, but not at the expense of close games. So, if the average goals per game is five, and I don’t know what it is, I’d like to see us get to six or seven. But we don’t want the 3-2 game to turn into a 5-2 game. I don’t want to get to seven goals at the expense of competitive balance. If we can find a way to make the 3-2 game a 4-3 game — there’s more offence and it’s still tight and the third period is still competitive and we still get to overtime a lot — I’d like to see that.”

The NHL is averaging 5.3 goals per night this season, at the low end of where it has been for the better part of two decades. In 377 games this season, 97 have been decided by one goal in regulation, 95 by one goal in overtime, 32 by two goals including an empty-net goal and 40 by two goals or more. Holland is right — the games are close.


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

Rangers & Blackhawks Square Off in This Week’s Top Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By Tim Dolan,

Hoping to see an Original Six battle between the Blackhawks and Rangers this weekend? Prepare to pay up if so – Friday’s matchup will be the most expensive game this week, with tickets starting from $103 on search engine TicketIQ. The Rangers then return home to host the Devils on Sunday in the second priciest game this week. The Maple Leafs and Bruins also get on in the action with top-priced home games. 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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