Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Lose, Or Did They Win?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

There was an overtime winner scored Thursday night in First Niagara Center that sent tons of folks home happy. It was accompanied by loud cheers with fans leaping out of their seats, many with arms in the air.

One thing was missing: The goal horn. That’s because the goal wasn’t scored by the Sabres.

It came from Arizona’s Sam Gagner and gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win over Buffalo in a game played through what has to rate as one of the most awkward atmospheres in franchise history.

In the bizarro world of Tankapalooza 2015, Thursday’s defeat rates as a major victory in the turtle race for 30th overall in the NHL. The Coyotes moved six points ahead of Buffalo in 29th place. Buffalo has a game in hand but only eight games left, including Monday’s rematch in Glendale, Ariz.

It looks like a huge deficit for Buffalo to overcome. The fact is, however, the masses’ obsession with Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel means they want no part of it getting wiped out.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Slumping New York Islanders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Lorenzo of the NY Daily News,

With just three wins in the Islanders’ last 12 games and no home wins in March, one must seriously wonder if it’s time for the Isles to press the panic button.

The Isles dropped another game at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday, this one, 3-2, to the Kings. A poor clearing effort by the entire team − particularly Kyle Okposo − led to a late third period Anze Kopitar goal to seal it for Los Angeles. The Isles have now dropped six straight at home.

“We can’t sit back at this point in the season and be happy (about) where we are. We haven’t done anything,” Travis Hamonic said. “There are teams right behind us. I don’t know who won tonight, but there’s teams right behind us and we’ve got to realize what’s at stake.”...

“Clearly we have to be a lot better, starting with myself,” said John Tavares, who played one of his worst games of the season. “I know that I have not played close to my best the last couple of games, certainly tonight.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Numbers On Alex Ovechkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from lJay Palansky of the Toronto Star,

To be fair, Ovechkin has had a good season and there really aren’t any forwards that have stepped up and separated themselves from the pack. Still, giving Ovechkin the MVP would be a travesty.

Mainstream analysts see that Ovechkin’s 47 goals leads the league by 7, he has a +/- of +11 — which looks positively stellar compared to the disastrous -35 he put up last year — and that the Capitals are going to make the playoffs. That’s all they need to know.

To them I say it’s time to look beyond goals. Ovechkin’s offensive numbers actually aren’t particularly impressive. In 5-on-5 play, he’s 90th in the league in points per 60 minutes. Plus, Ovechkin has only 26 assists, a microscopic 14 of which are 5-on-5. Since 1970, the fewest assists by a forward to win MVP in a full season was 45 — and that was by Brett Hull in 1990-91, when he potted 86 goals. Even adjusting for the overall decrease in scoring in the league since 1991, Ovechkin’s season isn’t in the same universe,

The love from some in the analytics community is more unexpected. Their argument focuses primarily on Ovechkin’s solid shot attempt differential of 54.5 per cent. They then apply some magic analytics pixie dust by disregarding Ovechkin’s actual goal differential to calculate what the Capitals’ “expected” goals for and against when Ovechkin is on the ice would be if Ovechkin’s linemates and goalies had a “league-average shooting and goaltending,” rather than the considerably below-average shooting and save percentages they actually have.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

The Winnipeg Jets Are Closing In On Post-Season Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,

They have not wilted. No fade and no quit. And if they can manage to get into the post-season, the Winnipeg Jets just might prove to be a tough out.

With each passing day, the Jets appear to be getting stronger. They've won six of seven, they're getting brilliant goaltending and, little by little, they're getting healthy.

After 75 games, it appears they will need three more wins to achieve their first goal. After that, well, they say anything can happen.

There's reason to believe with the way the Jets are constructed, this won't be a team that reaches the playoffs only to be swept away in short order.

Big, fast and willing to bang, the Jets will be inexperienced but built with some of the characteristics needed to win in the post-season.

Their offence comes from hard work and not flash. The blue-line has size and mobility. And right now, at this most crucial of junctures, they are getting outstanding goaltending.

Last night's 5-2 bouncing of the visiting Montreal Canadiens gave the Jets 90 points on the season. They're knocking at the door. Soon they'll be pounding at the door. And maybe, just maybe, in the immortal but slightly sanitized words of Bum Phillips, they'll kick the son of a gun in.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Babcock Talk

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

via Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

- "We had 'D' that didn't box out and wasn't ready to go from the start."

"We'll come in here tomorrow, and we'll get it fixed.

"The outcome is: We can't keep it out of our net. So, until we get that fixed, nothing else. We're going to get that fixed tomorrow.

"You guys have a good night."

- "I agree with you," Babcock said when it was asserted Howard looked uneasy. "It's one of those things.

"Obviously, it didn't go the way he wanted.

"He's a proud guy. We gave him the opportunity to bounce back. He didn't do that."

- I didn't like the second goal that went in on him," Babcock said of a goal by Logan Couture that went under Mrazek's blocker arm, next to his ribs, and in.

"They can't chicken wing it. Couture's shot is a great shot. That can't happen to you."

- "We're going to get regrouped tomorrow, and I guarantee we'll be back and ready to go."

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

The Latest On The Las Vegas Ticket Drive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

"There will be a formal announcement soon," is how prospective NHL owner Bill Foley responded when asked if his group is moving closer to expansion to Las Vegas.

Foley won't divulge specifics, but says he hopes to be in position to make the announcement in a month.

"We're really pleased with how it's going," Foley told TSN.   "Now we want to expand our base to ensure the support we have is as widespread as possible."

Sources familiar with this process suggest the corporate sector, including the many casinos in Las Vegas represent the next phase of the ticket drive and overall market study.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Claude Julien Wanted Goalie Interference On Corey Perry’s Game-Tying Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,

The Bruins had their closers on the ice with Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg playing in the final minute, but Corey Perry managed to tip a Ryan Getzlaf shot past Tuukka Rask for the game-tying score with 38.5 seconds remaining.

That led to the Getzlaf overtime game-winner in the 3-2 loss for the Black and Gold at TD Garden and a closer look at Perry’s third-period score for the game-tying goal. Both Perry and Matt Beleskey made “incidental contact” with Rask in the crease just before the game-tying redirection, and either player could have been called out on it.

Julien wanted a call at that crucial point in the game, but that isn't meant to be for this year's team.

“[It’s] really disappointing that the goal was allowed. There was, no doubt, goalie interference there and that’s why they talk about reviewing those kinds of goals and coaches’ challenges,” said Julien. “You can’t allow those kinds of goals. This was a big point we lost tonight on a missed call. Those are the things that are hard to swallow right now.”

more

Watch the goal below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: corey+perry

Video- Recap Of A Busy Thursday Night In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Catch the action from the 11 NHL games played last night.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: Red Wings-Sharks wrap-up; prospect notes, etc.

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' 6-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks wasn't more costly because the Wings "got help in the standings" for the first time in a long time: Ottawa, which is 5 points behind the Wings, lost 5-1 to the Rangers, and the Bruins, who are also 5 points back having played 1 more game than both Detroit and Ottawa, dropped a 3-2 OT decision to Anaheim.

After the game, Wings coach Mike Babcock, who's become a media-beleaguered gentleman during the Wings' 3-7-and-1 March schedule, chose to announce that Petr Mrazek would start Saturday's all-important showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and you will have to take what he told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness about Mrazek vs. Jimmy Howard as you will:

When Babcock was asked if he had a No. 1 goalie he responded with, “I’m starting Pete Mrazek next game.”

At the same time, Babcock told Pleiness and the assembled media that he didn't feel that his goaltenders--plural, because Petr Mrazek gave up two soft goals, too--were solely to blame for the Wings' issues...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Quick take, Red Wings vs. Sharks: More like it or more like s***?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

With the Wings having just completed their 10th remaining game of the 2014-15 campaign, I've changed my mantra from, "Catch the Bolts" to "get a point!"

The Wings' disastrous March 3-7-and-1 record and game-to-game and period-to-period performances have deteriorated to the point that it's all but essential for the Wings to "go .500" to not drop into a Wild Card spot, and as such, the goal of earning one point every night might be a little more realistic than hoping for wins.

Thursday, the Wings placed fans on an emotional roller coaster that resulted in a 6-4 San Jose win and what was an exasperating, infuriating and incredibly frustrating effort in which BOTH Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek weren't good enough, NOR were the players in front of either--Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar had 4 giveaways apiece, at least on paper, and 3 of Nyquist's giveaways yielded Sharks goals on a -11 team.

As a result, I'm sure that more of you are going to insist that Howard's incompetent, but you will see him on either Saturday against Tampa or Sunday vs. the Islanders, the coach remains the coach, friends, and the Wings' games against Ottawa on Tuesday and Boston on Thursday, with both teams 5 points behind Detroit, become monumental ones.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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