Kukla's Korner

My Thoughts On Mike Babcock

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I have thus far stayed out of the Mike Babcock affair, but I thought I would say my piece. 

In the first place, I am not sure that Babcock's move to Toronto is the biggest off-ice personnel move that occurred that day.  Boston announced that Don Sweeney would be their new GM.  A general manager has more ability to set the longterm success of a franchise than a coach does and thus likely Sweeney will have more longterm importance than Babcock.

Mike Babcock is possibly the best coach in the NHL.  If he isn't the best, he is close.  I pick him as the Jack Adams Trophy winner this year.  He cannot win it because he isn't an announced finalist.  The voters tend to pick the coach of the most improved team instead of the best coach.

Obviously Toronto will be improved with better coaching.  Peter Horachek did not have a good run as the Leafs coach.  Replacing him with someone who is average will be an improvement and Babcock is well above that.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Larry Brooks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

... the NHL policy in which draft-pick compensation now can be attached to the hiring of coaches and front office personnel after they’ve been fired with term remaining on their contracts is a disgrace — immoral, or close to it, as labor relations go.

Imagine firing someone then stopping them from going somewhere else unless the hiring party antes up. The rebuilding Oilers likely will be forced to surrender two draft picks — either a second- and a third-rounder, or two thirds — to hire fired Boston GM Peter Chiarelli and fired San Jose coach Todd McLellan. Two steps forward, two steps back.

Where is Jimmy Devallano now that we need him to announce that coaches and managers are just cattle on the owners’ plantations?

-Larry Brooks of the New York Post where you can read more on this topic plus a look at the Mike Babcock hiring in Toronto.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Just How Much Can Mike Babcock Help The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

During the course of a casual conversation a few years back, Marc Crawford was asked if the impact of an NHL coach could be measured in wins and losses.

Turned out Crawford had given this subject some thought. Without a lot of hesitation, the veteran hockey man said: “It’s seven to eight points a season.”

So there you go, Leafs fans. Your team just paid $50 million for a new coach and, if everything goes right, they’ll improve from 68 to 76 points next season. Surely that must be worth three hours of discussion on the panel.

The Leafs, of course, have become the newest test case for one of hockey’s enduring questions: Does a coach really make that much of a difference? In signing Mike Babcock to a groundbreaking eight-year, $50-million deal, they certainly made coaches all over the NHL happy. But is Babcock the man who can end half a century of misery in The Big Smoke? Can he, through his mere presence, alter the course of this cursed franchise?

You have to admit, it’s a helluva question. We just wish we could give you a helluva answer.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

If You Ask Jon Cooper A Stupid Question…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Matt Bake at Lightning Strikes,

If Rangers coach Alain Vigneault looked at reporters as if they had three heads Thursday when they asked about benching star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Lightning coach Jon Cooper went a step farther Saturday when the thought of a goalie change was brought up.

"I'll look at you like you have five heads," Cooper said before his team flew to New York for Sunday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. "How's that? No change."

Cooper said he has plenty of confidence in goalie Ben Bishop, who's given up five goals in back-to-back games for the first time since March 2011. Bishop's defensemen took much of the blame for the Rangers' offensive success, and Cooper said Bishop has passed every test in the playoffs so far.

"I understand your question," Cooper said of a potential change at goalie. "For someone to sit here and say, are we changing (in) goal? That is asinine to me."

added 3:40pm, Watch Cooper's response below...

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  Tags: jon+cooper

Griffins posit Grand Rapids-Utica series preview; Blashill discusses Larkin with St. James

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins begin their Western Conference Final series against the Utica Comets tomorrow at 7 PM (WOOD Radio, AHL Live), and the Griffins' YouTube channel posted a series preview...

And as Dylan Larkin will be making his pro debut with the Griffins on Sunday, the Free Press's

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Simon Despres On His Game In Anaheim

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

On the day Simon Despres would become a member of the Anaheim Ducks, he was shopping for furniture with his girlfriend. Despres noted that the trade deadline had passed and thought little of the matter.

Then his phone started lighting up with messages wondering how he felt about his impending move to Anaheim.

Needless to say, the Laval, Quebec, native was dumbfounded that he was no longer with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that had drafted him with the 30th overall pick in 2009.

At the time, mentions of the deal that saw former Penguin Ben Lovejoy returned to Pittsburgh in return for Despres considered the trade a wash, if not a slight advantage to Pittsburgh, given Lovejoy’s experience and physical nature.

Hindsight being what it is, it’s difficult to imagine this deal working out any better for Despres or the Ducks, and not just because he delivered the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: simon+despres

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

FRIDAY’S RESULT
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 5, TAMPA BAY 1 – series tied 2-2
 
NASH HELPS RANGERS EVEN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Rick Nash registered 2-1—3, his first career multi-goal and three-point playoff performances, to help the Rangers even the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece.
 

 
* The Rangers scored five goals for the second consecutive game (6-5 OT L in Game 3 at TBL). It marks the first time they have recorded five or more goals in consecutive playoff outings since Games 4 (5-3 W) and 5 (5-3 W) of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. NJD. It also marks the first time they have posted five or more goals in consecutive road postseason contests since Games 3 (5-1 W) and 4 (5-2 W) of the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at NYI.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Speed Is The Key For The Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

Somewhere in between the three overtime loss and the three and a half hour flight back here from California, the Blackhawks lost their speed.

And with it, they may have lost the ability to dictate the outcome of the remainder of the Western Conference final.

With a crucial Game 4 looming at the United Center on Saturday night, the 'Hawks hope to return to the style that got them through the first two rounds and a series split back in Anaheim.

And to do it, they'll need to get their legs out of the quicksand and not allow the Ducks to control the flow of the game as they did in Thursday's 2-1 win.

"I think any time when you talk about winning a series, you're going to want to play your game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We can't play a run-and-gun game.

"We're not a team that's built to skate up and down the rink all night long and trade chances. We're just not built that way. We have to execute our system and the things we want to do."

continued

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

Not A Good Night For The Tampa Bay Lightning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fellelly of the Tampa Tribune,

The Eastern Conference finals is even. The Rangers just grabbed the home-ice edge again. They grabbed the Lightning and shook, liberally, with a 5-1 win in Game 4 — with a Marty goal thrown in for good measure.

Lightning fans could hardly muster righteous boos at that point. They were beaten down.

All those great Lightning chances, 19 shots alone in a frantic second period, even as Amalie Arena rocked. All those body blows, but nothing left at the end. Nothing. Empty tank.

Defensive breakdowns. Another bad night for Ben Bishop.

They just weren’t good enough.

“We definitely had our chances to win this game,” Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said.

And now Rick Nash, the Rangers’ sleeping scorer, is wide awake after a two-goal night.

And Henrik Lundqvist is back to being Henrik Lundqvist.

And Bishop has had consecutive five-goal games.

And Marty just got his first goal of the postseason.

Can any of this be good news?

And this just in: The Triplets are human.

read on

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

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
 

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