Kukla's Korner

St. James: Jeff Salajko’s services will be retained by the Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings will retain the services of their one free agent-to-be member of the coaching staff:

When the Detroit Red Wings promoted goaltending coach Jeff Salajko, it was with an eye towards Petr Mrazek.

Salajko had history with Mrazek from the minors, and was signed to a one-year deal with the Wings last May. While Salajko does not yet have a new contract, that should soon change.

“Jeff Salajko will be back,” head coach Jeff Blashill told the Free Press Friday. “I think he has done a real good job. He has a very good relationship with our goaltenders and has an ability to help them get better and get better at fundamentals.”

St. Jamees continues...

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Afternoon Line- Bob McKenzie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

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A bit about Team USA’s World Championship team

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From USA Today's Kevin Allen:

Buffalo Sabres 20-year-old star Jack Eichel is coming off a stressful season that ended with his coach and general manager being fired. Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin had trying moments dealing with a sophomore slump.

But both agreed, along with a number of other rising young Americans, to play for the USA at the IIHF World Championships in Cologne, Germany, starting May 5.

“I think there is a young generation of American players that want to make their mark on the international stage,” U.S. coach Jeff Blashill said. “They have great pride and they want to show where they think we should stand on that international stage.”

Because the world championships are played immediately after the completion of an 82-game NHL regular season, it’s always been difficult to recruit NHLers to play.

But the presence of Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche), Brock Nelson (New York Islanders), Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes),  Connor Murphy, Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) among others suggests younger players are more willing to play.

Allen continues...

Update: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji also spoke with Blashill regarding his job as Team USA's coach:

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Wings confirm Dr. John Finley’s passing

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Last night, Keith Gave reported that long-time Wings physician John Finley passed away at 88 years of age, and this morning, the Red Wings are confirming the news:

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Wallner’s first-round Griffins playoff takes

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's observations from the Grand Rapids Griffins' first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals:

Tyler Bertuzzi is at it again: The series highlight may have been just watching Tyler Bertuzzi. The left winger, always a bundle of energy, became electrocharged – again - in the first round. He was the team’s leading scorer with four points, including two goals (goal winner and empty netter) in pivotal Game 2. The 22-year-old’s 16 goals in 26 postseason games is second all-time for the Griffins.

Dylan McIlrath's presence: The Griffins were all about playing defenseman Filip Hronek after the touted first-year defenseman joined the team in late March and played well in 10 games. But for the playoffs, the 6-foot, 170-pound 19-year-old sat and veteran Dylan McIirath played to provide a stronger physical presence. The move deprived Hronek – Detroit’s third pick in 2016 – of playoff experience, but the 6-foot-5, 235-pound McIirath initiated enough hits to keep the Admirals aware and off stride.

Penalty kill moment: The Griffins, slightly above average on the PK during the regular season (11th at 82.8 percent), were 90 percent in the opening round (1 of 11). The defining moment was the hard-working, time-eating, game of keep-away between Colin Campbell and Dominic Turgeon in Game 2. They kept the puck in the Admirals’ zone and along the boards for 40 seconds during a crucial stretch in the middle of the third period.

Wallner continues...

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No Sell-Out In Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

One assumed guarantee was a capacity crowd for an NHL playoff game in a Canadian city.

Ottawa fans are turning that notion on its ear.

For Thursday’s Round 2 opener against the New York Rangers, hundreds of empty seats were conspicuous at all three arena levels, a hot topic of discussion between whistles.

The development is stunning considering this is only the second time since 2007 the Senators have been among the final eight teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Just as the first sultry weather of the season screamed, ” Patio Bar!!” the Senators entertained the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. A crowd of 16,744 took in Ottawa’s 2-1 win at the Canadian Tire Centre, the smallest home gate this post-season by about 2,000. Official capacity is 18,572 but more than 20,000 attended Daniel Alfredsson night.

continued

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Erik Karlsson At The Top Of His Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

We have reached the point where Erik Karlsson is basically bending the game with his mind.

How else to explain the impossible angle he scored from to make sure the Ottawa Senators didn’t waste a strong performance to open Round 2?

Karlsson’s right skate was on the goal-line, the puck a good foot below it. He was literally standing in the corner when he rifled a shot that banked in off Henrik Lundqvist’s mask with less than five minutes to play on Thursday.

“I don’t know how you score from that area and what possessed him to throw it at the net the way he did,” teammate Marc Methot said after a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. “That’s what separates him from almost every other player in the league.”

It is what has carried Ottawa into the second round and should have fans dreaming of a run that could last even longer than that.

Karlsson appears to be on another level despite playing with two small fractures in his left foot these last few weeks. There were a couple all-world assists against Boston in Round 1 – they are still talking about the pass that travelled more than 140 feet and landed flat on Mike Hoffman’s stick – and Thursday’s goal couldn’t have arrived at a better time for his teammates.

continued

Watch the goal below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+karlsson

Slow Start Cost The Washington Capitals Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

It doesn’t take long at all to lose a playoff hockey game, which is obvious and perplexing at the same time. It takes 60 minutes to win one — at least — and we can all agree on that. But somehow, they can be lost in a single shift or a matter of seconds, in the amount of time it takes to read this paragraph.

The Washington Capitals will wake up Friday morning and rue the third-period goal from Nick Bonino, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ third-line center who was last seen finishing the Capitals off in overtime of Game 6 last May, beginning summer in Washington a month early. On Thursday, in the opener of their second-round series at Verizon Center, it was somehow Bonino on the breakaway, Bonino outracing Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik to free himself for the shot, Bonino beating Braden Holtby to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 victory.

That’s the game-winner for Pittsburgh, and it can’t be disputed. But was it the game-loser for the Caps?

Washington trails in the nascent stages of this series not solely because of that goal. It trails because when it returned to the ice after the first intermission of a scoreless, feel-each-other-out game, it did so without its full faculties. It took just 12 seconds for one Pittsburgh goal, another 52 seconds for the next, and — boom! — previously pulsing Verizon Center was quiet, and the Penguins had a 2-0 lead.

continued

Watch the game highlights below...

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The New York Rangers Need To Play With More Emotion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

There was a truck positioned in the arena as a promotional vehicle, and row upon row of empty seats in the upper bowl plus a fair number of prime unoccupied locations in the lower stands, as well. Who knew the playoffs were in Brooklyn this year?

Actually, more to the point, who knew the Rangers would come out with such a pedestrian effort in what became a 2-1 defeat to the Senators in the opener of the second round?

Maybe it was just the natural letdown that comes when a compelling series ends and a new one begins. Maybe there’s a time lapse that goes into revving up a rivalry that has been dormant since the last time these teams met in the playoffs five years ago.

Or maybe the Rangers just were unable to generate enough emotion and momentum on their own in a quiet building that lacked atmosphere, against an opponent whose disciplined trap sucks the life out of a game. And maybe, it’s time the speedy Rangers slowed down in order to grind this thing in their favor.

continued

Game highlights are below...

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Khan on the ‘trade Nyquist’ vs ‘trade Tatar’ conundrum

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among MLive's Ansar Khan's mailbag questions:

Q: Which of Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist is most likely to be dealt if the Wings are to get that top-pair defenseman? – Jesse

A: Tatar has more trade value, I believe, because he’s a better finisher (team-leading 25 goals this season while dealing with shoulder issues) and the team acquiring him could lock him up to a long-term deal (he’s a restricted free agent). Whereas Nyquist (29 goals the past two seasons combined) has become more of a distributor and will be unrestricted after two seasons.

I think the Red Wings would prefer to retain Tatar. They have struggled for offense the past two seasons and that’s a lot of goals to lose.

But, I’m sure they would take that trade-off if Tatar (and another asset) could land them a young, top-pairing defenseman like Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg.

Khan continues, emphasizing trade and expansion draft talk...

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