Kukla's Korner

Angelo Esposito Still Playing The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky at ESPN,

One game with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. That's all it took for Angelo Esposito to decide he was done.

It was a fun game too, in which the Komets scored four third-period goals to force overtime against the Indy Fuel before winning in a nine-round shootout. Not a bad way to kick off the 2014-15 season. That is, unless you had been tabbed for greatness as a teenager but found yourself still toiling in the minor leagues seven years later.

Esposito let his coach know the next day that he was going back home to Montreal. With that, one of the top prospects in the 2007 NHL draft was ready to call it a career after a nomadic, injury-plagued pro run that never included a regular-season NHL game.

"I went to the East Coast, and [during] that first game I didn't feel comfortable anymore playing. I thought to myself, 'Maybe it's time I moved on,'" said Esposito, now 27. "Honestly, the first month [off], I did absolutely nothing. I didn't step on the ice until December, and then I started playing with my buddies in their beer league just for fun."

He ultimately decided to come back, and his return to pro hockey last year helped him gain a new perspective on hockey and life.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Frk return to the Joe as a member of the Canes

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article about Martin Frk's return to the Motor City as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes:

"It was kind of sad to leave the Red Wings and also Grand Rapids," Frk said. "(But) it was great for me. I'm very happy I can be here and get a chance to play for Carolina."

The Hurricanes are in the process of determining whether Frk belongs on their team. He must be on the NHL roster for at least 30 days after being claimed on waivers. But he can be waived after that.

"We got to make sure we get him enough minutes and we get him in some games so we know what we have at the end of the day," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We haven't played enough hockey to get everybody involved. We're carrying 14 forwards, at some tonight we'd like to get down to 13 and have everyone where they need to be. So, we got to make a decision on Marty, where he fits in. But we like him a lot."

Frk was in his first year as a pro in 2013-14 during Peters' final season as an assistant coach with Detroit.

"Struggled in the beginning to figure out the pro game. Spent some time in Toledo (ECHL)," Peters said. "Give him all the credit in the world. He got himself in better shape. He became a better skater. He's always had the ability to score goals. But now the NHL has changed. It's a much quicker league. He's done a good job trying to get himself up to speed with the skating and now we'll see if we can get him in good enough positions to use his ability to score."

Khan continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Are The Minnesota Wild A Better Team With Bruce Boudreau In Charge?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

It's still too early to see whether the changes will work in Minnesota. The Wild enters Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden with a 3-2-1 record.

"Hard to make what kind of team they are [this early]," said one Western Conference scout. "They've had slow starts and their first periods have been awful, but they seem to wake up and play pretty well. They're scoring goals but need to give up fewer than they are. [It's a ] funny team right now and I'm not sure what you'll see from game-to-game."

In the locker room and on the ice, the players are still getting used to Boudreau's system and personality.

"It's been a great transition. It's been a lot of fun around the rink, around the room," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "As a team, there's still a lot we need to get better at, but we're seeing it in spurts throughout games. The closer we can get to doing it more consistently, and more often throughout a game, it's going to translate into more wins for us. It takes work and we've got to continue to get better and keep learning. But, in the long run, it's going to make us a better team."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

On the Chychrun freakout in Detroit

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

There are groups of Red Wings and Detroit sports fans who are absolutely furious right now, and I'm not sure whether their anger is reflexive, misplaced or just plain illogical.

These groups of fans are freaking out about the fact that the player the Phoenix Coyotes picked with the 1st round pick Detroit traded to Arizona in the Pavel Datsyuk trade, one Jakob Chychrun, has posted 1 goal, 2 assists and 3 points in 4 games while displaying a significant amount of talent and maturity.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Kulfan on ‘Nyquist on the rebound’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's notes:

The Detroit Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist admits he didn’t score enough goals last season. He had just 17, after netting 28 in 2013-14 and 27 in 2014-15. So when he began the season playing well but goal-less in four straight games, it started to eat at him a bit.

But that drought ended over the weekend, when he scored once against Nashville and twice against San Jose. With three goals in two games, Nyquist now has seven points, tying Mike Green and Thomas Vanek for the team lead. Nyquist has a point in all but one of the Red Wings’ six games.

Coach Jeff Blashill has pointed out on several occasions Nyquist has been one of the team’s best players to start the season, thanks partly to Nyquist’s ability to win puck battles and being a factor at both ends of the ice. But being a natural goal-scorer, finding the net had to feel nice.

“I don’t know about pressure,” Nyquist said of ending that goal-less streak. “It felt good to score those goals over the weekend. I didn’t score enough last year.”

Nyquist, 27, certainly has heard plenty about last season. But playing on a line with Darren Helm and Vanek this season, Nyquist has been creating chances and has been on the receiving end of them.

“Goal scoring, sometimes there will be slumps and it’s something you go through,” Nyquist said. “The last couple of games the puck has been going in for me and it’s nice. Every time you score, it gives you confidence.”


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Red Wings Productions posts a video of the Wings touring Little Caesars Arena

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings Productions posted a clip of the Wings touring Little Caesars Arena:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Red Wings-Hurricanes game-day articles: No Abdelkader for DET, Skinner for CAR; Nesty, Frk return

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 6x at 3:11 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face the Carolina Hurricanes this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM), and the morning skate revealed that neither Detroit's Justin Abdelkader nor Carolina's Jeff Skinner will play for their respective teams this evening. As a result, the Red Wings will see Andrej Nestrasil and Martin Frk playing for Carolina as the Wings attempt to extend their winning streak to five games.

The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Wings about the challenges the Hurricanes present:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Sidney Crosby Expected Back Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wes Crosby at NHL.com,

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be a game-time decision and may make his season debut against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, FS-F, NHL.TV).

Crosby participated in a full-contact practice Monday for the first time since sustaining a concussion during an Oct. 7 practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. The concussion, Crosby's third in six years, forced him to miss Pittsburgh's first six games.

"[Crosby] had a strong practice this morning," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the morning skate Tuesday. "Everything is pointing in the right direction. If he's comfortable, he could play."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Givani Smith named to OHL team for Canada-Russia series

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Via Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, the Ontario Hockey League has named its roster for the Canada-Russia series, and Red Wings prospect Givani Smith will play in both North Bay on November 10th and in Hamilton on November 14th.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

“Let’s Take A Deep Breath Here”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Babcock...

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

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