Kukla's Korner

Preparing For Game 5, Eastern Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

This is where we are heading into Sunday’s Game 5: All square in the Eastern Conference final with everything on the line. Two wins from the Stanley Cup final or two losses from a summer of regret.

"I think the harsh reality is some guys in this room may never get a chance to get this far again," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Sunday morning. "Hopefully everyone does, but you never know in this sport. It's so tough to get here. ... There's really no place to hide right now.

"We have to find a way to respond, to play a lot better than we did last game and to get ourselves that much closer to the final."

To date, this has been a highly unpredictable series. Tight-checking in Game 1, a parade to the penalty box in Game 2, scoring bonanza in Game 3 and Rangers blow out in Game 4.

After Tampa made its way here on Saturday, the players were treated to a video and strategy session. The message? Let's focus on playing some defence in addition to the dazzling offence.

more

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

All Marc Crawford

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Today's Slapshot,

Marc Crawford, head coach of the ZSC Lions of the National League A, took some time to email with Sean Tierney and had some interesting thoughts on the process of coaching, Auston Matthews and analytics. His answers are presented as-is.

ST: Rumours have swirled about the possibility of Auston Matthews playing in the NLA next season, possibly for your ZSC Lions. In your opinion, what are the advantages of playing internationally for a draft-eligible star like Matthews? Could a teenager succeed playing against men in the Swiss league?

MC: Auston Matthews is an outstanding young Hockey player and everyone involved with the ZSC Lions is so excited about seeing him play in Zurich.

There is no doubt that he can play and excell [sic] in the Swiss NLA and I believe it is the perfect training ground for young athletes. He will be coached by an NHL coach he will be challenged by playing against men in a fast skating, highly skilled league. He will learn what it is like to play the systems that will be utilized as he continues to rise up the hockey ranks.

He is a wonderful young man who wants to improve and we have an excellent record of development.

Ron Kenins developed with us and this year Jonas Sigenthaler and Denis Malgin both will get drafted because of our program.

much more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc+crawford

Grand Rapids Griffins-Utica Comets series previews and game-day info

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins posited a video preview setting up the Griffins-Utica Comets series, narrated by Griffins play-by-play man Bob Kaser, and it includes an interview with coach Jeff Blashill in which he parries a question about his potential future job status:

Also: the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner posited a list of "5 Things to Know About the Series":

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Watching Illegal Streams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Elstein of Crain's New York Business,

If you've followed the Rangers' quest for the Stanley Cup, then you've had a few options if you've wanted to watch.

You could buy a ticket, though the cheapest seats for playoff games at Madison Square Garden cost around $400.

You could watch on TV from home, which would require forking over about $100 a month for a cable package, depending on the plan.

Or you could watch the games online. For nothing.

It takes only a few minutes of surfing the Internet to find a live Rangers game courtesy of someone who is streaming the NBC Sports cable network and Mike Emrick's electrifying play-by-play for free.

These pirate sports sites—some of which even make money from advertising—are taking advantage of technology that's making it easier to live-stream high-definition TV feeds, enabling them to expand their audiences beyond diehard fans willing to put up with choppy video and erratic sound. In short, the same kind of bandits who attacked movies and music are now assaulting the multibillion-dollar world of sports.

continue with MLB worked in the article...

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
CHICAGO 5, Anaheim 4 (2OT) – series tied 2-2
 
BLACKHAWKS OUTLAST DUCKS, EVEN SERIES IN DOUBLE OVERTIME
Tied 1-1 after 40 minutes, the Blackhawks and Ducks each scored three times in a frenetic third period to set the stage for Antoine Vermette’s game-winning goal at 5:37 of double-overtime. With the victory, Chicago remained perfect in overtime during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-0) and evened their Western Conference Final series with Anaheim at two games apiece.



* The Blackhawks improved to 4-0 in overtime games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, all of which have required at least two overtime periods. In addition to Game 4, the others included April 15 at NSH (4-3 2OT W in Game 1 of FR), April 21 vs. NSH (3-2 3OT W in Game 4 of FR) and May 19 at ANA (3-2 3OT W in Game 2 of WCF).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers/Lightning Now A Two Out Of Three Series

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The Eastern Conference final may be level at two-all with Sunday’s Game 5 coming up at the Garden, but make no mistake, this series between the Rangers and Lightning has been marked by peaks and valleys.

The tempo and tenor of one game has been dramatically different from the one preceding it. There have been a multitude of forced errors and unforced ones, all though a creation of both teams’ skill, speed and willingness to go for it.

The Rangers have looked overwhelmed at times, even during most of the second period of Friday’s 5-1 victory in Tampa. But the Blueshirts were able to maintain their poise while under pressure, perhaps a byproduct of Game 4 representing the team’s 73rd playoff game over the last four springs.

They’ve seen it all.

But they haven’t seen the caliber of elite talent the Lightning bring to the rink every night. Indeed, what is now a sprint to two for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup has — goaltending aside for the moment — evolved into a battle between Tampa Bay’s formidable top-end players and the Blueshirts’ formidable depth.

continued

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

Morning Line- Tom Jones On The Tampa Bay Lightning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Tampa Bay is not considered a great sports market. We're a melting pot, with fans from all over the country who have not lost their hometown allegiances. We become a good sports market when one of our teams gets really good and following that team becomes the cool thing to do.

Right now that team is the Lightning. Going to Lightning games, following this playoff run is chic. Maybe it could change someday if the Rays get to another World Series or the Bucs get good again.

Until then, the Lightning is Tampa Bay's favorite son.

-Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times where you can read more on the Lightning and other Tampa Bay teams.

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

The Chicago Blackhawks Refused To Lose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Has anybody paid attention to the Hawks’ resolve over the last seven seasons? They don’t cave in. There don’t go away without a fight. They have been known to heal themselves.

Not even that three-goal barrage could kill them.

“I think a lot of teams wouldn’t feel too good about themselves,’’ said Toews, who had a goal and an assist. “I think we did a great job of just collecting ourselves and staying calm and knowing it is what it is and you can’t change that. You’ve got to move forward and you’ve got to find a way to get yourself back in the game.

“…I think we had the character and poise to relax and calm ourselves down and make a game of it and find a way to get back into it.’’

This is the franchise that roared back from a three-games-to-nothing deficit in 2011 to take No. 1-seeded Vancouver to a seventh game, before losing in overtime. In 2013, the Hawks were down three games to one to Detroit and won that series. Doubt them at your own risk.

Lots of people, including some players, had painted Game 4 as a must-win game for the Hawks. No. Whether they won or lost, they would to go to Anaheim for Game 5 and give themselves every opportunity to win. That’s how they operate.

more

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

The Anaheim Ducks Still Believe

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

This Game 4 at United Center wasn’t as long as Game 2 was back at Honda Center, but then that exercise in triple overtime was the longest Blackhawks’ game ever, and this franchise has been around longer than the concept of the playoff beard.

Having suffered their second crushing, late-night, last-call defeat of the week, the Ducks – whose resilience is such that no one should question their ability to rebound from this one, either – said all the right things afterward.

All the right things, plus some.

Andrew Cogliano suggested his team “put some doubt” into the Blackhawks’ minds by coming back after being down, 3-1, in the third period.

Perry joined the chorus in noticing all the minutes being accumulated by Chicago’s top defensemen, saying, “If we just keep doing the same things over and over again, we’re going to wear them down.”

And Cam Fowler continued the drumbeat about the team’s deep-rooted faith, noting, “We’re a group that believes, no matter what, in here.”

The guess in this space, however, is that the Ducks fully understand this series looks like it’s headed for a Game 7 – and potentially an epic one – next weekend.

read on

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

Re-Signing Dougie Hamilton And Steven Stamkos

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Re-signing Dougie Hamilton will be one of Sweeney’s priorities. It won’t be easy. Through three seasons, 178 games of NHL play have given both sides a good idea of Hamilton’s future value. Hamilton, who will turn 22 on June 17, projects to become the Bruins’ version of Victor Hedman: a big, mobile, three-zone defenseman with shutdown ability to complement scoring touch. Defensemen like that make a lot of money. Hedman is currently on his second contract: $20 million over five years. That is where the conversation starts with Hamilton. The final price is likely to be higher. One agent pegged Hamilton’s asking price at north of $5 million annually. The Bruins would prefer Hamilton’s salary to be closer to Jonas Brodin’s annual average value of $4,166,667.

- The notion sounds so goofy that it should be promptly dismissed. Steven Stamkos is Tampa Bay’s captain and signature player. But there is chatter wondering if Stamkos’s eventual blockbuster contract — he will be a UFA on July 1, 2016 — would be steep enough to prompt the Lightning to deal their captain. This speaks to several things: Stamkos’s asking price, uncertainty about the salary cap in the future, and Tampa’s depth. Stamkos’s threshold is $10.5 million, the annual numbers that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will earn starting next season. Stamkos is just as important to his club as Toews and Kane are to theirs. He probably deserves more. But the two Chicago superstars signed their extensions before the weakening of the Canadian dollar. Tyler Johnson is already a top-two center at 24 years old. Vladislav Namestnikov, 22, could become a go-to pivot. They will get raises, as will Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin. Moving Stamkos is a wild thought. But some people are thinking it out loud.

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dougie+hamilton, steven+stamkos

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