Kukla's Korner

The Windsor Spitfires Win The Memorial Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

If Warren Rychel thought he was getting an earful from Jeremy Bracco before, wait until the two are in the same room now.

A fantastic Mastercard Memorial Cup final was bookended by a touch of brilliance from Bracco, who registered a goal and two assists in the Windsor Spitfires’ 4-3 win over the Erie Otters on Sunday night at the WFCU Centre in Windsor. The victory made Windsor—which gained an automatic entry as the host team—the first squad in CHL history to win the national title after being bounced in the opening round of the playoffs. The Spitfires are also the third consecutive OHL-based winner and the first host champion since the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012.


Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: windsor+spitfires

Detroit Continues To Prepare For The Draft

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

They've watched them play and gathered data from a variety of sources. Now the Detroit Red Wings are off to the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo to meet face-to-face with some of the players they will draft next month.

Teams begin interviewing prospects today at First Niagara Center. The Red Wings are scheduled to meet with 12-15 players per day through Friday, a total of between 65 and 70. Prospects undergo medical screenings Thursday and about a dozen off-ice fitness tests on Saturday, including bench press repetitions, standing long jump, vertical jump, pull-ups, push-ups and medicine ball throw.

The Red Wings have 11 selections in the draft, which is June 23-24 at Chicago's United Center, including the ninth overall pick.

"The amateur scouts and management spends the entire year on the road watching them play and certainly there's a lot of interviewing and due diligence that goes into the process prior to the combine," Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said. "You're interviewing coaches, you're interviewing teammates, you're interviewing billet families, strength coaches, opposing coaches.

"The hockey world is really small. You can learn a lot of information about players by talking to people. So, when you get to the Combine, hopefully you got a book on the player as it relates to his on-ice performance and you also have a book on the player in terms of his character and what makes him tick. Then you utilize your 15 minutes with them at the Combine to hopefully dig deeper and drill down on some issues the player may have."


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

All Times Eastern
Nashville @ Pittsburgh, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS
NBC Sports Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
NHL Network Channel Finder
The Penguins and Predators open the 2017 Stanley Cup Final when they face off in Game 1 at PPG Paints Arena.
* The reigning champion Penguins are vying to become the first repeat Stanley Cup winner since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Pittsburgh is playing in its sixth Stanley Cup Final – all since 1991, tied for the most in the NHL in that span (w/ DET).
* The Predators, who began play in 1998-99 and are competing in the postseason for the 10th time, are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. They had three total playoff series wins prior to this year (3-9).
* The Penguins and Predators have met 25 times during the regular season, with Pittsburgh owning a 12-11 edge in wins and 27-26 point advantage (PIT: 12-10-3, NSH: 11-10-4). They split their two matchups in 2016-17, with each team winning on home ice.
Since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 77.9% of the time (60 of 77 series) – including each of the past five years.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

‘Three Things’: A Griffins ‘hype video,’ St. James on the Griffins and Game 7 magic from AWood40

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this morning:

1. The Griffins posted something of a "Hype Video" for their Calder Cup Final match-up against the Syracuse Crunch (schedule here as well as at the end of the video), and it's pretty darn cool as it includes a ton of on-ice footage of the Griffins scoring goals on the San Jose Barracuda:

2. The Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the Griffins' success while casting an eye toward the future...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Prospect news: Sambrook’s Otters fall short of Memorial Cup

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of prospect-related note:

At the Memorial Cup, Jordan Sambrook finished even with one shot as his Erie Otters lost 4-3 to the Windsor Spitfires, who captured the Memorial Cup. You can watch highlights from the game here.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

P.K. Subban Is Front And Center

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,

The day dawned sunny and pleasant in Pittsburgh, one day before the beginning of a Stanley Cup final featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and a blossoming hockey underdog, and the only player being followed by the NHL’s fancy documentary-style cameras was P.K. Subban. There is, after all, only one of him, and he can’t help himself.

“Have you ever played with a personality bigger than P.K.’s?” someone asked Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg.

“I don’t know if there is a bigger personality,” Forsberg said.

It could be a big series. The Pittsburgh Penguins can become the first repeat winners since Detroit in 1998. Nashville is a 16th seed, and a fascinating underdog.

And it’s all about P.K., because that’s how it works. Montreal loved him. The Canadiens traded him. Their coach used to tell people he could never win a Cup with P.K., and P.K. is second on his new team in playoff ice time, matched up against Vladimir Tarasenko in the second round and Ryan Getzlaf in the third. He’ll get Sid or Geno here. Here he is.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: p.k.+subban

Afternoon Line- Jim Rutherford

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I hear year after year how the league and everyone loves how the Penguins play they play pure hockey and they skate.’ Well, now it’s going to have to change and I feel bad about it, but it’s the only way we can do it. We’re going to have to get one or two guys…and some of these games that should be just good hockey games will turn into a sh—show. We’ll go right back to where we were in the ’70s and it’s really a shame.”

-Jim Rutherford, GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more....

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+rutherford

There Is Only One ‘First’ For The Nashville Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Of the Nashville Predators’ top four defensemen and top 10 forwards, 13 of those 14 players are under the age of 30 and 10 of them are under contract through at least the 2018-19 season.

The two centerpiece players whose deals are up, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, will be signed in the offseason as restricted free agents, and they’ll be paid well. The Predators already were in the best financial shape of their 20-year history before this run to the Stanley Cup Final, which opens with Game 1 Monday at Pittsburgh.

From various perspectives – fan growth, financial stability, attractiveness to free agents, championship-level experience for current players – the past six weeks have done much to enhance the possibility of future runs.

“This is going to pay dividends for years,” Predators general manager David Poile said.

But there will never be another one like this.

Make sure to remember that as the Predators take the ice in PPG Paints Arena for their first Stanley Cup Final experience, and when they return home to a June 3 scene that might make Woodstock look like a casual kegger, and at every possible moment in between....

I saw it happen with hockey in Detroit. When the Red Wings finally made the Cup Final in 1995 for the first time in 29 years, after several seasons of talented teams that couldn’t get over the hump, the city and state of Michigan were consumed. It was still fever pitch, though with more anxiety and pressure, when the Wings won their first Cup in 42 years in 1997.

Then they repeated the next season against a Washington Capitals team mostly built by Poile, and in 2002 when a pre-salary-cap Detroit team loaded with aging stars got another Cup, Detroit was like: “Super Team wins again, cool!”

It wasn’t quite the same. I’m not even sure Anna Kournikova showed up for that third parade.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Last Go Around For Matt Cullen?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bryanna McDermott of the Penguin's website,

Five minutes into the second overtime period, Chris Kunitz fired a shot past Ottawa Senators netminder Craig Anderson to give the Pittsburgh Penguins the 3-2 win and send the team back to the Stanley Cup Final for a second consecutive year, allowing Cullen to push the decision off for a little longer.

"It was a big game," Cullen said about getting emotional during Game 7. "Obviously, you're so close and we've been through so much this season to try and get here and get back to this point. When the next goal decides your fate one way or the other, it's a big moment."

The idea that this may be Cullen's final playoff push was in his teammate's minds as well during the game.

"I remember sitting next to Cullen thinking 'This isn't going to be the way he goes out. We're going to win. He deserves that,'" Carl Hagelin said after the Game 7 victory.

However, Cullen is still unsure of where his fate lies once the 2016-17 season concludes.

"Honestly, I don't know," Cullen said. "I've been through this enough to understand that I need to give it some time after the season. It's a decision for me that means a lot, and it carries a lot of weight, so I think it deserves some time after the season. I think when it's all said and done, I'll sit down with the family again and decide what's best. I'm 40 here, and I understand where the world of hockey is at, so I know this could very well this could be my last chance."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+cullen

Brent Peterson Has Seen It All With The Nashville Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

With a minute to play, and the Nashville Predators joyously assured of advancing to the Stanley Cup final, Brent Peterson turned off his microphone and sobbed.

It was all too much to take in – his 13 seasons as the team’s associate coach, the diagnosis, the surgery and now his time as colour commentator on the Predators’ radio broadcasts.

All of that triggered what neurologists call the Pseudobulbar affect, the uncontrollable stirrings that can come with Parkinson’s disease. Days later, even talking about the Predators’ six-game ousting of the Anaheim Ducks is a difficult exercise. He stops and chokes back the words until they’re log-jammed in his throat.

“Don’t cry,” says his wife, Tami.

“I finally realized we were going to make it there,” her husband says of the Predators’ first trip to a Stanley Cup final and a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “[Radio play-by-play man] Pete Weber watched me cry, then we went downstairs for our postgame show and it was really fun to [think] of [Predators’ former head coach] Barry Trotz and all those people who worked so hard … They got there. They made it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+peterson

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