Kukla's Korner

The overnight report: Red Wings-Hurricanes set-up

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to push their winning streak to 5 games as they host the Carolina Hurricanes this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM).

The Hurricanes are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and they're wrapping up a 6-game season-opening road trip with a 1-2-and-2 record; they also practiced on Monday minus leading scorer Jeff Skinner, as the Raleigh News & Observer's Chip Alexander noted:

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Oakland County claims that the Pistons are in the ‘final stages of negotiations’ to move downtown

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

You can take this from Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea for what you will:

Oakland County rejected an offer this summer to buy the Palace of Auburn Hills for $384 million in a sale-lease back deal.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in an interview with Crain's on Monday morning that he and his administration determined it would have been "a bad move" financially to buy the home of the Detroit Pistons, who are said to be in the final stages of talks to relocate in 2018 to under-construction Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

"We aren't going to buy it at the expense they were asking for," Patterson said in his office in the Executive Office Building in Waterford Township.

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A story about a Blue Jackets rookie who learned the ‘Red Wings way’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Columbus Dispatch's Tom Reed reports that Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Zach Werenski can thank the Detroit Red Wings for the passion and drive that led Werenski to play in the NHL:

The tale of Zach Werenski's introduction to hockey affords Blue Jackets' fans the rarest of stories -- one beginning with a Stanley Cup parade.

The rookie defenseman, who grew up 10 throws of an octopus from Joe Louis Arena, was five years old when his parents drove him to downtown Detroit to watch the 2002 Red Wings celebrate their third title in six seasons. Werenski and his older brother, Brad, each swaddled in Red Wings jerseys, were among the estimated one million fans to cheer their heroes.

“That was the first year I could really understand what it meant,” the 19-year-old said. “To go to the parade with my family, to see all the red and white and the Winged Wheel (logo) all over the city, to see how many people supported the team and how cool it was to see those guys holding the trophy coming up the street. It made me want to play in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup. That’s really where it started.”

Werenski and the Blue Jackets came of age during an era of Red Wings’ dominance. The Jackets have lost many times to many teams, but few have bedeviled them like the ones led by Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The roll call of lowlights is rote to the fan base.

And yet in the case of Werenski, arguably the most promising rookie in Jackets’ history, a debt of gratitude must be paid to the Red Wings. The influence of the Original Six organization on the youngster’s development is unmistakable.

Reed continues...

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Early AHL Top Team

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It is still early in the season, but the only AHL team that is still at 1.000.  The Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils affiliate) have won all five of their games to date.  At this point they are the third highest scoring team in the AHL with 18 goals scored and fewer goals against than either of the teams that have more goals than them.  Albany has had solid goaltending with Scott Wedgewood and Mackenzie Blackwood in goal.  Thus far they lack any significant top scorers with John Quenneville and Reece Scarlett leading the way with 4 points each. 

Albany was a strong team last year who posted the third best winning percentage in the league.  As such, they must be considered a serious contender to stay at or near the top of the AHL standings.

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Injuries Piling Up For The Dallas Stars

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

The Stars' injury problems continue to get worse, as Ales Hemsky reinjured his groin Saturday and is out for Tuesday's game, and Jason Spezza tweaked something in practice Monday and moves into "questionable" status.

Already out for Dallas are: Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Patrick Sharp (concussion), Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Jiri Hudler (flu). Eaves has been skating and might be available to play Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets. Hudler skated Monday, but is not expected to be available for Tuesday's game.

Jamie Benn missed practice for a maintenance day, but is expected to be ready to play Tuesday.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink

More praise for Givani Smith

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Guelph Mercury's Paul Osborne:

Givani Smith was one of the most muscular athletes I have every seen pull on a Guelph Storm uniform as a 16-year-old.  Most that age have scrawny upper bodies that have yet to manifest the full benefits of manhood.  But Smith was ripped and powerful and still trying to learn how to best use his body on the ice.

Flash forward two years and you have a player that has the potential to dominate in the Ontario Hockey League.  Hometown fans saw that Friday night as Smith scored two goals and added an assist in helping the club end a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over North Bay.

Smith’s first goal was a wrist shot rocket from the top of the circles that Battalion goaltender Brent Moran never even flinched on.  His second goal was from right in front of the net.  He carved out a piece of real estate and calmly scooped a rebound around Moran.  It was by far the best effort of the season for the Detroit Red Wing second round draft pick.

“It’s difficult,” said Storm coach Jarrod Skalde, addressing the time it takes for a player to adjust upon returning from an NHL training camp.  “You’d think this should be easy.  You’re going from playing in a National Hockey League exhibition game to an OHL game but the problem is you think you can do more than you’re capable of (when you return).  (Against North Bay) he was a beast going to the net and he was protecting pucks and managing pucks and his hard shot – I thought he was a force out there.”


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Evening news: on scraps, the PK, fantasy hockey and a District Detroit tour

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Los Angeles Times' Helene Elliott notes that the Red Wings lead the NHL in a surprising category:

-The Detroit Red Wings aren’t letting their 25-season playoff streak end without a fight.

Or without taking major fighting penalties. The Red Wings, known more for finesse than fisticuffs, were assessed a league-leading five fighting majors in their first six games this season. They had eight all of last season and generally rank at the bottom of the NHL in that category. They’ve also won four straight games since losing their first two.

2. MLive's Ansar Khan points out that the Red Wings' penalty-killing unit has struggled:

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On Jonathan Ericsson’s resurgent play

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As the Free Press's Helene St. James notes, Jonathan Ericsson of all people has played particularly strongly of late, and that's good for the Red Wings:

Ericsson said he felt he needed to “come back and prove I can still play and be a lot better player than I left last season.”

He was a big part of Saturday’s penalty kill success against San Jose, and showed how effective he can be when his hustle led to a pass to Gustav Nyquist that became a goal.

“It’s something that I’m trying to work on, to move my feet more and not get standing still, making passes,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson is playing with hip impingement, but said “I improved a lot during the off-season with that, mobility wise, strength wise. It’s always going to be there, but it’s not a big issue.”

Better mobility has translated to better puck management.

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Boston Bruins Now Have A Goalie ‘Situation’ Due To Injuries

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Tuukka Rask is hurting. Anton Khudobin, who woke up Monday feeling fine, is also injured. Every hockey season has its challenges, and only five games into 2016-17, the Bruins have a doozy.

By the time the Bruins finished their morning workout in Brighton, rookie Malcom Subban was the lone goalie standing, and he could be in net Tuesday night at the Garden to face the Wild for his second career start.

All in all, the “A” plan is on hold, the “B” plan is challenged, and the “C” plan (“Crisis?!”) is somewhere between “day-to-day’’ and batten down the hatches.

“We are in a situation here, we’ll see what happens,’’ said coach Claude Julien, unable or unwilling to share much about his goalie woes. “If [Subban] is going in goal, he’ll go in goal, as simple as that.’’


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Not Your Typical Uber Driver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Mike Commodore has been known as many things to many people.

The guy with the big, red Afro who would shave his head for charity; the guy who wore the white bathrobe; a Stanley Cup champion; the guy who played 484 career regular-season games for seven teams over 12 years; the guy with a pathological dislike for Mike Babcock; and the guy, at times, with a funny Twitter account that popularized the hockey catchphrase #PackYourS---.

Now you can add one more: Uber driver.

The soon to be 37-year-old retired defenceman who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., tweeted last week he had signed up to be an Uber driver. Last Friday night, from 6 to 11 p.m., he was driving people around the Valley of the Sun region in his hybrid Cadillac Escalade.

For that, he got $94 plus $5 in tips and a lot of a good conversation, as well as some entertaining tweets on Twitter.


Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+commodore

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