Kukla's Korner

How To Beat The Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,

How do you beat Chicago?

Probably not by fixating on wearing out Chicago’s defense. Not at this point, with two days between Games 6 and 7. There was an unverified report that Duncan Keith used the extra time to run from Chicago to Anaheim, instead of flying. Maybe he didn’t, but he looked October-fresh when he bedeviled the Ducks in Game 6.

The Ducks’ chances rest on how many people they get in front of Corey Crawford, how few times they visit the penalty box, and how many faceoffs they win. As Boudreau said, a faceoff win will keep Quenneville from sending Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane over the boards on the fly, since he won’t be able to match Toews/Kane against the Getzlaf line on the road.

Crawford isn’t a statistical marvel. He was benched for Scott Darling in the first round. Blaming him for losses is the default queue in Chicago. And he doesn’t face many power plays.

But Crawford habitually makes memorable third-period saves, and he has little shot-blocking help. The distance between the Ducks and this win might be measured in the inches that separate Perry, Patrick Maroon and Matt Beleskey from Crawford.

Game 7s are funny. Wayne Gretzky had a great one in 1993. More recently, Patrice Bergeron and Henrik Lundqvist did. But often it’s Max Talbot or Sean Bergenheim or Joel Ward or Todd Marchant who takes over.


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

Phil Housley At The Top Of The List For The New Jersey Devils’ Head Coaching Job

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Chere of NJ.com,

Phil Housley, who played 22 games for the Devils late in the 1995-96 season, is at the top of general manager Ray Shero's short list to become the club's next head coach.

Shero has done an extensive search to find the right coach for the Devils, considering Guy Boucher of SC Bern in Switzerland, Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AHL coach John Hynes, but Housley has emerged as the leading choice.

Housley, 51, is currently an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators under Peter Laviolette. The Predators were knocked out of the playoffs this year by the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

He coached Team USA to the gold medal at the 2013 world junior championships in Ufa, Russia.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+housley

Video- Fans Of The Quebec Remparts Are Not Happy With The Refs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Watch as a perceived series of missed calls resulted in Quebec Remparts fans littering the ice with cans, bottles and other items at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.


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

Believe It Tampa Bay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

Step aside, Brad Richards. Move over, Vinny Lecavalier. Make some room, Nikolai Khabibulin. The stars of the 2004 Stanley Cup championship team now have some company. For the second time in franchise history, the Lightning will play for the Stanley Cup.

"This is a special group," Killorn said. "We've known that since Day 1."

Survive and advance. Three rounds down and one to go. The dream is alive and well thanks to Friday night's improbable 2-0 victory over the Rangers in a winner-take-all Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to play for the Stanley Cup," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.

Few gave the Lightning a chance. Not against the Rangers. Not in New York. The Rangers had played seven Game 7s at home and had never lost. They couldn't be beat.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, an elimination-game specialist, is the best big-game goalie in the business. He couldn't lose.

The Lightning, after losing at home in Game 6 and seemingly blowing its chance to wrap up the series, had to go all the way to New York in what seemed like a death march. It couldn't win.

"There weren't many people picking us," Lightning goalie Ben Bishop said.

"We were kind of underdogs coming in," center Tyler Johnson said.


from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Continue Reading »

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

The New York Rangers’ Offense Fires Blanks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The ending did not change, except it came one round earlier this time, one period and one game shy of the Stanley Cup final to which the Rangers had vowed to return from the moment they were beaten in Los Angeles 50 weeks ago to the night.

The ending did not change, but the mood in the locker room following Friday’s 2-0 Game 7 defeat to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference final could not have been more different.

For where a year ago there were tears, despair and excruciating pain, this time there was shared numbed acceptance of the team’s fate. This team that had come so far still had so far to go and couldn’t get there.

“I don’t feel mad, angry or sad,” Derek Stepan told The Post. “It just sucks right now. It just sucks.”

Game 7 at the Garden with Henrik Lundqvist was supposed to be a Sure Thing. But there are no sure things in pro sports — as Mariano Rivera’s misadventure on the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in Arizona can attest.

There are no sure things when a team comes up with no goals.


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

The overnight report: a plethora of Mantha perspectives; on Bertuzzi and the draft combine

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The good news about the spotlight shining so brightly upon the Grand Rapids Griffins is that the Wings' press corps is affording us extra perspectives upon the team's brightest prospects. The not-so-good news is that it can be overkill for the average reader, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, the Free Press's Helene St. James and now Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave have all penned articles about Anthony Mantha's struggles to adapt to pro hockey.

Is it all bad? Not at all, especially because Gave spoke with both Mantha and Wings GM Ken Holland about the honest truth that explains the turning-pro struggles of so many players who were the biggest fishes in relatively shallow leagues: in most cases, the players haven't fully comprehended how incredibly deep the ocean of professional hockey really is, and as a result, they're either under-prepared mentally, under-prepared physically, or they plain old struggle, get down on themselves, and take a season or two to truly acclimate to their surroundings.

In some cases, players burn out, but in most cases, and as appears to be the case in Mantha's, their difficulties in their first pro developmental seasons are perfectly-timed to reignite their developmental curve, as Holland suggested to Gave:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Prospect playoff news: Grand Rapids wins Game 4 of Conference Final via skill, will and discipline

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Grand Rapids Griffins didn't steal their 3-2 OT win over the Utica Comets as much as they literally and figuratively wrestled the game from their opponents.

In an affair in which officiating was little more than a spectator sport as clutching, grabbing, hacking, whacking, after-whistle scrums, slugs, chirping and otherwise near-mayhem was allowed to take place, Utica's Nicklas Jensen got tied up with Tom McCollum, McCollum fell over, 90% of the eyes in the rink assumed that the referees were going to stop play, but instead, play continued, and Griffins defenseman Nick Jensen found Andreas Athanasiou breaking free of two Comets defensemen, Athanasiou roared away from his pursuers and scored an overtime breakaway goal that infuriated the Comets and pleasantly surprised Van Andel Arena's nearly 9,000 spectators.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Tampa Bay Makes The Stanley Cup Finals

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Tampa Bay just defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 to win their semi-final four games to three.  They will be in the Stanley Cup finals.  The problem is that they are not an elite team by my longstanding necessary but not sufficient definition of an elite team.  An elite team must have elite players (though a group of elite players is not necessarily an elite team).  They must have at least three players who are on a track to make the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Also because of the importance of goaltending, they must have a top level goalie who may or may not be included in the list of Hall of Famers. 

Tampa has no players who would make the Hall of Fame if they retire right now.  Steve Stamkos looks like he will likely get himself there in the next few years but he isn't there yet.  At this point his career numbers of 276 goals and 498 points do not measure up, but he has scored above point per game rate so far.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

The Tampa Bay Lightning Advance To The Stanley Cup Final

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By defeating the New York Rangers  2-0 tonight, the Lightning have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. 

They'll face the winner of the Anaheim Ducks/Chicago Blackhawks game which will be played tomorrow night. 

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be on Wednesday.

added 11:19pm, Watch the on-ice celebration and game highlights...

Continue Reading »

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

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talked game 7's.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry, ron+maclean

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