Kukla's Korner

Wings begin their ‘Final Farewell’ video series with ‘The Joe’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings have produced a six-part video series issuing a "Final Farewell" to Joe Louis Arena, and the series begins today with a discussion of the character of "The Joe":

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The Origin of Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By James,

Hockey is such a popular sport in some areas that people will be really excited to learn all about the origin of hockey. As is often the case in a field like this, there is actually a great deal of controversy related to the birthplace of hockey. When it comes to most activities, there really is not a set birthplace of any kind, of course. Hockey is a sport that has been in development for a long period of time.

Continue Reading »

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A One-Year Contract Worth $4M For Robin Lehner In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

BUFFALO, N.Y. (July 25, 2017) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year contract worth $4 million.

Lehner (6’4”, 239 lbs., 7/24/1991) set new career highs in games played (59), wins (23) and shutouts (2) in 2017-18, while also ranking third in the league with 1,758 saves and turning in the ninth-best save percentage (.920) ever recorded by a Sabres goaltender with at least 40 appearances in a season. His .921 save percentage through two seasons with the Sabres ranks sixth among all NHL goaltenders with at least 50 games played during that span.

Since being selected by the Ottawa Senators in the second round (46th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, the Gothenburg, Sweden native has appeared in 166 career NHL games. In his seven NHL seasons with the Sabres and Senators, Lehner has logged a 58-71-26 record with a .918 save percentage and a 2.76 goals-against average.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: robin+lehner

Establishing A Long Time Relationship Between The NHL And China

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Murray Greig of the China Daily,

Tickets for the inaugural NHL China Games went on sale via en.Damai.cn on the weekend, with seats for the preseason clashes between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings scaled from 220 - 2080 yuan ($32.50 to $307) for Sept 21 at Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, and from 160 - 1880 yuan ($23.60 to $278) for Sept 23 at Wukesong Arena in Beijing....

In announcing the games during his visit to Beijing in March, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had struck a long-term deal to work closely with the sponsors and government bureaus to develop grassroots programs and support Chinese hockey development at all levels.

One of the first initiatives is to provide schools with training and instructional content to implement hockey programs that promote physical education, sportsmanship, teamwork and fitness.

"I knew when we came to China, based on all the reports I was getting, that there was a great deal of interest in hockey," Bettman said during his media conference.

"Still, the high level of that interest has surprised me, and it's particularly exciting because this is a great opportunity to grow the game.

"This is a long-term commitment to develop our sport here. We're barely in the embryonic stages, but the opportunity and the possibilities are limitless."


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

Evening news: Teasing the Final Farewell; on Reilly Webb, Tatar vs. Nyquist, Larkin’s numbers, etc.

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. "Teasers" don't usually get prime billing, but the Red Wings are going to reveal a six-part video series issuing a "Final Farewell" to the Joe, and the series looks like it's going to be very entertaining:

2. Red Wings prospect Reilly Webb spoke with the Stoney Creek News's Mike Pearson about his experiences at the Red Wings' summer development camp:

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NHL Network to air six games from World Junior Summer Showcase

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From USA Hockey:

NHL Network to Televise 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase
Event Begins Friday, July 28, at USA Hockey Arena and includes USA, Canada, Finland and Sweden

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Hockey announced today that NHL Network will televise live the final three days of games at the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase.

The event -- which serves as an audition for players seeking to make their federation team that will compete at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2017 – Jan. 5, 2018, in Buffalo, New York -- begins Friday (July 28) at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, and features teams from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.

Dennis Cholowski, Givani Smith (Canada), Keith Petruzzelli (USA Hockey), Gustav Lindstrom, Filip Larsson (Sweden) and Kasper Kotkansalo (Finland) are all taking part in the Summer Showcase.

The six-game NHL Network coverage begins on Wed., Aug. 2, with Canada-Finland at 1 p.m. ET and USA-Sweden at 4 p.m., while on Fri., Aug. 4, fans will see Sweden vs. Canada at 1 p.m. and Finland vs. USA at 4 p.m. NHL Network’s coverage concludes with two of the biggest rivalry games in the sport on Sat., Aug. 5, with Sweden facing Finland at 4 p.m., and USA taking on Canada at 7 p.m.

In addition, HockeyTV will provide live streaming coverage of the first three days of competition – six games total – including a pair of U.S.-Canada split-squad matchups on Tues., Aug. 1.

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Ilitches hire new ‘group president’ to oversee sports and entertainment properties

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

Detroit's Ilitch family said Monday that it has hired the basketball executive widely credited with stabilizing the NBA's Sacramento Kings' business operations to oversee their sports and entertainment holdings.

Chris Granger is now group president, sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings Inc., which is the umbrella company that oversees the Little Caesars pizza chain, Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and the $2.1 billion District Detroit that includes Little Caesars Arena that opens in September.

The newly created job will require Granger to "optimize the fan and partner experience at all Ilitch-related venues; to grow, recruit and retain the significant talent in the business side of the company's sports and entertainment organizations; to collaborate with partners to ensure highly active, attractive and community-focused venues, and more," the family said in a statement.

In other words, he'll be the day-to-day executive in charge of the Ilitch family's sports and entertainment business that are their most public assets and chief revenue sources outside of the pizza chain.

Granger will report directly to Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Chris Ilitch.

What the hiring means is that Tom Wilson, the longtime president of Palace Sports & Entertainment hired away by the Ilitches in 2010 to run Olympia Entertainment, has a new boss. He and Duane MacLean, the Tigers' executive vice president of business operations, will report to Granger. Ken Holland, the general manager of the Red Wings, and Al Avila, the general manager of the Tigers, will continue to report directly to Ilitch.

Shea continues, and the Free Press's John Gallagher and Detroit News have reports regarding Granger's hiring as well.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Do You See A Bounce Back Year For Petr Mrazek?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

Despite the fact he posted the worst SP mark of any netminder to play at least half the campaign and finished with the highest GAA among that same group of netminders, there’s no reason to believe Mrazek can’t recover and produce better numbers, because the past season does seem like more of a blip on the radar than anything. Over the two prior seasons, over which Mrazek suited up in 83 games, he was one of 36 netminders to play 3,000-plus minutes at 5-on-5. Of those goaltenders, only eight, including the likes of Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Crawford and Cory Schneider, posted better SPs than Mrazek’s .931 mark.

Those two campaigns were proof of his ability, proof that he could hold the starting job. That talent didn’t disappear overnight and the hope may be that the past campaign was nothing more than growing pains for a goaltender who is still yet to enter the prime of his career.

So, while there’s really no doubt that Howard is going to get every chance to be the starting netminder when the 2017-18 campaign kicks off, there’s no reason to believe Mrazek can’t creep back into the conversation for the No. 1 job and re-stake his claim as the future of the Red Wings’ crease by season’s end. And maybe, just maybe, if Mrazek does that, Detroit can put an end to their questions in the crease by this time next year.

more on Detroit's goalies....

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Kyle Okposo In His Own Words

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kyle Okposo at the Sabres' website,

It's been an interesting few months for me to say the least.

It all started with a routine hit in practice on a normal play. Just a hard bump. In fact, the play was so common that I sort of just brushed it off without thinking much of it.

But in the ensuing days, my mood began to change. I didn't notice, but the people around me did. By the time we were playing our game against Florida on March 27, I had been having trouble sleeping for a couple of days already. My senses for some reason were worsening with each passing day. I thought I was just overtired.

That game against Florida would end up being my last of the season.

By the time that game was over, I had no appetite. I realized I was beginning to lose weight. Still, I got on the plane to Columbus with the mindset that I would play the following night.

When things only got worse the next day, I spoke with coach and made the decision to sit that one out. I thought some rest and time off would do the trick. But even then, things didn't improve. I went to the hospital hoping that they could find a way for me to get some sleep.

The medications they gave me to sleep caused a negative reaction in my body. I still couldn't sleep, and the weight loss continued at an alarming rate. At one point, I weighed less than 200 pounds. I haven't weighed that little since I was 17. Now, the initial thought was a possible concussion.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kyle+okposo

Austin Watson Signs A Three-Year Deal With The Nashville Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Nashville, Tenn. (July 24, 2017) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that the club has signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year, $3.3 million contract that will pay him $1 million in 2017-18, $1.1 million in 2018-19 and $1.2 million in 2019-20.

Watson, 25 (1/13/92), set career highs in goals (5), assists (7), points (12), penalty minutes (99) and games played (77) during the 2016-17 season as he established himself as an integral member of the Nashville roster. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound winger then added four goals and nine points in 22 postseason contests as the Predators advanced to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Watson also appeared in 57 games for the Predators during the 2015-16 season, recording three goals and 10 points.

Previously, the native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, led Milwaukee and tied for 14th in the American Hockey League in goals (26) in 2014-15, in addition to tying for second among all AHL skaters in game-winning goals (8) while appearing in all 76 regular-season games for the Admirals.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: austin+watson

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