Kukla's Korner

Rick Nash The Goal Scorer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

People just don’t expect him to come up with the big goal anymore.

Well, people not named Richard McLaren Nash.

People who weren’t paying attention Wednesday night.

Because after getting off a nine-game schneid with a back-to-the net backhand in New Jersey on Tuesday, Nash scored the type of spectacular goal to put the Rangers up 2-1 on the Islanders early in the second period of a game he Blueshirts lost, 3-2, at the Garden in a seventh straight defeat at home while dropping to 5-6-2 in their past 13.

It was a display of talent and power as Nash drove in from the right wall and rode off a flailing Thomas Hickey before, while falling down, beating Thomas Greiss. It was Nash, who has the same array of skills as he did as an 18-year-old, first-overall in 2002, filling what he recognizes as his job description.

“I’m here to score goals. I get paid to score goals,” Nash told The Post before the game. “I’m supposed to provide offense. That’s what the team expects of me. That’s what I expect of myself.”

Indeed, Nash regularly grimaces when complimented for his work on the defensive side of the puck or for having imposed his will against opposing defensemen for shifts at a time when the plaudits follow games in which he has been held off the sheet.

“Because that’s not good enough,” said this unfailingly pleasant man and selfless teammate. “I take pride in my defensive game and in being a complete player, but I know why I’m here and that’s not it.”


Watch the Nash goal from last night below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+nash

What About Those Toronto Maple Leafs?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

What's the secret to the recent success of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Craig Custance: Coach Mike Babcock and rookie scorer Auston Matthews definitely deserve a big dose of credit, but one thing I don't think the Toronto Maple Leafs get enough credit for is the quality veterans kept to surround the impressive rookie class. Nazem Kadri might be the best example of that. He scored his 30th goal of the season on Wednesday against the Blue Jackets, and his line was great. Suddenly the Maple Leafs have a pair of 30-goal centers. That's impressive. A layer of veterans in James van Riemsdyk, Kadri and Leo Komarov is often an overlooked part of a rebuild, and if we're looking for reasons beyond Babcock and Matthews, I'd start there.

Pierre LeBrun: After a 3-2 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes almost two weeks ago, a game that wasn't very pretty to watch, Babcock called it a "thing of beauty" the next day. His message? His team had limited the Hurricanes to five scoring chances. That's what he cares about. Consider their last three daunting opponents: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Leafs picked up five out of six points from that dance card. That's what real playoff teams do. But more telling is how they played defensively. They did a better job protecting the puck, not forcing plays, making safer decisions. You see, it just might be that Babcock, who should be a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, has managed to finally teach his young offensive thoroughbreds that not every shift has to be about glory. The Leafs are 6-1-1 in their last eight and third in the Atlantic Division, and look very much like a club that's playoff-bound.

more views from the ESPN hockey crew...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Home Team in Caps
Toronto 5, COLUMBUS 2
NY Islanders 3, NY RANGERS 2
ANAHEIM 4, Edmonton 3

William Nylander (1-1—2) extended his point streak to nine games (3-7—10) and Auston Matthews scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season as the Maple Leafs improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight contests.


* Toronto (34-23-15, 83 points) moved one point ahead of idle Boston (38-29-6, 82 points) for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs, who have one game in hand, completed a four-game season sweep of the Bruins on Monday.
* Per Elias, Nylander – who scored his 20th goal of the season – tied the longest point streak by a rookie in Maple Leafs history, equaling the mark set by Gus Bodnar in 1943 and later matched by Bob Nevin (1960) and Dan Daoust (1983).
* Matthews (33-25—58) moved within one goal of matching Wendel Clark (34 in 1985-86) for the most by a rookie in Maple Leafs history and vaulted back into a tie with Patrik Laine for the rookie goal-scoring lead.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Ted Lindsay hockey tale

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

CBS Detroit's Will Burtchfield re-tells Ted Lindsay's take on the fall of the 1950's Red Wings, as well as Lindsay's comeback from hockey's Siberia:

The great Ted Lindsay won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings — and would have won a bunch more, he said, “if it wasn’t for stupid Jack Adams, our general manager.”

Adams, known in his day as ‘Trader Jack’ for his tendency to swing blockbuster deals, presided over the Red Wings for 36 years, including the duration of Lindsay’s first stint with the team. After Lindsay helped the Wings to their fourth Stanley Cup in six years in 1955, not to mention their seventh consecutive regular season title, Adams shook up the roster.

“One year, we won the Stanley Cup and he traded nine players away from our team. And in those days, you only had 18 players — one goaltender, five defensemen, two or three lines, and two extra players.”

The Red Wings’ streak of regular season dominance came to an end after the 1955 season. So did their penchant for winning the Cup. (They would not win another one until 1997). The Canadiens took control of the league from there, capturing the Cup in each of the next five seasons.

“When (Adams) broke up our team, I tell you, of the five Cups that Montreal won, we should have won all five of them. I’ll give them one, maybe,” said Lindsay. “He screwed us.”

Burtchfield continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The return of the charitable donut

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Red Wings:

DETROIT RED WINGS FOUNDATION and TIM HORTONS® BRING BACK ANNUAL RED WINGS DONUT with proceeds benefiting the detroit red wings foundation
... Red Wings Forward Dylan Larkin to Visit Tim Hortons® Restaurant in Troy on Saturday, March 25 to Serve Special-Edition Donut with Edible Red Wings Logo …

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Tim Hortons® are pleased to announce the return of the “I Love the Red Wings” Donut, a specially-themed donut decorated with an edible Red Wings logo and red and white sprinkles. The Red Wings Donut will be available in participating Michigan Tim Hortons® restaurants for $1.25 beginning Friday, March 24 through Friday, April 7. Proceeds from the sale of the special donut will benefit the Detroit Red Wings Foundation.

Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin will assist in serving the special-edition donut at the Tim Hortons® restaurant in Troy, Mich. (507 E. Big Beaver Rd.) from 9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 25. Due to time constraints, Larkin will not be signing autographs for customers.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Steve Silverman On Gary Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hockey and the Winter Olympics go hand in hand, but because there is no immediate financial gratification to the NHL coffers, Bettman wants to thumb his nose at the event.

He is hurting his sport, and he is doing his part to ruin the Winter Olympics.

Bettman is supposed to be the NHL’s leader, but he is a short-sighted man who looks down his nose at anything that doesn’t bring immediate gratification.

He has outlived his usefulness as the commissioner.

It’s time for him to go.

-Steve Silverman of CBS New York where you can read more on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Real Negotiations Are About To Begin Regarding The NHL And 2018 Olympics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Shannon of Sportsnet,

The negotiations are about to begin. No more posturing. No more pleasantries. We will soon hear about a deadline date. We will know in short order whether NHL players will play on the Olympic ice in South Korea next February. All sides will decide how important it is to play in the Games. My gut says the next three weeks are key — before April 12 and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No one wants the Olympic discussion to become a distraction then.

Perhaps that day becomes the deadline?

Far to one side, the International Olympic Committee. Set in its ways and happy to spend other peoples' money (not just hockey's) for infrastructure and the glory of the Olympic movement. The formula has worked well for the IOC. Through summer and winter Games, scandal and deceit, doping and bribery, the Olympic movement just keeps chugging along. No reason to change, no reason to share the wealth. After all, if you change for the NHL, you’ll have to change for other leagues and organizations that are involved, such as the NBA, PGA, LPGA and both of tennis’ governing bodies. If you pay for hockey, you might just have to pay for other sports, too.

Far to the other side, the National Hockey League. The 31 owners and a senior executive at the league office who can’t comprehend what the value of the Olympics are anymore if there isn’t some form of compensation or acknowledgement of hockey’s best league. It goes beyond tickets and access or the ability to use video footage. It is about answering a simple question: What’s in it for us?

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

On Mantha’s resurgent play vs. Montreal

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an off-day article discussing Anthony Mantha's ups and downs...

“Mo has such potential,” veteran Niklas Kronwall said. “You see glimpses and pieces of it throughout the game. Big body. Can skate. Unbelievable hands. Has a bomb of a shot. He really has all the tools.”

Mantha netted his 15th goal of the season Tuesday, when he scored in overtime to lift the Wings past Montreal, 2-1, collecting his third career goal against the Habs. The goal was Mantha’s first point since being sat mid-month, an event that came after he looked egregiously sloppy -- even in what was a sloppy game by the entire team -- on March 8 at Boston.

When Mantha returned to the lineup March 15, it was with a message received.

“It is all a learning process, in the end, and I decide to skate more, shoot more pucks, keep being good in my D-zone,” Mantha said. “I think it paid off.”

From the way Mantha, 22, talks, he seems to understand that he is being pushed hard by coach Jeff Blashill because Mantha has such a high-end skill set.

“He just wants me to bring it every night, and that is, basically, what I need to learn,” Mantha said. “We have been working on it for years now, even when I was playing in (Grand Rapids), we were talking about it. It's just something that needs to come into my mind and be an automatic instinct for me to move my feet as hard as I can and do the little details.”

St. James continues, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also took note of Mantha's performance as assessed by his coach:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Khan tackles expansion draft question in this week’s ‘Ask Ansar’ column

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among MLive's Ansar Khan's "Ask Ansar" questions and answers for this week:

Q: Why not expose a couple of the albatross contracts (Danny DeKeyser, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm) instead of younger, cheaper players such as Xavier Ouellet and Nick Jensen? Given the excessive length of all three deals, Vegas would be doing the Red Wings a favor by selecting any of them. They have all proven themselves as average players now and all have four-plus years left on their deals. DeKeyser has been especially bad this year and is paid way too much as a second-pair defenseman. Abdelkader looks lost without (Pavel) Datsyuk creating space for him and Helm is too injury-prone. – Tom

A: The front office viewed those players as key pieces in helping the team extend its playoff streak, so it overpaid in both money and term on all the deals.

Of the three you mention, I don’t think they’ll protect Helm. I think the seven forwards protected will be Anthony Mantha, Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg, Tatar, Athanasiou, Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen, who must be protected due to his no-movement clause. Dylan Larkin is exempt. Of course, this list could change if they swing a trade before the expansion draft.

I doubt Vegas would take Helm, considering his contract (four more years at a cap hit of $3.875 million), age (30) and health concerns based on his history.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Givani Smith And Filip Hronek Join The Grand Rapids Griffins

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday reassigned forward Givani Smith (jih-VAH-nee SMIHTH) to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm and defenseman Filip Hronek (FIHL-ihp H’RAWN-ehk) to the American Hockey League club from the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. 

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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