Kukla's Korner

Cale Makar A Draft Option For The Detroit Red Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

If they take a defenseman in the first round, one possibility is Cale Makar of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits. Makar is the highest-ranked North American defenseman available in the draft, according to NHL Central Scouting.

Makar, ranked No. 9 by Central Scouting, raised his stock with a strong performance for Canada West in the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, according to an NHL.com story.

He served as team captain, had four goals and assists in four games, and picked up five points in a 6-2 victory over Switzerland.

"A lot of times these guys will start out low and their play will dictate how high they rise up," NHL Central Scouting's John Williams told writer Aaron Vickers of NHL.com. "We really wanted to see how he did against elite competition.

"We knew he was a good player in the AJHL. We wanted to see him against the best in that tournament against the best players. He was a cut above. He was by far one of the best players there, for sure."

Makar, who is committed to play at the University of Massachusetts next season, was ranked 10th at midseason before a strong finish to his season.

In 54 games last season, the 18-year-old Makar had 24 goals, 51 assists and 18 penalty minutes. He led all AJHL defensemen in scoring while helping Brooks to the league's best record.

Makar (5-11, 180) chose college over major junior hockey because he thought it would be better for his development as he pursues an NHL career.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Nashville 4, ST. LOUIS 3 – NSH leads 1-0
Edmonton 5, ANAHEIM 3 – EDM leads 1-0
The Predators and Oilers each had their 3-1 third-period leads erased before receiving late game-winning goals – from Vernon Fiddler (14:55) and Adam Larsson (15:20), respectively – to win the opening games of their Second Round series.
* Larsson’s marker was the fourth go-ahead goal in the final five minutes of the third period this postseason. The others were scored by Boston’s Brad Marchand (17:27, Game 1 at OTT), St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz (17:33, Game 2 at MIN) and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf (15:14, Game 2 vs. CGY).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Griffins release 2nd round playoff schedule vs. Chicago

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After completing a second straight first-round sweep of the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Griffins will continue their quest for the Calder Cup by facing their longtime rivals, the Chicago Wolves, in the best-of-seven Central Division Finals.

The second-seeded Griffins and division-champion Wolves – fresh off of rallying past the Charlotte Checkers by winning the final two games of their series – will stage their first postseason clash in 13 years. Games 1 and 2 will take place at Allstate Arena on Wednesday, May 3 and Friday, May 5 before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday, May 6 and Monday, May 8. The complete schedule is as follows:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Prospect news: Griffins win in OT, advance to 2nd round; Saarijarvi advances to OHL Final

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of prospect-related note, with more to come:

In playoff action, in the AHL, Jared Coreau's 40 saves were enough to help poush the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-2 OT win over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 3 of the teams' best-of-5 series.

Kyle Criscuolo scored the OT winner at 10:03 of overtime via Dan Renouf; Tomas Nosek and Matt Lorito scored the other goals, and Tyler Bertuzzi had an assist.

The Griffins advance to play the Chicago Wolves in the second round...Chicago will have home-ice advantage in the 2-2-1-1-1 series, so Grand Rapids will play at Van Andel Arena in Games 3, 4 and 6 of the series.

In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh had 4 shots in the Charlottetown Islanders' 4-2 loss to Blainville-Boisbriand. Blainville-Boisbriand leads the Conference Final series 3 games to 1;

In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi had a goal and an assist, finishing at +4 on 3 shots, and he was named the second star in the Mississauga Steelheads' 7-0 win over the Peterborough Petes. Mississauga swept the Petes and will advance to the OHL Final, and you can watch highlights of the game here;

And Jordan Sambrook scored the game's first goal, finishing at +1 on 3 shots, in the Erie Otters' 4-3 win over the Owen Sound Attack. The Otters and Attack are tied 2-2 in the OHL's Conference Final. You can watch highlights of the game here.

Update: Here's a Twitter video of Criscuolo's goal:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Video- Kevin Fiala Leg Injury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Taken off the ice on a stretcher.


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

Duff: Are Holland and Blashill ‘on a short leash?’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff wonders aloud whether Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill are on a "short leash" after the failure that was the 2016-17 season:

Both Holland and Blashill will be on a short leash. The best guess is they’ve got one more year to get this thing turned around and back on track, or expect a blood-letting to follow.

Blashill is also halfway through the four-year deal he signed with the Wings in 2015, and with the costs of opening a new arena, perhaps the Wings weren’t anxious to eat the rest of the pact.

Holland, on the other hand, is entering the last year of his deal with the team, so time could be of the essence for him to show he’s still got what it takes to fix this mess.

Truth be told, the District Detroit development and the new Little Caesars Arena likely saved the hide of both men. The Wings know they can buy at least one season of time, and even if (when?) the team stinks again next season, people will still pack the place to check out all the bells and whistles that the new place has to offer. And with all the work still to be done on that front, perhaps launching a search for a new coach and/or a new GM wasn’t something ownership wanted to add to their plate.

Or it could be as simple as that after a quarter century of playoff appearances, management was given a Mulligan.

Duff continues, noting that assistant coaches may take the fall for Holland or Blashill this season. Given that Dave Noel-Bernier, the team's video coordinator, already has another job might be indicative of more changes to come along Blashill's shoulders.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Rebuild Is Underway In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet,

It’s a term the Canucks have shied away from the past two playoff-less seasons. These days, “rebuild” goes hand-in-hand with “tanking,” which is something the Canucks don’t believe they need to do for their fortunes to turn around. It’s not an option as the Sedin twins come to the end of their careers.

“I don’t know how I walk into the room and tell these guys, ‘Strip it down.’ I’m not sure it’s fair to these guys. There’s different circumstances, be it in Toronto or Carolina or Vancouver, that require different routes. It’s not perfect, but I’m encouraged by the young players we’ve introduced, and we’ve got some young prospects,” Linden told Sportsnet’s Luke Fox in a wide-ranging interview from December 2016.

But after finishing as one of the NHL’s bottom three teams for the second year in a row, leading to the hiring of rookie NHL head coach Travis Green this week, Linden finally admitted this is, indeed, a rebuild.


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

Open Post- The Second Round Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs Starts Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The comment section is yours, use it if you chose.

My picks to win tonight are Nashville and Anaheim.

Nashville @ St. Louis, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Edmonton @ Anaheim, Game 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN, TVAS

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your Jack Adams Award Finalists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 26, 2017) – Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan is one of three finalists named today for the 2016-17 Jack Adams Award, presented to the head coach who has "contributed the most to his team's success." The National Hockey League announced the finalists for the award today. Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets are the other finalists.

Members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association submitted ballots for the Jack Adams Award at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Following are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award:

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Time For You To Make Your Picks For Round Two Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

update 5:50pm on 4/26/17, sticky has been removed and the original post was made on 4/24/17 at 9:45am.

Most of you know the drill, pick the winner of each second round series and add anything you wish to your comment.

The matchups are below and this post will remain sticky until Wednesday at 6pm ET.

If you want to review your first round picks (I went 4-4), do so here.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

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