Kukla's Korner

Hockey World Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

— I can’t see the Hurricanes re-upping Eric Staal, whose play is definitely stalled, but what can they get for him in a trade at the deadline when he’s an unrestricted free agent in July? One team that could have interest: Nashville. Don’t forget former Carolina coach Peter Laviolette is behind the Predators’ bench. Nashville would be a good geographical fit for Staal, too. Only a few hours away.

— The Capitals are a deep team but they’re looking for a third line centre with some offence. Jay Beagle is there now but he’s better on the fourth line. The Calgary Flames’ Mikael Backlund would look good there, so might the St. Louis Blues’ Patrik Berglund, although Berglund might be a better winger.

— The more Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg plays, the more he seems like a No. 1 National Hockey League defenceman. He’s smooth, and has a hesitation move with the puck that makes checkers miss him.

— The Flyers are desperate for wingers. Their best two guys — Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek — have four goals between them in 123 shots. The Flyers are deep in defence prospects such as Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg, but with a weak defence now they would rather not move a young player with potential.

more including would the Oilers trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a defenseman...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Second Quarter Predictions

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Arpon Basu of NHL.com,

Here, then, are 12 bold predictions of what is absolutely guaranteed to happen in the second quarter of this season. You can take these to the bank. They are guaranteed.

Tampa Bay Lightning will wake up

The Lightning are simply too talented at too many positions and too well-coached to remain a picture of mediocrity for much longer. Tampa Bay is treading water at roughly 50 percent in just about every significant statistic imaginable; goal differential, shots on goal for and against, shot attempts percentage and scoring chance percentage (according to war-on-ice.com) with a middle of the road power play and penalty kill.

The Lightning led the NHL in goals last season, fueled by the highest 5-on-5 team shooting percentage. That shooting percentage is 19th in the League this season. Some may feel last season was an anomaly, but it's more likely this one is and those shooting numbers will change, the Lightning will start scoring goals, and a climb up the standings will follow.

Pittsburgh Penguins won't

The Penguins were ranked 19th in goals per game last season and have dropped to 25th this season despite the addition of Phil Kessel, one of the top scorers in the game.

Pittsburgh is doing fine in the standings, largely on the back of an outstanding first quarter from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

But they won't be able to surge up the standings unless the offense comes alive.

The Penguins are putting pucks on net nearly as frequently, but they were one of the strongest possession teams in the NHL last season with a 5-on-5 SAT% of 52.8, fifth in the League. They are now one of the weakest at 48.3 percent, 19th in the League.

Sidney Crosby won't remain on a 50-point pace for very long, but his revival alone can't cure what ails Pittsburgh. Moving through a second straight season of scoring struggles, perhaps this is simply what the Penguins are.

read on for 10 more predictions...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Prospect news: Kadeikin, Marsh score goals; Tvrdon tiring of ECHL

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of prospect-related note:

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin scored the game's first goal and played 10:43 in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-2 OT win over Lada Togliatti;

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn had a shot and played 5:44 in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 OT win over Linkopings HC;

In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh scored the game-tying goal for the Saint John Sea Dogs in what was ultimately a 4-3 OT loss to Quebec;

And in the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 33 of 37 shots in the Wenatchee Wild's 4-3 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors;

Also: Thanks to a tip from TMR reader Martin Pohanic, I can tell you that Marek Tvrdon, who's currently lighting it up for the Toledo Walleye, is very unhappy to be there, or so he told SlovakProspects.com's Kristian Kvasnica. Tvrdon feels that he didn't get a fair shake to stick with the Griffins, and while he's not threatening to leave for an overseas league right now, he's definitely tired of the ECHL.

This is all rather ironic given that Tvrdon's leading the Toledo Walleye with 14 points (6 goals and 8 assists) in 13 games.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The overnight report: Red Wings-Oilers set-up

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The 11-8-and-3 Detroit Red Wings take on the 7-14-and-1 Edmonton Oilers Friday (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and in theory, this game should yield a near-perfect opportunity to take two points from the Oilers.

Edmonton, which is in the midst of a 6-game road trip, has lost 2 straight, 5 of their past 6 games and 8 of their past 11, including Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Carolina.

The Oilers lost Nail Yakupov to an ankle sprain on Wednesday, so Edmonton will have 5 injured players on the roster, including Connor McDavid and Justin Schultz, going into tonight's game.

The injury to Yakupov and the 2-game losing streak yielded line changes from NHL.com's Kurt Dusterberg's listed Oilers lineup from Wednesday...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Thanksgiving Means Time to Set Up The Playoff Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Current eight playoff teams: Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings

Predicted eight playoff teams come April: Canadiens, Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Rangers, Capitals, Penguins, Islanders, Red Wings

The skinny: Just one switch, and that's putting the Stanley Cup finalist Lightning back in the mix. They've won three in a row and there's zero chance they don't make the playoffs; there's just too much talent there. I think they've turned the corner, too.

Tough choosing a team to take out from the current eight, but I think the Bruins will fall just short, as they did last season. The Penguins and Islanders are vulnerable, too, but I like their chances just a bit more than Boston's.

Another team I would have liked to have the courage to say will make it back into the mix is Florida, but the young Panthers are just too inconsistent, and while there's plenty of time to figure things out, I just think that's how it's going to be this season for them, some highs and some lows but not quite enough yet to make it in -- the growing pains of a young team learning how to win.

read on for the West...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Mid-day news: Thankful Datsyuk and Franzen; on Datsyuk’s return and rookies invading the Joe

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon (and a happy Thanksgiving to everyone--I am thankful for you, my readers, because you give me a purpose and a big reason to battle through the day):

From Pavel Datsyuk:

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article about Datsyuk's return as it applied to the Red Wings' strong game against the Boston Bruins:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Leading 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Canadiens added three unanswered goals in the third period to earn their third consecutive victory, pull into sole possession of top spot in the NHL standings and halt the Rangers’ home winning streak at nine games (its longest such streak since 1971-72).

* At 17-4-2 (36 points), the Canadiens lead the League in wins (tied w/ DAL) and points. The victory propelled them ahead of the Rangers (16-4-2, 34 points) and idle Stars (17-5-0, 34 points), who share second place in terms of points.

Carey Price made 22 saves before being replaced by Mike Condon (11 SV) to start the third period. Price earned the decision to improve to 12-5-1 in 19 career regular-seasonappearances against the Rangers (1.74 GAA, .943 SV%, 7 SO).

Devante Smith-Pelly (2-0—2) registered his first career multi-goal game and first multi-point effort since Oct. 31, 2013 at BOS (1-1—2).

Tomas Plekanec (0-3—3) registered his ninth career three-assist game and second this season (also Oct. 23 at BUF). He paces the club with 7-16—23 this season (23 GP), including 0-6—6 in his last four contests.

Alex Galchenyuk (1-1—2) and Max Pacioretty (1-1—2) also registered multiple points for the Canadiens, who scored at least five goals in a game for the sixth time this season. They lead all NHL clubs with 83 goals in 2015-16.

* The Canadiens improved to 11-3-0 in their last 14 regular-season meetings with the Rangers dating to Nov. 19, 2011 (NYR: 3-10-1).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Happy Thanksgiving USA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

To all who will be meeting with family and friends today, enjoy the day and be safe.

The NHL is dark today which means I may go into hiding too but will be checking in throughout the day for any hockey news.

I am staying at home on this Thanksgiving Day.  The stuffed cajun turkey is in the oven, the pumpkin pie has been made along with the garlic mashed potatoes and a glass or two of vino is awaiting too.

Have a great day everyone and I will be back in full force tomorrow morning.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Philadelphia Flyers Are Still Offensively Challenged

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

The Flyers ended their franchise's fifth-longest scoring drought earlier in the week, but their offensive funk continued Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

They scored an early goal but didn't generate many quality chances the rest of the night and fell to the New York Islanders, 3-1, at the Barclays Center.

The Flyers haven't scored an even-strength goal in 257 minutes, 58 seconds, more than four games ago. Their last even-strength goal was scored by Claude Giroux on Nov. 17 in a 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles.

They have scored one goal, total, in goalie Steve Mason's last three starts.

"It's been a struggle, obviously, the last few games to get the puck in the net, and for the goaltenders there's no room for error right now," said Mason after making 33 saves. "It just puts that much more emphasis on trying to be as perfect as possible. Just go out and focus on stopping the puck, and you just hope that the goals will come."


Watch the game highlights below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

John Tortorella Not Happy With Blue Jackets Win Over The New Jersey Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

It wasn’t pretty. It rarely is against the trap-happy New Jersey Devils.

But the Blue Jackets felt plenty fortunate — maybe even lucky — to have emerged with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night before 13,567 at the Prudential Center.

And, even in victory, it appears that coach John Tortorella is wearing thin on patience.

“A number of things is maddening about our club right now,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about individuals. It was a team effort in sloppiness. We’re lucky we won.

“We have zero habits right now.”

Well, zero good habits, maybe.


Game highlights are below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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