Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Mid-January Hockey Notes

1/16/2022

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, - Ken Holland says he believes in second chances. Maybe math wasn’t his best subject. In the still undetermined matter of the National Hockey League vs. Evander Kane, the latest version in an ongoing series, the signing of the troubled Kane by Holland in Edmonton, or by any other general manager in any other city for that matter, would not represent a second chance for the troubled winger. What chance would it be? Five? Six? Eight? Depends on who is doing the counting. There have been issues over the years with assault, with off-ice behaviour, with decision making, with the law, with team rules, with teammates, with women, those he was married to and those he was not, with gambling, with lawsuits, with bankruptcy, and that’s just slightly brushing the canvas of the challenge Kane brings to whichever team that chooses to sign him, all of that possibly coming after he is suspended again by the NHL/// - The best Canadian players in the NHL this half-season: 1. McDavid; 2. Cale Makar; 3. Jonathan Huberdeau; 4. Nazem Kadri. - Frank Mahovlich turned 84 the other day and it got me thinking: How many wingers in NHL history were better than Mahovlich, who won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs and still holds the Montreal Canadiens’ record for most points in a playoff season? My purely personal shortlist of those who rank ahead of Mahovlich: Gordie Howe. Rocket Richard. Bobby Hull. Alex Ovechkin. Jaromir Jagr. Guy Lafleur and Mike Bossy. So who am I missing? The next group would include Pavel Bure, Teemu Selanne and Jari Kurri. more on the first topic and other nottes too...

Media Headlines

WHL Roundup: Steenberger scores OT winner as Broncos edge Raiders

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - Tyler Steenbergen scored 2:09 into overtime as the Swift Current Broncos edged the Prince Albert Raiders 3-2 on Sunday in Western Hockey League action. Jon Martin and Tyler Adams also scored for Swift Current (17-27-5).... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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John Scott voted MVP of Pacific’s All-Star Game win

NASHVILLE -- The smile that flashed across John Scott's face again and again throughout the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game was the perfect symbol of his adventure at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. "I just see him as this little kid," Scott's wife, ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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OHL Roundup: Hicks makes 47 saves, Bulldogs snap three-game skid

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Connor Hicks turned away 47-of-49 shots and Trent Fox had two goals and an assist as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Niagara IceDogs 5-2 on Sunday in Ontario Hockey League action. Niki Petti scored once and set up two mo... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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QMJHL Roundup: Foreurs cruising, beat Olympiques for seventh straight win

GATINEAU, Que. - Etienne Monpetit made 30 saves and Val-d'Or did all its damage with the power play as the league-leading Foreurs downed the Gatineau Olympiques 3-1 on Sunday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Julien Gauthier, Carl ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Laing 'blown away' by support following injury

NASHVILLE--Denna Laing, in a message shown on the video screen during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, said she has been "absolutely blown away by the support I've gotten from the hockey community." Laing, a member of the Boston Prid... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Enforcer John Scott scores 1st All-Star goal for Pacific

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - John Scott, the enforcer fans voted into the NHL All-Star Game, has scored the first goal for the Pacific Division during the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament. Scott scored on a tip-in just 47 seconds into the second mini-game Su... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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WHL Roundup: Braylon Shmyr has hat trick and assist to lead Blades past Pats

SASKATOON - Braylon Shmyr had a hat trick and an assist to lead the Saskatoon Blades past the Regina Pats 7-3 on Saturday night in Western Hockey League action. Wyatt Sloboshan, Nick Zajac, Connor Gay and Colton Waltz supplied the rest of the... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Peter Budaj perfect in Ontario Reign's 4-0 win over Manitoba Moose

ONTARIO, Calif. - Peter Budaj made 19 saves as the Ontario Reign shut out the Manitoba Moose 4-0 on Saturday in American Hockey League action. Michael Mersch scored twice — once into an empty net — to lead Ontario's (26-10-4) offence, while S... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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OHL Roundup: Nick Suzuki scores hat trick to lead Attack past 67's

OTTAWA - Nick Suzuki scored a hat trick as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Ottawa 67's 5-2 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Jonah Gadjovich added a goal and two assists with Bryson Cianfrone also chipping in for the Attack (21-17-9... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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QMJHL Roundup: McDonald, Coughler lead Islanders past Screaming Eagles

CHARLOTTETOWN - Mason McDonald stopped all 39 shots he faced and Jake Coughler scored a hat trick as the Charlottetown Islanders shut out the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3-0 on Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Samuel Bla... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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East dominates shootout, wins Skills Competition

NASHVILLE -- The Eastern Conference dominated the Western Conference in the Discover Shootout, the final event of the Honda All-Star Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The Eastern Conference won the Skills Competition 29-12, w... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Holtby, East lose to West in Skills Challenge Relay

NASHVILLE -- Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby grew up watching a generation of NHL goaltenders who were phenomenal stick-handlers. The list includes: Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and Marty Turco. "Those guys, that was part of the game... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Predators' Weber wins hardest shot contest again

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber won the AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot for the second consecutive season with a shot of 108.1 mph. Weber fell short of the 108.5 mph shot he had in 2015 in Columbus, but his 108.1 mph shot was... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Chad Nehring's two goals lead Hartford Wolf Pack past St. John's IceCaps

HARTFORD, Conn. - Chad Nehring had back-to-back goals in the second period as the Hartford Wolf Pack topped the St. John's IceCaps 4-1 on Saturday in American Hockey League play. Ryan Graves and Nick Tarnasky also scored for Hartford (23-20-2... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Tobias Lindberg lifts Binghamton Senators over Toronto Marlies in overtime

TORONTO - Tobias Lindberg scored the overtime winner as the Binghamton Senators edged the Toronto Marlies 6-5 on Saturday in American Hockey League action. David Dziurzynski scored in regulation and added two assists for Binghamton (17-23-3),... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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2016 NHL All-Star Game Rosters

NEW YORK, United States of America - The players named to the National Hockey League all-star weekend rosters for the league's new 3-on-3 tournament, Friday-Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. (i—injured, will not play; r—replacement; c—captain; x—John S... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Islanders' Tavares wins accuracy shooting contest

NASHVILLE -- No one was perfect in the Draft Kings Accuracy Shooting Contest at the 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, but New York Islanders captain John Tavares came closest to perfection to give the Eastern Conference a 3-2 win... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Subban channels Jagr to win breakaway challenge

NASHVILLE -- P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens -- with an assist to Jaromir Jagr -- won the Honda Breakaway Challenge at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The winner was decided by fans voting on Twitter. Subban got 31 percent of the vote; nar... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Red Wings' Larkin sets fastest skater record

NASHVILLE -- Detroit Red Wings rookie forward Dylan Larkin is the fastest skater in the history of the NHL All-Star Skills competition. Larkin, 19, took advantage of the opportunity he earned Saturday night to best the record held by Mike Gartn... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Bettman says NHL would not take an application from Seattle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman insisted Seattle is not in the running to land an expansion team. "If someone wanted to give us an application right now, we wouldn't take it," Bettman said Saturday at his state-of-the-league ... Read Full Article on NHL.com

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Any Offensive Help On The Way?

1/16/2022

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now, The Detroit Red Wings are 25th in goal scoring, 27th in shots on goal and 31st on the power play. In their past seven games, the Red Wings scored more than two goals only twice. They won only one of those games. This is an offensively challenged rebuilding team. This seems like the right time for an update on some of Detroit’s forward prospects. ... 1. Jonathan Berggren, Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) The Red Wings’ collection of defensive prospects is stronger than their list of quality forwards.  However, Red Wings remain bullish on Swedish forward Berggren. He got off to a poor start after becoming injured in the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City. Berggren never got a chance to show what he could do in training camp. He started slowly in the American Hockey League, but after the second-round pick adjusted to the North American game the points started to come. Berggren isn’t dominating yet, but he has seven goals and 21 points in 27 games.... 2. Elmer Soderblom, Frolunda (Sweden) The 6-foot-8 Soderblom has gone from a curiosity to an intriguing prospect. It’s fair to say the Red Wings aren’t sure exactly what they have in Soderblom. But excitement is growing about his potential. He could end up being the net front presence that the Red Wings hoped 6-foot-6 Michael Rasmussen would be. Soderbloom has some sweet hands and moves. Two years ago, he showed them at the World Junior Championships by scoring a couple of goals between his legs. As the season has worn on, Soderblom, 20, in his second season in Sweden’s pro league, has continued to improve. He has 10 goals and five assists in 30 games. more on each of the above plus three more names...

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Is It Really An All-Star Game?

1/16/2022

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet, A quick mix of the things we gleaned from the week of hockey, serious and less so, and rolling four lines deep. Nothing to see here. Just a lil dancing. 1. I vividly remember Leo Komarov lonely sitting at his pod at the 2016 All-Star Media Day in Nashville, waiting for a crowd to form and questions that barely arrived. A couple local reporters and the Maple Leafs’ own film crew dutifully spoke with him. But the swarms went elsewhere, and he left the room early. I write this not to shame Uncle Leo. He’s a helluva character, a beauty quote, and was a terrific role player in his prime. What he was not, however, is an NHL all-star. But it didn’t matter that the Leafs were in blatant tank mode that season. In Gary Bettman’s circus of parity, every team must send an all-star rep. In 2022, we have Arizona’s Clayton Keller (tied for 75th in scoring) awarded his second appearance and Montreal’s Nick Suzuki (tied for 159th) awarded his first. Again, nothing against these talented athletes. But Keller’s all-star debut was made during (checks notes) a 14-goal season. Nazem Kadri In other words, we get where Nathan MacKinnon is coming from. “It’s silly,” MacKinnon said, twice. “It's silly. I don't think every team should send a guy. I think it's a silly rule that we have. It's an all-star game; it's not a participation game. Naz is [fifth] in scoring in the NHL, and he's got to get voted in still. So, I don't think that's right.” continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Hockey Notes Galore

1/16/2022

Bits and pieces from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe, - China, playing in a bracket with the US, Canada, and Germany, will surely finish last. The Dragons, currently ranked 32nd in the world, have finished no higher than 15th at the IIHF Worlds (and that was in 1982). The roster is mostly players from the KHL’s Chinese entry, Kunlun Red Star. Several North Americans are on the team, including former Bruins farmhand Jeremy Smith, ex-Boston University Terrier Brandon Yip, and defenseman Jake Chelios. The latter, an undrafted Michigan State alum, spent five years mostly in the AHL (Carolina and Detroit organizations). He was born in Chicago in March 1991, a month before his dad’s team, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Blackhawks, were upset by the Cinderella North Stars in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Chris Chelios, also from Chicago, is a four-time Olympian, three of those tournaments as Captain America. He is of Greek heritage. “Obviously, his first choice would be to represent the US,” Chris Chelios said of his son. “He loves hockey. That was the only way for him to continue to play, to go to Germany or Russia or China. He appreciates the opportunity. He’s playing in the Olympics.” - Quite a week for Brad Marchand, who remained on a tear and had some of the best quips heard. On his prodigious proboscis taking a vicious high stick from Washington’s Nic Dowd: “I’m just happy it wasn’t my teeth. I can deal with a broken nose, but missing these beautiful teeth of mine, that would have hurt.” On the worst “injury” he ever thought he had, from blocking an Alex Ovechkin slapper: “The draw went directly to Ovi and I stepped out and he took a one-timer right into my foot. I was hobbled to the bench and I was yelling for the trainers: ‘It’s broken, it’s broken! I can’t move, it’s 100 percent broken!’ My whole foot just went numb. I thought it was at the time. I don’t think I missed a shift. I got back and I mean, it hurt, but it must have just hit a nerve or something. Guys gave it to me for that one for a while.” - The Oilers entered the weekend 3 points out of a playoff spot (18-14-2). No wonder Connor McDavid was all but offering to pick up Evander Kane from the airport. General manager Ken Holland turned heads around the league when, during a news conference, he balked at trading a first-round pick for a rental. “I think the answer is in that locker room,” Holland said. “Why would I trade a first-round pick or one of our top prospects to have somebody give us a little bit of a boost, then next year we have a press conference and you’re asking me about secondary scoring again . . . the depth has to be built internally.” more

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Jeff Blashill Hopes The Off Day On Friday Will Help The Wings Tonight

1/16/2022

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, After a loss Thursday against Winnipeg in which the Wings looked a bit fatigued at times, coach Jeff Blashill decided to make Friday a complete day off. No work on the ice or in the weight room. No meetings. No coming down to Little Caesars Arena, at all. It was likely needed. "Sometimes fatigue shows up in your physical play in terms of how your legs feel, and sometimes it shows up mentally," Blashill said. "The reality is we have to find ways to be better when we are potentially fatigued. We have to find ways to make sure we don't make mental mistakes in those types of situations." During the recent West Coast trip, the Wings' game in Anaheim Jan. 6 was rescheduled to Jan. 9 because of a COVID outbreak within the Ducks. The Wings originally had a schedule where they had days off between games. After the rescheduled game in Anaheim was put in place, the Wings have three games in four days, four games in six days and six games in 10 days after they play Monday in Buffalo. It's a particularly rugged stretch, and one that eliminates any quality practicing, which can be an issue. "The difficult part when you don't practice is potentially you lose your structure and some of your habits," Blashill said. "You're not able to touch on as many bases as you'd like." read on added 4:23pm, Below, watch Ken Kal and Daniella Bruce with their game day preview.

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Hockey Topics Of Interest

1/16/2022

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, - If the Penguins hadn’t been able to make a dent with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin joining their squad within a year of each other in the early 2000s, would that equate to the white noise coming from the Oilers, with both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the mutual heights of their powers? You’d say that the Oilers are the NHL’s version of MLB’s Angels, except that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani have never really played a full season together and that almost every time I see McDavid speaking in any type of public setting it seems as if he has just been force-fed a pint of lemon juice. Though if you were sent out there to answer hypotheticals about adding Evander Kane without the accompaniment of owner Daryl Katz and general manager Kenny Holland, the people actually responsible for making the decision, you probably would be a bit sour about it, too. - Someone is going to have to explain how the Avalanche can be taken seriously as Stanley Cup contenders while they rank 29th overall in save percentage at .892, surrounded in that category by teams from Seattle, New Jersey, Arizona, Ottawa and Montreal, not one of which is even in the hunt for the playoffs. - It always catches me off guard when I see a Red Wings player wearing No. 14. It seems odd that Detroit management has not retired the number in honor of Brendan Shanahan, the player most singularly responsible for ending the franchise’s 42-year Cup drought in 1997. They’d had Steve Yzerman, they’d had Sergei Fedorov, they’d had Nicklas Lidstrom … and in 1994, the 100-point Red Wings were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the 82-point Sharks. In 1995, the 70-point Red Wings were swept in the Cup final by the 52-point Devils, and in 1996, 131-point Detroit was taken out in conference finals by 104-point Colorado. The next year, along came Shanahan, the quintessential power forward of his era, to change the culture and point the Red Wings to consecutive Cups and three in six years. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Slumping Montreal Canadiens

10/20/2021

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette, The San Jose Sharks didn’t surprise the Canadiens with their fast start Tuesday night, but coach Dominique Ducharme said his team didn’t handle the situation well. “We knew they play fast and have lots of puck support and they throw everything at the net,” Ducharme said after the visitors crushed the Canadiens 5-0. “We needed to box out, we needed to be good coming back killing plays and we got beat on those plays. It’s a lack of execution, a lack of engagement on certain plays that cost us and that was the case in the first period.” The Sharks scored twice in the first 3:36 of the game and, given the lack of production from the Montreal offence, the game was effectively over. Brendan Gallagher hit the nail on the head when he said there wasn’t just one thing that needs to be corrected. The Canadiens are 0-4 to start the season, they have scored only three goals, are 0-for-13 on the power play and have given up seven power-play goals. “A lot of people are going to turn on us and it’s important in that locker room that we don’t,” Gallagher said. “We have to do the right things to find solutions. It’s never easy to get out of those things. It’s disappointing that it’s happening in the very beginning of the year, but this is when you’re challenged. You want to test yourself in tough situations and that’s where we are now.” There were signs that the fans were turning on the Canadiens before the loss. The announced attendance was 16,095, more than 5,000 short of capacity. continued Game highlights are below.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Good Night For Lucas Raymond

10/20/2021

from Ansar Khan of Mlive, “I had some really nice looks today and especially this time of the game you want to score to help the team,” Raymond said. “Of course, you want to get that first goal. It’s something real special and it’s awesome, a special night.” Raymond opened the scoring at 6:17 of the third period, taking a pass from Dylan Larkin and wiring a wrist shot over goaltender Joonas Korpisalo’s glove on the short side. Shortly after that, Raymond side-stepped a check in the neutral zone and made a nice touch pass to Larkin, who set up Tyler Bertuzzi’s goal at 8:53, his fifth of the season, which proved to be the winner. “Those are a couple of dynamic offensive plays,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The one thing (Raymond) does pretty consistently is play a complete game. That earns trust and you get minutes. Are there parts of his game that have to get better? A hundred percent. And he knows it, especially moving his feet. He’s a real cerebral player, sometimes he can get caught just thinking his way through the game instead of thinking and moving his feet. “Him and (fellow rookie Moritz) Seider both have a real good combination of confidence but yet real calm people and real respectful, real good inner drive. They’re not entitled people. I think (Raymond) has got a maturity beyond his years. That’s certainly going to help him as he goes through any upcoming trials and tribulations he’ll face.” more Below, watch the extended highlights.

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