Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Team Great Britain At The World Championship

5/20/2019

from Brian Pinelli of the New York Times, The N.H.L.’s best teams may be competing for a cup named after an Englishman — Lord Stanley, a governor general of Canada who has been dead for over a century — but the ties between Britain and the sport’s highest levels usually end there. Now, however, Britain’s national men’s ice hockey team is competing at the I.I.H.F. world championship for the first time in 25 years.... “No one knows anything about U.K. hockey, and the first couple of days here people were laughing at us,” defenseman Ben O’Connor said. “We go out and lose, 3-1, to Germany, and they’re not laughing at us anymore. “Just because you’re from England doesn’t mean you have to play football, or soccer,” he added. “We can play hockey too.”... Against an American team captained by the three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane on May 15, Britain held on valiantly for 60 minutes. The score was tied, 1-1, nearly halfway through the game, before the United States pulled away for a 6-3 win. “To play like we did and be in that game was special,” said O’Connor, who regularly skates for the Sheffield Steelers, one of the Elite league’s most popular teams. “You catch yourself thinking, ‘Patrick Kane is coming down on me.’ It’s surreal.” Forward Colin Shields, 39, a member of the Belfast Giants of the Elite league, recently announced his retirement and is playing his final tournament for the national team. “To line up against some of the players on Team U.S.A. was definitely a moment I’ll never forget and one of the greatest games I’ve been a part of in my career,” Shields said. more

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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)

Do The San Jose Sharks Have Another Comeback In Them?

5/20/2019

from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News, So while the Sharks showed their mettle by coming back from a three-games-to-one deficit against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round, and gutted out a Game 7 win over the Colorado Avalanche in the second, the headwinds they’re facing right now are unlike any they’ve had to deal with so far in the playoffs. They feel much, much stronger. “For sure we’ve been here before and had to go and win on the road in Vegas in order to get to a Game 7,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “You’re never comfortable when your backs against the wall like that, but we have been here before and found a way. I’m confident we can do that again.” Count Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski as being among the walking wounded for the Sharks. Their availability for Tuesday’s Game 6 has to be considered in question. While Karlsson’s injury issues are nothing new, Hertl was injured in the first period after a high hit by Ivan Barbashev. He played only about five minutes after that. Pavelski caught an elbow to the head from Alex Pietrangelo early in the third period, and did not return. “We’re still alive,” Sharks center Logan Couture said. “We’ve been in this spot before, going to Vegas down 3-2 in a very difficult building. St. Louis is similar, it’s a tough building against a good team. A structured team. We scored one goal in the last two games, that’s not going to cut it. We’re not doing enough around their net or creating enough opportunities on second chances.” more Below, watch a short GIF of the high hit on Hertl.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Staying Or Going And Some In Between

5/20/2019

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, ...it wouldn’t be surprising to see Yzerman do some tweaking this offseason, in an effort to strengthen the roster. The hard part for Yzerman will be the simple fact the Wings don’t have many players who would attract significant building blocks. Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha, two young players who showed meaningful progress last season, might be the only pieces who could fetch a big return. Otherwise, there are several veteran defensemen who are likely to be dealt at some point during the season or before, including Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson and Mike Green. Here's a look at the Red Wings roster, with a forecast on who's staying and who's going. Likely staying Justin Abdelkader, F: Buying out Abdelkader would mean a salary cap hit between $1.2 million and $2.46 million until 2027-28. He has four more years left on his present contract ($4.25 million cap hit) and at age 32, needs to rebound from three declining years. Jacob de la Rose, F: An accelerated heartbeat ended de la Rose’s season in mid-March, but he had a procedure that apparently fixed the issue. He showed enough to be a part of the fourth line. Andreas Athanasiou, F: After a 30-goal season where Athanasiou showed significant growth on and off the ice, the only reason Athanasiou isn’t “definitely” staying is that he would fetch a nice return in any trade. And the Wings don’t have an abundance of valuable trade pieces. more

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Dylan Larkin With The Game Winner In Team US Win Over Germany

5/19/2019

KOSICE, Slovakia - Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) scored the game-winning goal in the third period off a highlight-reel feed from James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.), Alec Martinez (Rochester Hills, Mich.) tallied two assists, and Cory Schneider (Marblehead, Mass.) made 24 saves as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Germany, 3-1, at the 2019 IIHF Men's World Championship to secure a place in the Thursday's (May 23) quarterfinal round. “Germany played a hard game,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2019 U.S. Men’s National Team and also the bench boss of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. “We had to really grind out a win and I give our guys credit. This is a hard tournament, harder than I think people realize. We got some real strong performances tonight from guys like Suter, Martinez, Larkin and van Riemsdyk, but I thought Jack Eichel really raised his game and played like he wasn’t going to be denied." The United States (4-1-0-1/W-OTW-OTL-L) will seek a sixth straight win to close Group A preliminary round play when it faces Canada on Tuesday (May 21). Puck drop at Steel Arena in Kosice, Slovakia, is set for 8:15 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. ET) and will help decide final placement for the quarterfinal round. That game, and every U.S. game, will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NHL Network. For the complete game recap, click here. Watch the game highlights below.

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Before The Puck Drops Today

5/19/2019

from Tracey Myers of NHL.com, The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will each try to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Final when they play Game 5 at SAP Center on Sunday. The Blues scored twice in the first period before holding off the Sharks for a 2-1 win in Game 4. It was the 10th victory of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for St. Louis, tying its record it set in 1986 and 2016. When the conference final/semifinal is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has a series record of 19-8 (70.4%). Here are 5 Keys to Game 5: 1. Binnington stays strong Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington continues to handle the playoff pressure well. He's 10-7 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .908 save percentage, the first goalie in Blues history to win at least 10 games in a single postseason and the 10th rookie to do so in NHL history. St. Louis expects the same steadiness from him in Game 5. "He's been dynamite for us back there all year," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "He's just doing his thing and just a lot of confidence in him from the whole team. Every single game he's given us a chance to win, so yeah, there's not much more to say. He's been unbelievable for us and such a huge part of our success." 2. Home sweet home The Sharks didn't get off to a great start in Game 4, but they're confident they can find their game immediately at home Sunday. San Jose is 7-3 at SAP Center this postseason and has outscored its opponents 39-29. "The series is tied up now, best out of three, and we've got home-ice advantage," Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist said. "We have to make sure we take advantage of that. We've been good at home and we'll be ready to play tomorrow." read on

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Review Of Detroit’s 2015 Draft

5/18/2019

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, F Evgeny Svechnikov Drafted: 19th. Scouting report: Considered a complete package of size, skill and strength. Wingspan: It looked promising when Svechnikov notched 20 goals among 51 points in 74 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins as a rookie, and then helped them win the Calder Cup with 12 points in 19 AHL playoffs games. His second pro season, though, started with a slump — Svechnikov had just five points his first 27 games with the Griffins. He righted himself enough to pump 17 points into the next 25 games, and earned an audition with the Wings. Svechnikov scored his NHL goal March 20 and recorded a first multi-point game (goal, assist) on March 29 to finish with two goals and two assists in 14 games. A knee injury sustained last September led to ACL surgery in October and sidelined Svechnikov the entire season. The Wings made Svechnikov eligible for the 2019 AHL playoffs because at that time (February) there was still hope he’d be able to play by late March, but that plan was scuttled as Svechnikov didn’t show enough progress. At least that decision buys the Wings time — because Svechnikov, 22, was sidelined the entirety of what would have been his third season of pro hockey, his last year of waiver exemption carries over to 2019-20. D Vili Saarijarvi Drafted: 73rd. Scouting report: Mobile and smart player. Post draft: Bounced between the Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye in his first pro season of 2017-18. Had 16 points in 70 games for the Griffins in 2018-19. Saarijarvi, who turns 23 on May 15, has yet to see NHL action. He had a nice season with the Griffins, but he’s been overshadowed by Filip Hronek and Dennis Cholowski, and will soon be dealing with competition from more recent draft picks in Gustav Lindstrom and Jared McIsaac, both of whom are very skilled players, as well as free-agent signee Oliwer Kaski. Assessment: Has dropped on the depth chart. more on the above players and other draft picks...

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Goalie Needed

5/18/2019

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet, Here, in order of sheer panic, is a look at the seven NHL clubs most in need of solidifying their crease in the 2019 off-season. Let that carousel spin. Carolina Hurricanes As remarkable as the Canes’ playoff run — three series deep! — was this spring, and as much cap space as budget-conscious Carolina has to manoeuvre (approximately $20 million), next year’s roster is going to look much different. Regulars Sebastian Aho, Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, Brock McGinn and Greg McKegg are all headed to free agency, and the prices at the Jerk store just went up. Think the forwards are a puzzle? Carolina was the only NHL club operating without a goalie under contract for 2019-20. Scott Darling’s future as a professional goalie is in question, and the overachieving tandem of Mrazek and McElhinney — who made a paltry $2.35 million combined — is headed toward the open market and significant pay raises. Behind them is impressive but unproven 23-year-old prospect Alex Nedeljkovic — and he’s an RFA. We can see Mrazek getting lured by bigger bucks elsewhere, while McElhinney could re-sign short-term for a pay bump. Columbus Blue Jackets Did impending UFA Bobrovsky even unstrap his pads before he listed his Columbus condo for sale? Goalie Bob’s weave out of Ohio to become the most desirable netminder on the open market leaves the Jackets without a sure-shot No. 1 for the first time in eight years. Complicating matters, neither backup — deadline insurance Keith Kinkaid (UFA) and the underwhelming Joonas Korpisalo (RFA) — has put pen to paperwork for 2019-20.... more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

What Team Will Have The Most Active Off-Season?

5/17/2019

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey ews, The Ask Me Anything Mailbag is back after a long layoff, and I thank you, readers, for blitzing me with enough top-notch questions that I could’ve included 20 here. I pared the list down to five, primarily looking ahead to the off-season but also addressing the elephant – or zebra – in the room. Which team will be the most active with trades, transactions, buyout etc. leading up to the draft in Vancouver? The Nashville Predators went from Stanley Cup final to Presidents’ Trophy to first-round exit over the past three seasons and, after giving his team a vote of confidence with minimal changes last off-season, GM David Poile should be aggressive this time. Don’t be surprised if he swings a major trade to break up the blueline Big Four of Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban, with Subban the likeliest name to go for reasons I outlined here. But the team I expect to be the most active of all? It’s the one rumored as a potential trade partner with the Preds, the Pittsburgh Penguins. General manager Jim Rutherford is a smart man and likely sees that his Penguins, after being swept in Round 1 of the playoffs, resemble the 2017 Blackhawks, a top-heavy, star-studded empire that began to crumble, got swept in Round 1 and ended up with two straight playoff misses after that. Sidney Crosby turns 32 in August. He showed this season he’s still an elite player, but he only has so many prime seasons left. To give Pittsburgh another shot at the Stanley Cup in the Crosby era, Rutherford must (a) make major moves to upgrade his team immediately or (b) deliberately weaken his team by dumping a star for futures in hopes of quickly replenishing Pittsburgh’s farm system, which is the league’s most barren, and providing some higher-upside reinforcements to join Crosby in a year or two. Chicago seems to be attempting option (b), building around a new core of Alex DeBrincat, Adam Boqvist, Dylan Strome and Henri Jokiharju, which might ascend quickly enough to make that team relevant again while Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have good years left. more plus four more questions and answers...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Is It All Well In Montreal?

5/17/2019

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette, How many Stanley Cups have the Montreal Canadiens won since 2011? How many times in the last eight years have they made it to the Cup final? The answers are zero and zero. With the Boston Bruins sweeping those Carolina Hurricanes “jerks” via a 4-0 pummelling Thursday night, the Habs’ archrivals are set to go the Cup final for the third time since 2011. To refresh the selective memories of delusional Habs fans, Boston won the Cup in 2011, then made it back to the final in 2013 and famously came within seconds of forcing Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks. So that adds up to one Cup and three finals in eight years, and most people I know think the Bruins are the most likely 2019 Cup winners. Yet here in Montreal, so many are still saying that everything is just fine and dandy with their hockey team. The strange argument goes something like this: We missed the playoffs for the third time in four years, but we have all these great prospects and the future’s bright. Well I’d suggest that predicting the future, plus $4.50, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Who knows what’s gonna happen in the next few seasons? All we know for sure is what happened in the past and by that measure, the situation with the Canadiens is dire. In my last column, I pointed out that our real rivals are the Bruins, but I’m beginning to wonder how long that will last. You can only be rivals in the NHL if you meet in the playoffs and you can’t meet anyone in the playoffs if you don’t reach the post-season. The fact is there is a real rivalry building between the Maple Leafs and the Bruins because they’ve met in a few recent hard-fought post-season series. continued