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.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

32 Hockey Thoughts Today

(10/19/2021)

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, - Jack Eichel’s agents aren’t commenting on this one, but I think I see their strategy if this continues without medical resolution or trade: Eichel’s been seeing doctor after doctor in search of support for the artificial disc replacement. The more support they get, the more they will argue it is an acceptable practice and that the new CBA agreement is not meant to prevent what could be seen as a reasonable medical choice. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t predict if that will work, but it’s definitely the basis for some kind of legal challenge/grievance should we get to that point. - Nikita Kucherov is going to see a specialist to determine the extent of his injury. So we may not get clarity on his situation for a few days. But head coach Jon Cooper said it isn’t as long-term as last year, while Mikhail Sergachev told The Athletic’s Joe Smith Kucherov is “going to get some rest, get ready for the Olympics.” - According to a couple of sources, Rangers’ coach Gerard Gallant personally called Vitali Kravtsov to ask the forward to consider returning. Kravtsov is in Russia, but several teams say they’ve been told he wants to play in the NHL, not stay overseas. He went home to find a comfortable spot to skate and be ready. Getting him to come back to New York will take some serious convincing, as it’s not his preference. He’d like a fresh start. New York is asking a high price for the 2018 first-rounder, but there’s legitimate interest. It’s a poker game. - Edmonton is 2-0. GM Ken Holland told Oilers Now propagandist Bob Stauffer “my history in Detroit was when the team was good and we have a chance, I’ll spend.” (Stauffer did specify not a rental, but someone with term or team control.) Probably not smart to make any judgments after two games, though. “If you’re in the top eight and you think you’ve a real chance,” Holland added, “the time is now, we’re trying to take another step.” - For a second time, Mark Howe is retired. The Hall-of-Famer ended his playing career in 1995 and, after last season, retired as a scout. “I remember asking dad when I was still playing, ‘How do you know when it’s time?’” Howe said Monday. “He answered, ‘You’ll know.’ He was right. It hit me then and it hit me again.” Howe said he wants to spend more time with his partner, Sharon, recognizing that is more important to him now than work. “I’ve been compensated very fairly. I strongly believe in Steve Yzerman and his plan. Steve is the hardest-working guy I’ve seen. He demands the same of others and he should. But I wasn’t just tired, I was burned out. It is time.” Howe went out of his way to praise the Red Wings and the Ilitch family. “They were great to me, and us. To share my father with the rest of the world when he passed made a difficult time very nice.”... more on Mark Howe plus other Thoughts...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Moritz Seider Still Learning

(10/19/2021)

from Ansar Khan of Mlive, Seider’s start Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider has three assists in his first two games and is averaging 21:38 in ice time, second on the team to Filip Hronek (24:16). “He’s earned some trust coming in here with his game at the different levels he’s played at,” Blashill said. “I just thought he did a real good job (Saturday). He’s a gamer. He’s a guy wo wants those types of minutes. He’s big, he can defend, and he can play offense. “He’s going to have his growing pains; he’s got learning to do. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep putting him out there, let him learn and keep going through the trials and tribulations that young players go through.” Electric atmosphere Blashill noted that the atmosphere at LCA the first two games has been as charged as it has been since the building opened four years ago. “I think the atmosphere has been great. Both games were highly emotional, which is a positive,” Blashill said. “We want to play with lots of compete, lots of emotion. The crowds have been awesome. It’s a loud building. It’s been a while since we had that (due to COVID restrictions last season). The first game in this building (in 2017), we didn’t have enough people in the seats. There were lots of people here, but they were either in the club level eating or checking out how beautiful the arena is. Now everybody is in the seats, and it just seems really, really loud.” more plus other topics Jeff Blashill discussed today...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Evander Kane Suspended 21 Games

(10/18/2021)

NEW YORK (Oct. 18, 2021) – The National Hockey League announced today that San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 regular-season games, without pay, for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the forfeited pay goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Kane will not be eligible to play prior to San Jose’s game on Nov. 30 (at NJD). The National Hockey League also announced today that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Deanna, could not be substantiated. There will be no further comment. TORONTO (Oct. 18, 2021) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association is releasing the following statement at the request of Evander Kane: “I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols.  I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for.  During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future.  When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”? SAN JOSE, CA (Oct. 18, 2021) – The San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) today issued the following statement: “The NHL has advised our organization that Evander Kane has been suspended without pay for 21 games for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocols. While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA. We will not be commenting further on Evander’s status prior to the conclusion of the NHL’s mandated suspension.”

TreKronor (Kukla's Korner)

The Silent Battle: Concussions and Mental Health

(10/18/2021)

Two weeks ago the hockey world was shocked when Carey Price, the goalie who carried the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup this past summer, announced he would be entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.  This came out of nowhere from one of the most consistent and quiet performers in the NHL.  It was a statement which came out of nowhere and surprised many people (including GM Marc Bergevin). I'm writing this post today because when I read the explanation from Carey's wife about the situation I could immediately relate.  People in the hockey world were shocked and incredulous that the Canadiens organization didn't know this was coming.  But I understood it.  I knew exactly where Carey was coming from.  I wrote a comment on that Kukla's Korner post where I explained my personal experiences - things I had only told a handful of people.  These were things I had previously felt embarrassed and ashamed to write, but it was so easy to identify with Carey that I had no hesitation writing a post about it. So what's my story?  In 2016 I experienced my first ever concussion.  I wish I had a great story about how it happened, but I don't.  According to my wife I passed out while I was standing in the bathroom at home and hit my head on the granite countertop.  She was asleep but woke up from the sound; she came into the bathroom and I do remember her screaming at me.  I thought I had done something wrong for her to be yelling at me, so what do I do?  I stuttered to get up, walked to bed, and then fell asleep. 

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Hockey Notes And Observations

(10/17/2021)

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, - It is not cute or humorous that the Maple Leafs had to sign a kid off the streets to back up Jack Campbell in goal on Saturday night. Because they couldn’t afford to call up the obvious choice, Michael Hutchinson, under the rules of the NHL’s salary cap. Instead, they signed 24-year-old Alex Bishop of Richmond Hill, who hadn’t played a game for the University of Toronto since 2020 and dressed him for Hockey Night In Canada. This kind of signing makes the Leafs and the league look bad. The league for having rules that allow Zamboni drivers and accountants to play goal against highly skilled professional athletes. The team for not handling its own money well enough to have cap room to deal with unsuspecting injuries.... - Maybe the kid is growing up. After their final pre-season game, fans were waiting outside the parking area for Patrik Laine’s autograph. Laine stopped, got out of his car, and spent about the next 15 minutes signing autograph after autograph. - Funny though to hear hockey commentators promoting prop bets between periods while all the advertising seems to be for online gambling in an NHL that still doesn’t mandate announcing starting goaltenders. - I can kick the puck to you, and you score a goal, that’s a good pass. Maybe even an official assist. But if I kick the puck in the net, it’s ruled no goal. In hockey, you can score by deflecting the puck off every part of your body. Why not skates too? The NHL has liberalized the kicking the puck rule somewhat, what it really needs to do is eliminate it completely. - Sheldon Keefe had his first training camp with the Maple Leafs, even as he was missing his first-line centre and best player, Auston Matthews. He had no shortage of practice time. He had no shortage of time for him, for general manager Kyle Dubas, for club president Brendan Shanahan, to deliver a message of expectations and purpose for this Leafs season. And then the Leafs began in Game 1 against Montreal. Against the team they were embarrassed by in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And the Habs were playing shorthanded themselves, without Carey Price, without Shea Weber out for the long term, without Philip Danault, and they came out more than flat.... more on the fist and last topics plus other hockey notes...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Teaching Hockey In Seattle

(10/16/2021)

from Trevor Lenzmeier and Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times, On the ice, hockey players and fans are quite superstitious. Player rituals take many forms; some NHLers get dressed in the exact same order before every game (i.e., left skate then right skate, left glove then right glove), while other skaters refuse to leave the rink after warm-ups until every other skater has left the ice. That’s not to mention the charms and curses that are commonplace come playoff time — in Detroit, fans throw a dead octopus onto the ice, while in Nashville, they chuck catfish. Bushy, unkempt playoff beards bring postseason success, while touching the Clarence Campbell or Prince of Wales trophies after winning a conference championship spells doom. As early as peewee hockey, preteen players are warned not to touch the Cup, lest they be cursed not to lift it themselves. Did we mention that hand-to-hand combat is a semiregular part of the sport?... Do’s and Don’ts You snagged the hottest ticket in town and are headed to Climate Pledge Arena to see our Seattle Kraken face off with an NHL rival. Here’s what to expect at the rink. Don’t wear shorts unless you like the cold. Layers are your friend. Do wear a jersey (known as a “sweater”). Hats are acceptable, as are actual sweaters. Don’t be surprised if our Kraken players and their opponents push each other in front of the net, regularly, after the whistle calls play dead. But it’s a fine line between shoving and trash talk and taking a minor penalty. Don’t expect to get your hat back. Do take bathroom breaks and/or get snacks during intermission. It’ll be a little while. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Slow Start For The Montreal Canadiens

(10/16/2021)

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette, Phillip Danault scored in his first game as a Los Angeles King. Of course he did. That’s just the way things are going for your Canadiens. Everything is going wrong for this team. It’s only been two games, but Les Boys of October, who often overachieve during the early days of the season, are looking downright dismal thus far and are faring worse than even the most pessimistic observers expected. The Canadiens have lost their first two games, going down 2-1 in the season opener Wednesday to noted playoff losers the Toronto Maple Leafs and then getting embarrassed by the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, with one of the most sad-sack teams in hockey destroying them 5-1. Ouch! But it’s not just the two losses. It’s the way they’ve been playing. Other than the first six or seven minutes of the game in Toronto, Dominique Ducharme’s squad has looked oddly disinterested in these two games. It’s as if they just don’t care. Any way you slice it, there isn’t a more depressing scenario to set the scene for what was supposed to be the team’s triumphant return to the Bell Centre for their home opener against the New York Rangers Saturday (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). This was supposed to an exciting moment. Premier François Legault, hockey fan that he is, recently gave the green light for the Bell Centre to operate at full capacity and team owner Geoff Molson was dreaming of a heartwarming night with around 21,000 fans wildly cheering on the lads who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final a few months back. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Do You Pay Adam Fox $10M Per Year?

(10/16/2021)

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, We've seen some pretty big contracts signed by NHL defensemen lately, from Quinn Hughes to Ryan Pulock and just today, Charlie McAvoy in Boston. The Bruins mainstay inked an extension that will see him earn $9.5 million per season for eight years, beginning with the 2022-23 campaign. McAvoy is worth every penny of that contract, but his new pact brings up an intriguing thought: Is Adam Fox going to get $10 million per season on his next contract? Fox of course is the reigning Norris Trophy winner - you literally can't do better than he did as a defenseman last season - and the New York Rangers star is basically the same age as McAvoy, having been born just a couple months apart from each other. At 23, Fox is in his prime NHL years and based on his skill set, he's going to be in that window for quite awhile, especially when you consider that his game is predicated on smarts and vision rather than physical attributes that degrade over time. Now, Fox may not have as much experience as McAvoy in the NHL, but it's pretty fun to stack the two side by side even if they don't play the exact same game. McAvoy is a lot more physical, while Fox has been a better offensive producer and surprisingly, averaged more minutes than his Bruins peer last season (which was a bit of shock to me, as McAvoy had to do a lot for the B's last season, where blueline depth wasn't as strong as it was in New York). Both are analytics darlings, too. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Motivated Tomas Tatar

(10/15/2021)

from Jackie Spiegel of the Sporting News, On Friday night at the Prudential Center, Tomas Tatar will play in his first regular-season game for his new club, the Devils. The last time he played in a meaningful game was 141 days ago, which means it's been almost four months since he laced up the skates and hit the ice in the Canadiens' fifth game of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Maple Leafs. But didn't Montreal play into July? Yes, but Tatar spent it watching from the stands. "Out of nowhere, to be honest, the coaches made this decision which I respected," he said during media day with his new club. Tatar played the first five games against Toronto and then sat the rest of the way. "We had a hell of a run in the playoffs. Obviously, you're upset, you wanted to play and I think I could help the team, especially in the final, but I had to respect the decision." The decision was, well, a head-scratcher. Then-interim coach Dominique Ducharme made a guy who had led the team in scoring over the course of the three seasons he was there (149 points in 198 games) a healthy scratch. How good was Tatar for Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge? He had 21 points more than the second guy, defenseman Jeff Petry, and of his 149 points — which he collected at a tear of 0.75 per game —119 were at even strength. "He's been a proven top-three or four scorer on the teams he's been on. He's great at getting open. He's great at finding the people that are open. He knows where to be," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Videos- Talk After An OT Loss To The Tampa Bay Lightning

(10/15/2021)

Below find Mickey Redmond post game, the game highlights and Tyler Berttuzzi/Jeff Blashill after the game. from Ethan Sears of DetroitRedWings.com, "We played well enough to win the hockey game," Blashill said. "We take a penalty (at) 5-on-6 and we gave up a 5-on-6 goal. So we gotta do better than that for sure." In other recent seasons, the highlight of the night for Detroit against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions might have been the pregame ceremony, in which Larkin was honored as captain at center ice, standing with a row of past Red Wings captains. Even with the loss, you couldn't say that about this game. Larkin scored in the first, putting in a loose puck after Robby Fabbri created a breakaway against the run of play, and Bertuzzi scored his first goal 18 seconds into the second period - splitting two defenders and finishing past Vasilevskiy. Bertuzzi's second came just after a power play expired at 7:52, cleaning up a loose puck after Adam Erne's shot was saved by Vasilevskiy. That set the stage for a hectic final 10 minutes of the second period, featuring three goals and seven penalties, sending the game into the third with Detroit hanging onto a 4-3 lead. In the end, neither that nor the ensuing 6-3 lead would be enough. "I thought we were in a good spot," Blashill said. "I was real confident that we were gonna find a way to win that hockey game. So it's a gut punch when you don't." more