Kukla's Korner

Everbody Smile

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,

In covering this league, sometimes you get the feeling everyone involved is acting out a solemn duty, rather than enjoying the sport and each other. Score a goal, did you? Better remove that smile from your face, before somebody on the opposing team removes it for you. Angry with that ugly-looking knuckle-dragger on the other bench? Calm down, before you say something that’ll wind up in tomorrow’s newspapers – or, heaven forbid, another team’s bulletin board. That’s why it’s so difficult for the NHL to find traction among the mainstream media. Where other leagues have learned to cultivate and accentuate their star personalities, the NHL’s culture strongly encourages its stars to (a) shut up; and (b) get back in the corner while you’re shuttin’ up.
read on

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OneGoal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Major stakeholders in the hockey world have unified to create the new nonprofit organization, OneGoal, which is dedicated to increasing youth participation in the sport of hockey. The organization's membership includes the National Hockey League (NHL), National Hockey League Player's Association (NHLPA), USA Hockey, Hockey Canada and the International Hockey Industry Association (encompassing most of the industry's equipment suppliers), as well as hockey rinks and retailers. Major brands such as Nike-Bauer, Reebok/CCM, Easton-Bell and Mission-ITECH, which usually compete for business, are also part of the coalition and are working together to create a broad-scale "invitation" to new hockey families, easing the beginner process. In addition to the vast marketing and personnel resources that these organizations bring to this initiative, OneGoal has already raised nearly one million dollars for its first year's efforts to reach out to its audience and increase youth participation in hockey. visit OneGoal... image

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Expectations

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

Scant days after the season ended, Sports Illustrated's Web site predicted the Sabres would win the Stanley Cup. Last week, the Sporting News did the same. "We're going to have that talk in training camp about expectations," Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. "Expectations are going to be heightened. Managing that expectation is going to be a part of this season and it's going to be a part of building a legacy. "The fact we're being mentioned in that regard just reflects what we feel on the inside, that we should be prepared to contend."
more

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Always Remembered

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Every day, not just once a year when the world pauses in solemn silence, Mike Bavis grieves for the piece of himself that he lost when his identical twin brother died aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the World Trade Center. Today, it will be five years since what Mike calls "the accident" took the lives of Mark Bavis, fellow Kings scout Ace Bailey and hundreds of others aboard the four commandeered planes. Because anniversaries are convenient times to reminisce, the day will bring many memorial tributes. Politicians will speak, and tears will be shed.
continued (reg. req.)

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One Man’s Story

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Due to a security situation in the United States, our flight to St. John's is being diverted to Moncton." It wasn't your usual air travel glitch, but there seemed little cause for alarm that morning as I headed to the 2001 Maple Leafs training camp. Ignorant of what was transpiring just south of us, we were more dismayed with Air Canada than Al-Qaida, mildly cursing about ruined business schedules, missed connections and the bother to friends and relatives waiting in St. John's. My first concern was whether the "situation" would delay that evening's George St. pub crawl I'd planned with the National Post's Scott Burnside, who had flown east a day earlier.
continued

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Rookie Watch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

When the Penguins open the season on Oct. 5 at home against Philadelphia with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin anchoring the top two lines, they'll have a combined 81 games of NHL experience between them. Still, outside of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in San Jose, they may form the best one-two center ice combo in the league. While Malkin is the only rookie who safely can be labeled a sure thing to play in '06-07, there are several youngsters worth watching as training camps open this week. Here's a glimpse at some other prospects with no previous NHL experience that have a chance to start the season with the big club: Alexander Radulov, Nashville This gifted finisher was penciled in for a spot on Nashville's second line, but the recent signing of free agent J.P Dumont could put the kibosh on that. Still, he can be particularly effective on the power play and, given enough ice time, could turn in a season similar to the one Petr Prucha posted in '05-06.
many more...

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Hockey Brings Them Together

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach-Post,

New York healed a little more this weekend, taking along anyone who wanted to join in. A particular event was a simple one that even participants figured was "very minor" in scope. A bunch of guys got together through three days on three sheets of ice, laced up skates and played games. That they called this the first 9/11 Remembrance Hockey Tournament was the first clue that it wasn't very minor. Those men in helmets and gloves? Maybe they looked comfortable wearing them because that's what they work in, when they're pulling people out of blazing buildings.
continued

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More Room

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

Last year, the tiny segment of the NHL hierarchy that actually does something useful -- the hockey operations department -- instituted a dramatic series of rule changes that improved the game tremendously.... So, if you believe that after a full season, the players finally have realized that the crackdown is here to stay, then you also have to believe that there will be fewer power plays. And therefore, the scoring drought will once again be a problem. Anticipating this development, the league is evaluating further changes that will improve the offensive aspect of the game. That is why the experiment with the larger nets is under way. They are eight inches wider than the standard six feet, and are six inches higher.
more

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Insipring Sigalet Thrilled By Dave

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Boston Herald:

When Bruins goaltending hopeful Jordan Sigalet, then playing at Bowling Green University, went public in March 2003 about his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, he received a barrage of supportive letters and e-mails. Among those that meant the most to Sigalet: A letter in the stationary of the Detroit Red Wings, from a man he didn’t know. “With all the e-mails and everything I got, the one thing that sticks out most in my mind was that I got a letter in the mail from Dave Lewis wishing me all the best,” Sigalet said of the new Bruins’ head coach, who three years ago was coaching the Red Wings. “I had never met him,” said Sigalet. “But he had known someone with MS and just wanted to write to me. Now that he’s here, it’s kind of neat. It’s pretty great when people take the time to do something like that.”
When the Wings played the NTDP in Ann Arbor during the lockout, Sigalet was a perfect gentleman. As the NTDP'ers and U of M players headed out to enjoy the evening with the Kid Rock and the NHL crowd, Sigalet patiently signed perfectly-penned autographs for those who recognized him. much more...

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Vokoun Lands 4-Year Pact

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Nashville Tennessean:

It appears goalie Tomas Vokoun will be anchoring the Predators' defense for the next half decade. Vokoun has signed a new four-year contract, one that will kick in when his current deal expires following the 2006-07 season. Financial terms weren't immediately available, but the Predators have scheduled a news conference this afternoon, presumably to announce the deal. "I'm happy to be staying,'' Vokoun said on Sunday night.
continued

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