Kukla's Korner

Fascinating Athletes Who Play This Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jason Reitman, the man who directed the NHL ads for this season, spoke recently with In the Zone...

"My wife Michele is the biggest hockey fan I know. She introduced me to the NHL when we first met and let me know that I'd be an unfit husband unless I started watching and playing hockey. I now subscribe to the season package on satellite and play left wing ... albeit very poorly. I couldn't be more excited to lend whatever I can to the upcoming season in terms of storytelling. I think there is an enormous opportunity to expose fans and non-fans alike to the fascinating athletes who play this sport. My dream would be to introduce this great game to others as it was introduced to me."

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Interesting Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via PhillyBurbs,

-Captain Peter Forsberg caused a bit of a stir by opting out of the initial three shooters in the shootout. He didn't go until sixth. “I didn't have any sticks left,'' Forsberg explained. “They were broken, all bad. I said there were several guys better than me. “I used a broken one,'' he added. “I was lacking confidence going in, too. I've been struggling to score goals.''
-Alexander Ovechkin had 15 shots on goal last night with two goals. The other Alexander (Semin) had his first hat trick. On a side note, I drafted Semin in both fantasy leagues I am involved in, too bad I had him on the bench for one of them. from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
-The bad news is Rick DiPietro got pulled in his first start of the season, allowing six goals against in two periods for the Islanders. The good news is, he's got 14 years and 80 games to get it right
much more from Steve... from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
-Have you seen Scott Niedermayer lately? His hair is three different shades of grey, but his face appears remarkably smooth on television. He is playing in Southern California now - perhaps receiving Botox injections is the new version of "taking the needle" in Cali.
Erin also discusses the Battle of Ontario and Simon Gagne's hair...

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Old School- We’ll Buy Our Own Ring

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Gross of the Toronto Sun,

The proudest possession of a National Hockey League player is a Stanley Cup ring, usually awarded to a player who was part of a team's Stanley Cup triumph. What is not known is that, for all his efforts as a defenceman for the Red Wings and centre for the Leafs, Red Kelly has only two Stanley Cup rings. "I was on four Stanley Cup-winning teams with Detroit and four with the Maple Leafs," Kelly said. "In Detroit (under the late manager Jolly Jack Adams) they didn't hand the players Stanley Cup rings. So, George Gee and another 5-6 players decided to buy the rings themselves...."
read on

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Make Or Break Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

The grace period is over. The NHL can make all the happy talk it wants, but no one legitimately can argue that the first year of the league's agreement with Versus, nee OLN, wasn't a disaster last season. The best games on OLN were the "bonus" games when the network would carry the CBC feed. The Canadian camera work and announcers were so superior it only made it even more clear how bad OLN really was. Many around the league were willing to limit their grumbling because of the short run-up time OLN had to get ready after the lockout, but there are no excuses this time around. The network has had an entire summer to revamp both its game and studio product (with a new corps of announcers, we can hope progress was made) and, in theory, should have learned from its mistakes.
more

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Family Matters

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robet Tychkowski at the Edmonton Sun,

In the wake of defenceman Chris Pronger's sudden exit from Edmonton this summer, are GMs concerned hockey wives will start hen-pecking their husbands into trade demands? Do managers have to be more careful who they sign to long-term deals? Do they have to clear it with The Mrs. before offering Joe Allstar that four-year, $20-million contract? In a word: No. In three words: Are you kidding?
continued

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The Next CBA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks at the NY Post,

The league, already hearing complaints from small-market GMs about the ability of larger-revenue franchises to absorb mistakes by sending high-priced players to the minors and thus eliminating them from their season cap charge - e.g., New Jersey's Dan McGillis ($2.2M); potentially the Rangers' Sandis Ozolinsh ($2.75M) - is sure to insist that the waiver-relief route be closed off entirely. So much, therefore, for the Islanders' safety-net on the Rick DiPietro lifetime contract thing for the final 10 years of the 15-year deal.
more...including arbitration talk...

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Rangers Win In 13th Shootout Round

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via MSG Network,

Marcel Hossa beat Antero Niittymaki in the 13th round of a shootout to give the New York Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. After 12 Rangers failed to come close to scoring, Hossa finally finished off one of the longest shootouts in NHL history. The Rangers, of course, know a little something about winning long shootouts. They went 15 rounds to beat Washington last season.
more....Sort of brings back memories of the Malik (video) goal from last year...

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Smart Move

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Toronto Star's Saturday roundup:

[Guillaume] Latendresse cracked the Canadiens' lineup and signed the maximum allowable contract for first-round draft picks, a three-year deal at $850,000 per season. Latendresse, though, is a second-round pick. Montreal was able to legitimize the deal by excluding all bonus clauses, which if achieved, could have doubled the money.
continued

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Big Boys’ Toys, Casinos, And Equity

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

By George Malik: If you've ever wondered why billionaire businessmen purchase sports teams despite the fact that the vast majority of sports teams sustain operating losses, the CBC provides a few answers:

[E]ven though many teams themselves may lose money on an annual basis — and the financial state of sports teams is something that owners and player unions seldom agree on — most clubs do tend to grow in value over time. For instance, Forbes magazine now values the New York Yankees at just over $1-billion US, with George Steinbrenner and his family owning 80 per cent of the franchise. Not a bad return on investment when you consider he bought the team for $10-million US in 1973. Annual operating losses just don't seem as important in those circumstances. Sometimes, the owners have other business interests that invite tie-ins. The Mavericks' Cuban also founded HDNet, which calls itself the first television network to broadcast exclusively in high definition. It will come as no surprise that it also carries Mavericks games. And some owners have built sports conglomerates that begin with the team but grow to include the stadium (often subsidized or with some kind of a tax deal), extensive retail operations and broadcast stations that together, build value.

Continue Reading »

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Tucker, Peca Bury The Hip-Check

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Globe and Mail:

When the Toronto Maple Leafs gathered in the dressing room at the Air Canada Centre for their preseason opener a few weeks ago, Darcy Tucker motioned to his new teammate, Michael Peca, to occupy the locker stall to his left. "Right here," said Tucker, slapping his hand on the seat next to him. The other players in the dressing room gave the kind gesture a double-take, considering what happened on April 26, 2002, when Tucker delivered a low-bridge hit on the then New York Islanders forward, resulting in reconstructive surgery for Peca. Tucker's overture was part of the healing process that the two have undertaken since they became teammates last summer.
continued

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