Kukla's Korner

Keenan Fired (Resigns)

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The Florida Panthers did not wait to see how the 2006-07 NHL season would unfold to determine its general manager's fate. Even after an offseason of major player transactions and renewed playoff hopes, the team fired Mike Keenan on Sunday after just one full NHL campaign. It is not clear what led to the move, made just days before the start of training camp. Keenan and head coach Jacques Martin were rumoured to have been at odds over varying aspects of how the team was assembled, including the handing of star goaltender Roberto Luongo.
continued added 2:53pm, TSN now stating Keenan resigned (title changed to reflect that information). added 2:57pm, via the CP,
Mike Keenan has stepped down as general manager of the Florida Panthers. The NHL team says that coach Jacques Martin will succeed him immediately and perform both roles. Keenan spent two years as the team's general manager after coaching Florida for parts of three seasons. The Panthers said in a release that Keenan has decided to pursue other career opportunities.
Florida Panthers official release.

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Married At Center Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Tomorrow, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Kandaharian will exchange their vows at centre ice surrounded by bridesmaids in blue dresses and groomsmen holding raised hockey sticks in a hoser-esque canopy. "The Air Canada Centre is our House of God," says Ms. Johnson. "It's the home of the Stanley Cup, as important as a church."

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Another Sergei Story

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Worcester Telegram,

Sergei Zinovjev, the flashy 26-year-old forward who had a brief but disappointing 10-game stint with Boston in 2003-04, is playing in his Russian homeland with Ak Bars Kazan, his team for most of the last four seasons. The B’s, who hold Zinovjev’s NHL rights, don’t have him under contract. They drafted him in 2000, and he was considered one of the hottest prospects playing outside the NHL when they signed him to a two-year deal shortly after that. But they simply can’t give him a large enough guaranteed contract now to pry him loose from Russia, where he’s reportedly earning between $500,000 and $1 million this season in American money.
much more...including fight talk, cap problems (Nashville will never win the Cup) and more media interest in Boston than Ottawa...

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Fernandez Ready In Minnesota

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pioneer Press,

Yes, the Wild's defensive system helps a goaltender. But the team's lack of offense has been a terrible burden, too. Each save becomes a matter of life and death. "It's really draining," Fernandez said. "The team had to be fully accountable every night. I think this is going to be something new for us." He was referring to the recent acquisitions of high-powered scorers such as Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish. Maybe, just maybe, they will provide a small margin of safety. A couple of goals against might not spell certain doom. "I think they made it clear at the end of last season that the expectations were pretty high," Fernandez said. "They needed to make a couple of changes, and they went ahead and did what they set out to do. I'm pretty happy."
more

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Rangers Interested In Dvorak

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The Rangers are in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations to bring an old friend back to Broadway, but his name isn't Brian Leetch. Having lost four of their team's top six penalty-killing forwards to trade, free agency or illness, Tom Renney and Glen Sather are seeking to sign free agent Radek Dvorak for a second tour of duty, The Post has learned.
continued (reg. req.)

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Roberts Healthy - Ready To Contribute

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Sun-Sentinel,

"If I'm healthy, then it's pretty easy to come to the rink every day and live this lifestyle," Roberts said Thursday. "I don't think I'll be retiring anytime soon as long as I can stay healthy ... at this point, I'm feeling like I've got a few good years left in me." According to some published reports this summer, Roberts, in the second year of his two-year, $4.5 million contract, was prepared to retire if the Panthers didn't trade him back to Toronto so he could be close to his teenage daughter. But Roberts said he was always focused on returning.
more

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The Honored Zamboni

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Schultz at NHL.com,

The Zamboni has been honored with its own song I Wanna Drive the Zamboni, performed by the Gear Daddies on the CD titled, Billy's Live Bait. It's the heartbreaking tale of an envious youngster whose hopes of driving the famed vehicle are dashed. And that's crushing since driving the Zamboni, the NHL's official ice resurfacer, is probably the most prestigious position a person can have in hockey -- outside of being a player, of course.
read on...and anyone know who is riding the Zamboni in the picture from the article? Want more Zamboni talk, take a look here, and there, both from the KK archives. image picture via icepilots.com

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KK- Stats Summary For August

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ths KK statistics for August, as expected, showed a downward trend. I think you will agree with me when I state, "August is probably the slowest hockey month of the year." I expect visits will soon recover and flourish as the season approaches. You can compare stats from previous months by starting here. image

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Nashville Fans Dig Deeper Into Pockets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tennessean,

Predators fans will have to dig deeper into their wallets for individual-game tickets this coming season, especially if they want to attend some of the schedule's most attractive matchups. The Predators are raising individual-game prices from 2005-06 in eight categories, ranging from as little as 3.3 percent to as much as 50 percent. In addition, the Predators will introduce variable pricing for seven "premium'' games this season. That means fans buying individual-game tickets to those games will be paying even higher prices — from as little as $4 more per ticket to as much as $15.50 over the regular increase.
continued

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It’s Is More Than The Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the National Post,

...But now the leagues are locked in a pitched battle over players. Russia no longer wants to be just a stepping stone. And if it is, it would like to be better compensated by the NHL for the time and effort. On the other side, the NHL's salary cap now limits the amount teams are able to spend, and some Russians are returning home to cash in. In the same month that highly touted prospect Evgeni Malkin disregarded his Russian league contract to leave for the NHL, middling winger Evgeni Artyukhin left North America when contract negotiations with his NHL team stalled. The discord between North America and Russia may be rooted in money, but the conflict between runs deeper than dollar figures.
much more... added 8:34am, also from the Natiional Post,
Ihnacak, who played 417 games with Toronto between 1982 and 1990, has not told his tale in a long time. People don't ask him about it much anymore, and the young players he scouts in rinks from Bavaria to the Black Sea wouldn't really understand, even if he did try and tell them what it was like. "They don't even know what communism is," he says. "They don't know how it operated." Secret police, phone taps, travel bans, burly men in ill-fitting suits banging on your door in the middle of the night -- such were the tools of repression favoured by the state in the Czechoslovakia the former Leaf grew up in.
more

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