Kukla's Korner

Loved To Be Hated

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

"I deserved most of what I got because I was an instigator," Lemieux said, "but I loved every minute." Lemieux, 40, was a right wing for five teams in 19 NHL seasons. He's now president of the Phoenix Roadrunners of the East Coast Hockey League. "Looking back, those were still good days," he said, "and every now and then I still miss the action." Call Lemieux crazy. He usually was called much worse over a career in which he became known as the NHL's most annoying player. "I'd have guys say, 'You're good enough, why are you always yapping?' But my game was being irritable," Lemieux said. "The booing, the hating, the nastiness, you get used to it."
more

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The Consequences

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The echoes of Brad Richards' five-year, $39 mil lion max-out deal with the Lightning will not only reverberate throughout the NHL this summer - Lou Lamoriello already is suffering migraines - but will also resound in NHLPA conference rooms as the union continues to ponder reducing the team cap from $8 million to $5 million above the payroll mid-range in order to limit escrow exposure. Proponents of changing the formula to tighten the salary cap are now certain to project dramatic inflation in both the unrestricted market and salary arbitration that will push overall league payroll well beyond the players' allotted percentage of the gross as a result of the bizarre contract restricted free agent Richards received from Tampa Bay. Any overage, of course, comes back to the league via escrow withholdings.
continued (reg. req.)

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On A Run

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The Oilers' run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final has been nothing short of a great story to the City of Edmonton and its fans. For the second time in as many seasons, a Canadian team - from Alberta - will play for the Cup. The fact that this is the Oilers (a team that for so long was synonymous with championship campaigns) makes everything that was old, well, new again. But Saturday's game did not come without its suspense.
continued

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Koivu Unsure OF Future

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Saku Koivu's future with the Montreal Canadiens remains up in the air, according to the Montreal Gazette. After suffering a serious injury to his left eye when caught by a high stick from Carolina's Justin Williams in Game Three of their first round playoff series, Koivu has endured a month of inactivity and uncertainty. "What kind of a month has it been? It's been a long, long month," Koivu told the Gazette's Red Fisher. "It's been an uncomfortable month."
continued

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Confident Ducks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Breeze,

"What does it take to come back from 3-0?" Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said, repeating a reporter's question. "I don't know. I've never done it before. But we definitely can get a win (tonight). If we play as well as can, then we're capable of winning. Our focus is about taking it one game at a time." "They're human," Giguere said. "They'll get tired. They'll make mistakes. We know (Edmonton goalie Dwayne) Roloson is human now."
more

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Fighting For Financial Gain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Western Front (West Washington University),

The NHL is not creating enough money, and players and owners are fighting for financial gain rather than playing for the love of the game. As a result, the league is further alienating hockey fans with its financial quarrels. Americans have no logical reason to shun hockey. It has the violence of football, the scoring of soccer, the anticipation of baseball and the aggressive pace of racing wrapped into a tightly knit package. Yet, the American sporting community fails to appreciate this and fails to watch it on television. America chooses to discredit hockey and stigmatize it as being a Canadian sport because hockey is long and boring.
read on

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UFA Day Still July 1st

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

The NHL feels confident it can determine what the ceiling of the hard cap will be next season without delaying the start of this summer's free-agent period. Sources tell Sportsnet the league intends to observe the traditional date of July 1 to mark the commencement of unrestricted free-agent negotiations. The NHL and the NHLPA were skeptical of being able to wade through the sea of revenue assessment in time to avoid pushing back the process. While the hard cap figure for 2006-2007 is based on revenue streams that are still being generated, the sense is next year's cap will come in at aproximately $43.5 million, which translates into a $4 million dollar bump per team.

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Joseph Remains In Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Coyotes have re-signed veteran goalie Curtis Joseph to a one-year contract worth $2 million, according to the Arizona Republic. The report says the deal also contains numerous performance-based bonuses.

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Briere Gets A Wake Up Call

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

When the Phoenix Coyotes put him on waivers in 2000 in an attempt to get him to Springfield of the AHL, and every other NHL team passed on him, Daniel Briere heard the phone ringing. In his head. "That was kind of a wakeup call," Briere, 28, said in a dressing-room conversation earlier this week after a Buffalo Sabres practice during the Eastern Conference finals. ...Yet, in his early years as a pro, he tore up the AHL, but struggled with the transition to the NHL. He was in danger of being mostly renowned for trying out training with Hugo Girard, the subject of the documentary "Strongman" and a mainstay in the World's Strongest Man competition. Both Girard and Briere are from Gatineau, Quebec.
read on

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Meet The Caniacs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

One would think there would be a decent number of hockey fans here since there's a professional franchise, but you can't make that assumption with hockey. While most leagues expanded into areas where interest already existed, the NHL seemed to think it could land in a city and make people fall in love with the game. Or maybe they expected carpetbaggers living in the Sun Belt to convince their new neighbors of the virtues of hockey. Really, do you believe the folks at the Opry were just itching to get pucks flying in Nashville?
more

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