Kukla's Korner

Oilers Morning Skate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

Burnside: So, here we are in Edmonton at the morning skate before Game 3. It's a bit strange but head coach Carig MacTavish isn't on the ice. Usually he's a very integral part of the morning skate, chatting with players and helping to run the drills. Maybe he's looking to change up the team's karma by staying in his office this morning. Burnside: Long-time Oiler defenseman and assistant coach Charlie Huddy is running the show this morning.
added 1:31pm, The same link has been updated to include information about the Canes morning skate too. more image

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Putin Wanted IIHF Deal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Adams of Sportsnet,

Political pressure from Russia's hockey-mad president is behind the transfer deal between the NHL and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Putin is a huge hockey fan and he wants nothing more than to see Russia win the 2007 World Hockey Championship tournament in Moscow. And the best way to make sure the Russians can assemble a contending team is to have peace with the National Hockey League. And that's the backdrop to why Russia has tentatively agreed to join the NHL-IIHF transfer agreement. Putin told new Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak that he expects Russia to atop the medal podium at the world tournament next spring. Anything short of wining on home soil will be unacceptable.
read on image

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Taking A Look At Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Just as those who've come close to losing everything hug their partners and children a little tighter, so too have the fans embraced this team. And it seems fitting that it was a fan who sparked the Oilers' survival. Technically, Cam Nichols is the chairman of the board. In more practical terms, he is the man who saved the Edmonton Oilers and with it, who knows, maybe a city. Certainly, a city's identity. Because, really, what is Edmonton without the Oilers? Edmonton is a kind of a special situation because it's a very small market," said sports investment banker Sal Galatioto. "It's also a market where 99 percent of the population is hockey fans, so it magnifies the market. No one would really think of Edmonton if it weren't for hockey. What they did is something you probably couldn't do in a lot of other places.
more

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Good For Rem

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

Two and a half years ago, Murray learned that he had cervical dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes neck muscles to contract, altering the posture of the head and neck. In Murray's case, his neck eventually pushed his head so far to the left that it was against his shoulder. As a result, he filed his retirement papers in March 2005. But a year later, on March 5, Murray re-signed with the Oilers, the team he played with from 1996 to 2002. After working his way into the lineup during the last month of the regular season, the 33-year-old Murray has played in every game during Edmonton's playoff run, centering the Oilers' fourth line. "It's been an incredible ride for me," Murray said Friday, a day before Edmonton was to play host to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the finals. Carolina leads the best-of-seven series, 2-0. "It's hard to explain or put into words."
read on

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Targeting Weight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

"Every time that he's come back here, it's been a tough situation for him," Smyth said of frosty receptions for Weight since he was traded to St. Louis in July 2001. "I know the fans get on him, hopefully they can continue that. "Nothing personal against Doug, I have a great deal of respect for Doug and the way he plays the game -- great playmaker, sees the ice well and obviously he's got the upper hand right now. "But this is our rink now and it's our turn." If the playoff form chart holds, Smyth may well be right. Edmonton has won every Game 3 in the three previous rounds, including that dramatic triple-overtime victory over San Jose in the much-discussed series against the Sharks, to whom the Oilers also spotted a pair of victories. "If we win (tonight), the complexion of the series changes in a hurry," said winger Ethan Moreau. "That's all we needed in the other series.
more

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Hockey Is Hockey Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

This just in: The new NHL rocks. The action has been fast and physical. Goals have been tough but not impossible to come by. The referees' whistles have been blowing, even in the third period. Hockey has become hockey again. In the event you weren't enamored with the sport before, you owe it to yourself to give it a second chance. You don't even need to appreciate the histories of the individuals involved to be thoroughly entertained by what's been taking place.
more

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Canes Handle Whatever Edmonton Does

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Craig MacTavish is running out of answers. Analogies, he has plenty. With his team down two games going into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals tonight, the Edmonton Oilers coach delved new depths of metaphor to explain why the Oilers not only haven't beaten the Carolina Hurricanes in this series but were shut out 5-0 in Game 2. "Carolina's a little like carbon-monoxide poisoning," MacTavish said. "You don't really sense it, don't sense the fear, but it's lethal. We have a good, healthy respect for them and we have to do some things tactically different. "We threw a lot at them physically and just tried to take the game over, put a lot of pressure on them, take the body and tried to steamroll them and just impose our will and they survived it. They thrived on it."
continued

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Catching Up With The Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Making it easy this morning- No contract offer for Legace. Will pursue a contract for Shanahan. Yzerman decision due sometime before training camp. Osgood probably offered a contract. Lidstrom still priority #1. Read it all in Drew Sharp's Paper...

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For The Sake Of The NHL- Send Luongo To Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press (Saturday edition) via the Mercury News,

The Original Six and a second-generation franchise such as the Philadelphia Flyers have to be the league's strongest teams because they have the name recognition and historical cache necessary for attracting even modest television audiences for later playoff rounds. If that means pulling some behind-the-scenes strings, then so be it. Superstar-in-waiting goaltender Roberto Luongo wants out of Florida. He's likely to sign a one-year qualifying offer that would make him an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2007. Luongo is a genuine asset that the NHL can't afford to waste somewhere in the netherworld. The Panthers will likely trade Luongo long before next summer, ensuring they get something in return. And the league should steer him to Detroit.
read on added Saturday 6:51am, link to Detroit Free Press column now available...

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Moving Down South

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bill Clement at MSNBC,

I feel that if the Hurricanes prevail over the Oilers in the Stanley Cup finals, interest in the NHL is going to take a step forward in the southern United States. I think it's hard to hold one franchise responsible for growing an interest level in a sport for an entire section of the United States, but the Hurricanes -- with the Stanley Cup in tow --moving along Tobacco Road, and then on to points south will certainly get the attention of southerners. And while hockey is still kind of a regional sport, it's a mandate of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that the league grow the sport nationally.
more

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