Kukla's Korner

The Four Who Left Their Mark

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

Four future Hall of Famers retired this month. I've had the honor to interview them all throughout the years. Since we have four to talk about, this column will go to overtime this week. We will bring this column back in three years, when this "Big Four" enter the Hockey Hall of Fame together.

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Wings Interested In Samuelsson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Swedish newspaper Afton Bladet claims the Red Wing are interested in signing Mikael Samuelsson. Partial translation: Samuelsson won't tell which NHL - law as he negotiate with. But under several duties to Sportbladet is Samuelsson close one contract with Detroit Rode Wings. Detroit guidance was asking me for any days sedan about what self feel if Samuelsson and self hara only colour slide that say if Micke , says Second Lily , fresh in Detroit. Detroit Europe scout Håkan Andersson am confirming also Detroit interest. Wes ska had multi performer , the vet self. Sedan have I commend Samuelsson for remember boss and to difference from a part second free agent is he hyfsat young , says Andersson. update 9:17am, Thanks to reader Daniel for a better translation of the article: Sorry Södertälje Samuelsson to the NHL According to information to Sportbladet, Mikael Samuelsson's next address is Detroit Red Wings. "That's correct, something's brewing," he says. Mikael Samulesson's be or not to be in the Elite League has been one long story this year. Now it's about to end. Samuelsson was scheduled to play for Rapperswil in Switzerland this weekend, but now things have started to move for the former Södertälje-player. Samuelsson's stock is rising. Yesterday he decided to break a a new short-time contract with Rapperswil. "Yes, that's correct. Something's brewing. There's no use going down to Switzerland now," says Mikael Samuelsson. Contract with Detroit Samuelsson didn't want to tell us which NHL-team he's negotiating with, but according to information to Sportbladet, he's near a contract with Detroit. "Detroit management asked me the other day what I thought of Samuelsson, and I've only got positive things to say about Micke," says Andreas Lilja, new in Detroit. Detroit's European scout, Håkan Andersson, confirms Detroit's interest. "We need several players, I know that. I've also praised Samuelsson to my bosses och compared to other Free Agents he's still pretty young, " says Andersson. Seven Swedes on the Roster If Samuelsson signs with Detroit, the Red Wings will have seven Swedes this winter: Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Niklas Lidström, Tomas Holmström, Henrik Zetterberg, Andreas Lilja and Samuelsson

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Bouwmeester Gets Offensive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach Post,

Jacques Martin played Chris Phillips, a defenseman who was the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft, extensively at wing early in his career. So when coach Martin had Jay Bouwmeester at forward during parts of the Panthers' scrimmage Thursday, a few eyebrows were raised. Nothing to it, Martin insisted. Just double-shifting a couple of defenseman enough to play four lines. Still, Panthers fans could get used to the idea of seeing Bouwmeester buzzing the net, figuring he has enough speed to recover defensively. Martin admitted he'd like to see it. "You look at teams right now, they check so well, you can create an opportunity when you have a guy like that who can jump up into the attack," said Martin, after the second day of workouts at Incredible Ice.

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Andreychuk Still Driven

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Petersburg Times,

The chase was supposed to be all-consuming. It had crossed borders and decades, it had put up with several almosts and a few not quites. When it finally ended, when Dave Andreychuk was no longer the longest-tenured NHL player without a Stanley Cup, the world discovered something new about his 22-year journey. He hadn't been chasing a dream, after all. Turns out, he'd been living it. The airplanes and buses. The teammates and rivals. The sore joints and aching muscles. The coaches who screamed and the ones who chuckled. And the moments on the ice. Most definitely, the time on the ice.

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Brodeur Upset With NHL Rules

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

Among the National Hockey League's many new rules is one category officially titled, "Restrictions on Goalie Handling the Puck." Unofficially, that section is better known as the Brodeur Rule, a testament to Martin Brodeur, the Devils' goaltender, and his ability to play the puck outside of the crease. Not surprising, Brodeur, 33, does not like the new rule. "You can't be happy, taking away something I've worked on all my life to do and help my teammates and help my defense," said Brodeur, who has guided the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships since 1995. "It's just part of me, playing the puck. So, definitely, you can't be happy. "It's just the fact that the N.H.L. wants to show the talent to their fans and stuff. And I think this is not doing it. I think it goes the other way around. It goes taking away a talent from guys. There's a lot of guys that can't play the puck, and that doesn't affect them."

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Voting On Saskin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

With a few minutes between skating drills, Anaheim Mighty Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere plopped down at his locker yesterday afternoon, turned to teammates Ruslan Salei and Keith Carney and pondered the future of Ted Saskin, the besieged NHL players' union executive director. "We've got to vote about Ted," said Giguere, the team's union representative. The union this week sent secret ballots to Giguere and other team reps, asking them to vote on whether to hire Saskin. Yet the reaction from Salei, an eight-year veteran, and Carney, a 13-year veteran, was hardly enthusiastic. Both said they wanted more information about Saskin's controversial hiring by union president Trevor Linden. "Everybody feels a little bit in the dark right now," Giguere said yesterday in an interview. "We're just trying to get the right guy as executive director for the right money." It seems that Giguere's conversation with the Mighty Ducks defencemen is typical of many exchanges in dressing rooms around the NHL. Sources say player reps for as many as 13 teams have agreed to indefinitely delay voting on whether to approve the hiring of Saskin. Among the concerns about Saskin's anointment has been that the union's 37-member executive board wasn't consulted when Linden awarded him a $2.13 million (U.S.) annual salary.

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Learning To Play Defense Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Long Beach Press-Telegram,

The initial days of training camp can be rough on all pro athletes trying to work their way back into game shape, but NHL defensemen have faced a more daunting task this week. New rules designed to increase offense mean referees will be cracking down on obstruction penalties this season. To quicker, good-skating defensemen, the change is viewed as a positive. To those who have made careers out of mucking up the neutral zone with physical play, it's something of a nightmare. "Pretty much everything I've ever been taught in my entire career goes out the window," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "I'd always been taught to grab guys and pin them against the boards, but now that's the last thing you want to do, so there's definitely going to be an adjustment." The Kings have taken to whistling plays dead during their practices when a penalty occurs in an attempt to give players a practical display of what they will no longer be able to get away with during games. "I took 10 minors in practice (Wednesday)," Miller said.

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Fleury Fighting To Make The Pens

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Beaver County Times,

Lost amid the Sidney Crosby mania that's gripping Pittsburgh is the plight of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Whereas the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft has a locker stall in the Penguins' dressing room - between veteran stars Mark Recchi and John LeClair, no less - the No. 1 overall pick from the 2003 draft suits up in relative anonymity in a reserve locker room deep in the bowels of Mellon Arena. Not that Fleury is complaining. Nor is he jealous. The 20-year-old goaltender is just happy to be back in Pittsburgh. With the Aug. 10 signing of veteran goalie Jocelyn Thibault, Fleury is left battling for a place on the big-team roster along with Sebastien Caron and Andy Chiodo. "I'm pretty sure the coaches have penciled in Thibault as No. 1 already (but) nothing is done yet," Fleury said. "My goal is to make the team and we'll see after that."

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Rooting for Stumpy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

Suddenly in the silence of training camp the puck is on Steve Thomas' stick and now there is noise. The surprising number of fans in attendance at the Ricoh Coliseum chant his nickname. They cheer when he does almost anything. They erupt, as they did yesterday, when his snapshot eludes Ed Belfour for a pretty goal by Team C. He is a strange symbol of hope, the cause celebre in the early days of camp: Stumpy. Our Stumpy. Just another one-named hockey player in a town with too many. Only this one-named player happens to be older than the general manager he must impress, without any kind of job security of his own. He doesn't have a contract. He doesn't have anything guaranteed but his effort. He is here quite simply because he isn't ready to walk away from the National Hockey League and can't envision himself living or playing anywhere else.

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Rem Murray Feeling Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Rem Murray could not look over his right shoulder. He barely could play with his young kids. And hockey? Hockey was his career, and hockey was out of the question. To say it is a success that Murray is even here at Red Wings training camp really is not an understatement. Thursday was his third day of skating at Centre ICE, his third day of centering a line between Steve Yzerman and Kirk Maltby, his third day of absorbing hits and feeling fine. It is a stark contrast to how he felt 20 months ago, when a neurological disorder threatened to end a respectable NHL career. It is even in stark contrast to just a few months ago. "When I get out on the ice I don't think about it at all, which is the biggest thing, to put it behind me mentally," he said. "It's good to get back and play again. It's a little bit of an adjustment after being out for a year and a half. Every day I feel a little better."

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