Kukla's Korner

Colorado Shoots For Forsberg and Naslund

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

The Swedish NHL stars have said in two publications they want to play together this coming season, and travel plans have been explored to bring Forsberg and Naslund to Colorado within a 24-hour window of each other. Some of Forsberg's closest friends say he doesn't want to leave the Avalanche, and fans who want him to stay have been heartened in recent days by his image being displayed prominently at the top of Avalanche's website. This could be harbinger of things to come or mere coincidence.

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Complete Free Agent List

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

The National Hockey League today released the names of the players, who, effective today, became free agents. Some players whose names appear on this list may recently have signed with their respective Clubs; however, their contracts had not yet been filed with the League.

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The Gun Goes Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

At noon ET Monday, an imaginary starter's gun sounded and the National Hockey League's general managers donned blindfolds and began their journey across the foreign terrain of the free-agent playing field. Some will sprint from the starting blocks. Others will move tentatively. Some will stumble or fall. Some will step in something unpleasant along the way. The luckiest or smartest, or some combination of both, will complete this journey having built a playoff contender or even a Stanley Cup champion. The one common theme is that none of these individuals has any clue as to what is going to happen going forward. None.

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Not the Same Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Gaylord Herald Times

, The Red Wings will be back but not in the same form as you remember them. Darren McCarty, one of the most popular Wings, was let go - a casualty of the National Hockey League's new collective bargaining agreement that will allow for a more even playing field for all league clubs. Derian Hatcher was waived. So was Ray Whitney. Coach Dave Lewis was relieved of his duties and replaced by Anaheim's Mike Babcock. It is to be seen if Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk and even the immortal Steve Yzerman will return to the 2005-2006 team. The team will also likely shop for a new goaltender. This will not be your father's Red Wings team nor will it be your father's NHL.

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Heads Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I will be out of touch for a few hours, but should be back to posting by the time the free agent signing period starts.

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Game Changing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

The question has come up often since the NHL unveiled its post-lockout package of new rules designed to make the game something other than a crawl through T-REX at rush hour. Overnight, did the highly physical, stay-at-home, punish-the-superstars defenseman become less of a prized commodity? More to the point in Denver, did it all help make Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote's departure in the upcoming unrestricted free agency period at least an acceptable option for Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix? It's starting to look as if the Avs are thinking that way, as the open market for unrestricted free agents begins this morning.

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Time to Walk the Walk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Herald,

The Blackhawks have promised over and over to be active when the NHL’s free-agent signing period begins today at 11 a.m. We’ve heard that one before, haven’t we? But that was then. This is general manager Dale Tallon’s chance to show that things are indeed going to be different, that there’s a new progressive front-office philosophy that is all about winning the Stanley Cup and not simply competing for a playoff spot.

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Wait Until Next Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Here's a dilemma: You find a really nice house, and it's available to buy now. But you also know that next summer, a dreamier house may be available. Which do you buy? Free agency begins today in the NHL, and, like the other 29 teams, the Red Wings will be looking to shape a team while being fiscally responsible. There may well be 200-plus unrestricted free agents available by noon, when the deadline for clubs to qualify their own restricted free agents expires, and a list that already includes Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Scott Niedermayer and Adam Foote will further burgeon. What team wouldn't want some of those names? Well, actually, a team that might decide to hold out until next summer, when the list of unrestricted free agents could include names like Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier.

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No Rush on Signing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post (reg. req.),

Nobody really knows what to expect when the first capped free-agent market in NHL history opens today at noon. But here's what not to expect: a rush of unrestricted upper-end talent signing for discount prices to accommodate general managers claiming and complaining they won't be able to maintain (or build) a winning team unless players are willing to take less. Lifestyle preferences will play a part in the decision making process, of course, and each individual has his own unique priorities, but it would be naive to expect people like Scott Niedermayer, Nikolai Khabibulin and Markus Naslund not to seek as close to the max $7.8M contract permitted under the CBA after losing millions last year and going forward in a capped open market — and how's that for a paradoxical concept? A new model will emerge under this restrictive CBA, and it's likely to be one that's completely antithetical to anything we've ever seen before in hockey. Some creative GM somewhere is going to recognize that a championship team can be constructed by signing two or three elite players to 20-percent-of-the-cap max contracts and then filling the rest of the roster with draft choices and inexpensive support players who will be close to a literal dime a dozen.

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Everyone May Play Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Will there be real fireworks or merely just a small spark? With the entry draft now in the rear-view mirror, NHL teams point their focus toward free agents starting today, as GMs roll up their sleeves and begin laying the groundwork for the opening of training camps in September. Depending on who you believe, teams are either going to come charging hard out of the starting blocks at noon today, or they're going to take a cautious approach with a $39-million (all figures US) salary cap now in place.

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