Kukla's Korner

A Quick Thanks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I want to thank the readers of Kukla's Korner for all of the traffic you have directed here. Many readers are coming from fan websites, both in North America and Europe, and I sure do appreciate it. Yesterday over 40,000 visitors to Kukla's Korner.

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Hawks in the Running for The Bulin Wall

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

After landing one of the most coveted free agents on the market Tuesday, the Blackhawks may be close to bringing another one to Chicago. Multiple league sources say the Hawks are serious contenders to sign goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Hawks general manager Dale Tallon, who signed defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a four-year, $16 million deal Tuesday, would not say what players he is pursuing but did say he has offers on the table and could know more by Wednesday morning. Khabibulin's agent, Jay Grossman, declined to comment. As the lone "elite" goaltender available on the market, it's believed Khabibulin would command close to the maximum $7.8 million contract available and for perhaps as many as five years.

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The Modano Timeline

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Telegram,

Mike Modano has a contract offer to make him a Dallas Star for the rest of his career, but after initially agreeing to a deal he "decided to sleep on it." Tuesday was chaotic for Modano as the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta Thrashers entered discussions for his services. The Bruins appear to have the best chance to persuade Modano to pass on the Stars' offer. The Boston Herald is reporting that the Bruins are offering four years at $21 million. Boston, however, may not be as intent on landing Modano after signing free-agent center Dave Scatchard to a four-year deal Tuesday night. NHL officials said at around 9 a.m. Tuesday that Modano's agent, Brian Lawton, and Armstrong discon8tinued contract talks. Rumors then swirled that the Bruins had signed Modano. At around noon, Hicks called Modano to set up a conference call between himself, Armstrong, Modano and his agent. By 4:30 p.m., an agreement was reached. Modano's decision to wait could be explained in a couple of ways. The Bruins may increase their offer; he could just be conservative.

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We Will be Hearing more of This

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Adam Foote talking about his decision to leave Colorado, from the Denver Post,

"I just want the fans in Colorado to know that they were great to me and for them to know that it came down to a family decision, one that was best for my family and my kids," said Foote, 34, who signed a three-year, $13.5 million free-agent contract with Columbus. "It had to do with my time left in the NHL. Who knows how much longer I have left? I had to make that move with the new (collective bargaining agreement). Our first choice was to stay in Colorado, but what Colorado was able to (offer), I just couldn't do that. I had to move on for my family and take the next step."

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Wings Not Pursuing Khabibulin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive, The floodgates were opened for NHL free agents on Tuesday, but the Detroit Red Wings did not dip into the pool. Wings general manager Ken Holland said he is waiting for the second wave. He's focused on re-signing his own players and picking up a couple of complementary pieces, as opposed to adding any core players. A big chunk of that money could go to young stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, a pair of restricted free agents whose high contract demands have the Wings in a bind. With a salary cap of $39 million, Holland doesn't know how much money he can spend until he finds out how much it will cost to bring back Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Some things are clear, however: # The Wings are no longer in the bidding for Tampa Bay goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, whose demands for money (reportedly more than $7 million per season) and term (five years) were too much.

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Oilers get Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

Chris Pronger will be the best hockey player to wear an Edmonton Oiler jersey since Mark Messier. Wayne Gretzky was already gone, or it might have been The Great One. You can make a case that Curtis Joseph ranked up there. But Pronger, at 30 years of age in the prime of his career, is a better player than Joseph, Doug Weight, Bill Guerin or any of the latter-day Oilers we watched go away because of economics. Pronger, by signing a five-year deal at $6 million US a year with the Oilers, is going to make a lot of people better around him.

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Are Sens Asleep

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

In a world of new hockey economics, where fiscal sanity is supposed to reign, there should be no reason to panic when the Adam Footes and Derian Hatchers of the world hit the jackpot. There should be no reason for the Senators to fret when Pavol Demitra finds a new zip code or when the tightwad Chicago Blackhawks crack their piggybank open to sign Ottawa boy Adrian Aucoin. And why would the Senators really care that Shawn McEachern is back in Boston? Does it really matter that Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk have jumped the good ship Leaf and landed in Florida, of all places, for former Ottawa bench boss Jacques Martin? No, there's no reason for concern. Not when, on a day when free- agent signings came one after another, the Senators had a major signing of their own: Denis Hamel. With all due respect to Denis Hamel, Denis freaking who?

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Panic in Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

Two days into the brave new hockey world and already John Ferguson's reputation is taking a pounding. What, players and agents are wondering, is the general manager of the Maple Leafs doing? The answers, however varied, are not encouraging. Ferguson's clumsy handling of negotiations with Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk -- where he attempted to have close friend Roberts undercut close friend Nieuwendyk -- sent a cryptic message to those within the industry. And then, to follow that up with a desperation offer to Nieuwendyk, after first trying an end run on him, only demonstrated his own inexperience in deal making.

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Russia is an Option

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

If it's not enough that the Maple Leafs must compete for players in a new economic world, now they must also compete with the world. Toronto forward Nik Antropov said yesterday he has received two serious offers from Russian club teams that would double or triple the $1 million (all figures U.S.) qualifying offer he has received from the Leafs. The 25-year-old said the money is so good in Russia now that he expects some players to spurn the relatively frugal offers from the salary-capped NHL to go home. He's just hoping, he's not one of them. "I have to think about it with my agent (Don Meehan) very hard. I've been thinking about it for the last month and a half. We haven't make a decision yet," said the Kazakh. "I hope to stay here in Toronto and play for the Maple Leafs." While staying in Toronto and playing "in the best league in the world" is clearly Antropov's preference, he's also raising two young children while plying a career that can be cut short at any time. Other considerations, such as higher, tax-free income, come into play.

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More Modano

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Dallas News,

Tom Hicks believes Mike Modano will become a Dallas Star for life Wednesday morning. Modano is about 90 percent sure. Hicks and Modano spent much of yesterday discussing a new five-year, $17.75 million deal to keep Modano in Dallas, and Hicks, who is spending time in California, said when he hung up the phone that he believed Modano was as good as signed. "The last thing I said was, 'Do we have a deal?' and he said, 'Yes.' So I said, 'Congratulations on finishing your career with us,' and we left it that," Hicks said. "Is it legally binding? No. Could Mike change his mind? Sure, that's his prerogative. But, in my mind, we have a deal."

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