Kukla's Korner

Crackdown On Obstruction Is Good

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The moaning! The crying! The complaining! And it's only 96 hours into the exhibition season. Some things in life are about as predictable as the rising cost of gasoline — and grumbling about obstruction in the early days of another National Hockey League crackdown is surely rising to the top of the list. Typically, the players doing most of the talking are also the ones with the most to lose — forwards, who play a handful of minutes per night in a "policing" role and defencemen, who guard the front of the net with their bulk and girth, but mostly believe that the art of checking involves hammering a stick into an opponent's back enough times so that he needs to visit his friendly neighborhood chiropractor after the game is over.

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My NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

The National Hockey League is about to answer a question vital to its future: How do you market a brand severely damaged by a season-long lockout? The league is about to begin an advertising campaign called My N.H.L., which has as its central focus an episodic series of cinematically produced TV commercials that follow a hockey "warrior," starting with his female partner ritualistically dressing him in his equipment. It follows him as he waits for the right moment to align a slap shot, then follows the puck from its point of view and ends with the fans' celebration of a victory. Hockey, the campaign says, is a hot-blooded, psychological battleground. "When we showed it to Brendan Shanahan, he said, 'Wow, the warrior, that's what I feel like,' " Bernadette Mansur, a spokeswoman for the league, said referring to a left wing for the Detroit Red Wings
.

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The Players Will Adjust

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star.

Over the past year, NHL players gave pretty compelling evidence that they may not be the smartest business thinkers in the world. But don't take that to mean they aren't smart at what they do. Watch and see just how quickly NHLers will adapt to the new regulatory structure of the league when it comes to certain types of fouls. Hooking, for example, at least for now, is now akin to driving on the wrong side of the road. The cops don't ever turn a blind eye to it. For the Maple Leafs and Bruins last night, there were only four hooking penalties, and almost none of the tugging and water-skiing that had became a routine part of every NHL shift. Lay down the law and stick with it, and NHL players will adapt. They have to. Their livelihoods depend on not only being strong, youthful and talented, but also in being able to alter their game to fit different situations. Last night's game at Copps Coliseum provided some evidence in that regard, or at least the second period did. The Leafs gave up no power plays to the Bruins, while Boston only found itself shorthanded three times.

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A Lot At Stake

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Inquirer via the Mercury News,

The National Hockey League loves you. It wants you back. After staring down bankruptcy, breaking the will of the players' union, and disappearing for a full year, the NHL is willing to do almost anything to make sure you are interested once again. So a game that built its sinewy reputation on the broad backs of toothless men bleeding on one another has dug deep in the closet of saucy ideas and selected a very low-cut gown for its grand return. This is the new NHL, and you better like it. There is plenty at stake. If the tricked-up game isn't more popular than its trudging predecessor, you can turn out the lights on a dozen franchises and bequeath it a place somewhere between box lacrosse and monster-truck rallies in the American sports pantheon.

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One More Datsyuk Story

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hopefully this is the last Sport-Express interview with Datsyuk that we will have to read. A lot to digest, but it appears Datsyuk did not want to go to the arbitration board. He did not want to 'split' the teams. Read the whole interivew in the comment section of this post. update 10:16pm, Looks like Peter at Mlive was doing the same thing as I was at about the same time. Much better translation of interview with Datsyuk and his agent Gary Greenstin. update 11:05pm, One more Peter translation, this time another Greenstin interview. We all agree, we have had enough of doing these translations.

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Cooke Signs With Canucks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

Matt Cooke appears to be returning to the Canucks. According the Mojo 730 radio in Vancouver, the team has re-signed the winger to a three-year $4.6 million contract.

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Breaking Down The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

It's early, but it seems that the NHL's rule changes are starting to produce the results the league hoped for - more goals and a faster pace - and most people in hockey circles seem to be happy with the pre-season product. Through the first 16 pre-season games, there were 101 goals scored - an average of 6.3 per game. That's up from 5.8 goals per game in the first 16 pre-season games in 2003. The main reason for the increase would seem to be the number of powerplays being awarded. Through the first 16 games, there have been 306 powerplays - just over 19 per game. The average in the 2003-04 regular season was 8.48 man advantages per game. One glaring example was Friday night, when Phoenix and Minnesota combined for 22 penalties in a 3-2 win for the Coyotes. All five goals were scored with the man advantage. Other games have featured even more powerplays. Montreal and Atlanta were whistled for 32 penalties on Sunday, a day after Los Angeles and Anaheim totalled 36 fouls.

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John Ferguson Battling Cancer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

Former Montreal Canadiens player John Ferguson is to undergo radical surgery on Thursday in London, Ont., less than three weeks after discovering he has prostate cancer, writes the Montreal Gazette's Red Fisher. Ferguson, now a special consultant with the San Jose Sharks, had gone for a routine physical exam before the Sharks training camp. As his 67th birthday neared, he felt great and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong. But six days later his doctor in Windsor informed him that his biopsy had turned up cancer.

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Everyone Must Buy In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

The crackdown on obstruction will be enforced. They really mean it this time. In concert with new rules, the ice will be opened up so much, rinks will seem to have been stretched to international dimensions and fire-wagon hockey will be back. Instead of slouching in your seats as you eat nachos and read Architectural Digest in an attempt to get some relative excitement during an NHL game, you will be on the edge of your chair -- or the couch -- every second. The numbers will jump so high, if this were baseball, we would suspect everyone loaded up on flaxseed oil. And the check is in the mail. If I dared to say, "Stop me if you've heard that before," this column would stop right here, as if four guys hooked and held me at once and a fifth wrestled away the laptop and headed for the nearest pawn shop. But I won't say that, so I can add this: I'll believe it when I see it.

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Datsyuk Arbitration Hearing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sport-Express is reporting the meeting took place today but it was already known that Datsyuk wanted to go back to the Wings. So it was only a matter of principle as to what Russian team owned the rights to Datsyuk. It looks like no curve balls were thrown at Holland so all is cleared for Datsyuk to return to Detroit. Follwing is the translation of the story:

The examination of the "matter Of datsyuka" they transferred on 26 September today it took place the current session of arbitration committee FKHR/PKHL on the "matter Of datsyuka". Besides it, during this day was examined the eight additional matters. Those arrived to the arbitration 12 hours (its official beginning) the President of "dynamo" Anatoliy kharchuk and the director of "advance guard" on the lawful and agent activity Vladimir of Sarajevo did not doubt, that the main trial will leave "to the hors d oeuvre". The representatives of two clubs appeared decisively, but it was possible to understand on their mood: the forthcoming session, in the first place, only the matter of principle. it the day before for sure them became known that Pavel datsyuk will begin season in "Detroit", and with "dynamo" with the "advance guard", so those not had time to subdivide hockey player to solution expected by many, they can only explain, who of them from the point of view of the regulations PKHL of rights, but who is not. However, the solution by the "matter Of datsyuka" it was today accepted not. Session they transferred on 26 September in connection with the request of "advance guard" to the management of "dynamo" to grant confidential agreement Datsyukom to the season -2004/05 - the document, signed by club with the player besides the contract, report correspondents "se" Marat SAFIN Pavel SAVCHIK.
update 1:00pm, from the Globe and Mail,
Suddenly the Detroit Red Wings feel a whole lot better about their chances this season after getting star centre Pavel Datsyuk back into the fold. For GM Ken Holland, it was a tortuous month of negotiations and a roller-coaster of emotions before finally plucking the silky smooth playmaker out of Russia. "I spoke to Pavel this morning," Holland said Tuesday from Detroit. "It's all confirmed. He's coming back. We certainly feel like we've won the lottery."
more

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