Kukla's Korner

Niedermayer to Test Market

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The agent for New Jersey defenceman Scott Niedermayer doesn't expect the Norris Trophy winner to sign a new deal with the Devils before the end of the week. Niedermayer earned $4-million in 2003-04. Last summer, he went to salary arbitration and was awarded $7-million for the season which was wiped out by the lockout. "The whole process of last season and going to arbitration was to see what's out there," agent Kevin Epp tells the New York Post. Epp says he expects Niedermayer to get offers near the salary maximum of $7.8-million and that he likely won't return to New Jersey at a discount.

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CBA Presents New Challenges

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TorontoMapleLeafs.com,

Teams will find it a lot harder to go out and buy the Stanley Cup. Fans were accustomed to teams loading up with high-priced talent at the trade deadline. We all remember how last year general manager John Ferguson went to ownership and asked for money prior to the trade deadline to take a run at winning the Cup. He went out and traded for Brian Leetch and Ron Francis but making deals like that will be next to impossible. With a $39 million cap, look for big-spending teams like the Maple Leafs, Red Wings and Flyers to commit to about $36 million in salary at the start of the season, giving them some wiggle room at the trade deadline if the player or players they need to take a run at winning the Stanley Cup are available. And at the other end of the economic spectrum, look for so-called small market clubs like Nashville, Florida, Pittsburgh and Phoenix to land somewhere in the middle of the salary grid. If Nashville has a salary total higher than $28.6 million, for example, that would eliminate the Predators from the second tier of the league's profit-sharing plan where the 10 most profitable clubs give money to subsidize the lowest 15.

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U.S. Olympic News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

USA Hockey will announce Tuesday afternoon that Thrashers general manager Don Waddell will lead the management team for the U.S. men's hockey team at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, ESPN.com has learned.

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10 Questions For Shanahan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Time Canada,

NHL players and owners ratified a six-year collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) last week, ending a bitter lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. Time's Mary Jollimore spoke with the Detroit Red Wings' left-winger Brendan Shanahan, a member of the NHL's new competition committee, about the lessons learned, his time off the ice and where the league goes next.

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Yzerman Returning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Steve Yzerman will get the send off his career deserves, Sportsnet has learned. A rarity in modern sports, Detroit's first pick in the 1983 is expected to sign a new one-year deal which will allow the certain Hall of Famer to retire knowing only one team. Yzerman and Wings general manager Ken Holland will meet this week to discuss the team's direction, while at the same time ironing out what is expected to be a one-year agreement. The 40-year old Yzerman, who also intends to compete for a spot on Canada's 2006 Olympic roster, will easily surpass the mark of 1500 NHL games played, granted he remains healthy.

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Harry Meets Stanley

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vidtoria Times Colonist,

Harry Taylor recalls meeting Gordie Howe. "I guess I was a cocky rookie," he says. "I remember hitting him behind the net." That went pretty well, so when he saw Howe with his head down, Harry decided to hit him again. Only one problem: Howe was playing possum. "He was just inviting me to take a run at him. Then -- poing! -- all the lights went out for a while." Harry, 79, tells this story in Kenn and Tiina Shaw's backyard in Vic West. It's warm, almost too warm for the Toronto Maple Leafs sweater he's wearing, and the reflection from the Stanley Cup is hitting him right in the eyes. As Harry talks, his wife Irene dabs sunblock on top of his head, which seems appropriate -- this is, after all, Harry's day in the sun. The Stanley Cup really did visit Victoria, and Harry Taylor, on Monday afternoon. Normally the Cup spends its summers travelling to homes of the reigning champions, but after this lockout-scuttled season, it was decided to share it with the players who won the NHL title back in the 1940s and '50s.

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Tidbits from The Maven

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from The Maven of MSG Network,

Best quote summing up the NHL-NHLPA Civil War comes from Jimmy Devellano. The Red Wings exec v.p. puts it thusly: “The NHL owners took Bob Goodenow’s eyes out and put grapes in!” And if you want a more legal version, consider what labor lawyer Jeffery Kessler has to say. Kessler calls the NHL deal, “The largest setback for players that I’ve seen in collective bargaining.” One of the most vivid - and brilliant - bits of upstaging was Gary Bettman’s decision to speak at the NHLPA dais in Toronto, following the player ratification. The Associated Press photo shown ‘round the world was worth 1,000 words. It clearly depicted a winner and loser. Bettman is standing over the seated Goodenow, extending his hand in obvious triumph. Goodenow looks as if he had just stepped out of a Madame Troussaud’s Wax Museum.

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Satan Moving On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

"I'm just trying to wait and see what happens." Miroslav Satan almost certainly has played his last game for the Buffalo Sabres. Speculation of the streaky sniper's departure has swirled for much of his past few seasons. Now it appears he just costs too much to keep around. The Buffalo News has learned Satan's tenure in Buffalo - sometimes prolific, sometimes tumultuous - will end either with a discharge or a trade, maybe within a few days.

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Issues not Addressed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province (reg. req.),

The NHL cold war is not over. Yes there is a ceasefire, but the new collective bargaining agreement should only be viewed in the same light as the Treaty of Versailles. Not the end of a war but instead the foundation for the next. The league threw away an entire season and somehow did not even bother to address any of its three major problems: - Bad ownership - Bad markets - Bad leadership This new deal is actually designed to protect this unholy trinity. The top 10 revenue teams will split their profits with the bottom 15. That's not revenue sharing, that's communism. It rewards owners such as Bill Wirtz in Chicago, and justifies expansion into places like Nashville, while punishing fans in cities such as Vancouver.

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Bad Impression

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Slam,

Fans should have been ready for this. The owners got their salary cap and their "cost certainty" for at least the next four years. There is no such certainty for fans. Team payroll budgets have been cut in half in some cases, but fans should not have expected the cost of going to games to be reduced. That simply wasn't going to happen. The lockout was never about giving fans a break on ticket prices. The owners need your money. With their television revenue non-existent and many corporations probably not coming back, the owners can't afford to cut ticket prices by much.

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