Kukla's Korner

Yashin Staying with Isles

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via TSN,

Islanders general manager Mike Milbury knows the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement will only help his team so much. The rest is up to him and the players he puts on the ice. "We always felt we could compete, but there was a feeling of frustration," Milbury said Monday. "We'll have a better chance, but we still have to make the right decisions." Payrolls no longer are an issue when it comes to hockey. Gone are the days where big-market clubs could load up their rosters with all-stars no matter the cost. The limit is $39 million US per team, whether you play in a sparkling new arena or the seen-its-better-days Nassau Coliseum. "Let's face facts. We need our top guys to perform," Milbury said. That starts with Alexei Yashin, who was slated to earn $10 million this season before a 24 per cent rollback cut his salary to $7.6 million - tied for second highest in the NHL.

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A “Great’Comparison

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

Perhaps like no other segment of society, sports lends itself to comparisons. Is this team as good as that? What about this player as opposed to that? Is he a better coach than that guy? So it's almost logical -- although highly unfair -- that Sidney Crosby has drawn the almost inevitable comparisons to the NHL's greatest scorers, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. But after putting up the numbers Crosby did with Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, well there was really no chance that wasn't going to happen. "He is a wonderful player," retired coach Scotty Bowman told reporters after watching Crosby practice during the Memorial Cup tournament. "I think he deserves everything people say about him." In the hockey world, when Bowman talks, people listen, so Bowman's next comments added a layer of cement to Crosby's formidable reputation.

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NHL Reaching out to the Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CBC,

All across the United States, less so in Canada, NHL teams are using various incentives to re-connect with the public. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have rolled back season-ticket prices an average of 5.28 per cent, while other teams such as Columbus, Carolina, Chicago, St. Louis and Los Angeles have followed suit with sizable discounts. The Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Dallas Stars will have $10 US tickets. In Canada, many teams expect hockey fans to return, so there will be few breaks. Single-game ticket prices in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa are expected to remain at the same levels established before the lockout cancelled the season. Team officials for the Montreal Canadiens have said they will not lower any tickets for the premium seats at Bell Centre, but will offer a 10 per cent discount on 4,500 tickets per game. Five hundred tickets in the family zone will be sold for less than $10 and 500 will be handed out free on 17 Tuesday night games. "Our average ticket price was 16th in the league, but we've gone a step farther," he said. "We want to make sure we're affordable as possible." In Boston, the Bruins are taking every precaution to make sure it makes all the right steps in repairing their relationship with hockey fans, hiring a public relations firm to help with its marketing plan. Details haven't been made official yet, but team executives plan on making a major ticket-price cut across the board, including offering close to 1,000 seats at $10 each. "Virtually every seat will have a price rollback of some sort," said Charlie Jacobs, whose family owns the team.

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Avs Picture, Sakic & Blake Staying

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via NHL.com,

The Colorado Avalanche said Monday they plan to honor the contracts of Joe Sakic and Rob Blake, two of the core players for the perennial Stanley Cup contenders whose futures were in limbo. The fate of other key Avalanche players - most notably Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote - is still being considered as general manager Pierre Lacroix scrambles to make decisions before Aug. 1, when those players will go on the open market if not signed.

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CBA- Nothing but Good

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Buffalo Business First,

"It created a financial system that at least allows each team a chance to being (fiscally) viable," said B. Thomas Golisano, the Sabres' owner. "This new deal is nothing but good for the fans, the players and ownership." The Sabres, on Monday, began rolling out a new season-ticket sales marketing campaign that will see prices rolled back on average between 12 percent and 28 percent, with some seats as inexpensive as $10 per game. As for the team, Darcy Regier, the Sabres' general manager, said he expects it to operate with a player payroll in the $27 million to $29 million range, well below the league maximum cap of $39 million and about $4 million less than the $33 million player payroll it carried in the 2003-2004 season.

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Habs Announce Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

per TSN,

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey announced today that the Club will not exercise the 2005-06 team option on the contracts of defenceman Patrice Brisebois and forward Gavin Morgan.

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No buyouts for Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The theory that the new collective bargaining agreement will force NHL teams to undergo facelifts won't apply to the Ottawa Senators this year, according to general manager John Muckler. When the Senators open the season Oct. 5 against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, their fans can expect to see a team pretty similar to the one that last skated off that same ice surface in April 2004 after being beaten out of the playoffs by the Leafs. Unlike teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers, which was the first club to purge itself of contracts over the weekend, Muckler confirmed Monday at the Senators' official 2005-06 season launch that Ottawa won't follow suit, despite having just 10 players under contract for a total of $23.6 million US for next season. That means they'll retain the services of forward Bryan Smolinski (scheduled to earn $2.24 million in 2005-06) and defenceman Greg de Vries ($2.28 million) - both rumoured to be headed out of Ottawa. Under terms of the new CBA, teams are right now allowed the chance to buy out existing contracts at two-thirds of their value. "We're not going to do that," Muckler said. "We like our players. Our first priority is to keep them. "I'm happy we're in that position rather than in the position of a buyer."

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Wings Buyout, Step 1

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Per Leafs Lunch, McCarty, Hatcher and Whitney have been placed on 24 hour waiver list. If not picked up, likely wil be bought out. update 12:29pm, from Sportsnet,

The Detroit Red Wings have started their house cleaning. Sportsnet has learned Detroit has placed Derian Hatcher, Darren McCarty and Ray Whitney on waivers. Pending clearance following a 24 hour period, the Red Wings will undoubtedly buy the trio out.

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Team by Team Status

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Heading into the busiest, yet most condensed, off-season in NHL history, TSN takes a look at each NHL team's situation. The guide includes:

Top Newcomers: The most likely players from junior, Europe or the AHL to make the jump to the pro roster this season. Next in Line: The next most likely young players to compete for a spot. Possible Buyouts: Players that might get bought out under the 2/3 provision of the new CBA in order to free up salary cap space. Notable restricted free agents possibly not tendered: Not an exhaustive list, but players that, due to salary cap limitations, may not get qualifying offers from their current teams, which would make them unrestricted free agents. Possible restricted free agents poached by others: Blue-chip young players that could get offered a big ticket contract which could be difficult for their current team to match. Needs: Looking primarily at the goaltending, top four defencemen and top six forwards for each team (because role players will shuffle around in order to fill the depth spots in the lineup). Projected cap position: The approximate expected salary expenditure of a team, and number of players that could reasonably be expected to be under contract (including newcomers) before the off-season acquisitions begin. This number is obviously subjective and a radical move by any team will throw the estimate out of whack.

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Buyout Candidates

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Newsday, The following is a list of players with contracts signed for the 2005-06 season, earning more than $2 million after the 24 percent salary rollback. These players may be bought out by their current teams through July 29. Players who are bought out may not re-sign with their current teams for next season.

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