Kukla's Korner

39 Players Invited by Team USA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Free agent Mike Modano, Bill Guerin of the Dallas Stars and Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight of the St. Louis Blues have a chance to play for the United States Olympic team for the third straight time. USA Hockey announced on Thursday the list of 39 players that have been invited to its Olympic orientation camp for the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

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Shanahan to Return to Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Kevin Allen was on WDFN radio in Detroit and said Shanahan will return to Detroit for the upcoming season.

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Goodenow Resigns

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"With the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the new agreement, the parties concur that this is an appropriate action for the future. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the Players over the past 15 years and to have had the support of a tremendous staff at the NHLPA. I wish the Players every success under the new CBA." - Bob Goodenow Robert W. Goodenow today advised the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) that he would step down as its Executive Director and General Counsel. This decision followed discussions between Goodenow and members of the Executive Committee about the organization's future. "With the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the new agreement, the parties concur that this is an appropriate action for the future," said Goodenow. "I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the Players over the past 15 years and to have had the support of a tremendous staff at the NHLPA. I wish the Players every success under the new CBA." Today, the NHLPA named Ted Saskin, its Senior Director of Business Affairs and Licensing, to succeed Mr. Goodenow as Executive Director and General Counsel. "I have enjoyed working closely with Bob for the Players over the last 15 years. I know how dedicated Bob has been to the Players. I plan to continue to serve them by building on the strong base that Bob created at the NHLPA." Trevor Linden, the President of the NHLPA, said "Every NHL Player has benefited enormously from Bob's leadership and dedication. He has been a tireless advocate for the Players and he dramatically improved the Players' situation in every respect. Bob built the NHLPA into a first class organization and we are all very grateful to him. Ted has worked closely with Bob every step of the way and has done an excellent job for the Players in our recently concluded CBA negotiations. We have every confidence that he will be able to lead our Association well in the years to come. " update 12:30pm, TSN.ca will cybercast today’s NHLPA news conference where Executive Director and General Counsel Bob Goodenow will announce his decision to leave the Association. Watch it live at 3pm et/noon pt.

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NHL could Fade Away

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sports Illustrated,

Yes, the lockout is over and the NHL is back. And hockey fans will return. But the year-long hiatus of what has long been regarded as the No. 4 sport raised a prospect that we might see something that's never happened before -- a major sports league just fading away. Maybe the NHL will bounce back the same way the NBA did, riding Sidney Crosby as its savior. That's the preferred scenario. But when your players are agreeing to pay cuts and ESPN decides it can live without you, things don't look promising.

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Draft Lottery Draws Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Broadcaster Magazine,

Millions of viewers worldwide tuned in to watch hockey history in the making as the Pittsburgh Penguins drew the first pick – and first dibs on Canadian hockey phenom Sidney Crosby – during TSN's exclusive coverage of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft Order of Selection. The five-hour SportsCentre news special, which aired last Friday (July 22) from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, attracted a national average minute audience of 239,000 viewers, and a national audience reach of 1,176,000 viewers. Audience levels peaked at 378,000 viewers from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed the 2005 NHL Entry Draft order.

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Four Divisions in the Future

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

Bob Pulford's surprising disclosure earlier this week that the NHL seriously is considering a return to a four-division alignment and divisional playoffs is a potential blockbuster. "When I first brought it up to [Commissioner Gary Bettman] he assured me it would be addressed after the collective bargaining agreement was done," the Hawks' senior vice president said at a Monday news conference announcing broad league and team changes. A league spokesman declined comment on any potential changes to the playoff format, but word around the league is the change could happen as early as next season.

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Singing the Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

As the National Hockey League prepares to relaunch its product to a curious, if skeptical, public, the Blues are in an unfortunate, depressing situation. With the other NHL franchises busy making grand plans to celebrate a return to the ice, the Blues are in the corner, hands in pockets, looking rather glum.

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The Cost of Diving

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportnet,

In order to crack down on obstruction, sources have told Sportset the NHL plans on implementing both fines and suspensions to deter players from embellishing fouls. In the past, the league was only able to levy a $1000 maximum fine to any offender. Now, the league will give a written warning to first time offenders before proceeding as follows with repeat offenders: Second time: $1000 fine Third time: $2000 fine Fourth time: Automatic one game suspension During the regular season, any player who exceeds the four-time plateau will see the ruling doubled for every incident. Repeat offenders who violate the rules during the playoffs will get a one-time loophole to avoid suspension, but will pay a $5000 fine.

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Nashville Owner speaks Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Nashville City Paper,

Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold has spent a turbulent and tedious year as a member of the NHL’s negotiating team for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. He prefers his hockey on ice rather than on paper. When asked about how he feels about the start of the season Oct. 5 at home against San Jose, no words were necessary. With arms raised he leans back in his office in the Gaylord Entertainment Center and lets out a shout of pure excitement, happiness, but most of all, relief.

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The Cable Battle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times (reg. req.),

By returning from its near-death experience, the National Hockey League has acquired a bit of leverage, which may account for why ESPN2, Outdoor Life Network, Spike TV and USA Network are showing interest in its cable television rights. The first two are the most intriguing. The mother ship at ESPN sent the N.H.L. packing in May by refusing to execute its option to pay $60 million for the 2005-6 season, then demanding a no-fee revenue-sharing deal that the league rejected. ESPN acknowledged its continuing interest Tuesday, when Mark Shapiro, an executive vice president, said that he was looking for common ground with the league, and that a rights fee would be possible "as long as we got value in return." But he also reiterated that even with rules changes, the N.H.L. product was still damaged. A more fascinating play for the league is whether Commissioner Gary Bettman makes a deal with OLN - which used to be known as a hunting and fishing channel - after its recent success with the Tour de France. If OLN is willing to pay the N.H.L. any substantial cash, it is because its owner, the mammoth Comcast, would like to use hockey as a building block for a larger national sports network that would be anchored by eight late-season Thursday and Saturday N.F.L. games. In time, Comcast would presumably be well-financed competition for ESPN, to which Comcast's cable systems pay the industry's highest subscriber fee to carry.

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