Kukla's Korner

Roenick Suffers Concussion #11

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Something like this was bound to happen. Most exhibition games have been more like pond hockey and the hitting has been minimal. I can understand J.R's point of view but by all accounts, Gauthier's hit was a clean one. from the Long Beach Press-Telegram,

Roenick suffered the 11th documented concussion of his career Sunday night, the result of a clean but dubiously delivered shoulder check by Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier "You don't do that in the preseason," Roenick said. "You don't try to take people's heads off in the preseason. I let him off the hook in Phoenix last week (in a similar situation) because I respect the fact that he's a veteran. "It's ridiculous to come across and hit someone who's had concussions before and someone who's been in the league as long as I have. It's totally disrespectful and should be addressed by the league." "What bothers me is that it didn't have to happen," Roenick said. "I've been around a long (expletive) time and it's things like that that end people's careers, especially in the preseason when people are trying to get in shape and avoid stuff like that." "I respect Gauthier. He's a hard player, but there's no room in the game for (stuff) like that. ... It indicates the state of our game and the lack of respect that is evident. This is one of the reasons our league is not as popular as it once was." "It was not a dirty hit, but probably an uncalled for one," Kings coach Andy Murray said.

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Around The League With J.D.

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

John Davidson of MSG Network has the best take on Martha Burk that I have read:

I like the NHL's new marketing campaign. It's edgy. I heard Martha Burk is already chirping, but I have a wife and two daughters and if she finds the new campaign too provocative, she should turn off channel 2, 4, 5, 7 and everything else. I'm very serious. Go worry about Augusta National. Leave us alone. It's edgy and we have an edgy sport. If she's going to take time to worry about hockey and their disrespect of women she's dead wrong. Hockey respects women. She doesn't know a thing about our sport or what we're about and she should go right back and worry about things that are real. She's just coming from one woman's side of things. Give me a break. That's nuts. She's wasting her time and energy. There are many other issues about women that have problems in life that need to be addressed. The National Hockey League is not one of them.
J.D. also gives his views on open ice hits, the Rags and moves teams made around the league.

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Forsberg Could Flourish

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Philly Burbs,

The greater curiosity, though, is the promise of what Forsberg will do. Under these new rules, in what presumably will be a freer-flowing style of play, he might have himself a season beyond even what the Flyers had hoped for when they signed him last month. "If they take away the 20 minutes of wrestling, yeah," Forsberg said Friday, after skating for the first time since the surgery. "There's a lot of penalties right now, but we have to stick to it. It's disrupting games right now, but the final result, we won't see until a couple of months into it, when the players learn the rules and what you can do. Then, we'll have a good game. ... "I've talked to the guys, and they said it's not that hard to play right now, not as physical, not as much grabbing and holding like it was before. They get back to the bench, and they're not that tired. Definitely, it's going to help."

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Is Kansas City An Option For The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

St. Louis and Nashville played an exhibition game last night in Kansas City: from the Kansas City Star,

They announced Saturday’s crowd at 12,686, and you can take that two ways: 1. a flaming failure, because it’s 23 percent below the league’s average attendance in 2003-04 and better than the typical draw of just two teams that year; or 2. a resounding success, because organizers had just 59 days after the end of the lockout to sell tickets. Paul McGannon is president of NHL 21, organizer of this and previous exhibition games at Kemper Arena. The ultimate goal is to land an NHL franchise, with Carolina, Pittsburgh and Nashville being the most likely possibilities. “Our job is to cultivate the sport in Kansas City so that we don’t look at this as a regional sport,” McGannon says. “We’re one of the last places in the country that hasn’t really been exposed to a high level of hockey.” Asked how much “cultivation” is needed here, McGannon says, “a lot.” He figures hockey made a thousand new fans Saturday night, and that a hockey fan base can be built in two or three years, perfect timing for the opening of the Sprint Center. If it takes longer, that’s fine, too.

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The Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

• A major Toronto daily newspaper has rented an apartment in Pittsburgh for the duration of the NHL season to cover Penguins rookie center Sidney Crosby. A Crosby "beat" writer has been assigned to cover every game. (Detroit News) • Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher, who will miss most if not all of training camp while rehabbing partially torn ligaments in his left knee, will start the 2005-06 season out of the lineup for adroitly placing an elbow into the jaw of the Flames' Matthew Lombardi in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals in May 2004. A week after his Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs, he was suspended. Hatcher said he was stunned to hear, upon his signing as a free agent in Philadelphia, that the suspension was still in force. Flyers general manager Bob Clarke talked to the league and was told Hatcher's suspension would not be lifted. (Boston Globe) • Other than Ilya Kovalchuk, whose situation with Atlanta remains as much a stalemate as ever, 26-year-old Boston defenseman Nick Boynton remains the most attractive Group II free agent on the restricted market. With the B's facing serious cap issues and therefore holding on their $1.33M qualifier after earlier passing on their $1.9M option, the opportunity is wide open for a competing club to come in with an offer sheet to Boynton, an emerging difference maker. "I've had a number of conversations with GMs who have expressed interest, but I don't think we're at the point yet where it's advantageous to pull the trigger," Anton Thun, Boynton's agent, told Slap Shots on Friday. "Until Oct. 1, teams have a $3.9M cushion on the $39M cap, so that if an offer sheet were made now, the Bruins would have time and that extra space in which to maneuver. "But once Oct. 1 hits, there's no give in that number. That's when I think both teams and Nick and I will become more aggressive in pursuing that offer-heet option. That's the time when there will be urgency." An offer sheet of up to $2M would entail compensation of a second-round pick for Boynton, who would be a steal at both those prices. (NY Post)

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The Buzz Is Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the LA Daily News,

It's the unforeseen benefit, the surprisingly positive result emerging from the depths of the worst player-management dispute in professional sports history. The National Hockey League lost its entire 2004-2005 season. Locked out its players, kept arenas dark, inspired derision. There was finger-pointing galore, frustrated fans, players, owners and media. It was all so ugly, so ominous, some wondered if the NHL would ever recover. Only now as the league prepares to resume this season, the most extraordinary outcome seems in play - there has never been more interest in the NHL. It's all backward. It makes almost no sense. The disheartened were expected, the casual fan lost, the game scarred and left with only its most fanatical followers. Instead, there is a buzz about the NHL

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Chara Hampered By Rule Changes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Big Zdeno Chara says he's getting the short end of the stick. The towering Senators defenceman told the Sun yesterday the NHL's new rules will lead to too much scoring ... and hamper his physical style of play. "The way the game is right now I could take off my shoulder pads because I don't even need shoulder pads," said Chara. "They've made the rules so tough you can't do anything out there. Guys hit me and fall down and I get a penalty. It's really tough to play."

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Don’t Call ‘Soupy’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I do wonder if the NHL has come down on those coaches and GMs who have been complaining in the last week. I say fine them and let if be known too. from the St. Petersburg Times,

When someone had a problem, he called NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell to complain. Campbell used to listen patiently. Not anymore. "It's going to be like: "Enough is enough. Shut up,' " Campbell told the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis. "We've been directed to do this by everybody, and a lot of those everybodys are the same people who have complained before when too many penalties were called.

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Wake Up Martha Burk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"The woman is dressed provocatively, and when she asks the player if he's ready, it's a double-entendre in my view. She's in the ad as a groomer, a sex object." Martha Burk should have seen the first cut of the 'My NHL' commercial. Keith Tkachuk took the place of the NHL gladiator, and when asked if he is ready, they quickly cut to the next scene and Keith and the provocatively dressed woman are seated at a Dunkin Donuts. The NHL Marketeers really blew it though. As Erin Hicks points out in the Ottawa Sun, the commercial should have gone like this:

Carol Alt: "Ready?" Alexei Yashin: "That depends ... am I in the final year of my contract?"

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Rangers Skate Around NYC

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Newsday,

The Rangers, never ones to miss an opportunity to boost their public image, haven't hesitated to join the action. They dispatched 26 groups of current and former players across the New York area yesterday to participate in free skating sessions in hopes of reconnecting with fans. At Long Beach Ice Arena, newly signed Czech forward Martin Straka and former Ranger Pete Stemkowski mingled with approximately 500 fans, signing autographs and distributing tickets.

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