Kukla's Korner

NHL Timeline for Thursday and Friday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Toronto • Players will meet Thursday morning, then vote either in person or through the Internet. • NHL Players Association leaders and Commissioner Gary Bettman and will hold a joint news conference around 5 p.m. ET.Now 4pm per Sportsnet. • Agents will be briefed Thursday and Friday. New York • Board of governors will begin meeting at 1 p.m. ET Friday. • Bettman will hold a news conference, beginning around 3. • Draft lottery announcement will be made afterward, televison coverage begins at 4pm on ESPN News and some Comcast Networks in the US. TSN in Canada will have coverage throughout the day. The rank and file knows what the new collective bargaining agreement says, and because it contains a cap, they will be back on the ice come October. The vote on the new CBA was expected to take place midmorning, and the meeting was due to wrap up following lunch.

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Wings Will Look Different

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

When Detroit Red Wings players went on a recent golf trip with captain Steve Yzerman, there was plenty of discussion that some won't be teammates when the NHL tees it up again in October. Though players are coming to Toronto to see how the new $39 million salary cap will affect their checking accounts, there also is ample concern about how the new deal is going to affect their checking line and ultimately the team's competitiveness. "I think everyone on our team is realizing things are going to change," Detroit center Kris Draper said as he arrived for player meetings Wednesday. "The league wanted a new economic system, and when they did that it took away our advantage." Draper has been with the team 12 years, and he says it will be an adjustment for him and the organization to not be able to use their strong revenue base as a competitive edge. "Every year I came to training camp knowing we had a chance to win the Stanley Cup," Draper said. "We always knew that come trade deadline (general manager) Ken Holland was going to go out and better our team and (owner) Mike Ilitch was going to give him the green light."

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Vote Yes-End Your Career

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The victims will vote today to ratify an agreement that essentially will end their NHL playing careers. The real victims of the lockout. They don't even know who they are yet. We don't know who they are, either. But when this financial game of musical chairs has played itself out, they will be the players left without seats. Without jobs. Without an NHL paycheque, or a NHL future. They sat out a year. Fought the good fight. Believed in the nonsense Bully Bob Goodenow was peddling. And all it cost them was a year of salary they didn't see and will never see again. The doors are about to close on about 100 players -- give or take five or 10 -- who will not return from the 2003-04 season. One of almost every seven association members won't be back. They paid their dues. They put in their time. And soon there will be no place for them. Nobody sold them on that. The same way nobody told the players they were giving back 24% of their salaries as a starting point of the brave new NHL world. These players won't get a chance to cut their salaries back 24%. Twenty-four percent of zero remains at zero. Know this much: In the new salary-capped NHL environment, the bottom of every team roster will be taken up by minimum-wage players. Some have speculated that most teams will add at least three and maybe four AHL players to their rosters for the coming season.

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Contracts May Split Friends

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Globe and Mail,

Player agent Don Baizley believes the new landscape of the National Hockey League will make it difficult to negotiate contracts so that close friends can be on the same team. Two years ago, Baizley reunited two of his clients, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, with the Colorado Avalanche when there was no salary cap in the collective agreement. Now, with a ceiling of $39-million (all figures U.S.) a club, which is likely to be adopted by the league and the National Hockey League Players' Association after ratification votes this week, both former all-stars may end up on opposing teams. "In this capped environment, it will be even more difficult for a package of two players to move anywhere," Baizley said this week. "I don't see that in the cards. It's hard to have a handle on things -- there is no complete picture until we see the new documents -- but it would appear it's going to be anything but status quo."

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Rally Around Bob

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto globe and Mail,

Bob Goodenow, for whom the word embattled has become a prefix to his title as executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, received an informal show of support last night from at least some players. However, that does not mean Goodenow and his fellow union leaders didn't hear any criticism when they unveiled the new collective agreement, with its infamous team salary cap tied to revenue, to a group of about 200 players at a Toronto hotel. But any clashes remained behind closed doors, as the players only made themselves available when they entered the meeting.

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Fast Approval Likely

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

The NHL's players yesterday sat through a detailed explanation of the new collective-bargaining agreement, which will be presented for ratification today. Most of the 200-plus players who arrived here for the ratification process were already resigned to the reality of the salary cap-based deal and the general feeling was it would be passed overwhelmingly. "The fact that guys want to play will make it unanimous," Islanders captain Michael Peca said. Peca joined Islanders player reps Adrian Aucoin and Mark Parrish, and past teammates Steve Webb and Garth Snow at the meeting. The Rangers were represented by Darius Kasparaitis, Tom Poti and Kevin Weekes. "So far it seems like guys are excited at the prospect that we might be playing hockey again," Aucoin said during a break in a 10-hour meeting. "I know I am." Players will begin voting in the morning and those who did not make the trip will cast their vote via the NHLPA's Web site. The result should be known by mid-afternoon. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was scheduled to appear at a 5 p.m. news conference today with NHLPA leaders -- including executive director Bob Goodenow -- to announce the players' approval.

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The Future of Goodenow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

So, what about Bob? These are not great days for NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow. He has to had to deal with serious illness in his family. He has had to endure sniping from players who are not happy at having lost a year of their careers, and corresponding income. And on Thursday, Goodenow's NHLPA is virtually certain to endorse an economic system of linkage and a salary cap that Goodenow personally abhors and vowed never to accept. Amid questions of how involved, or not involved, he was in the process that led to the settlement of a new CBA, the question that must be asked now is, what now for Bob? There appear to be three options.

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NHL Draft Lotto on ESPN News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

Well, what do you know? ESPNews is going to show live segments of the NHL draft lottery between 4 and 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday - including the live selection of the top two picks. The NHL draft lottery results in their entirety will be shown live on Canadian television network TSN, which will be airing the entire half hour without interruption.

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Topics Being Addressed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector and Fox Sports,

With the NHL lockout officially set to end by Friday the league is getting some flak as it prepares to re-launch itself to the sporting world. First came news that the much-anticipated draft lottery. Initially, the order of the 2005 entry draft and the right to draft the highly-touted Sidney Crosby would not be broadcast live when it's conducted on Thursday. After much protest from fans and media, however, the NHL reconsidered and decided to allow Canadian sportsnetwork TSN to carry the results of the lottery live; although the actual lottery itself will still be conducted privately. The league's original decision to shut out the media from the lottery was puzzling. After a solid year of negative publicity, this was the NHL's chance to start putting things right with their fans and with the North American sporting world. Perhaps the powers that be believed coverage of a bingo-ball lottery wouldn't generate any real excitement. But considering the future NHL destination of Crosby is on the line, as well as those of other top junior players, fans starved for positive hockey news have been waiting months for this. Fortunately the league backtracked, but even conducting the lottery in secret raises the dark specter of "fixing" the draft in order to ensure that some teams, such as the New York Rangers, might get first crack at Crosby. It's a ludicrous suggestion, since none of the other team owners and general managers in attendance for this lottery would knowingly stand for that kind of monkey business.

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Crosby Could Make A Mint, If…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

Hockey phenom Sidney Crosby could make 10 times more money in sponsorships if he is drafted by Toronto, Boston, Chicago or New York, according to sports marketing experts. ''His endorsement levels would be phenomenal in a large market compared to what he would get going into in a small market,'' said Keith MacIntyre, president of K. Mac & Associates in Mississauga, Ont., which advises companies on sports marketing. Wherever the consensus No.1 draft pick plays, ''he's still going to get the deals with the equipment manufacturers, he's still going to get the deals with some of the core athletic apparel companies and so on,'' MacIntyre said. ''But you put him into a big market like New York or Toronto and he'll make 10-fold what he would make elsewhere.'' Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh and the Rangers have the best shot at getting Crosby's rights. They will have more balls in the drum when the draft lottery is conducted Friday because they haven't made the playoffs in several years. Sponsorships could prove huge for Crosby's pocketbook especially with an NHL rookie salary cap of $850,000 US and lower eligibility for performance bonuses than in years past.

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