Kukla's Korner

Cujo Close to Decision

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN, Curtis Joseph is about to be taken off the list of available NHL free agents, as TSN has learned that the netminder is close to reaching terms on a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Boat Load of Signings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I know most of you follow just about every NHL signing and I have tried to point out some of the significant ones, but don't forget to check out the Daily Tracker from both TSN and Sportsnet for all of the transactions.

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Laviolette to Lead Team USA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com, Peter Laviolette, currently the head coach of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, was named today by USA Hockey as the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team.

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Broadcast Decision Nearing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Will ESPN continue to televise NHL Hockey? We should know the answer within 24 hours. I for one hope the NHL figures out a way to allow both Comcast and ESPN into the deal At times ESPN has done a very poor job of promoting the game and when they do, it is usually highlights of a scene like the Bertuzzi fiasco. ESPN never opens Sports Center with NHL news, it is usually pushed back to the rear of the show and only slightly talked about. Lately they have even gone as far to advise on-air radio hosts to avoid talking about the NHL and as we all know, the majority of ESPN viewers don't even follow the game. On the other hand, the best chance to get the exposure the game deserves, ESPN would be my choice. This may be the last shot this game has to entice viewers, and let's face it, ESPN can do it better than anyone else right now. I also think if Comcast was able to broadcast games, the competition between the two networks would be a positive. Comcast would be a new and possibly a refreshing alternative to ESPN and force them to enhance their coverage of the game. A must is broadcasting as many games as possible in HD. IF you have HD, you know the WOW factor it brings; heck I watch almost anything in HD because of the picture quality. Maybe others will do the same and tune into a game just for the viewing pleasure it provides. The NHL must get TV exposure now. Will they get it right remains to be seen.

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Yzerman A Lock For Team Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via Sportsnet,

There will be some big names that won't make Team Canada's roster for the Turin Olympic, victims of an abundance of talent this country has on its hands these days. But barring an injury, Steve Yzerman is a lock to compete in his third Olympics. "There's no bubble for Stevie Y," said Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky. "If he's not playing great, and his knee is bothering him, he'd be the first guy to tell me."

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Lecavalier About to Sign Long Term Deal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from RDS (translated from French to English),

Those which dreamed to see Vincent Lecavalier in the uniform of the short-term Canadian will have to forget that. The attacker high-speed motorboat got along on a long-term contract with Ligthning de Tampa Bay, which should confirm the news in the next hours. The details of the agreement are not yet known but it is known that Lecavalier will be treated like a player of frankness.

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IIHF Reaches an Agreement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Finnish Station YLE is reporting the IIHF has come to an agreement. The Russians will not be part of the agreement but the Czechs will be. It will become a free-for-all with the Russian players and for Wings fans, means more bargaining power for Datsyuk. I imagine the NHL will be playing hardball with the REL (Russian Elite League) to force them to come on board. Until then, we may see some players deciding to stay in Russia even if they have committed to an NHL team this year. update 1:12pm, PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech hockey federation has agreed to sign a compromised proposal of the player transfer agreement between the NHL and the sport's world governing body. The International Ice Hockey Federation delivered a compromised draft late Monday and the 14 Czech league clubs met Tuesday for a vote. The teams agreed to the deal "by a narrow majority," Czech federation spokesman Pavel Barta said. According to the compromised deal, the minimum compensation for any European player selected in the draft will be $200,000. The Czechs had balked at the pact because they wanted the proposed $150,000 minimum raised to $300,000. In the originally proposed five-year player transfer plan, the NHL would pay $12.5 million annually to a fund managed by the IIHF - a $3.5 million increase from the previous deal. The compromised one-year plan will call for $9 million, and the IIHF would distribute the money among six national federations and clubs that lose players to the NHL. Russia was not part of the deal, Barta said. The deadline for players to transfer to the NHL was set for Aug. 26. Besides the Czechs, five other federations have said they would sign the new plan - Sweden, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. The Russian federation refused to sign because the Russian clubs would like to deal directly with NHL teams in determining player compensation.

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Marketing The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross at ESPN,

I don't care how popular the NHL is. My affection for hockey is not determined by the number of people who call the sport a friend. I have listened to the CD "Keep It Together" by Guster 48 out of the last 51 days. I wonder how many copies the album has sold -- 25,000, 50,000, 100,000 records? The fact that an extremely small number of people enjoy Guster doesn't matter to me. The sound lifts me. Just like a certain sport. The NHL is clearly a better game than the NFL, which is slow and plodding, with very little action. It is a once-a-week culture based on large consumptions of food, alcohol and gambling. Add the fact that it televises well, that it's comprised of players who are mostly American, and that people are inclined to gravitate toward what is popular, and you have a prosperous industry.

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A Lot More Goals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

One of those hman interest stories from the Gaylord Herald Times,

"It was a very tough year, we lost a lot of fans," Weight said. "It was tough not getting a pay check. We're excited to get back into action and to sell this product." The new NHL features a bevy of rules changes designed to increase scoring. This could benefit a player like Weight, who has 224 career goals and 604 career assists. "I love it," he said with a smile. "There is going to be a lot more goals scored and that's what the fans want. They want to see the superstars out there scoring goals and that is what will happen."

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IIHF- From the Russian Point of View

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kommersant,

Yesterday, the president of Hockey Federation of Russia (HFR) Alexaner Steblin and vice-president of Professional Hockey League (PHL) Vladimir Shalaev one more time made a telephone call to presidents of all super league clubs. The presidents said that their position has not changed. They still insist to include into the text of the agreement that NHL will recognize the Russian contracts between a player and a club. Americans are totally against that. If NHL would go along with Russian proposal, than the agreement is loosing all its sense – the clubs would be able to negotiate amount of compensation directly with each other. Rene Fasel, president of IIHF, was informed about the opinion Russian clubs’ presidents. Today, Fasel should relay this opinion to Bettman. From now on, everything will depend of Americans – if they will not propose another version of agreement, than it would not be signed at all. However, the events might develop in different direction. The heads of the federation have a bit different position towards the agreement. They are sure that if the agreement will not be signed the way it is, than Europe might not get anything at all from NHL.

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