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IIHF President & Bettman Talk 2014 Winter Olympics

from Reuters via the Globe and Mail,

Speaking at the SportAccord convention, Fasel and Bettman had a frank and sometimes heated exchange that underscored the difficult negotiations ahead for the NHL to remain part of the Olympics.

“It can be a challenge or a nightmare (bringing the NHL, IIHF, NHLPA Players’ Association and IOC together) and I take it as a challenge, a fantastic challenge and I will work day and night to have them (NHL players) in Sochi,” said Fasel.

The 2014 Games will be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi following next year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

But Bettman said: “It’s not so easy to simply say ‘Let’s go to the Olympics’. We shut down our season for two weeks to 17 days and there is a momentum to our season that is lost…it all comes to a screeching halt and we go off to the Olympics.

“No other league stops to go do this. In fact, baseball doesn’t do it and it’s no longer an Olympic sport. This is hard, it’s not always a good experience and the benefits we’ve sometimes seen were not always worth what we’ve had to sacrifice.

“I don’t think we get enough credit and I don’t think the IOC (International Olympic Committee) tends to recognize how difficult it is.”

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Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Playoff Race Is Still On

NHL games scheduled for tonight and below find an expended NHL Standings chart.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Top 30 Free Agents

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

With the American economy in turmoil and future salary cap projections clouded in uncertainty, NHL general managers are all cautioning that it would be best to tiptoe rather than bull-rush into any more long-term contracts. But even with all of the warning lights flashing, the expectation is that this summer’s free agent signing season will be as busy as usual. With July 1 less than 100 days away, it’s not too soon to window shop.

Here’s a look at my top 30 potential unrestricted free agents for the summer of 2009:

30. Defenseman Derek Morris (New York Rangers): There seems to be mixed reviews about Morris around the NHL, and his playoff performance will dictate how much interest there will be in him.

29. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (Calgary): He’s a 20-minute defenseman with offensive skill. He has scored on a penalty shot and in the shootout this season.

read on

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Sabres Need To Make The Playoffs

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

With the Sabres having missed the playoffs last season and in danger of doing it again, no one knows the importance of reaching the post-season this time around more than Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.

It means increased revenues. It means more demand for season tickets. And it means keeping the Sabres relevant in a city where the Bills have become Boss once again.

“It is extremely important we make the playoffs,” Ruff said during a phone interview last night. “We are sometimes the heartbeat of the city and have been, given that the Bills haven’t made the playoffs (since Jan. 8, 2000).

“We NEED to make it.”...

The Sabres needed a huge third-period comeback Wednesday to defeat the Florida Panthers 5-3, a turnaround that Ruff feels could ignite his team on a much-needed winning streak.

“I think those types of periods can give you momentum,” Ruff said. “And so does having Ryan Miller back.”

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Oliers Lose A Game They Needed To Win

from Robet Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

You have to look far and wide to find a more damning loss than the one they pitched last night.

By the time the game was 30 minutes old you couldn’t tell which team was second last in the West and which team was fighting for its playoff life. The Desert Dogs looked like the playoff team and the Oilers looked like something a dog leaves behind on the neighbour’s lawn.

They’ve got eight games left and can’t afford to lose many more.

“We’re running out of defeats, that’s the problem,” said head coach Craig MacTavish, whose club lost for the third game in a row to fall into ninth place. “You don’t want to spend one here today.”

But they did.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Florida GM Still Believes In The Panthers

from George Richards of the Miami Herald,

General manager Jacques Martin said Thursday night that he has no regrets in deciding to keep pending free agent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester at the trade deadline. Since Martin’s decision, neither Bouwmeester nor the team has played very well.

Bouwmeester has a goal and two assists in his past 11 games.

‘‘It’s not just Jay; since the trade deadline, our team hasn’t played as well,’’ Martin said before Thursday’s victory. ``When you make a decision, you have to be confident in it. And I am. I like this group of players. I still believe in this group, still feel confident we can achieve our goals and make the playoffs.’‘

more on the Panthers…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Tocchet Wants A Win

from the Tampa Tribune,

Tocchet is not necessarily interested in seeing some form of retribution against Ovechkin. He wants a far sweeter form of revenge.

A victory.

“That’s something where you’d like to see your players react,” he said. “But reacting is playing and beating Washington by playing abrasive, it’s not being stupid.”

Tocchet says he wants to win the game so badly, he might resort to chopping his bench down to ridiculous levels.

“I would think guys would be ready to play that game. I’ll go with two lines if there are some guys who aren’t ready to play,” he said. “Right now we’re evaluating our players, and that will be a big part of our evaluation.”

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Rangers Can’t Afford Any More Errors

from Stan Fischler of Game

On, Sidney, oh, Sidney Crosby, what pain might ye inflict on the Rangers?

You, too, Evgeni Malkin.

Then again, perhaps the Penguins are precisely the birds the Blueshirts require on Saturday afternoon after another species — this one is the kind that flies, called Thrashers — ruined the Rangers in a 5-4 Shootout that made Phillips Arena look more like a cuckoo’s nest on Thursday night.

The Penguin is a bigger bird than a Thrasher and, perhaps, such a foe is precisely what New York needs after blowing a 4-1 lead to an Atlanta team that looked all but extinct nearly two-thirds through the game.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Flames Not Battling Enough

from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,

First, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat them 2-0. Then, on Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked them 5-0.

“It’s frustrating to get embarrassed like that,” spat defenceman Adrian Aucoin. “Tonight in particular. We lost every battle. Power play. Penalty kill. Even strength.

“We just didn’t make the easy plays. We didn’t play as five-man units out there. They really exploited us for it.”

Fellow defenceman Robyn Regehr offered up a similar assessment.

“We got out played in every area tonight,” he said. “It comes down to work. They out-played us on the penalty kill. The power play. Even strength.

“We’re just losing way too many battles. One –on-ones. In front of the net. Everywhere.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Different Manny Fernandez

from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,

Manny Fernandez looked like he’d seen a ghost.

Clearly trying to put all things Minnesota behind him, Fernandez appeared stunned when a reporter from St. Paul walked up to him the other day in Ristuccia Arena, where the Boston Bruins practice.

You could almost see the wheels turning. Did he mix up the next opponent? Weren’t the Bruins scheduled to play the Devils the next afternoon?

At times cordial and at times a smoldering volcano during his six seasons with the Wild, Fernandez seems to have turned over a new leaf with the Boston Bruins. After a moment, he extended his hand, peeled off his big goalie pads and said he’d be happy to talk a little puck.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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