Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Just Watch

from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,

Have you ever tried to hold your tongue about something and the strain of keeping your thoughts to yourself was almost too much to bear? That's how I feel about the NHL around this time of year. You can't say a word, because the perpetual rebuttal will always be, "it's just the preseason." You may as well banish any verbal thoughts or writing implements, and replace them with the contents of Marcel Marceau's makeup drawer. Say nothing, do nothing. Just observe. Why can't I have an opinion on a player's performance in the pre-season? Why am I constantly subjected to the incessant claims that nothing of significance is taking place? If that were the case, wouldn't the pre-season cease to exist?
continued

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Head Scratching

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Carter is a good hockey player and his numbers playing with the Sedin twins last year are actually better than Zherdev's, but it's entirely likely Carter will treat Columbus like a whistle stop -- 60 games and another move at the trading deadline if the Jackets are not in playoff contention. Why would MacLean simply not use that money over three years to go and get one of the key players this franchise is counting on? If Zherdev develops into the player many think he will, the last two years of such a deal could be a steal for the team. What makes this hardball position so bizarre is the fact Zherdev is one of the few players for whom playing in Russia is still a realistic alternative to the NHL, given he didn't like what he was being offered. Russia was attractive to a lot of players until their elite League went with an $11 million salary cap.
read on

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We Want Our HDNet

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Alas, you didn't get the high-definition game feed on most of those telecasts last season unless you had a satellite dish. Comcast will be adding more HD to the Center Ice package this season. Ah, but that's an old gripe. We have a new one this season: HDNet. That's the entity owned by Mark Cuban. Comcast still hasn't reached a deal with Cuban's HDNet to provide you, the high-paying consumer, with its 53-game HD hockey package. Why do you have to have the Dish or DirecTV to enjoy the full spectrum of hockey via HDNet? Why can't some of us, who are paying $150 a month strictly for Comcast cable, watch these games on HDNet in the format hockey was intended to be seen in? Wasn't high-def supposed to be part of the new era after the lockout? "It's a complicated issue," said Matt Bond, executive vice president of content acquisitions for Comcast. "His channel costs a lot of money. We have other hockey programming which we feel is better and costs less or nothing."
more...and what I have read, Comcast has no plans to add HD to the Center Ice package...

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Watching Lou

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The Flyers GM told the Sun yesterday he can't believe nobody has followed his lead to make a Group II offer to any of the Devils restricted free agents. With defencemen David Hale and Paul Martin and winger Brian Gionta still unsigned, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has gotten himself into a mess. The Devils are over the cap, with $47 million committed, and should be vulnerable to an offer sheet. Clarke wonders why no team has taken a chance. "I respect Lou Lamoriello a lot. He's won Stanley Cups and he's a good friend of mine, but I think everybody is going to be watching closely to see what happens here," said Clarke.
read on

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One Of The Best Americans

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

We're told Leetch, who had been training diligently throughout August, has at least temporarily put his workouts on hold for a variety of personal and family reasons. He is, however, keeping his options open. As a Group III free agent, Leetch faces no deadline by which he must sign a contract, and the team that signs him would not have to place him on waivers in order to add him to its roster. Talk about Leetch rejoining the Rangers is, at this point, all white noise that tends to drown out the significance of this elite athlete's historical status. Another of the game's legends may be gone soon, and perhaps without a proper stage from which to make an exit.
more (reg.req.) on Leetch, the cap, and a few other topics...

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Rangers Experience Puerto Rico

from Steve Zipay of Newsday,

But for a short time Saturday afternoon, the Rangers weren't thinking about their individual fates, or that of the team. The fate of the children at this bustling hospital outside of San Juan was far more important. Down the hall, the players crouched around the bed of Derek Salgado Montanez, posing while a nurse took a snapshot that she peeled off for each patient on the visit. Montanez, however, was more interested in his hand-held video device. "He's like my brother, Troy, always on the video game," said Dawes, who grew up in Winnipeg.
read on...highly recommended... FYI, Rangers won the game, 3-2 over Florida.

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Luongo Needs Help

from Fox Sports,

While there was a huge buzz in Vancouver when the team acquired Luongo to secure their goaltending position for years to come, the truth of the matter is expectations should be lowered for this team for this coming year. Yes, it's true Luongo is the goalie this team needed to compete for a championship last season, but that was then and this is now. A superior goalie like Luongo can't do it alone. The Canucks' battle to make the playoffs will begin from Game 1 and reach all the way to Game 82. There will be precious few opportunities for an "off" night for this team. In the end, the losses the team endured on the frontline and backline in the off-season, will ultimately keep Vancouver out of the postseason. Where they'll finish Division: Fifth Conference: 10th
more

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Do What’s Best

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette via Canada.com,

Koivu knows now his vision never will be 100 per cent. He has a permanent blind spot in his eye. A small cataract has formed. "It's not a good feeling," Koivu said. "You worry about it. But it's not cancer." I like this man. Always have, for the role model he has become, for his courage in a 2001-02 season-long battle with cancer ... for what he gives back to the community. He's looking good in practices, say his teammates. Looking good, say media people. What he must do is get accustomed to playing with his permanent blind spot, say management people. Here's what I say: you can forget everything Koivu appears to be doing in team scrimmages and exhibition games. They mean nothing. All that matters is what happens during the regular season. Doctors tell me there's still a "small blur" in his eye. The blind spot is permanent.
more

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The Shootout

Rob Schremp entertains! image

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Over The Boards

• Fourteen years ago today, Manon Rheume made sports history by being the first women to play in one of the four major sports leagues in the United States. She goaltended for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League in a pre-season game against the St. Louis Blues.

• Lightning CEO Tom Wilson said he is thrilled the team maintained season-ticket sales equal to last season's 14,500, including partials. Still, in what he called "a relatively new (hockey) market," three straight playoff seasons aren't enough. "I think there's a feeling that another year, two years, you're creating lifetime hockey fans," Wilson said. "We made a big dent in that aspiration when we won the Cup, and we reinforced it by making the playoffs again. You do it four, five years in a row, that's what you need, so there is a lot of pressure for us to continue to do well."
-St Petersburg Times
• (Bryan) Murray said he expects that there won't be nearly as many penalty calls early in the season because many of the players have adjusted to the officiating standard. "I think we all complained about it when it started because that's our job to criticize. But I really believe the players made the adjustment and they're feeling good about the direction the game has taken," said Murray.
-Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun

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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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