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Russia’s Hockey Alternative

From The Moscow News Weekly,

Russia’s hockey tradition is long and exceptional. I remember the first wave of Russian players who took the NHL by storm in the 1980s, and the steady stream of players that followed. And while it is certainly still just the second-best league in the world, the Superliga offers many things the NHL can’t. For starters, the fact that teams are based in unglamorous places like Khabarovsk and Novokuznetsk appeals strongly to my sense of fairness.

And unlike the NHL, the Superliga has a bright future. Last summer, thanks to some changes in Russian contract law, a flood of Russian players came home. Russian pro hockey is also set for a major reorganization this year, and it appears that big com-panies like Gazprom, VTB and Ros­oboronexport are ready to step up their investment. And though billionaire Roman Abramovich’s football loyalties are tied up with Chelsea, his hockey interest rests solely with Avangard Omsk.

more from a former Bruins fan

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: russian+hockey

Malik Status With Rangers In Question

via Blue Notes at Newsday,

Defenseman Marek Malik’s equipment was not in his practice locker and could be on the move.

“Right now it’s just an internal matter,” said Tom Renney. Asked if Malik would be at tonight’s game, Renney responded:.“That’s to be determined.” Asked if he was suspended, Renney declined to answer. Asked if he was still on the team, the answer was: “He’s a Ranger.”

For how long, who knows?

Renney wouldn’t confirm that the 6-foot-6 Malik, 32, an unrestricted free agent who has played just and the target of Garden boo-birds all season, was being traded. Malik was scratched for four of the last nine games.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marek+malik

NHL Opening Games In Europe

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The plans to open the 2008-09 NHL regular season on two European fronts are now finalized.

The league is apparently ready to formally announce this weekend at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta that, as expected, the Ottawa Senators will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm and the New York Rangers will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Turris On Schedule

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

Turris has enlisted Denver-based player agent Kurt Overhardt as a “family advisor” and said he hears “from a couple of guys in the organization quite a bit—text messages and that sort of thing. We’ve kept in contact and they’re letting me have a good time.”

But for how long?

Coyotes GM Don Maloney said last week that Turris “is right on schedule. He’s played well for Wisconsin, and it’s been a great experience for him playing against more mature players. He was one of the go-to players with Team Canada, the top center on the top line, so we’re really pleased with what he’s done to date.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kyle+turris

Trick Shots

from NHL.com,

NEW YORK - TORONTO—Six of the NHL’s most prolific and creative scorers will showcase their best moves in quest of a ‘perfect 10’ when they square off against All-Star goaltenders in the inaugural Breakaway Challenge, the signature event in Saturday’s Dodge NHL SuperSkills Competition at the 2008 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today.

Three shooters from the Eastern and Western Conference will have two attempts to perform a highlight-reel trick while attempting to score. Shooters can start their routine from anywhere in the offensive zone and have full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Boring Avs

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

On a couple of levels — stylistic and strategic — the Avalanche at least temporarily has become what the organization used to belittle.

Conservative. Boring.

With Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny on the injured list, this is the way the Avalanche probably has to play to remain afloat.

The Avs are not only playing Columbus and Minnesota, they’re becoming Columbus and Minnesota.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Phaneuf Near Norris-Like Status

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Even before Dion Phaneuf slipped on a Calgary Flames sweater, the predictions were made.

Without even skating in an NHL game, belief was the talented defenceman had a future that included one or more Norris Trophy accolades.

Now, in the midst of his third season, is that a fair belief? Does Phaneuf’s destiny include being the NHL’s best defenceman?

“Oh yeah,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy without flinching. “You look at the guys who are the top defencemen in the league—(Nicklas) Lidstrom, (Chris) Pronger, (Scott) Niedermayer, (Brian) Rafalski, even, is up there. How many are young guys? How many young, young guys can you say that about?

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

One Key To Wings Success

from the LA Times,

“The key to having success is you need to have a couple of guys take less money in a cap system,” Schneider said before Wednesday’s game. “Nicky Lidstrom did it, Tomas Holmstrom did it, so did Kris Draper. They still got Zetterberg on his four-year deal where he’s making two and a half [million].

“It’d be awfully hard to do in a year or two when they’ve got to sign all those players again. Fortunately, they got some of their top players at a discounted rate.”

Ducks defenseman Sean O’Donnell put scouting among the key reasons why the Red Wings have been able to maintain their status as a chief Cup contender every season.

“I think for the last 10 years, that’s really been the model organization,” O’Donnell said.

more (reg. req.)

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line

Sharks coach Ron Wilson via Working the Corners,

“What’s going to happen if you don’t win that game? Now we’re the underachieving team again. Last week we were rated #1 team in hockey . . . It’s all a bunch of …

“Geeze, you win a few games, you lose a few games — it’s part of life in sports. It’s where you are at the end of the year. They don’t hand out awards for where we are today, tomorrow — it’s only at the end of the year and what you do in the playoffs….”

Wilson continues...

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+wilson

Problems Start At The Top For Sabres

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

I wasn’t surprised to see Lindy Ruff take the blame for the Sabres’ recent slide. Ruff is a leader and a stand-up guy. He did the noble thing by pointing the finger at himself, deflecting criticism from his soft, overrated players.

But Ruff was too hard on himself. He’s not the problem. He’s taking the bullet for the Sabres’ bumbling and dysfunctional management — for General Manager Darcy Regier, managing partner Larry Quinn, and most of all, for absentee owner Tom Golisano, who has been conspicuously unavailable during this troubling and turbulent period.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | 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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