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Modano Named Special Ambassador

DALLAS - Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars has been named Special Ambassador to the 2007 NHL All-Star Celebration, the National Hockey League announced today. Modano, the Stars’ all-time leader in several statistical categories and a member of the franchise for the entirety of his 16-year career, will appear at selected All-Star events and will drop the puck in a ceremonial face-off prior the 55th NHL All-Star Game Wednesday night.
“Mike is the face of the franchise and a true All-Star,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said of Modano, the only remaining player on the Stars’ roster to have made the move with the club from Minnesota to Dallas in 1993.
The 36-year-old Modano - the Stars’ all-time leader in goals (495), assists (708), points (1,203) and games-played (1,206) - suffered a hip muscle injury on Dec.4 and has missed the last 21 games due to the injury.

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Welcome Gordie

from the Dallas Stars,

After countless personal appearances and autograph sessions, Gordie Howe still savors every moment of his seemingly endless meet and greets. “If they’re interested enough to come down, then I should feel interested, too,” said Howe, who appeared in 29 All-Star games during a career that began in 1946. “You have to get the people to know you.”...
Thirty minutes before he was expected, and with no entourage like some of today’s showy athletes, Howe humbly walked into the Upper Deck booth, shook a couple of hands, sat down and immediately began mingling with the crowd. Sporting his Hockey Hall of Fame blazer—he was inducted in 1972—Howe’s presence drew a line of fans that seemed endless.

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Another Kind Of Vintage Memorabilia

from Victor Chi of the Mercury News:

After Weight won the Stanley Cup with Carolina last season, Guerin wanted to give his buddy a special gift to commemorate the championship.
Guerin decided a bottle of wine would be appropriate, so naturally he reached out to Bert George, the San Jose native who has become a celebrity among NHL players for his wine selection and artistic bottle creations.
George delivered a 12-liter bottle of a 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon with a picture of Weight lifting the Stanley Cup above his head on the front.
``Bert is the best,’’ Guerin said.

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Kovalev Consistenly Disappointing Habs Fans

from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette:

Canadiens fans seem to have a love/hate relationship with Alex Kovalev.
No player on the Canadiens is blessed with more individual skills to bring fans out of their seats at the Bell Centre, but no player is more frustrating to watch on too many nights.
The hate part of the relationship was evident when coach Guy Carbonneau decided to make Craig Rivet and Sergei Samsonov healthy scratches for last Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, which the struggling Canadiens lost 4-0. After listening to radio phone-in shows as well as comments from other media members, it’s obvious a lot of people felt it was Kovalev who should have been sitting in the press box.

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Check Your Sked

from Kevin Allen of USA Today:

Opinions about NHL realignment are all over the map, making it unlikely that the board of governors will embrace any restructuring of its divisions or conferences at its Tuesday meetings in Dallas.
But there is still a possibility that owners might agree to change the schedule to allow more games between conferences.
“I sense there is appetite for change in the West, less so in the East,” said Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke. “My prediction is that there will be either status quo or one division game switched to a non-conference game.”

“By playing so many games in the division, I believe that works for many divisions because great rivalries already existed,” said Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Jay Feaster. “It helps fill their buildings. One division that it does not increase attendance in is the Southeast. That is true in our own building. (On Jan. 11), we’re playing home against Washington, and if we beat them we leapfrog into the eighth playoffs spot. It was a yawner from the fans’ perspective. It’s the same when we play Atlanta and Carolina. We don’t have the history and tradition that these other teams in other divisions do. That’s the first problem. It doesn’t do much for us at the gate.”

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Oh, boo hoo.  The fact that owners and GM’s would rather save a few travel bucks at the expense of Original Six rivalries—we won’t see the Leafs, Habs, or Bruins in Detroit again until the 09-10 season—illustrates how fundamentally disconnected those who run the game are from the people who pay their salaries.

 

 

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Golden Grapes

from the Toronto Sun:

A week after it was snatched during a charity event in North York, paralympian Paul Rosen’s cherished gold medal was back around his neck yesterday—thanks in large part to an impassioned plea by hockey guru Don Cherry.
Rosen was surrounded by a huge crowd at Downsview Park last Saturday helping out with Shoot for a Cure—an event to raise money for spinal cord research—when he suddenly noticed the hardware he had taken home from Turin, Italy, last March as the goalie for Canada’s gold medal-winning sledge hockey team had been stolen.
“I was signing autographs and I turned around and my medal was gone,” Rosen said yesterday after picking up his gold medal from Toronto Police at 32 Division.
“I truly believe that Don Cherry had a huge role in this,” the 46-year-old said of the man known as Grapes to hockey fans across the country.

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Heika Talks Hockey With Chairman Gary

from the Dallas Morning News:

The lockout and the canceling of a season – would you do it again in the same circumstances?
Well, you’re asking me the question which I get asked all the time, and I never answer. Which is, was it worth it? And the answer to your question is we had no choice. We had profound problems, and if we did not fix them, we could not move forward.

Financially speaking, do you like where the league is right now, and what is your target for going forward?
Vastly improved. Most of our teams are either making money or breaking even. The teams that are losing money are losing less. My goal is to have all of our clubs at least breaking even or making money, and at the same time. And this is as much about what the new system was about as anything else, all of our clubs have the opportunity to be competitive.

Obviously, making the uniforms better for the players is a huge advantage. What if the fans don’t respond well?
What we’ve done with the uniforms, this wasn’t done for fashion, this was done for performance and safety. Using new fabrics and new materials and the design, you know, we really haven’t had a design change in our uniform in 40 years. This was really an attempt to modernize our uniform to enable the players to do what they do even better. They’ll have more freedom of motion, they’ll be wearing fabrics that enable them to breathe and not retain as much sweat in their uniforms so that they’ll be lighter, I think this is going to enhance performance.

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Rangers Looking For “It”

from Newsday,

“You’d like to think it’s in your lineup,” Renney said after the Rangers fell to 10-10-3 at home and 23-21-4 (50 points) overall. “But certainly it’s possible that it’s not. You can only sort of guess your way through that need for so long. The bottom line is we have to have results from that position, not for just that line but from every line from an offensive perspective.
“We have to play the game a certain way if we’re going to have success, and certain people have to step up and help us as we determine that. With that in mind, you do start to look at your roster and say, ‘Is this guy in the right spot? Can he be somewhere else? Do we need something else? How do we correct ourselves?’ Because we are in the playoff hunt, at least, and we don’t want to lose grasp of that.”

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Sabres Talk Ticket Prices & Finances

from the Buffalo News,

Buffalo Sabres fans are going to pay more for the hottest tickets in town - a moderate increase in season-ticket prices next year and a lot more for playoff tickets this spring.
The team that is selling out HSBC Arena for all 41 home games this season will raise season-ticket prices an average of 8 percent next year, a lower figure than some observers had speculated. But for the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs, season-ticket holders will pay an average of about one-third more than their season-ticket rate.

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A Different Kind Of Celebration

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,

No Iginla. No Pronger. No Jagr. No Niedermayer (Scott). No Zetterberg. No Modano. No Forsberg. No Spezza. No Havlat. Not even frickin’ Rory Fitzpatrick, the People’s Choice. Oh, but Andy McDonald, God bless him, will be there.
We refer, of course, to the all-star game on Wednesday in Dallas. And why, outside of Sidney Crosby, would anyone want to watch this tired format slink though another episode of mailed-in performances and corporate schmooze?

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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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