Kukla's Korner

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On The Right Track

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

This has been Brendan Shanahan’s baby, ever since its conception a year-and-a-half ago. He has seen it wobble and toddle and stumble over some issues, such as officiating and diving.
He has also seen it straighten up and make small, but decisive steps forward, as speed and flow were restored to the game.
It was Shanahan’s efforts, in the darkest days of the National Hockey League lockout that, for better or worse, gave us a competition committee and a raft of changes that put the new in the new NHL.

continued

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Player & Trade Talk

via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Edmonton W Ryan Smyth said he’s had no discussions with the Oilers on a new contract since before the season. It’s believed Smyth, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is seeking a deal worth more than $5.25 million US a season. “Nothing has come about,” said Smyth. “I’m going to leave that up to (agent Don Meehan) to discuss. I’m out of it. I just hope that Donnie and (Oilers GM) Kevin (Lowe) can work something out.”

What are they waiting for?

Spector has all the latest player movement talk…

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Hockey Heaven

Don’t forget to check out the NHL.com writers at NHL Connect…

For the hockey nut, it is a scene that rivals what heaven must be like, minus the golf courses and endless sushi buffet. Where else can you stand in one spot, and in a matter of 30 seconds, have legends like Mario Limoux, Brett Hull, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque breeze past you.

read on

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At Least Nobody Pulled The YouTube

from ZDNet’s Garett Rogers:

When the partnership between Google and the NHL was first announced, there was much fanfare — people were excited about the prospect of watching their games any time they wanted.  These videos were planned to be “free for two weeks”, however it ended up being “free until the partnership died”, if that’s what actually happened.
For about two months, the NHL was uploading videos frequently and promptly — now it looks like fans shouldn’t be holding their breath too long for anything new.  The last video was uploaded two weeks ago on January 8th, and the “videos of the week” are still from January 7th.

continue

 

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Putting The Wood Back In Composites

from the Canadian Press:

Will Denis Flaro’s new hockey stick turn you into the next coming of Wayne Gretzky?
Probably not. But the president of Flarrow Hockey Sticks, based in Martintown, northeast of Cornwall, says owning the 9000 Turbine—with its one-of-a-kind design—will put you on the cutting edge of hockey equipment technology.
“We’re in the midst of testing it right now,” said Flaro. “I think it’ll capture a lot of the market.”
The 9000 Turbine, which takes its powerful-sounding name from a graphite model the company used to produce, is modelled on a standard one-piece hockey stick.
But unlike most one-piece graphite or fibreglass sticks—called composites—the core of the 9000 Turbine is filled with wood rather than left hollow. That gives it the lightness of a composite, said Flaro, with the feel and durability of a traditional stick.

continued

 

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NHL Aching With Apathy

from Brian Millner of the Globe and Mail:

The National Hockey League has stopped playing games that matter this week while it puts many of its star players in the spotlight during its annual all-star game, the first in three years. In many ways, the non-contest, which is being held in Dallas Wednesday, is a microcosm of the league itself in its struggles to attract wider audiences to the sport.
Commissioner Gary Bettman typically delivers a state-of-the-game assessment during this break, and as always, it will be a rosy one. But all is not rosy. Attendance is down, TV ratings are abysmal and the league still can’t seem to figure out how to market its assets to non-core fans. And it’s not only the owners. The players, too, have paid scant attention to the sport’s marketing woes.
“It’s a bit like pulling teeth during the season,” said Calgary defenceman Andrew Ference, one of half-a-dozen player business representatives who are in Dallas to kick around some marketing ideas. “We have to convince guys that it’s worth doing.”.

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The Board Of Governors Menu

from The Hockey News, via TSN:

While there’s no guarantee the schedule will change, one source close to the board of governors said yesterday there is an appetite to alter a format that sees teams play its division rivals eight times a season and teams in the other conference just once every three years.
‘‘I think the ones who want change will get a vote their way,’’ the source said. ‘‘What will probably happen is that they’ll say, ‘Hey, this matrix isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than what we have now.’ ‘’

The league is also expected to discuss the Pittsburgh Penguins situation, but Bettman said yesterday he’s content at the moment to allow the process in Pittsburgh to play itself to a conclusion. Daly said the NHL would likely need to know within a month about the Penguins fate.
Contrary to reports, both Bettman and Daly said there will be no discussion at the meeting about future expansion, making nets bigger or increasing the number of teams in the playoffs to 20. There has been talk that the league might allow 10 teams per conference into the post-season, with the seven, eight, nine and 10 seeds playing a mini-tournament in the first round.

continued

 

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Lemieux- We Will Sign A Deal We Like

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

I heard it wasn’t very good,” Lemieux said Monday at American Airlines Center, site of Wednesday’s NHL All-Star Game. “Our people were offended and very disappointed. Now, as always, we have to go out and explore our options. Once we find a deal we like, we’ll sign it up.”
Earlier in the day, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he figured the Penguins would choose among competing arena plans within 2-3 weeks. Kansas City is the other city known to have presented the Penguins with an offer.
Lemieux did not dispute Daly’s projection.

more

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Expansion Talk

from the Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

But isn’t it interesting how expansion has suddenly crept into polite NHL conversation of late?
Maybe I’m wrong on this. Maybe, hopefully, Gary Bettman will publicly renounce the mere thought of adding more teams this week. After all, the league just straightened out its finances and its game coming out of the lockout, and still has any number of franchise problems to work out.
But the suspicion is the league is working on expansion as we speak.
To anyone who loves the game, of course, the immediate response is to throw up at the mere thought of adding more teams to the Original 30.

read on

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The Future Talks

Ovechkin & Crosby from a media conference in Dallas today…

Q. Sidney, I’m here from the Kansas City Star. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this situation and what do you know about Kansas City?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I don’t know a whole lot. Obviously I think the players in our team are pretty content with being in Pittsburgh. We really enjoy it there. We get great support. That’s where we want to be, but again, it’s out of our hands. We have heard the rumor it’s a possibility to go there, but I think we’re quite content with being in Pittsburgh.
Q. Sidney, All-Star game players tend to not exactly give 110 percent. What percentage would you say you’re going to put out there?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I don’t know. I’m going to work hard obviously. Not going out there throwing hits everywhere, but it’s still a time to have fun, show some creativity and go out there and try to impress some fans.
So I think it’s a fun time. Obviously, like I said, you’re not going to be throwing your body around, but it’s a time to have fun and show some skills. So I think that’s what we’re all going to try to do.
Q. Both of you guys have been compared to each other so much. Are you looking forward to playing each other, how excited are you about that idea?
ALEX OVECHKIN: I’m looking forward to play against, together with Sidney and it will be a great time to play with a great player and we’re both young and I think we have the next game play together, too. It will be good.
SIDNEY CROSBY: I’m looking forward to it, obviously. As he said it’s always myself against him type of thing. It’s always built up when we play against each other. It’s nice to be on the same line. Obviously if you give him a puck he’s scoring for us and not against us. So it’s nice. Hopefully we can have some fun out there and create some things.
ALEX OVECHKIN: I just wait one time.

Continue Reading »

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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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