Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Erik Johnson Goes College Route

from the AP via ESPN,

Erik Johnson, who was the top overall pick in last month's NHL draft, announced he will attend the University of Minnesota this fall. Johnson and his family said Friday that the 18-year-old will enroll in the university rather than joining the St. Louis Blues for the upcoming season.

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So No To Eddie

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

The Wings gave Ed Belfour a physical and are considering signing him as their goaltender. With Chris Osgood already signed, the addition of Belfour would give Detroit a goalie tandem with a combined age of 74 and 28 NHL seasons between them. Yes, experience in goal is key, but when talking about Belfour, the experience that the Red Wings should be noting is the experience he has had with back injury. ...So what is the upside to signing Belfour in Hockeytown? What will that press release say? "In a division with the Blue Jackets, Blackhawks and Blues, we feel he will be good enough for second place. And we are the Red Wings, so don't rule out the President's Trophy. The crest alone counts for 30 victories. Doesn't it?"
read on...FYI, Kara was on an extended 8 week leave in case you were wondering...

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Change The Over The Glass Call

from the Hockey News,

It didn’t take Carnac or even a Caneiac to accurately predict the shooting-the-puck-over-the-glass rule would have a major impact in a big game this season. ...Fortunately for the league, it happened to a small-market team on the road. Had it occurred to the Rangers in Madison Square Garden or the Maple Leafs in Air Canada Centre, we’d be using the Richter scale to measure the reverberations. Regardless, we’ve been saying all season the punishment – a two-minute penalty – is excessive and punitive for what is often an accident. We also suggested in this space months ago the action of putting a puck in the stands on purpose is akin to a deliberate icing. Why not treat them the same: a faceoff in the defending zone of the offending team and no line change permitted?
read on

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All Gilbert Brule

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Q : What was the Memorial Cup run like? A : One of the best things so far in my hockey career. Just being on a team like that, seeing how close you get with the guys. It’s such a hard tournament to win, but I don’t think you realize that until after you get there, after it’s over. Q : You played a part in eight of the last nine goals scored by the Vancouver Giants, carrying them all the way to the semifinals. Is that as good as you’ve ever felt on skates? A : It’s a feeling of brotherhood. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but something develops that brings everybody together. Q : Vancouver is, by all accounts, one of the most beautiful spots in North America, if not the world. Did you take that for granted growing up right there in the middle of it? A : It’s tough to get me out of Vancouver. You’ve got the mountains, the water, the beaches, the islands … you can do everything there. And the people are so great.
read on image

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How Is Vokoun

from the Nashville City Paper,

The all-star goalie’s blood clot ailment is so rare there is no track record in which to refer, though the Predators remain optimistic that No. 29 will be ready to open the season. Yogi Berra’s assessment is this: They won’t know until they know. Translation: Until the cycle of medication Vokoun is taking is complete, nothing can be definitive. Expect an update before the end of July.
more on the Preds...

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Liv Likes His Masks

Stefan Liv, Wings goalie prospect who will probably start the season in Grand Rapids, likes his goalie masks. Check them all out and make sure to click on the links for detailed pictures. image

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Flyers Better This Year

from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,

This week's signings brings the Flyers' current payroll to about $35.5 million. If Gagne agrees to a deal worth about $5 million and Pitkanen signs for around $2 million, the Flyers will be left with a payroll of about $42.5 million, about $1.5 million below the NHL's new $44 million salary cap. That should explain why the Flyers did not make a big splash in the free-agent market. Still, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke thinks his 2006-07 roster will be better than the one that finished in a first-place tie with the New Jersey Devils with 101 points. "We signed our big guys last year," Clarke said, referring to Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Mike Knuble (in 2004). "Our weaknesses, even when we were healthy, was that our third and fourth lines weren't scoring enough. This year we got faster, more skilled, smaller players for our third and fourth lines that we think we are going to be a better team than we were last year. Until all of our injuries we were a real good team last year."
more

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Goodbye Tough Guys

from the National Post,

Gary Bettman has always known that he had to get the heavyweights out of his game if he was going to sell hockey to corporate America. Not necessarily fighting, per se. But the goon, the slugger. The guy who rolls up his sleeves and throws off his helmet as he circles, sizing up the other team's biggest, toughest guy. Bettman couldn't simply ban fighting. He had to shape the game so fighting would ban itself. And so it was, as the National Hockey League's commissioner so often says, "a work in progress." Late Tuesday afternoon at the NHL's head offices in New York, they hung the painting.
read on

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Gionta Wants To Stay With The Devils

from the Bergen Record,

In a surprising move, Gionta opted not to file for arbitration before Wednesday's 5 p.m. NHL deadline because he feels the best way to land the long-term contract he wants is to continue negotiating with the Devils. "It may not be today or tomorrow or next week, but I think at the end of the day we both have the same goal at heart, which is to make Brian a fairly long-term New Jersey Devil and we're going to continue to work toward that," Gionta's agent, Steve Bartlett, said Wednesday. "We factored everything in, the fact that Brian wanted to be a Devil and we're just going to keep working through this."
more

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Blackhawks Still Seeking Players

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

As the free-agent dance got under way in the NHL on Saturday, the Blackhawks looked like the wallflower--waiting, in vain, for someone to ask them onto the floor. The lack of interest established NHL players have shown the Hawks is yet another slap at the franchise, which should be one of the league's prime destinations. "There is no one we haven't talked to, no one we haven't identified and we've never worked so hard," Hawks general manager Dale Tallon said Thursday at the team's prospects camp. "It's a small talent pool with so many teams." ...His best bet to add could be via trade. When the dust clears after free agency and arbitration, teams should be looking to move players to fit below the $44 million cap. One of those teams will be New Jersey, which has nearly $43.5 million committed with center Scott Gomez still unsigned.
read on

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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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