Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Will Hitch Save The Blue Jackets

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Canada.com,

When John H. McConnell, who pays the bills for his Columbus Blue Jackets, stepped up to the microphone to welcome Ken Hitchcock as his new head coach, the first words out of the owner's mouth were a jaw-dropping "this is the man to save the franchise." The last owner to make an outlandish statement like that was Art Williams, who ballyhooed Vincent Lecavalier as "the new Michael Jordan of hockey" after his Tampa Bay Lightning took the flashy Lecavalier with the first overall pick in 1998. Both owners turned the screws up, but then owners can say and do what they want because, well, they're owners. It's their money.
continued

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Niedermayer Finally Meets The Devils

from the OC Register,

Nearly 16 months after making a bold free-agent move to leave the perennially strong New Jersey Devils and sign with the then-rebuilding Ducks, Niedermayer will face off against his former team in a matinee matchup at Honda Center. Countless NHL players switch clubs via trade or free agency every season, so such reunions are anything but uncommon. This one, though, is special. Just like Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and former captain Scott Stevens, Niedermayer had become as much a part of New Jersey as, well, the Meadowlands and other garden spots that make it the Garden State. "He grew up there," said Ducks right wing Rob Niedermayer, Scott's younger brother. "He went through a lot when he was there, from 18 until whenever, 31 or so. There is a lot of history there, and I'm sure he has a lot of fond memories. I'm sure it will be a little weird for him, and he'll have a few smiles out there."
read on

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Twelve Hours Of Hockey

Just a friendly reminder, we have NHL hockey beginning at noon today. Enjoy the games. image

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NHL, Leafs Give Green Light

from the Toronto Star,

What makes this movie even more unique is that the NHL and the Maple Leafs — part of a sport where no player has ever come out of the closet — have given the filmmakers their blessing to use their logos and uniforms. The Leafs have even agreed to let them do some filming with them at the end of a practice next month.... Leafs general manager John Ferguson, for his part, said it wasn't hard for them to give the project the go-ahead after it got the green light from the NHL, which had screened the script. "On our end, we're certainly not trying to make a statement," said Ferguson. "We agreed to host them and we're comfortable with it." Don Cherry, on the other hand, may not be quite as comfortable. "I know that Gary Bettman wanted a kinder and gentler league, but this is too much," a laughing Cherry told the Star's Chris Zelkovich.
more

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Players Have A False Sense Of Security

from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,

Ron MacLean stepped up his criticism of the National Hockey League yesterday by arguing that its crackdown on restraining fouls has created a dangerous environment for the players. "They're willing to throw players under the bus," MacLean said on AM 640 Toronto. "And, to me, it's inexcusable." MacLean, the host of the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, said the league's zero tolerance toward obstruction reduces physical play and therefore gives players a false sense of security.
continued

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Wings King Kronwall With 5-Year Deal

from TSN:

Sources tell TSN the Red Wings have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $15 million. The extension is a vote of confidence for a talented 25-year-old defenseman who has suffered through both a broken leg and torn ACL since making his NHL debut in Detroit in the 2003-2004 season. Kronwall, who has played just 63 games in the National Hockey League, will make $1.5 million in 07-08, $3 million in 08-09, $3.25 million in 09-10, $3.5 million in 2010-2011, and $3.75 million in 2011-2012, for a salary cap average of $3 million and a free agency value of closer to $3.5 million. Unquestionably, it's a gamble for both the player and the team based on the length of the term.
No-brainer. Spectacular deal. The end. continued

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The Difference Makers

from the New York Times,

One season after the Penguins finished last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth consecutive time, they are 10-7-3 (2 points out of first place) with a roster of fledglings who have drawn comparisons to the Edmonton Oilers when Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were their young stars. Sidney Crosby, the 19-year-old center, does commercials in English and French, leads the N.H.L. All-Star fan balloting in the Eastern Conference and creates passing lanes in tight spaces. Evgeni Malkin, a 20-year-old center, has 10 goals and 10 assists. A federal district court ruling last week allowed him to keep playing for the Penguins after his former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, in southwestern Russia, initiated legal action against him, claiming it still had Malkin under contract. “Some cities never get a superstar,” Johnston said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “We’ve got a couple of them.”
read on

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Looking Ahead To UFA Season

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

The contract talks between Detroit and Pavel Datsyuk are expected to try the patience of everyone involved. It might be easier forging an alliance between Republicans and Democrats in Congress next session than it will be to find a quick contract solution between Datsyuk and the Red Wings. The Buffalo Sabres also face future angst figuring out how to afford to keep both Daniel Briere and Chris Drury next season while maintaining a reasonable budget.... With the subplots already starting to unfold, here's an early ranking of next summer's potential top 10 unrestricted free agent forwards:
read on

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Talking Head Shots

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Much to the chagrin of the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL has decided not to pursue supplementary discipline against Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell for his high, hard hit on Johan Franzen Wednesday night. So the net result stands as a two-minute minor for interference. But the Mitchell hit on Franzen could yet be something of a turning point in the head shot debate that has been ongoing in the wake of devastating hits on Trevor Letowski, Aaron Downey, Jason Williams and now Franzen.
continued

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Texas Politics: Mike Modano Wants Your Vote

By Alanah D I frequently complain that the NHL's teams never seem willing to exhibit even the slightest sense of humor or originality in their marketing. But today I see that the Dallas Stars have produced this video to solicit votes for Modano's trip to the 2007 All Star game. With Brett Hull being the self-described "Ambassador of Fun" and "Campaign Manager", how can they go wrong?

Note #1: I am in NO WAY advocating votes for Mike Modano. Enjoy the video, but feel free to vote for someone else... please?! Note #2: Voting can be done here till January 2, 2007.

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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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