Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Uncertainty In Buffalo

from the Buffalo News,

"I loved it there in Buffalo," Grier said in a conference call. "Darcy and the organization treated me well. I just felt going forward San Jose was a better fit. There's some uncertainty in Buffalo." Grier echoed comments made last week by co-captain Daniel Briere, who said players were "a little nervous" about how the front office will handle the offseason. Numminen's signing gives the Sabres only four players under contract. They lost defenseman Jay McKee to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, a move Grier lamented. "It's a young team," Grier said. "They have a lot of guys who will be unrestricted free agents in a few years. It's going to be tough to keep everyone around. "Sometimes you have to make a business decision and go with your gut feeling on where you think things are going."
more

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Spending Continues

from the Vancouver Sun,

"I have never been more embarrassed to work in the NHL as I was on July 1 and 2 because I know we can't support the salaries. We're going head-to-head with people who are nuts, absolutely out of their minds." - Brian Burke, 2001 Where is Brian Burke when you need him? When the National Hockey League in the summer of 2006 cries out for a voice of reason, for sobering perspective on this free-agent madness? Oh, yeah, Burkie was busy Monday lifting Chris Pronger and his $31.25-million-US contract from the Edmonton Oilers.
continued

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Options For Gionta

from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,

Gionta became a restricted free agent on Saturday and has three options: re-sign with the Devils, file for salary arbitration by Wednesday or test the free-agent marketplace. Affecting the decision for Gionta and his agent, Steve Bartlett of Pittsford, is what could lie ahead after next season. If he signs for just one year this summer, he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. "One year may be in our best interests unless we clearly get (in a long-term deal) what we think will be market value in an open market," Bartlett said. "In an open market, I know Brian Gionta would be extremely valuable."
read on

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Leafs Close To Cap

from the Toronto Sun,

The waiting game has begun for John Ferguson, but Paul Maurice can't afford to wait at all. This is where the Maple Leafs find themselves, three days into NHL free agency, with the team almost tapped out and capped out. There are needs to fill but little money with which to address them. There are holes but no clear way to address them. Ferguson has approximately $4 million US left to spend on as many as four players, which means he's caught playing the hockey version of musical chairs, wondering which players will be left without seats.
continued

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That’s A Lot Of “D”

from the OC Register,

He carries pucks, carries power plays. Carries franchises. And now he's toting the Ducks' wheelbarrow, but he only has to handle one handle. Scott Niedermayer has the other. That's $13million worth of defensemen next season, about 30 percent of the Ducks' salary cap, but no one in hockey can remember two such deluxe D's on one team. "But the price was high," said Brian Burke, the Ducks' general manager, and he wasn't kidding. They had to surrender Lupul, the Ducks' top producer in the playoffs and a charismatic and feisty 22-year-old who should be contending for trophies after Pronger has retired (he turns 32 Oct.10). Playing in his hometown will only enhance the Prolific Palindrome, who scored four goals at Colorado in Game 3 of the second round. "I don't think they would have done this if they didn't get Lupul," Burke said.
more

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Out OF Touch

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

Speaking from his home in St. Louis, Mo., and buoyed by the fact the Oilers had just traded him to the Anaheim Ducks, Pronger said he was aware of the sentiment in Edmonton, so aware that "the best part was I was out of the country. Out of sight, out of mind." Wow. Now that's interesting. Sign a five-year deal worth $31.25-million (U.S.), ask to leave after one season, fly to Mexico and let your agent make cryptic comments about things couples go through. Let it be known that the reasons for wanting out are personal and private. Let a lot of people twist in the wind of speculation while you remain silent and then, when you finally speak, you say the best part was being out of the country. Out of sight, out of mind. Try out of touch, too.
read on

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A True Champion

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Before the Detroit Red Wings won their first of three Stanley Cups in six seasons back in the spring of 1997, captain Steve Yzerman was in Las Vegas during the offseason playing craps. Two elderly gentlemen from Detroit's Canadian neighbor, Windsor, Ontario, sauntered by and noticed Yzerman. "Let's go play somewhere else. There's no luck at this table," the one said to the other. Yzerman told that story after the Wings' Cup victory in 1997, the first in 42 years, not with smugness or a sense of self-righteousness, but rather to illustrate the sometimes imperceptible line that separates stardom from being a champion.
continued Want to read more on Yzerman? May I suggest Abel to Yzerman, Behind the Jersey & On the Wings. Dedicated Red Wing bloggers presenting the Yzerman retirement in unique ways.

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Burke On The Cutting Edge

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

Pronger had asked for a trade from Edmonton and yesterday shed little light on the reason he wanted out, other than that it involved his family. The rest, he said, was "none of your business, basically. "I understand why people were hurt. I feel for them. I didn't want it to turn our this way, but it was a personal matter and it's going to stay that way." In some ways, it's a good deal. With Scott Niedermayer already in place, the Ducks now have the kind of defensive tandem that is rarely seen in today's hockey. It's reminiscent of Gary Suter and Al MacInnis on the blue line of the Calgary Flames when they were one of the dominant teams in the league. The creation of such a potent pairing shows that Burke is right on the cutting edge of today's NHL thinking which puts a premium on elite defencemen. But if that's what he wanted, why didn't he just buy Zdeno Chara?
more

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Witt Is An Islander - Guerin Goes To The Blues

via the New York Islanders,

One of the most relentless defensemen in the National Hockey League is now a member of the New York Islanders. The Islanders have agreed to terms with Brendan Witt on a three-year contract. 'We were looking for competitors and today we signed one of the fiercest in the league in Brendan Witt," said Islanders Vice President and general manager Neil Smith. "Our coach Ted Nolan holds Brendan in the highest regard and was very interested in bringing him to Long Island, and I know Brendan was extremely excited about the prospect of playing for Ted."
from TSN, T
he St. Louis Blues have signed unrestricted free agent Bill Guerin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Numminen Staying In Buffalo

from WGR550,

The Sabres have come to terms with veteran defenseman Teppo Numminen. Numminen netted 2 goals and 38 assists in 75 games during the 2005-2006 regular season, his first with Buffalo and seventeenth in the NHL. The announcement comes on Numminen's 38th birthday.

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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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