Kukla's Korner

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The Commish Speaks

added 7:07pm, You can now watch (link takes you to page with video) the interview if you wish…

Gary Bettman took part in a media Q & A today….

Q. Commissioner, concerning Pittsburgh, when is it going to be too late for them to reach any kind of an agreement on the building?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: I don’t think it would be constructive or wise for me to say, ‘This is the date,’ because deadlines, as we’ve seen in lots of negotiations, can come and go. The fact is, we’ve got to be talking about weeks. We’ve got a schedule to do. Arrangements have to be made. My hope is that a building on terms that make sense to the franchise will be achievable in Pittsburgh and this will become a non-issue. But at some point in the not too distant future, in a matter of weeks, we have to start focusing with some certainty on what the schedule is going to look like.
Time is of the essence, but I wouldn’t want to overly portray an urgency today. It’s urgent, but it’s not imminently urgent, if you know what I mean. It will be shortly.

Q. Commissioner, Bill Daly mentioned yesterday that you received a new proposal for the IIHF agreement that includes Russia. Would you comment on that to say how reasonable it looks to you?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: Actually, I’ve been busy the last 18 hours since we got the proposal. So I haven’t seen it in its entirety.
Bill tells me it’s interesting. It probably needs some work. But we haven’t had a chance to discuss it. We’ve been waiting for a while. It can wait until tomorrow, until I get done doing what we’re doing here. But I do take it as a good sign that on some basis, even though I don’t know what it is, the Russians are indicating a willingness to participate.

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The BOG Had The Final Say

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Bettman, who usually says little about the internal workings of the board, acknowledged that he supported one of two alternatives, either retaining the status quo, or adopting the least dramatic change — which would have reduced the number of divisional games from eight to seven and replaced them with four out-of-conference games.
If Bettman had pushed harder for a change, could that have swung a couple of votes to the yes side?
He didn’t think so.
“Some of you think I throw lightning bolts,” said Bettman. “The fact is, I do report to a board and the board has the final say. “Unlike lots of other things we’ve done as a league, where everybody can focus on doing things from a league-wide basis, the schedule’s kind of personal. It’s market-specific. It’s rivalry specific. It gets emotional….”


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Answer The Door

from the Montreal Canadiens,

An unexpected knock on your front door early on Sunday morning is rarely met with much enthusiasm. That is unless it’s the Canadiens who are standing on your front porch.
As the winner of the “Grande Visite” contest, nine-year-old Maxime Dubé ran to the door that morning along with five of his friends to welcome Steve Bégin, Francis Bouillon and Guillaume Latendresse, who arrived bright and early at 8:30 am.


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Rafalski and Miller Welcome Vets Home

from KWTX:

Men and women in uniform returning from the Persian Gulf for rest and recovery got a special All-Star welcome Tuesday.
A pair of NHL All-Stars greeted the 120 service members arriving at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and New Jersey Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski shook hands with arriving troops.



pic via Reuters

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How Will The Teams Finish

Scott Burnside of ESPN puts it on the line, predicting the finish in both the West and East.

He puts Nashville and Buffalo at the top!

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Marketing Not Working Well

from ScrippsNews,

Based on the number of arenas with empty seats and falling TV ratings, “obviously, their marketing is not working very well,” said sports marketing expert Brad Robins, who likes the league’s new Internet content ventures, but says it is still not doing enough to expose the game to new audiences.
Take the All-Star Game, which has been moved back to midweek from its previous Sunday slot. The league thus avoids clashing with NFL playoffs and other sports that crowd the U.S. calendar. But more important, NHL owners no longer lose their regular Saturday night games, by far the most profitable on the schedule.

read on

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Habs To Host 09 ASG

The all-star game is returning to Montreal.
The Canadiens will host the big contest during the 2008-09 season, which coincides with the club’s 100th anniversary.
The announcement was made by the NHL today in Dallas, home to the all-star game Wednesday.



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Super Skills

Breakdown (pdf file) of players participating in the different skills competition.

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No Schedule Change

from TSN,

The NHL will stay the course and will not change the regular schedule for at least one more year.
That was the decision made the the league’s board of governors on Tuesday in an effort to deal with its much-debated scheduling concerns.


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Different Directions

from Newsday,

Two players enjoying stellar seasons have different approaches to a few days away from the grind of the NHL.
On the morning of his first day at an All-Star celebration, Jason Blake found himself singing “Happy Birthday” to a 5-year-old patient in the bone marrow transplant unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

continued... Shanny prefers to stay in his room and catch a movie…

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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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