Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

East & West

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

The Oilers gate receipts at Rexall Place from the October start of the 2006-07 season through Dec. 31 were $1.07 million a night; that’s about three times what the Blackhawks are getting at United Center. Then again, there will never be any tag days for Chicago owner Dollar Bill Wirtz. It’s also double what the best team in the league, Nashville, is averaging and more than Dallas, one of the usual high-rollers.

more on the Oilers and bits from the Western & Eastern conferences…

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Filling The Lanes

from the Columbus Dispatch,

There was the crack of a shot hitting a stick and the thunk of a puck hitting a shin pad. Crack, thunk, crack, thunk. This is the soundtrack of the post-lockout era, when the hallmark of every team’s defense is to cut off shooting and passing lanes and block, block, block shots.
“What we have now,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said, “is five goalies.”...
“My least favorite thing about the NHL is that, at times, all of this great skating seems to be bringing us closer to critical mass,” Buccigross said in a recent e-mail. “There is so little time to get anything done that some games are a perpetual smacking of sticks. That, and the leaguewide philosophy of collapsing on the goaltender, has left the game with very few seams….”

read on

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Not Ready

from Wayne Fish of Philly Burbs,

“We are definitely not ready for that yet.’‘
By “that,’’ a player on the Flyers was referring to the possibility of an active player in the NHL coming out of the closet….
“We’re not to that point yet,’’ the Flyer player said. “You still hear racial stuff out there from time to time (among players and from the stands).’‘
The Flyer player said he believes he has played alongside gay players during his career but it never became an issue in day-to-day coexistence.
In his opinion, it’s only a matter of time until a retired hockey player makes an announcement similar to Amaechi’s.

more

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Although movies made in Iceland and Germany portrayed gay soccer players and their struggles after coming out, this is believed to be the first time a professional sports league and team have lent their names to a film in which homosexuality is a central topic. That the NHL would be the groundbreaker is infinitely surprising.
The caretaker of this most macho of sports, the NHL has long been insular and conservative. Among its most prominent figures is Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns the Kings and Staples Center and has given financial support to an anti-gay ballot measure and anti-gay groups in his home state of Colorado.

read on (reg. req.)

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Pay Me Or Trade Me

from Newsday,

Impatient with the lack of progress toward a long-term contract, All-Star forward Jason Blake yesterday said he probably will leave as a free agent if the Islanders don’t sign him by the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline.
“If they don’t want to sign me, maybe they should trade me and get something that’s good for them,” Blake said. “If I’m not signed by the 27th, then I’m going to test the market, and I don’t think I’ll be back.”

continued

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Staying & Going

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun via the Toronto Sun,

A player who won’t be going anywhere at the NHL trade deadline is Montreal defenceman Sheldon Souray. But it looks like his stay with the Canadiens will come to an end.
While the Habs can’t afford to trade Souray at the Feb. 27 deadline, he’s expected to head for greener pastures as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

read all the rumors you can digest…

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New Ads…And Twins!

from the New York Post:

Two week’s after the NHL drew an anemic 0.7 rating for its All-Star game, the country’s No. 4 sports league is amping up a marketing campaign that attempts not to explain the game or showcase the talents of its players, but rather to show its highest-wattage stars as normal people - who happen to be good, very good, at playing hockey.
The league kicks its campaign up a notch this week with two new spots - just as NBC’s coverage settles into the playoff push.
The spots show the players in some hotel high jinks - calling in a bogus room service order for a rival player in a room down the hall, engaging in hallway luggage cart races, pillow fights and dropping water balloons out a window.

continued

Check out the video...

 

 

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Decision Day

from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post:

However, if Forsberg really wanted to stay in Philadelphia, why hasn’t he said so? He could have easily ended all the trade speculation by saying he would remain a Flyer if his foot issues were resolved, and he would retire if they were not.
To his credit, Forsberg is terribly torn by the decision the Flyers are forcing him to make, but the Flyers have every right to know their captain’s intentions.
The guess here is that Forsberg will shorten the list of teams interested in him (Detroit, Colorado, Vancouver, Anaheim, San Jose and Montreal head the list), thank the Flyers for all they’ve done for him, and tell them he will revisit his future as a player sometime in June after he’s recovered from sipping too much champagne from a tall, silver cup.

continued

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Cap Clarification

via the Washingotn Times:

  NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with the media before the game and discussed a variety of topics from the financial health of the Caps to possible rule and scoring changes to the league’s television contract with Versus. Daly said that provided the league does not take into account inflation factors, a Toronto Star report of a projected $48 million salary cap for the 2007-08 season is accurate. The salary floor for next season would then be projected at $32 million. Washington is the only franchise in the league projected to spend less than that this season.

 

 

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Package Deals

Larry Brooks of the New York Post on the cap increase for next year…

For instance, with the cap increasing by a potential $6 million next year, a team willing to accept Derian Hatcher’s contract ($3.5 million for the next two seasons) might gain an inside track in dealing with Philadelphia for Peter Forsberg, should the balance- of- power-altering athlete actually go on the market.
Maybe that’s why Philadelphia player personnel director Dave Brown was at the Garden on Friday watching the Rangers play the Lightning.

read more on the cap and trade talk…

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NHL Hedges Bets On Vegas

from the Miami Herald:

The NHL won’t rule out Las Vegas, but said changes would need to be made regarding sports gambling issues.
‘‘Las Vegas we’ve had talks with—it’s a great sports town and certainly could be considered,’’ NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur said. ‘‘There would have to be restrictions with gambling. But it’s all speculation. We are not considering any expansion or relocation of clubs.’’ Mansur reiterated the NHL hopes the Penguins—whose future is in question—will remain in Pittsburgh.

continued

Paul added this at 8:46am, from the New York Times,

Meanwhile, given the N.H.L.’s struggles, perhaps it was not surprising that Bill Daly, the league’s deputy commissioner, said in a telephone interview Friday that the league would have a “flexible approach” toward local betting on the sport if a franchise ended up in Las Vegas.
Goodman first met with officials from the N.H.L. several years ago. “There’s clearly a return interest,” Daly said, adding that some private parties in Las Vegas were having continuing discussions.

more on a professional sports team in Vegas, but not the NFL or MLB…

 

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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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