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All About Samsonov

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

The throng of reporters and cameramen was stacked up six or seven deep, and if you were not in the first two or three rows, it was impossible to hear the newcomer answer questions about everything from his favourite book ("I don't read a lot; I think the last book I read was the Da Vinci Code") to what kind of car he drives (a Cadillac Escalade). His choice of car is fitting, because the Moscow-born Samsonov spends the offseason living the American dream in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, a community where imported autos are not welcome. Detroit might seem like a strange place for a National Hockey League player to settle, particularly one who had spent his entire NHL career in Boston before he was traded to Edmonton at the deadline last season. But, in a way, Samsonov is getting back to his roots. In 1996, he left Russia as a 17-year-old to play for the Detroit Vipers in the International Hockey League and Detroit is where he met his wife, Meghan.

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Baggage Gone

from the Vancouver Sun,

"I have to say," veteran Trevor Linden began, "I found myself on the ice today and just kind of stopped and noticed, it just kind of clicked, like: 'Boy, what a difference one year makes.' It's a totally different dynamic." Another Canuck said: "It's like a huge weight has been lifted off everyone, even from guys who didn't realize there was a weight on them." The weight is the Bertuzzi-Crawford relationship that each -- Crawford when he was fired, Bertuzzi last week -- has indicated wasn't as bad as people think, but nearly everyone inside the organization knows was a catalyst of the Canucks' crash last season. One example: After the Canucks failed to compete in a heartless 5-0 loss last March to the Nashville Predators, Canuck coaches scheduled one-on-one meetings with players the next day. Crawford did not show up for his meeting with Bertuzzi, apparently having relinquished hope of ever getting through to an influential star who seemed to any reasonable, long-time observer to be uncoachable.
read on

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No Plan To Sell Bruins

from the Patriot Ledger,

‘‘I think Peter’s (Chiarelli) career path is higher than where he is now,’’ Jacobs said. ‘‘I think he can continue on, and I think he’ll continue to be a mainstay in this sport going forward. My information is that his capabilities are much broader than what he’s doing right now.’’ Whether Jacobs is right about that or not, his opinion leaves him in the position of already thinking of the day he’ll need to replace Chiarelli, who has only had an office at the Garden for about two months. ‘‘We have to find the next star,’’ Jacobs said. ‘‘That’s the success of this sport, and probably all sports. You have to have a backup position, and you have to have people who are growing. Once you lose that - once you stay too long in one spot - you become stagnant.’’ (This may be a good place to insert a reminder: Jacobs said he’s not interested in selling the hockey team he has owned for 32 years.)

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Cap Matters

from NorthJersey.com,

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Record in July that Mogilny would not qualify for long-term IR, but was less firm in his stance Friday. "Let's see how things play out," Daly said via e-mail. "I'm not prepared to prejudge anything." The Devils will not have to pay Malakhov, but they appear to have no hope of escaping his $3.6 million cap hit because he is not playing or being paid. Lamoriello said Malakhov is suspended, which he has been since he left the team on Dec. 18.

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Columbus Or Bust

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean made it clear yesterday on the first day of training camp: He will not trade right winger Nikolai Zherdev. "There’s some thought (in Zherdev’s camp) that he’s going to be traded," MacLean said. "And that is not in my thoughts at all. "My thought is he’ll have a deal done here, with the Blue Jackets, or he’ll stay in Russia for the year. He’s our player. Right now, I’m not even entertaining those thoughts."

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Emery Won’t Give Up Fight For #1

from the Ottawa Sun,

While it's true Emery would have liked the chance to come into camp and battle for the No. 1 job, he's smart enough to realize Gerber's $3.7-million salary is enough to assure the former Carolina Hurricane the starting job to open the season. But that being said, Emery still plans to get noticed. "I knew they'd be bring in somebody else," said Emery following the Senators' first on-ice session of the pre-season yesterday. "I heard a lot last year in the playoffs about our (goaltending) and my lack of experience. That you had to have that experience, and I thought they were going to try to get somebody...."
read on note: at the time of this post, all of the Sun Media websites were having a few issues, so check back if you can’t get the link to work.

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Avery Hires Publicist

from ESPN and the AP,

After many heart-to-heart talks with GM Dean Lombardi, Avery was brought back by the team, signed to a one-year deal and placed on "double-secret probation," according to the Los Angeles Times. New head coach Marc Crawford has also spoken with the controversial center. What else is Avery doing to win more favor with his team? He's hired a personal publicist to help him with his image, a publicist who has worked with comedian Andy Dick.
more NHL camp talk

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Get Used To RFA Offers

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

Clarke offered $1.9 million US for one year to 22-year-old Ryan Kesler, a 10-goal scorer last season. Finally, on Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks matched the offer, forced to pay Kesler twice what they originally had offered. "This just isn't done," sniffed some GMs, mightily upset that they may be forced to think once in a while. But this much is certain. By next season, some of these GMs will be doing the same thing. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that this year's free-agent market is all but depleted, a few of them would jump on the bandwagon right now. This wasn't an isolated Clarke brain warp. This was a calculated stratagem that will become a standard part of NHL life.
read on note: at the time of this post, all of the Sun Media websites were having a few issues, so check back if you can't get the link to work.

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Clearing The Crease

via the Toronto Sun,

"There is nothing worse than lightly shoving a guy and he falls down to try to (induce) a penalty," he said. "It's frustrating (because) my job is to clear the front of the net." In order to make that job easier, the NHL has sent the teams a DVD indicating the do's and don'ts of battling in front of the net. It shows Chris Pronger and Brendan Shanahan locking horns just outside the crease . "On Pronger and Shanahan they were telling us not to get the arms extended," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said. "That's where it looks bad. If you get up close to the person and just kind of push, they will allow you some room to clear the area if it's not interference and it's not a cross check."

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West Dominates

from Ths Spin, a blog by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

While the East is, don't forget, the conference that produced the 2004 and 2006 Stanley Cup champions, it is a conference that goes into the 2006-07 season without any team that looks particularly dominating or threatening. Few believe Carolina can repeat. Tampa's still reconfiguring. Philly get a goalie yet? Buffalo's still fighting the budget crunch. Ottawa is still, well, Ottawa, but now without the towering presence of Zdeno Chara. In fact, you could argue that the top five favourites for the '07 Cup are all from the Western Conference. They would be: 5. Minnesota Wild . . . A team that has finally added payroll and star power.
read on for the rest...

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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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