Kukla's Korner

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Pens Don’t Respond To Mayor’s Request

from the Pittsburgh Business Times,

The region's two chief political figures stood together on Friday morning, urging the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins to commit to an alternative form of funding for a new $290 million arena. But the Penguins have not responded to a letter from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week that asked the team to commit to an alternative plan. A team spokesman did not immediately return a call Friday requesting comment. Applications are in from three consortiums bidding to win a gaming license to operate a stand-alone slots casino in Pittsburgh. The license could be awarded by a state gaming commission before the end of the year. Concurrently, the Penguins are in negotiations with numerous ownership groups, one of which could move the team to Kansas City, where a new arena is ready and available.
continued

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Only Winning The Cup Matters

from George Johnson at ESPN,

The curiosity, Jim Playfair understands. "People want to know, 'How much control will he really have?' Or 'Will Darryl be downstairs all the time?'" The new Calgary Flames coach shrugged. "Well, obviously I can't answer any of those questions. And, quite frankly, they don't interest me. What interests me is this hockey team. It's about the players. Not Jim Playfair. Not [GM] Darryl Sutter. Winning the Stanley Cup is the objective here. That's what he wants. That's what I want. That's what everyone in this organization wants.
continued

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Pronger Was Wrong

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Pronger can't have it both ways. He can't blame the fans for making an issue of his personal life. He was the one who introduced his family into the discussion in the first place. If family was the issue behind his trade request -- and no one is suggesting otherwise -- why even bring them into it? Instead of using them as a scapegoat, why not protect them by leaving them out of it completely? Why wouldn't Pronger simply say he was the one who wanted/needed to get out of town?
more In case you missed the recent Pronger interview...

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Nabokov Wants To Start

from the Province via Canada.com,

With his winsome smile and his never-say-worry demeanour, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov hardly radiates discouragement. He doesn't seem like a player embroiled in one the most personally conflicting -- and intriguing -- battles for a job you will see in the NHL this preseason. Nabokov desperately wants his job back. It's the same job he fumbled last season thanks to a series of injuries which accompanied a whole lot of lacklustre play. He has an uphill climb.
continued

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Talent Pool Diluted

New year, same old story... from the Tufts Observer,

Once a staple of the American winter, the NHL has now tumbled to the edge of obscurity. People just don’t care anymore. There are too many teams in too many states that just weren’t meant for hockey. Yet as it stands, Florida has not one, but two teams playing in the NHL. There are also franchises in Nashville, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, and Atlanta. If you’re a fan of any of these teams, please don’t take this personally, but they just don’t make much sense. Not only are these regions not at all conducive to the sport, but they, along with pitiful expansion teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, make for a system that is just too large for the amount of talent available. There simply aren’t enough quality players to fill 30 professional rosters. As a result, the talent pool is diluted and the end-product is decisively mediocre.
read on

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Hockey In Memphis

The Nashville Predators played an exhibition game in Memphis yesterday. The fans seemed to enjoy themselves... from Commercial Appeal,

Although when the Predators first came to Nashville in 1998, they knew what language to speak. "We sold it as NASCAR on ice," said Predators owner Craig Leipold, who was born in Memphis, raised in Wisconsin, and watched Thursday's 8-1 victory over the Blue Jackets. "A lot of hard-hitting, a lot of collisions." "Not a bad start," Leipold said. "Maybe we ought to do a couple of regular-season games here -- first period, anyway." But Leipold was hoping that this one game would have the same impact that Taranski's first game in Detroit had on him 36 years ago. "We want to get people in Memphis interested in hockey," Leipold said. "We've got 20 games on the weekend."
more

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Get Quicker

from the Sun-Sentinel,

O'Brien's commitment to fitness has translated into a leaner, quicker and more agile Panthers roster. Instead of lifting weights, players are actually losing it to increase their speed and agility under O'Brien's program in his second year with the Panthers, and Panthers General Manager and coach Jacques Martin said he believes in his players' physique makes them better equipped for the new NHL, which values such traits. "I think Andy has done a great job with our people when I look at the results this year compared to last year," Martin said. "His program is really more focused on speed and quickness vs. the old strategy of bulking [up] and lifting heavy weights."
more

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What’s Your Number

from the Detroit Free Press (sidebar),

During a quick scan of the crowd in front of the press box, it was tough to find someone wearing a Wings jersey of someone who is still on the team. The majority of the jerseys were Steve Yzerman's No. 19, Brendan Shanahan's No. 14, Brett Hull's No. 16, Gordie Howe's No. 9 and Sergei Fedorov's No. 91. We finally caught a guy wearing a white Kirk Maltby No. 18 jersey. Sparse crowd: Maybe people were too bummed after watching the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Orioles to make the trip downtown. Or maybe people just wanted to stay home to watch the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. Whatever the reason, there were a large number of empty seats at Joe Louis Arena.
Recap of the game plus Hudler makes a statement...

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Young Dman Impressing Hitchcock

from Philly News,

When Lars Jonsson's name popped up on the Flyers' free-agent list this summer, there were only a few people who could say anything about him. At 24, the Swedish defenseman had never played a game in the NHL, despite being Boston's 2000 first-round pick. Jonsson is supposed to be a highly skilled, puck-moving, skating defenseman, but he is an unknown outside of Europe. "He brings an element that's necessary in the league, an element our team needs," Hitchcock said. "He's great on the power play, he does things not a lot of players can do, the way he keeps his head up and finds open people offensively. He does a lot of good things. "With so many special teams these days you're looking for someone that has potential. We've got so many left shots. You need a really good player on [the right] side of the ice to bring the puck off the boards to the middle of the ice."
more

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No Diving Allowed

from the Vancouver Province,

Even though Fitzpatrick was solid with a plus-1 rating in 22:24 of playing time, he wants to set the record straight on the phantom dive. "I haven't dove yet and I don't plan on diving at all," he said Thursday of his 12-year career. "I don't think anybody on a scoring chance is going to dive -- I'm in front of the net with the puck on my stick -- and a guy may have turned his stick in my skates. I guess the refs are trying to get a presence out there and get the calls going. So, I don't know if that would have been a call in the regular season or not -- I didn't think it was."
In the limitied amount of games I have seen this pre-season, the refs are attempting to call more diving calls. At times, the dive is evident, but it is also a judgement call. A Colorado player was called for a dive during the Wings game last night and I was shocked by the call. Diving is hard to decide at times and let's hope all the players get the message- stop the diving and get on with the game. We don't need any WWE actors in the NHL.

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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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