Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Nittymaki Goes About His Business

from the Philly Burbs,

Great seasons by rookie goaltenders are not exactly unique for the Flyers organization. Ron Hextall, Pete Peeters, Pelle Lindbergh and Brian Boucher all enjoyed fabulous first seasons. But none of those freshmen competed under the radar quite the way current first-year sensation Antero Niittymaki has.
read on added 8:42am, from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Scotty Bowman was wearing that sly smile of his, watching the Flyers lose another game Friday in Tampa, Fla. "So why doesn't Hitch play Niittymaki more?" asked the coaching great, who now scouts for the Detroit Red Wings. Because Ken Hitchcock doesn't put much stock in that silver medal that Antero Niittymaki brought home for Team Finland in the Olympics, Bowman was told. Hitchcock believes there's the Stanley Cup and there's the Olympics. And in North America, proven playoff goalies are worth more in his mind than any achievement at the Olympics. Bowman shrugged. Every coach is entitled to his opinion.

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Allow The Curve

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

Tell me again how illegal curves on hockey sticks hurt the game? Snipers are the only ones who use 'em and they do so in an effort to score more goals. Isn't that what the fans and the league want? No one gets hurt because a stick's curve can accommodate a quarter under it, so why add the ridiculous practice of measuring sticks before the shootout? Why measure them at all?

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Canadiens Hanging On

from the Montreal Gazette,

Montreal will try to get back on track in road games Monday night in Washington and Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Then the Canadiens come home for consecutive meetings with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday and Saturday. The Leafs, 5-2 losers to the New York Rangers on Saturday, are tied with the Islanders for 10th place, both five points behind Montreal with 16 games to play.

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Witt A Fit For Nashville

from the Calgary Sun,

"That's why we brought in Brendan," said Preds centre Mike Sillinger, another veteran acquired in-season for his experience. "A guy who'll add some leadership and some toughness back there." The group of quick, mobile blueliners was doing fine before Witt's addition but Predators coach Barry Trotz says having a fiery role model will help the others mature. "I think he's going to be a tremendous asset for us," said Trotz. "He plays with an edge and I think that the other guys see that, see how effective that is. It's positive reinforcement for a young guy."

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Cherry vs. Pound

via the Ottawa Sun,

Don Cherry got to put Dick Pound in the hot seat on CBC's Coaches Corner last night. Cherry remained calm, but asked the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency several pointed questions about his allegation that one-third of NHLers take performance enhancing drugs. "You're a good guy, and you're pretty smooth. It's almost like you're a lawyer," Cherry said. "But how can you come out and say one- third and not have any proof? What you've done is tarred 700 guys out there."
more via CBC, Watch (will open real player video) the two on Coaches Corner...

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Canes Raising Ticket Prices

from the News & Observer,

Hoping to capitalize on their remarkably successful season, the Carolina Hurricanes will raise ticket prices next season for the first time since 2002-03, dangling priority for playoff tickets in front of potential customers. With the exception of the club level, season tickets will cost between 5 percent and 17 percent more next season, with a discount given to those who make a deposit by the end of the month. Walk-up prices will receive a similar boost, although the too-often empty corner sections in the lower bowl will be $10 cheaper.

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Gaborik Dazzles

from the Pioneer Press via the Duluth News Tribune,

When Marian Gaborik touches the puck, a buzz instantaneously shoots through Xcel Energy Center. Everyone anticipates something special. And Gaborik, who is playing brilliantly these days, usually delivers. Here's something to think about: If Gaborik hadn't missed 17 games — and labored through a dozen others — because of an early-season groin injury, he surely would be on pace to score 50 goals. Imagine, a card-carrying member of the "check 'em dizzy" Minnesota Wild scoring 50 goals.
read on

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Twins Named After Drake

from the Belleville Nes-Democrat,

Millstadt has never produced an NHL hockey player -- but the small town does have a pair of twins named after St. Louis Blues forward Dallas Drake. Chris Wessel thought long and hard before deciding to float the idea to his wife, Trish. According to their ground rules, Chris controlled naming rights if the twins were boys and Trish would provide the names for twin girls. Autumn and Cassandra were the girls choices that never got off the bench. Dallas and Drake Wessel were born Sept. 1 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Like their namesake, they were bald and missing teeth.

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from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

There are whispers that Pittsburgh GM Craig Patrick, who is expected to be fired at the end of the season, is going to wind up taking over the Bruins. Senators assistant GM Peter Chiarelli has also been listed as a possible candidate to replace GM Mike O'Connell when he gets fired. There's plenty of talk the Isles are going to buy out C Alexei Yashin at the end of the season. He has $34 million (all terms US) remaining on his contract, but a buyout would be $22.5 million payable over 10 years.
more NHL talk... update 8:42am, also from Garrioch,
Milbury attended a meeting of NHL team presidents last week in New York and was telling anybody who would listen that he didn't get fired ... he received a promotion. Though owner Charles Wang has a long list of candidates to replace Milbury, the word is Mad Mike is trying to play a role in the hiring because he wants to make sure he remains in control. "I'm not sure anybody in their right mind would want that job with the Isles," an NHL executive said yesterday. "Mike Milbury is going to keep his hand in everything you do."

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Pens Will Lose $7 Million

from the Beaver County Times,

In a season of enormous underachievement, the Pittsburgh Penguins will apparently meet one preseason expectation. Team president Ken Sawyer said last week the franchise remains on track for the $7 million operating loss Mario Lemieux projected in September. ...But after shedding millions throughout the year, a $7 million loss is still "in the ballpark," according to Sawyer? That suggests either they're not being truthful, or they're woefully bad businessmen. Or possibly both.

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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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