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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Watch Out For Soccer

from Reuters,

Soccer's rising popularity is ice hockey's biggest threat in the increasingly competitive North American sports market, says Rene Fasel, the head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). "We have to be aware, soccer in North America is getting bigger and bigger and bigger," the Swiss told Reuters in an interview on Thursday during the world championships. "I don't think the NFL will lose people, NBA will not lose fans, but the market will be even more difficult for hockey.

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Hope For Cole

via the CP,

Injured winger Erik Cole skated on his own on Thursday, raising hopes that he might be able to rejoin the Carolina Hurricanes at some point in the NHL playoffs. He said he would skate two more days on his own to see if the injury has healed enough to practise with the team. He will decide after that if he can play ''Today, everything was fine,'' he said.

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Niedermayer & Selanne

Scott and Teemu were available today via conference call: Q. Scott, when you look at the hand you have been dealt, does it stand to reason maybe in the beginning they have a little edge because maybe because of the rest you've had? SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: It's a possibility. You know, we're going to find out. We want to be ready to go. That's got to be our focus right now. We can't really think that way. We have to think that, you know, we're going to be able to get that intensity going, keep it simple, in the start of the game, first period, keep making simple plays, put the puck in and just go to work. If we can do that, we can start building on that right away and get going, that's what we're going to try to do. Q.Teemu, from your perspective, do you feel the same way about the week off? TEEMU SELANNE: I think the week was good for us. There's a lot of guys, they had chance to look after injuries, that kind of stuff. Like Scott said, we have to be ready right in the bat (sic). I think everybody's excited to get back to the action, too. I think one week is long time. We know that this is another opportunity for us. We going to be ready. Read the rest in the comment section of this post...

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That Didn’t Take Long

from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via Slam,

The NHL has come out of last year's lockout with a new collective bargaining agreement, a new game and now new contenders. "Interesting, exciting and not totally unexpected," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday of the remaining Stanley Cup contenders. "The system has created the type of competitive balance that we envisioned," he added from New York. On Nov. 30, 2004, the commissioner stood in front of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and told the city's business people and Oilers fans that the lockout would be worth it. "I promise we will get you what you need and most importantly, what you deserve," Bettman said that day. The payoff didn't take long. The Oilers are in the final four, for the first time since 1992.

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An Oil-Can(e) Final

from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

The conference finals are set, and while some of you might be skeptical about the matchups, believe me when I say that they will be fun to watch. Right now, I am going with the Hurricanes and Oilers in the Stanley Cup final. You have to have at least one Canadian team playing for the Cup!

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Up To The Goaltenders

from Rick Jeanneret of MSG Network,

This series is going to come down to goaltending. How many times do you hear somebody say that? But I think, in the end, the series probably will come down to the play of Ryan Miller and Cam Ward because both clubs are a mirror image of one another. I mean, this can be one heck of a series and I'm sure it'll be gung-ho, fire wagon hockey all the way. This is sure to be a hard-fought series and, boy, would it bring the city of Buffalo to a frenzy if the Sabres can move on to the Cup Finals. If the Sabres were to win the Stanley Cup, I think it'd mean more to the team and to the area for its psyche more than anything else. Economically, things haven't been so great in Western New York and Buffalo.

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Burnside Breakdown

Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down both conference finals. Eastern:

Forget the small-market/miniscule television ratings angle of this series. If ever there was a series designed to sell the new NHL, this is it. Even the most casual of fans can expect to be blown away by the speed and derring-do of the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
Let's just say this about the Western Conference final between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks -- better hope they have double, reinforced boards because they're in for a workout.

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Conference Finals- OLN-HD

This morning, OLN has posted the Conference Finals schedule. No high definition games are listed and INHD has nothing either. Hopefully this is just a mistake and they plan on adding a few HD games for the NHL fans. added 12:29pm, Hockey Fights has the complete release from OLN and this is included:

During the conference finals, which will take place from May 19-June 1, the network will present both series, anywhere between 7 and 13 games, depending on series outcomes. OLN’s Stanley Cup coverage will culminate with the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final on June 5 and June 7. The network will also take advantage of hi-definition technology, presenting both series in the conference finals in HD.

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The Man Behind The Money

from New York Business,

Job: Robert Dixon, senior director of financial reporting for the National Hockey League, since March. Job One: Close the NHL's 2005 fiscal year books while looking for ways to streamline the league's reporting and accounting systems. Besides cutting revenues and alienating fans, the lockout that melted last year's hockey season led some finance staffers to leave the league, taking with them some of the historical financial data and system management knowledge stored in their heads rather than in computers or on paper. Mr. Dixon is charged with setting up systems and leaving documentation to ensure that never happens again.
read on

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Generic UFA Story

The insert team name here will get the first shot at signing insert player name for the 2006-07 season. However, if the numbers don't add up, his agent cautioned, the player has the right to look elsewhere in the National Hockey League for employment. The player's agent, said he and his client would listen to the insert latest team here first simply out of courtesy and mutual respect. "We're not the type of people who would say, 'We'll talk to you on July 1,' " the agent said. "[Player] has enjoyed his time there, they've done a good job over the last few years developing the team, and it's part of the business to be respectful to them. Absolutely we'll talk to them first." This covers about 99% of all the UFAs, if anything unique comes up, I will post it.

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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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