Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Questions For The Season

from the Ottawa Sun,

WILL THERE BE CHANGES IN THE WAY NHL GAMES ARE OFFICIATED? Director of officiating Stephen Walkom didn't hurt a back muscle trying to pat himself after so many positive reviews for free-flow hockey last year. But 70 referees and linesmen went to training camp in Fort Erie last week with a tough act to follow. "We have to remember how hard we worked last year, focusing on a standard and sticking to it until it became habitual," Walkom said of the obstruction crackdown. "By the end of last year, we'd found our comfort zone. Our guys were getting better at spotting things and reacting to them where historically, we'd been picking and choosing. Now, there will be more work on optimum performance as a four-man team. "I think you'll see a heightened awareness this year on embellishment (diving). If all participants in the game work on it, then it won't be a problem."
read on...many more topics discussed...

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Taking Sand - Looking For Gold

from the Chicago Tribune,

The engine that drives this gritty, weather-beaten city of belching smokestacks and trolley lines is steel, but its heart and soul is hockey. The pro team here, Metallurg, polishes its prodigies from the age of 6. And it almost always fills its aging 3,500-seat stadium with screaming fans adorned in Metallurg red, white and blue. So when Magnitogorsk's favorite son, Metallurg forward Evgeni Malkin, suddenly disappeared from the team Aug. 12 in Helsinki, Finland, Russians here gasped and waited. Four days later, when the 20-year-old superstar turned up in the U.S. to embark on a career in the National Hockey League, they seethed.

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Don’t Mention That Name

from the Detroit Free Press,

Training camp will be much different this year, if only because veterans like Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan are gone. Longtime captain Yzerman retired in the off-season and Shanahan signed with the New York Rangers. Cleary, who took lots of ribbing from Shanahan last season and who was once kicked out of a team meal by Yzerman for mentioning former Colorado nemesis Patrick Roy, said camp wouldn't be the same without those two. "I'm going to miss both guys," Cleary said. "Not only on the ice but (their) personalities off the ice. I think this year, everybody's going to have a little more responsibility."

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The Skinny On Iggy

from the Calgary Sun,

Iginla is as trim as he has been in ages. "It's been a while, probably three or four years," Iginla said just before a rain-soaked 9 a.m. shotgun tee-off yesterday for the annual Flames Charity Golf Classic at Country Hills. "Over the years, I probably put on a couple of pounds. You work out just trying to get stronger and stronger. This year the focus was a little bit different, not so much worried about strength and able to take a few pounds off. "Not pounds of fat," he added with a laugh. Iginla credits his metamorphosis to a new off-season focus on speed and agility in order to adapt to the new NHL rules which debuted last year. The 29-year-old right winger decided late last season to alter his workouts -- including the addition of once-a-week yoga sessions -- after a relatively disappointing 35-goal campaign.

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Why Blame Anyone

from the Vancouver Province,

Pressed on how he'd deal with hitting the club's self-imposed salary ceiling of $42.5 million US if Kesler is kept -- 21 projected roster players under contract for $42.570 million with a backup goalie and Josh Green still to sign -- Nonis was non-committal. "You always want the best team possible, but I'm not talking about it and I will talk about it at the appropriate time," he said. Nonis also wouldn't bite on who's to blame for the offer sheet. Is it Clarke who needs a third-line centre with Keith Primeau announcing that he will retire today due to post-concussion syndrome? Is it NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or the new collective bargaining agreement that is driving up the salaries of Group 2 free agents?
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Foppa For Captain

from Philly News,

Hitchcock said he has not identified or asked the successor, out of respect for Primeau. But reality being what it is, this is how it's going to go: Either the new captain is going to be Peter Forsberg, or Hitchcock is going to be spending an awful lot of his time explaining to people why not. In Primeau's absence last year, the first call was to Simon Gagne, who declined. Gagne has just signed a new 5-year contract, and he would have to be on the short-list of potential replacements. He says he was worried about stepping in last year when he thought Primeau's absence would only be temporary. He also said yesterday that just wearing the "A" as an assistant captain was a big step for him. If not Gagne, then who? One name you don't hear mentioned is Derian Hatcher, who ultimately took over the job last season, presiding over the collapse.

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Made For Each Other

from bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

Just like that Carter has a place to play and the gaping hole in the Blue Jackets’ lineup has closed. The move leaves MacLean free to bleat like a billy goat at his former first-round draft pick and boast that he wasn’t kidding when he said he was prepared to let him stay in Russia. After a puzzling summer of negotiations, it was a brilliant move on MacLean’s part, because the team might actually be better this season with Carter in the lineup than it would have been with Zherdev. There’s no way to know, of course — as a rising young star, Zherdev might have scored 50 goals and Carter’s most productive offensive season was the 33 he scored last year for Vancouver — but Carter is big and strong and a nine-year veteran whose NHL game is more polished than Zherdev’s.

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Winning Doesn’t Happen Overnight

from the Northwest Herald,

The Blackhawks hope the 2006-07 season will be the dawn of a new era for a franchise trying to find its place, both in the NHL and in the Chicago sports landscape. The Hawks hope they will be able to turn the corner on a rough 10 years that has seen them make the Stanley Cup playoffs once since 1997 and has seen fan interest dramatically dwindle. "Winning does not happen overnight," coach Trent Yawney said. "Coming into last year the expectations were very high, and maybe we didn't handle it as well as we could. But only 16 clubs make it [to the playoffs]."
read on

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Torrey Worried

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

“I worry about this franchise,” said Torrey, the championship general manager. “When you put 20-plus years into something and you want it to keep going, you don’t want to make matters worse by talking about it (publicly). “I worry about our legacy. What will people think of (the Islanders)? I think we’re a little bit forgotten with all that’s gone on. “It’s not a pleasant time for me. I have four sons in Long Island, I have grandchildren playing hockey in Long Island. “I’m not going to lie to you, it’s tough.”

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Gary’s Dirty Little Secret

By George Malik Remember John Spano? The guy that tried to buy the Islanders in 1997 for $168 million, though he had a net worth of $2 million? The NHL was truly embarrassed by parading around a pauper as a franchise's saviour. The Isles were sold to Howard Milstein Steven Gluckstern in June 1999, and the two promptly bungled a deal to build a new rink on Long Island, and had Mad Mike Milbury trade Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Berard, Ziggy Palffy, and Bryan McCabe away to clear salary space. Gary Bettman and the NHL's Board of Governors breathed a huge sigh of relief when Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar, the owner and CEO, respectively, of Computer Associates, came forward to buy the Isles... But the honeymoon was short-lived...

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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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