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from the News & Observer,

Big and tanned and bad and blond, grandpa and wrestling superdude Ric Flair rips one off. "Woo!" Just to get the blood moving. Flair, 56, is in an upstairs hallway of the RBC Center, psyching himself up to videotape "Woo!"s for the Carolina Hurricanes scoreboard.
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OLN Doesn’t Come Close To ESPN

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

No one is breaking any new ground in criticizing OLN's uninspiring production of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The entire package needs to be tweaked, the play-by-play needs to be fuel-injected and the analysis needs to be more aggressive and entertaining. (In other words, Comcast needs to hire more people from outside its company.) But hockey fans, at least, have a home on the dial, even if it takes 408 clicks to get there. The product, however, doesn't come close to ESPN's days of the wonderful overreactions of Gary Thorne, not to mention Barry Melrose's goofy musings (and suits).

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Mom Planted The Hockey Roots

from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle,

Their father couldn't skate to save his life. So it was up to their mom, Penny Gionta, to teach the three boys how to skate. Judging from what's transpired in the two decades since, she definitely got them off on the right foot. Skating-impaired Papa Sam usually was stuck in goal. Mom, meanwhile, would zip up and down the ice, schooling Joey, Brian and Stephen on moves and moxie. t was Penny's rink-rat roots that convinced her to sign the boys up for skating and hockey lessons when they were just knee-high to a goalie's pads. Never, though, in her wildest dreams could she have known that by doing so the Gionta clan would embark on a fascinating journey that would include trips to seven NCAA Frozen Fours and sips from Lord Stanley's famous cup.
read on added 7:48am, from the Edmonton Journal,
If Oilers fans are lucky, Dixie Smyth will ask her son to score the winning goal tonight in Game 5 against San Jose. It's Mother's Day, after all, and Captain Canada may be a gritty NHL foward, but he always sends his mom a bouquet of flowers and a sentimental, handwritten note. One more goal isn't too much to ask. "Ryan makes every Mother's Day special," Smyth says.

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Mediocre Hockey Takes Over

from the Coloradoan,

Can't say you weren't warned. It's what you asked for, after all. Now, you had better get used to it. This is the hockey you're going to see for awhile. As the playoffs grind on, it has become more and more obvious that what some of us predicted would happen in a few years is way ahead of schedule. Mediocrity has taken root in the NHL, and the game already is suffering for it. If these playoffs are any indication, you already have the parity you asked for. That's great if you're a fan in San Jose or Anaheim but not so cool - it would seem to me - if you're a fan in Colorado or Detroit.

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Looking For Answers

from the Ottawa Sun,

What about Dominik Hasek, the crown jewel whose groin problem became a pain in the butt for the rest of us? And what about GM John Muckler? He was the architect of the wise trade that brought Dany Heatley to Ottawa ... but, the critics will say, he was also the voice behind some failed deals. Was Zdeno Chara still injured? His usual stellar play wavered a bit. There had to be a reason. Would pylons have been more effective at times than Andrej Meszaros and Anton Volchenkov in the first few games? Don't give up on these kids, especially Meszaros. He'll be a cornerstone. And he'll sip from Lord Stanley's chalice someday soon -- in Ottawa. Did Vaclav Varada show up?
read on added 7:39am, from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
Now what? The Ottawa Senators entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East, but flopped big-time in the second round. Tear it down? Start again? Come back with the same team? The reality is the Senators are a great team, but their best players were not able to perform under pressure. You can’t blame the coach…or the GM…or the goalie. Ottawa’s high-scoring forwards simply did not compete and its defensemen made too many unforced errors.

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MacLean Takes Hard Line With UFAs

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Malhotra, Letowski and Suchy will see what they can get in an open market. And MacLean will cast about for replacements. "I’m not really concerned with third- and fourth-line guys, to be quite honest," he said. "We’ve got guys like (Jason) Chimera, (Dan) Fritsche and (Jody) Shelley who are going to be there. And there will be a lot available (among free agents). "I’d prefer to have them back, but I don’t control that totally."

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A New Bandwagon

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

Get younger, get faster, and search - even on the scrapheap or among the second tier of the U.S. college ranks - for the sort of buzz-saw players who suddenly have become more valuable in the New NHL. Size and strength are huge pluses, but not necessarily at the top of the list. After seeing the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim zip past the Avalanche, isn't it obvious that's what Colorado needs to do? That bandwagon got crowded in the last week, and I'm on it, too - with a catch.

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Expect Changes In Ottawa

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Let's call this what it is - epic failure. There's no other way to put it, and it's kind of funny because there sits on the desk of a lot of Ottawa management-types, coffee mugs; the slogan on the coffee mug is "Failure is not an option." I'm led to believe that those mugs were a gift from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, so you can imagine how he's feeling right about now. You get an emotional owner, who sees his team go out and you know there are going to be changes.

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Disappointment Again

from the Globe and Mail,

After Jason Pominveille's short-handed overtime goal ended the Senators' National Hockey League season and sent the Buffalo Sabres to the Eastern Conference final, once again the Senators and their fans were left contemplating a season of promise that crashed in the playoffs. There were many reasons for their shocking departure in five games against the Sabres, from the lack of scoring from their best forwards to turnovers at both bluelines to their goaltending. Then there was the sight of Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley loafing up the ice after losing the puck on an overtime power play that should have won it for the Senators, watching Pominville deke goaltender Ray Emery and score the series-winner.
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Luongo Status

Detroit media and fans have been tossing around a Datsyuk for Luongo trade. I don't believe a trade like that would be made, but here is an update on the status of Luongo. from Knigh Ridder Newspapers,

Luongo said there was nothing new to report on the ongoing negotiations and didn't expect anything to get done until Florida general manager Mike Keenan returns from scouting at the World Championships in Latvia. Luongo, who said he has been staying busy by working on his new home, can become a restricted free agent on July 1 and an unrestricted free agent after next season if he doesn''t sign a long-term deal. The Panthers have offered a five-year deal worth $6 million per season. ''Keenan should be back in the next couple of weeks, and then I think we'll see some movement,'' Luongo said. ''I'm sure both Keenan and agent Giles Lupien want to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Once they get talking, we'll see what happens.''
added 10:45pm, via the Sun-Sentinel,
"I'm comfortable with the progress the team has made in the last few months," Luongo said. "Like they've told me before, they're interested in signing some players. I trust them on that side, so it's not really important for me to wait until July 1."

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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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