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Gretzky Belongs In Turin

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

So what of Turin, of the Winter Olympics that begin today and the Canadian men's hockey team, of which he is executive director? As of this moment, he should go to Italy. He must go to Italy. Based on what we know, it would require a truly spectacular stretch of logic to argue that Gretzky is not suitable to represent Canada at the Olympics. Based on news reports and police statements, the most he may have done is foolishly ignore his assistant coach's illegal gambling activities and tried to protect his wife from getting caught up in a messy controversy. Does that deserve dumping him from Team Canada? No way, not after all he has done for the sport and how well he has represented the country time and time again.
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It Really Does Work

I see the 'Golden Jet' took Theodore's advice. imageimage

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Statement From Janet Jones-Gretzky

from the CP & TSN,

"At no time did I ever place a wager on my husband's behalf," the statement read. "Other than the occasional horse race, my husband does not bet on any sports." Elliot Mintz, the spokesperson for Jones, said in the statement that his client may be called as a witness before a grand jury. "Janet is merely one of a number of witnesses, and there is no allegation whatsoever that Janet has violated any law," the statement said. "Janet will continue to cooperate fully with the New Jersey authorities."
read on update 11:42pm, Wayne Gretzky met with the press after the Yotes/Stars game tonight and stated he will be going to the Olympics. He said he has spent the last three days defending himself for something he never did, is tired and will not talk about it again. Said if you (media) have questions, you should be directing them to the people involved. Walked off and Barry Smith handled the post-game questions.

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Gretzky Will Not Resign

from the Globe and Mail,

"If I did one thing that would embarrass Team Canada or the country or hockey I would resign," he said. "It didn't happen. "If I bet on sports - I would never embarrass Team Canada or the country or hockey - I would phone Gary Bettman and Bob Nicholson right now and say you know what, I resign, it's over, even if I made a $1 bet," Mr. Gretzky added, referring to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "I wouldn't even go into a sports book in Vegas," Mr. Gretzky said. "Even though it's legal, I would never do that. That's how serious I am."
read on update 11:16pm, from TSN, Good interview with Billy Daly, on the NYC streets (will open wmp video). One thing that Daly said stands out, "We know Wayne very well, no reason to doubt anything he says."

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NHL Looking Outdoors

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

So could Saturday's game in Lambeau be a dress rehearsal, or at least a model, for future NHL stadium games, whether outdoors in football or baseball stadiums, or less revolutionary, at a covered stadium along the lines of Detroit's Ford Stadium? Mike Clayton, general manager of Ice Rink Events, took a break from overseeing the installation of the ice sheet in Lambeau Field, with the ghosts of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau peering over his shoulder, to address that possibility. "I don't think anybody would go on the record right now, but there are five major-league stadiums and clubs, both in baseball and football, looking at the possibility of hosting such events in their stadiums," Clayton said from Green Bay. "A couple involve NHL games, a couple involve college." Bring them on, whether Avalanche-Red Wings in Denver's Invesco Field or Coors Field; Sabres-Maple Leafs at Rich Stadium; Red Wings-Maple Leafs at Ford Field or, better, Comerica Park; Flyers-Rangers at Lincoln Financial Field; or a stadium game in any one of the other five Canadian cities.
more Just a reminder, the NCAA Frozen Four will be held at Ford Field in Detroit in 2010.

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Melrose On Gretzky

Melrose on ESPN News said he talked to Wayne today and Gretzky told him he is guilty of nothing, he has been trying to protect his wife. Barry said Gretzky is expected to release a statement after the Phoenix game tonight. Melrose did state if it comes out anyone affiliated with hockey bet on a hockey game, they should be banned for life from the game. update 5:03pm, from the AP via the Globe and Mail,

Wayne Gretzky was recorded on a wiretap talking to the alleged financier of a gambling ring, discussing how the hockey great's wife could avoid being implicated, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Thursday. Gretzky, coach and part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, can be heard on wiretaps made within the past month talking about his wife with assistant coach Rick Tocchet, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
more update 5:05pm, from the CP via TSN,
Wayne Gretzky is still expected to come to the Olympics in the wake of the NHL's gambling scandal and investigation into Rick Tocchet, Gretzky's friend and assistant coach on the Phoenix Coyotes. Sources close to the Coyotes said Thursday that Gretzky, Team Canada's executive director and Coyotes head coach, will make the trek overseas.
read on

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Forsberg Still Hurting

from the Centre Daily Times,

Peter Forsberg still isn't ready to return to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup, decreasing the star center's chances of playing in the Turin Olympics. Forsberg, the Flyers' leading scorer, didn't participate in all the drills during practice Thursday and will miss his seventh straight game Friday night against Washington. He plans to make a decision this weekend on whether he will play for Sweden in the Olympics.
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Report- Phoenix GM Made Bet Through Tocchet

from the Arizona Republic,

Multiple NHL sources confirmed Thursday that Coyotes General Manager Mike Barnett made a financial wager on Sunday's Super Bowl through Coyotes associate coach Rick Tocchet, but that Barnett's wager was a one-time bet.
more added 4:07pm, Tocchet arrainment date is Feb. 21st.

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The Government Does It…

from the Toronto Star,

The burning question for Team Canada, hockey division, is crystal: who will be team croupier? A strong scent of illegal gambling has hit the NHL, allegedly involving a half-dozen unnamed players plus Janet Jones, Wayne Gretzky's wife. Rick Tocchet, Gretzky's assistant coach in Phoenix and a star in the league recently, is accused of financing a bookmaking ring. If that indeed turns out to be the case, then shame on Rick Tocchet for swiping the role usually played by our governments. Who books more bets than a state or a province? No one. Who decides which bets are legal and illegal? Our governments.
continued

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NHLer Tests Positive

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

A Canadian-born NHL player who was on Canada's preliminary 81-man Olympic eligibility list but who is not on the final Olympic team 23-man roster or three-man taxi squad has tested positive for a prohibited substance, TSN has learned. But unlike the Bryan Berard situation – the American-born NHLer who last month received a two-year international hockey ban as a result of a positive test for an anabolic steroid – this case involving a Canadian-born player has yet to fully work its way through the procedural system and, in fact, the unidentified player in question has yet to have his appeal heard by an arbitrator.
read on update 5:53pm,
The Montreal Canadiens have called a news conference for tonight at 6pm where Head Team Physician, Dr. David Mulder, will provide details on the results of an anti-doping test taken by a Canadiens player.
update 6:04pm, Watched the presser and the player is Jose Theodore. Dr. going through a whole timeline and I had to go, I am sure a release will be out soon. Basically the drug was recommended by a Dr. to help him grow hair. update 6:41pm, from TSN,
The Montreal Canadiens announced that goaltender Jose Theodore tested positive for a substance on the WADA banned substance list, at a Thursday evening news conference. Head Team Physician, Dr. David Mulder, discussed details of the test.

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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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