Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Reason For Concern

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,

Hidden beneath the glow of what appears to be a slight increase in fortune, are reports of a slight drop in attendance. Now on the heels of what the league maintains was a record turnout coming back from the lockout season of 2004-05, this is nothing to lose tonight's sleep over, but this is supposed to be the "new" NHL, the reinvention of the game if you will. By any business measure the "new" and "improved" version of a product is supposed to not just hold on to regular customers, but attract new ones. That the NHL may not be doing that should create some concern.

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Cox: NHL’s Stances On Pens, Tocchet A “Curious Contradiction”

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star:

[Rick] Tocchet's legal future remains unclear, although it's not hard to guess that the state has used the state trooper and another individual to gather evidence against him. From the NHL's point of view, Tocchet remains persona non grata, although technically it was he who asked for the leave of absence from his job with the Coyotes. So on one hand you have the league betting on a slots licence to save the perpetually teetering team in Pittsburgh, and everybody's okay with that. On the other hand you have a prominent former player possibly involved with gaming, either quasi-legal stuff or downright illegal stuff, and that takes him to a place where he is no longer fit to dine at the same table as, well, NHL players and members of the board of governors. It's a strange juxtaposition of values, one that leaves those unfamiliar with the nuances of gaming utterly confused. But if Tocchet is to be shamed for his activities, what then of climbing into bed with the Isle of Capri gaming corporation in a desperate attempt to do that which the City of Pittsburgh has steadfastly refused to do, namely build in a new rink for the Pens? Where is the line of no return here? Why is it okay to associate with the folks who operate the one-armed bandits but totally outside the pale to take bets on pro football?

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Board of Governors Okays Nucks sale

from the Canadian Press via TSN:

The Aquilini Investment Group took full control of the Vancouver Canucks and their arena Monday, giving the NHL franchise 100 per cent local ownership. The NHL's board of governors approved the group's purchase of the remaining 50 per cent of the team and GM Place from Seattle businessman John McCaw. The Aquilini group, owned by Vancouver businessmen Francesco, Roberto and Paolo Aquilini, bought the first 50 per cent of the team and the arena in November 2004.
Former Aquilini ownership partners Tom Gagliardi and Tom Beedie are still suing Francesco Aquilini for an alleged "hostile takeover" of the ownership group. continued

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Obstruction’s Creeping Back In

from the Toronto Star's Paul Hunter: Leafs coach Paul Maurice says that obstruction's slowly returning:

"The standard has moved," said the coach, whose team has lost four straight games. "There's a lot more allowed than there was three, four weeks ago. We'll all continue to adjust.
"It just seems there's more free hand stuff available now where, before, as soon as the free hand came off (the stick), they were looking," he said. Maurice said he's noticed that defensive players are now being allowed to "latch on" more to forwards who aren't carrying the puck as they move to the middle of the ice or around the net. "The old hit-and-pin is back," he said. "I just didn't see it any time last year. I'm pretty sure it's there."
Maurice's statements are correct. Pinning has become commonplace again, and players are given three-to-five seconds before putting a stick or hand on an opposing player becomes an infraction. continued

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Flyers Hope Scouting Will Rekindle Clarke’s Love For Game

from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Bobby Clarke's role as a Flyers' VP currently includes scouting responsibilities.

"The business of the sports when you're a GM is becoming bigger and bigger," Clarke said. "Personally, I like hockey way more than I like the business and the complications of the business. For me, I came here when hockey was the biggest part of it all and a GM now is as much a business guy as he is a hockey person. "I still had the enjoyment of the game, but I lost the enjoyment of what I was doing. It's been a couple of months now. The fun of watching the game and stuff is still there for me. Talking hockey with hockey people, that fun is still there for me, I still enjoy that.'' In his new role, Clarke will go to college and junior games, travel to the Junior World Cup, and meet with young players and their families. He won't have to make a decision on a player unless he's asked. "Where I am now, there is a chance to get some enjoyment out of seeing young players in junior hockey and college hockey, without having to make the assessment of, 'Is the kid any good or not?' " he said. "Just enjoy them and talk to them. Whatever [Flyers GM] Paul [Holmgren] wants me to do, I'll do.

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Locker Room Lockdown

from David Naylor of the Globe and Mail: Wings fans are familiar with this refrain...

Here’s something that’s changed a lot over the years in hockey: the modern post-game dressing room, or lack thereof. In today’s NHL, the real dressing room for a home team is situated well behind an area restricted to the media. So what reporters actually get access to is what should be called the hockey-equipment-removal room which, depending on the mood or the outcome of a game, can be either populous or empty. Players can simply dump their gear in a matter of seconds, then proceed behind a restricted area where they undress, shower and dress completely free of distractions.

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Lucky Luc Pitching Kansas City Franchise To NHL

from NBCSports.com:

Q: Now you are a Kings alternate governor, and you are also entrusted with helping to bring an NHL franchise to Kansas City. How did your involvement come about and how strong are the possibilities? A: I don't think it's close right now. I had the opportunity to talk to [Kings governor] Tim Leiweke, I've met with [owners] Ed Roski and Mr. [Philip] Anschutz, and they all know I'm interested in deals versus just kind of being strictly involved with hockey. They know I have a passion for real estate and so forth. When we finally came to terms on what I would do to help out the Kings, they asked me to help bring a team to Kansas City, so I enjoyed my role in setting up the deal there. For me it's going to be a lot of fun to do. I think right now, we have a buyer in [San Jose Sharks imited partner] William Del Biaggio, who's a friend of mine. I knew he was looking for a franchise and he almost got Pittsburgh a year ago. I brought him to Mr. Liewerejrer and we began to negotiate with him and right now he has an exclusive agreement to bring a team there. Now the tough part is he has to go get a team, maybe one that's willing to move.

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A Bad Day Gets Better

Yesterday was a tough day at KK due to the hosting issue I had in the morning. However, the night was much better and I even felt like a 10 year old again.

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Moving The Red Light

from the CBC's Andrew Lundy:

If you missed it, the NHL experimented the other night in Edmonton with not having the goal judges directly behind the net, where they have been forever, but rather sitting on a press box catwalk, high above and behind the nets. The lab mice will later be moved to press box perches adjacent to the goals since not every rink has an above-and-behind vantage point. From all indications, the Edmonton game unfolded without incident, the goals were duly noted, life went on ... as did the red light. The point is, however, that another tradition of the game is undoubtedly going to be altered in the near future.

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No Change To Schedule

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

After a lengthy and spirited debate, the National Hockey League's board of governors decided not to change the regular season schedule and playoff format as their annual meetings concluded on Tuesday.

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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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