Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The South Is Calling

The Tyee,

Head deep into America's south to Huntsville, Alabama, and there you'll find king cotton, a space rocket arsenal and, for young Canadians like Marc Narduzzi, a perfectly logical place to play hockey. You would be hard-pressed, however, to find two more disparate cultures in North America than those of Vancouver and the Alabama city amidst cotton fields. "We're in what you call the Bible belt down here, the people down here are very nice, you get a lot of southern hospitality, but it is the Bible belt," Ross said. "But the weather is warmer."
more

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Drug Testing Begins Sunday

from the Globe and Mail,

Richard Pound is about to be proven right or wrong. The testing will finally begin on Sunday, when the league's 700-plus players will start sending a message in a bottle as to whether they are clean or cheating. "I know I've been constantly watching what I put in my body," Edmonton Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger said yesterday. "I think this process has us on edge because it's not an exact science. "When you play 82 games, 28 to 30 minutes a game, you need to replenish your system with a protein shake now and again. But you're putting a lot of faith in the company that makes the protein powders. When these products are made, you never know what substances get mixed up or left on the conveyer belt."
read on

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Who You?

from the Delaware County Times,

There he sits on the end of the bench every game. He wears a Flyers sweater, so you know he’s part of the team, but other than that, he’s about as mysterious figure as there is. Meet Jamie Storr, the backup goalie. "I had a midseason review a couple weeks ago and that was the first time (Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock) talked to me," said Storr, who has been the backup for 15 games this season without seeing one second of action. "At that point, he said I was just here in case Niitty got hurt."
more

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Bonus Time For Ovechkin

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post (Friday edition),

As Alex Ovechkin walked past a television hanging from the ceiling in the Washington Capitals' practice facility yesterday, he stopped, and his eyes lit up. "Hey," he said. "It's me. I made Top Five Plays!" Ovechkin has already achieved one bonus. By scoring his 20th goal on Dec. 23 in a 4-2 victory over Montreal, he earned $212,500. "I know when I score 20 goals, I have one bonus," Ovechkin said yesterday at Piney Orchard Ice Arena, his eyes fixed on the television. "But I don't know how many points I must have for [additional] bonus[es]." He may not, but his agents and the Capitals' salary cap crunchers are certainly playing close attention. The incentives contained in Ovechkin's contract are divided into two schedules: Individual A, which are paid out by the Capitals, and Individual B, paid by the NHL and supplemented by the team.
read on (reg. req.) Ovechkin should become the focus of an NHL marketing campaign plus an ad agency would be very smart to grab him right now, before he becomes too expensive.

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Report- Stirling Fired

via the AP,

The New York Islanders fired coach Steve Stirling on Wednesday night, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official announcement wasn't scheduled until Thursday. An interim coach will be in place before the Islanders' home game against Calgary on Thursday night, and it won't be general manager Mike Milbury, the person told the AP.
update 11:32pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The firing of head coach Steve Stirling by the New York Islanders will spark speculation on two fronts, one short term and one longer term. The short term speculation will now focus on the future of Boston Bruin head coach Mike Sullivan. ...As for the longer-term speculation caused by Stirling's firing, brace yourself for a lot of 'Brent Sutter to the Islanders' talk.
more

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Memories For Messier

from the AP via the Globe and Mail,

Mark Messier stood at the podium in front of family, friends, and dozens of pictures of his entire hockey life. This was the day the six-time Stanley Cup champion has dreaded since he decided to end his 25-year NHL career back in September. Messier took the stage at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, one night before his number 11 New York Rangers jersey was to be raised to the rafters in the main arena.
continued

Continue Reading »

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Is A Deal Brewing

from the CP via RDS (translated),

Rumour wants that the Canadians announce a significant transaction with the Avalanche of Colorado during next hours. Bob Gainey accompanied the team in Denver, where they play this evening, just like Julien Brisebois, the director of the operations hockey and the legal businesses. That even which regulates the details of the contracts.
more This may have something to do with a deal. The Pens recalled two goalies while only putting one on IR. from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled goaltenders Dany Sabourin and Sebastien Caron from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, it was announced Wednesday by General Manager Craig Patrick. Goaltender Jocelyn Thibault has been placed on injured reserve.
I am not really into all of these trade rumors, but if you want to follow along, check out the Avs forum. update 9:04pm, No mention of this on TSN during the Avs-Habs game tonight.

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How Are We Doing

from NHL.com,

Seven players are on pace to record 50 goals this season, the most in a decade (eight players reached the 50-goal mark in 1995-96). Players on a 50-goal pace this season are Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Philadelphia's Simon Gagne (both 62), Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson (57), Ottawa's Dany Heatley (54), Washington's Alexander Ovechkin (52), Carolina's Eric Staal (51) and New York Rangers' Jaromir Jagr (51)
many more stats... Back in early October, some of you gave your goal scoring predictions. Some are close, some are way off and why in the world did I think Iginla would reach 60 goals!

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Olympic Snub Still Bothers J.R.

from a Q. & A. with Roenick at ESPN,

Q: Now that you've had a few weeks to reflect, how do you react to being left off the U.S. Olympic team? A: I'm pissed. I feel extremely disrespected. I am right up there with any American to ever play the game. Look at Shane Doan. He has struggled all this year, but he has been in the Canadian system for years, and Canada has respect for the guys that have won medals for them, so they selected him. That wasn't the case with the U.S. I think it was totally disrespectful. I have no love for USA Hockey at this point. If they ask me to do anything for USA Hockey again, it will not be done.
much more

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I Play Hockey To Score Goals

NHL.com transcript of tele-conference with Ilya Kolvalchuk,

Q. Have you always been -- you've been criticized in the past for being too flamboyant about your goal celebrations, have you always since you were a kid been doing crazy stuff? ILYA KOVALCHUK: No, I'm just an excited guy, I'm always excited about my goals, and I don't care how many, if it's one for it's 41st, it's always exciting. That's why I'm playing hockey, to score goals to win the games.
more

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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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