Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Hinote Credits West Point

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

"It wasn't easy to leave because the academy is the academy,'' Hinote said. "You're so proud to be there. But the way my family and I figured, you can always go back to school. Your window of opportunity for hockey is so small. You never want to look back and wish you did something." Hinote acknowledges that his time at West Point changed him, and not just because after you've gone through an Army boot camp, an NHL training camp is nothing. "I think (West Point) changes everybody,'' Hinote said. "You fully understand what you're capable of taking mentally. Once you go through that first year, you realize the capability of your mind and body. After that, you think, 'I went through that. I can handle (anything).' "
more update 2:15pm, Heard there was a knee on knee hit last night on McKee during the Blues/Wild contest. McKee is out with a knee injury and it could be a month until he returns. update 3:12pm, from the News-Democrat,
St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay McKee sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee Thursday in a preseason game against Minnesota and will be out for at least two weeks and possibly longer. That could keep McKee out of the lineup when the Blues open the regular season Oct. 5 at San Jose. McKee was injured on a hard check in the third period by Minnesota's Derek Boogaard. "If he wants to hit me that's fine," McKee said Friday after getting treatment at the Blues' practice facility. "But when a guy's exposed and his legs are hanging out, it's not very hard to back off. It's just asking to injure a player when you do that. "If that's what he wanted to do, he achieved his goal."

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She’s Back

Alanah must be back in town after her too long vacation. She has some more information on the new NHL.com website and I hope she starts blogging in a hurry. She should be nice and refreshed after her west coast swing, so start bringing it Alanah.

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An Inside Look At Ovechkin

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

Ovechkin hadn't played one NHL game yet, but he was having some doubts about his upcoming season and he expressed them to the woman charged with making his transition to the United States and the NHL a little easier. "You know what Susie," he told Susanna Goruven of Newport Sports Management. "I'm not going to win the rookie of the year." Goruven, who practically lived in Washington last season, helping Ovechkin acclimate and get through the day-to-day stuff (buying food, opening a checking account, getting a car, eventually a house), remembers the moment well. "I said, 'Sasha, you remember what I'm telling you. Mark my words. You will win it.' "
read on

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Pens Don’t Respond To Mayor’s Request

from the Pittsburgh Business Times,

The region's two chief political figures stood together on Friday morning, urging the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins to commit to an alternative form of funding for a new $290 million arena. But the Penguins have not responded to a letter from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week that asked the team to commit to an alternative plan. A team spokesman did not immediately return a call Friday requesting comment. Applications are in from three consortiums bidding to win a gaming license to operate a stand-alone slots casino in Pittsburgh. The license could be awarded by a state gaming commission before the end of the year. Concurrently, the Penguins are in negotiations with numerous ownership groups, one of which could move the team to Kansas City, where a new arena is ready and available.

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Only Winning The Cup Matters

from George Johnson at ESPN,

The curiosity, Jim Playfair understands. "People want to know, 'How much control will he really have?' Or 'Will Darryl be downstairs all the time?'" The new Calgary Flames coach shrugged. "Well, obviously I can't answer any of those questions. And, quite frankly, they don't interest me. What interests me is this hockey team. It's about the players. Not Jim Playfair. Not [GM] Darryl Sutter. Winning the Stanley Cup is the objective here. That's what he wants. That's what I want. That's what everyone in this organization wants.

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Pronger Was Wrong

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Pronger can't have it both ways. He can't blame the fans for making an issue of his personal life. He was the one who introduced his family into the discussion in the first place. If family was the issue behind his trade request -- and no one is suggesting otherwise -- why even bring them into it? Instead of using them as a scapegoat, why not protect them by leaving them out of it completely? Why wouldn't Pronger simply say he was the one who wanted/needed to get out of town?
more In case you missed the recent Pronger interview...

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Nabokov Wants To Start

from the Province via Canada.com,

With his winsome smile and his never-say-worry demeanour, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov hardly radiates discouragement. He doesn't seem like a player embroiled in one the most personally conflicting -- and intriguing -- battles for a job you will see in the NHL this preseason. Nabokov desperately wants his job back. It's the same job he fumbled last season thanks to a series of injuries which accompanied a whole lot of lacklustre play. He has an uphill climb.

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Talent Pool Diluted

New year, same old story... from the Tufts Observer,

Once a staple of the American winter, the NHL has now tumbled to the edge of obscurity. People just don’t care anymore. There are too many teams in too many states that just weren’t meant for hockey. Yet as it stands, Florida has not one, but two teams playing in the NHL. There are also franchises in Nashville, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, and Atlanta. If you’re a fan of any of these teams, please don’t take this personally, but they just don’t make much sense. Not only are these regions not at all conducive to the sport, but they, along with pitiful expansion teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, make for a system that is just too large for the amount of talent available. There simply aren’t enough quality players to fill 30 professional rosters. As a result, the talent pool is diluted and the end-product is decisively mediocre.
read on

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Hockey In Memphis

The Nashville Predators played an exhibition game in Memphis yesterday. The fans seemed to enjoy themselves... from Commercial Appeal,

Although when the Predators first came to Nashville in 1998, they knew what language to speak. "We sold it as NASCAR on ice," said Predators owner Craig Leipold, who was born in Memphis, raised in Wisconsin, and watched Thursday's 8-1 victory over the Blue Jackets. "A lot of hard-hitting, a lot of collisions." "Not a bad start," Leipold said. "Maybe we ought to do a couple of regular-season games here -- first period, anyway." But Leipold was hoping that this one game would have the same impact that Taranski's first game in Detroit had on him 36 years ago. "We want to get people in Memphis interested in hockey," Leipold said. "We've got 20 games on the weekend."

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Get Quicker

from the Sun-Sentinel,

O'Brien's commitment to fitness has translated into a leaner, quicker and more agile Panthers roster. Instead of lifting weights, players are actually losing it to increase their speed and agility under O'Brien's program in his second year with the Panthers, and Panthers General Manager and coach Jacques Martin said he believes in his players' physique makes them better equipped for the new NHL, which values such traits. "I think Andy has done a great job with our people when I look at the results this year compared to last year," Martin said. "His program is really more focused on speed and quickness vs. the old strategy of bulking [up] and lifting heavy weights."

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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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