Kukla's Korner

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The Kessel File

from the NY Times,

Phil Kessel has blossomed into one of hockey's top prospects. He is blessed with the kind of speed that has prompted several professional scouts to compare him to Pavel Bure, who starred for the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers before finishing his career with the Rangers in 2002-3. Kessel, an 18-year-old forward from Madison, Wis., is projected to be the No. 1 pick in next summer's National Hockey League draft. "This guy has got a great shot and great speed like Bure or a young Teemu Selanne when he came into the league," said Jim Nill, whose duties as the assistant general manager for the Detroit Red Wings includes overseeing the team's scouting. "He goes 100 miles an hour but looks like he's just gliding out there. His shot's fantastic, too. The puck hits his stick, and it's gone."
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The Americans Are Coming

from the Ottawa Sun,

The thought of giving Americans their due when it comes to hockey isn't new, but when talk begins to surface of them excelling in important international tournaments, Canadians get a look on their faces like they've just kissed Darcy Tucker while sporting lemon-flavoured lip gloss. And while the Americans may not be a threat on every international stage yet, their presence has been felt at other tournaments, including this year's world juniors -- a competition in which Canada is perpetually expected to dominate.
continued

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Luongo Situation

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Roberto Luongo won't have to wait much longer to find out where he stands with the Florida Panthers. It's expected Luongo will learn his fate shortly after the NHL rings in the New Year. And while there has been speculation the Panthers are going to deal the 26-year-old goaltender, Florida GM Mike Keenan hasn't had any serious trade talks with any other team about Luongo.
read on

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NHL Notes

-The holidays had some NHL fans in crazy moods. In Pittsburgh Tuesday night, with the Maple Leafs and Hockey Night in Canada visiting, there were well over 1,000 Leaf fans at Mellon Arena to watch their heroes go up against Sidney Crosby. Don Cherry, a noted Crosby critic, went out onto the ice with host Ron MacLean prior to the game for the intro into HNIC's broadcast. It was a gutsy move, given Cherry's recent licks on Crosby. The Leaf Nation in attendance rallied around the end boards entrance where Cherry emerged and gave him a big welcome. But Cherry's anti-Crosby comments rankled some in Pittsburgh and one local was mad enough to toss a beer at him. He hit the mark, but Cherry took it like a sport and laughed it off.- via the Toronto Star -"Joe is virtually impossible to contain down low unless you're committing a penalty," Wilson said. "He's being pinned to the boards and that's a penalty. If they can do that kind of stuff to Joe, then we're going to have to teach our defensemen how to commit a penalty without committing a penalty."- San Jose coach Ron Wilson on Joe Thornton -Red Wing goalie Manny Legace faced 22 shots Friday night in his rehab start with Grand Rapids. Manny gave up two goals, said he was getting the rust out and was promptly returned to the Wings after the game.

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Looking Ahead

from the Toronto Sun,

Are you wondering what the 2006 hockey headlines will be? Here is a preview: January: Seduced by tales of the Alpine lifestyle and tax shelters for their future NHL salaries, six members of the Team Canada defect to Switzerland after winning the world junior championship. March: Two minutes before the NHL trade deadline, Flyers' general manager Bobby Clarke swings a deal with the Maple Leafs for Eric Lindros. April: With a shootout win in Game 82 against Pittsburgh, the Leafs nose into the last playoff spot, then upset the conference champion Ottawa Senators in six games
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Briere Out With Sports Hernia

from the AP via the Biloxi Sun Herald,

Sabres center Daniel Briere has been diagnosed with a sports hernia and will have surgery in Montreal early next week. Briere is expected to be out until April. He had an ultrasound scan in Toronto on Friday that confirmed the sports hernia. He was examined on Thursday by Montreal Canadiens team physician Dr. David Mulder, a specialist in abdominal injuries. Mulder will perform the surgery. "It's a big hit," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's a game-breaker and we're going to miss him."
more

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Alfredsson Out 10 Days

via TSN,

The Senators captain, who scored his 24th goal in the first period, left in the second with a cracked rib after he was struck by teammate Zdeno Chara's slap shot. Alfredsson stumbled as he struggled to reach his team's bench. He used his stick to right himself before discarding it and both his gloves while making his way directly to the dressing room. He will be out at leaast 10 days.

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DiPietro & Zhitnik Hurt

from the AP via NHL.com,

The New York Islanders lost goalie Rick DiPietro and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik to injuries Friday night against the Ottawa Senators. DiPietro was injured as he fell to the ice during a scramble that led to Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson's tying goal... Islander trainer Campbell again came rushing off the bench 2:07 into the second to attend to Zhitnik, who slid backward into the boards and was unable to brace for the impact.
I happened to see the DiPietro injury-an Ottawa player tumbled on top of him and pushed his body backwards, while his left leg was caught beneath him. Basically the same type of collision Legace experienced a few months ago. Daniel Alfredsson also took a puck to the ribs and was taken to the hospital for xrays.

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Dallas To Host NHL All-Star Game In 2007

via the Dallas News,

The Stars will host the 2007 All-Star Game at American Airlines Center, team president Jim Lites confirmed Friday. Commissioner Gary Bettman is tentatively scheduled to make the official announcement in Dallas on Jan. 23. With the Phoenix Coyotes in town to face the Stars, Coyotes coach and NHL icon Wayne Gretzky is expected to be a part of the announcement as well as Stars officials.

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Orszagh Claimed By St. Louis

via Sportsnet,

The bottom-feeding St. Louis Blues have picked up Vladimir Orszagh off of waivers, Sportsnet has learned, a day after the forward was signed by the Phoenix Coyotes.

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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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