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BOG Meeting Didn’t Address Some Issues

from the Courier Post,

When the NHL Board of Governors met last week to discuss the state of the NHL, it addressed the viability of keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh, the inner-workings of the new $39 million salary cap, and the feasibility of an expanded playoff format that would increase the number of playoff teams from 16 to 20. Two topics that were not discussed last week have Flyers general manager Bob Clarke tied up in knots: handling the day-to-day challenges of the salary cap, and the interpretation of the new rules. Last Wednesday, while the Flyers were skating in preparation to face the Vancouver Canucks, three players scheduled to be in the lineup the next night -- Eager, Chouinard and Matt Ellison -- practiced with the Phantoms. Why? Because the Flyers did not want to pay them the combined $12,000 for one day of NHL service. "We could," Clarke said, "but it costs too much money on the cap. It just doesn't seem right. We're supposed to have a chance to put the best possible team on the ice. But when you're talking about three players, you're talking between 10 and 15 grand a day against the cap."

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Trying To Get Sykora

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Perhaps the greatest compliment anyone has made about the job Rangers coach Tom Renney has done this season comes in the form of disinterest by Anaheim general manager Brian Burke, who sees very little on the Blueshirts' roster that he would take in exchange for scoring winger Petr Sykora. The NHL holiday roster freeze goes into effect Monday, which leaves little time for the Rangers to bring in a third team to make the deal happen for Sykora. We know that Rangers GM Glen Sather has made crystal clear his interest in the former Devil, but what Sather is willing to send in return won't motivate Burke.

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Where’s The Fight

from the Baltimore Sun,

"There was no intention on our part to curb fighting," insists Stephen Walkom, the NHL's director of officiating. "If [the reduction in fighting] is a byproduct of new rules, then fine." Fighting has been a part of the NHL since its inception in 1917. It has been a vehicle to protect your own stars and intimidate your opponents. Conn Smythe, an icon in a sport in the early years when he served as a coach, general manager and team owner, explained the importance of fighting when he famously said, "If you can't beat 'em in the alley, you can't beat 'em on the ice."
read on

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Tortorella Not Happy With Goaltending

from the St. Petersburg Times,

Lightning coach John Tortorella walked into his postgame news conference Saturday night and angrily said, "I'm happy with the way the team played. So figure it out." You need not to have a degree in rocket science with a minor in hockey to understand what he was driving at. He pinned Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Red Wings squarely on the shoulders of goalie John Grahame. "I thought we played very well, but do the math," Tortorella said. "Eight scoring chances, five goals."

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Hockey Talk

-How long will it be before the Edmonton Oilers are in another financial mess? The question came to mind as soon as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman started to boast about the certain increase in salary-cap levels next season. Right now, GM Kevin Lowe has a few extra bucks on hand if the right deal comes along, but Edmonton is still limited by its ability to spend big bucks. If the cap limit climbs every year, I suspect the Oilers will be up against it soon.- via the Edmonton Sun -Giants supremo Ed Courtenay has called on the Elite League to take strong action against Nottingham Panthers coach Mike Blaisdell. In the third period of last night's game, Blaisdell and the Giants' former NHL superstar Theo Fleury were involved in a heated verbal exchange. Courtenay blasted: "What Mike Blaisdell said to Theo Fleury was a disgrace. Something should be done. It should be brought to the League's attention. "I'm not going to repeat what he said but he should be reprimanded for it and something should be done. The linesman was right there and he heard it. I'm asking the League to look into the situation."- via Sunday Life (UK) -There is a lot of interest in Wild goaltenders Dwayne Roloson and Manny Fernandez, NHL scouts say, and it wouldn't be surprising if one were traded before long for offensive help.- via the Pioneer Press

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Classic Brooks

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Here's the deal about the news of next season's cap increasing to between $40 and $45M: The 2006-07 cap would have increased to $40.95M even if revenues had merely met this season's conservative $1.8B projection. That's because there's an annual five-percent bump on revenues built into the cap as per the CBA. In other words, the only way the cap would not increase for next season is if revenues are reported at $1.714B. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would never allow that. Why not? Because Bettman would never allow the PA membership to become inflamed to the point where junior partner Ted Saskin's leadership would be questioned by anywhere approaching a critical mass of the union... Slap Shots has obtained figures from a management source that tell a different story about the health of the burned NHL village. According to the NHL gate report of Nov. 15, the Panthers distribute just under 4,000 complimentary tickets per game. The Blackhawks, who operate in the dark ages, give away just over 3,100 tickets a game. Dallas, once one of the league's strongest markets, gives away 2,700 freebies a night. The Bruins, who have descended into disgrace under Jeremy Jacobs' ownership, also give away 2,700 tickets a night, per the document.
read on (reg. req.)

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Robitaille Steaming

from the Daily Breeze,

Luc Robitaille is not a happy King. Hours before his teammates defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-1, on Saturday night at Staples Center, he said he was angry about being scratched from the lineup for the second consecutive game. "It really bothers me that I'm not playing," said the 39-year-old Robitaille, who was a healthy scratch Saturday for the third time this season. "I feel like I should be playing. It's really disappointing the way it's happened."

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Gretzky Takes Leave Of Absence

from the CP via TSN,

Wayne Gretzky put his coaching career on hold with the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night, citing family reasons in a team release. Gretzky's mother Phyllis is battling cancer and he is travelling to Ontario to be with her. Assistant coach Rick Tocchet took over for Gretzky, who became the team's coach before the season. "We respect and support Wayne's decision," Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett said in the release. "Family has always come first to the Gretzkys, as it should.
more update 9:30pm, Toronto Star reporting Gretzky has quit...
Wayne Gretzky quit as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday, citing family reasons. Gretzky’s mother Phyllis is battling cancer and he is travelling to Ontario to be with her.
It is the same story from the CP but the headlines and opening paragraph are a bit different.

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Cherry Critical Of ‘A’ For Crosby

from the CP via CJAD Radio,

Don Cherry turned his attention to Sidney Crosby yet again during his Coach's Corner segment on Saturday night. Cherry, the popular Hockey Night in Canada commentator, said the 18-year-old star hasn't done anything to warrant being named an alternate captain with the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Please? An 18-year-old kid?" said Cherry, putting his hand to his head for emphasis. "He's going to give them ideas? Come on, that's ridiculous."

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More Problems For Mario

via the AP,

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Mario Lemieux's heart ailment again has forced his absence from the team. According to the Penguins, Lemieux did not travel with team for Saturday's back end of a home-and-home series with the Buffalo Sabres due to an irregular heartbeat, which hospitalized him last week and forced him to miss four games.

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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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