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The Side Letters

via Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

The NHL has gotten involved in a federal investigation into whether the NHL Players’ Association violated a U.S. labor law by refusing to let players in on all of the details of agreements between the league and the union in the labor deal that ended the lockout.
The NHL has asked that the agreements, known as “side letters” because they add to or elaborate on details from the basic collective-bargaining agreement, be kept secret from players. In an e-mail to SportsBusiness Journal, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote, “Our interest in this matter is based exclusively on our desire to protect our agreement with the [players association] to maintain the confidentiality of certain letter agreements entered into as between the parties.”
There are 30 side letters to the NHL labor deal, 21 of which are in the published version of the deal. Ted Saskin, executive director of the union, said in an e-mail that he agreed with the league to keep the other nine letters confidential because they contain “sensitive economic data.”

The story goes into much detail, but to summarize, let’s just say this is going to come to a head, and not soon enough in my opinion.

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Early Game Today

Reminder, we have an early game today.
President’s Day Holiday in the US so Islanders host the Pens in a matinee game.


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NHL- A Really Nice Guy

from the University Chronicle (St. Cloud State Univ.),

Which reminds me, what other popular sport in America has such an even level of competition? There is no way you can slack during a game if you are an NHL player. You can be out of shape if you play baseball; that’s what first base is for. Offensive linemen in the NFL are powerful, but they’re essentially 320 pound space hogs.
Big louts like Shaq can succeed without being in awesome shape in the NBA. But you can’t be out of shape in the NHL. Defensemen are large, sure, but they’re, agile, fast and powerful. Many players have the same level of athleticism.
Today, the NHL is like the really nice guy who can’t get a girlfriend because he isn’t like every other guy. All he wants is a chance. But we don’t see the NHL for what it is; we see it for what it isn’t.
Please, give the guy a chance.


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The Trade Talk Continues

from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The Wings want to believe the price for Tkachuk or Guerin will be less than that for Forsberg because the Nashville deal was more than just a hockey deal, but at least partially a move made by the Preds for business reasons.
Phoenix is getting calls on Owen Nolan, who is looking as though he could help somebody if he’s in the mood. The ‘Yotes haven’t yet heard a pitch from anybody on Curtis Joseph - Montreal? - and aren’t expecting any on Jeremy Roenick. Trying to get a contract done with Yanic Perreault is proving tricky - he’s looking to do better financially after a second strong season - and he could move. GM Mike Barnett, contrary to the rumour mill, hasn’t yet had any calls on Kevyn Adams.


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Biron Talk

from the Buffalo News,

Regier has been forced to at least reconsider his stance on Biron with three days of NHL general manager meetings opening today in Naples, Fla.
The only position the Sabres have depth is goaltender, and their backup is making $2.128 million, a figure that would provide salary cap flexibility if they want to trade for new players.
“We were leaning toward keeping Marty, but things have changed,” Regier said. “What it means is, given the injuries and where we are now, you’re always revisiting things as the season progresses.
“I don’t think that anything has changed substantially, but it is something we will revisit and talk about and get more insight as to what the marketplace looks like at the GM meetings.”

read on

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The NBC Team

A review of weekend sports from the St. Petersburg Times,

Best broadcast team
What a brilliant idea for NBC to put a third broadcaster in the little area between the two benches for its hockey broadcasts, and it makes you wonder why no one else does this. Pierre McGuire not only gets an ice-level view but can eavesdrop on the benches and do quick interviews. Better still, he doesn’t perform the usual sideline reporter duties - speaking only when it’s thrown to him. He’s a part of the broadcast team, speaking up when he can.
What makes NBC’s lead team of McGuire, analyst Ed Olczyk and announcer Mike Emrick so good is Emrick might be the best play-by-play guy in hockey, and McGuire and Olczyk aren’t interested in playing nice if they disagree with one another. They give you the feel that you’re watching the game in your living room with a couple of buddies.

Funniest line
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire, talking about a heavy check in the Penguins-Capitals game: “He threw him down faster than a free beer at a frat party.”

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Looking At The Avs Future

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

It’s not too soon for general manager Francois Giguere to lay the foundation for taking runs at a high-end unrestricted free agent, if there are any on the market after July 1. The possibilities include Chris Drury (oh, the irony) or Daniel Briere of Buffalo; Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk; or that longtime Nashville stalwart, Peter Forsberg - if he has proved he’s somewhat healthy and wants to stay in the NHL.
Giguere soon should try to talk with Don Baizley, Joe Sakic’s agent, about a new two-year contract. Sakic, who is playing under a one-year deal and again could be an unrestricted free agent July 1, previously has said he wanted to take the rest of his career - all together now - one year at a time, including in his contracts. Both sides took the position that there wasn’t much sense talking about 2007-08 until after this season.


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The Votes Are In

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

With the Academy Awards on Sunday, the ratings-starved NHL should be thinking about its own Oscar show. So with apologies to Roger Ebert ...
Best Actor: Gary Bettman. Never one to let empty seats or flat-line TV numbers faze him, the commish keeps going to the podium to put on a happy face.
Best Supporting Role: Evgeni Malkin for The Sidney Crosby Story, just edging out Ron MacLean and the Sedin twins (dual eligibility).

more... and some trade talk too…

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Will “The Rock” Be Ready By October?

from Mark Everson of the New York Post:

The head of the Meadowlands doesn’t know how the Devils can do it, nor what they’ll do about it.
“I know construction, and I don’t think there’s any way that they’ll have that building [in Newark] ready,” N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority head George Zoffinger told The Post.

“They don’t even have all the roof trusses up. There’s no way they can complete that,” Zoffinger said.



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A Friendly Exchange

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Where was George Birman when we really needed him?
A Penguins employee, he serves as the team’s Russian translator.
Where was he when the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin hooked up with the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin in the bowels of Mellon Arena early last night after the Penguins’ 3-2 win?
Wouldn’t you have loved to been a part of that little chat between the two good friends and former Russian national teammates?



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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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