Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Pronger’s Agent Talks

Pat Morris, agent for Chris Pronger was on Fan 590 in Toronto and was asked about Pronger wanting to play in the US. He responded he would consider Toronto "South of the Border". He stated they are circumstances that would not allow Pronger to play in Edmonton and if he went into details, it would get into personal lives and he won't do that. Morris was asked about an Ottawa destination and Morris replied he has not been "asked" if Ottawa would be considered as "south of the border" so he had no response about the Sens. Morris talked about Jay McKee, another one of his players and says Buffalo has started contract talks but he thinks he will be hearing from about 29 other teams July 1st.

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Huet Signs With Canadiens

from the Montreal Canadiens,

Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Monday the signing of goaltender Cristobal Huet to a two-year contract (2006-07, 2007-08). As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "Cristobal Huet is a very valuable player to the Canadiens’ organization. Last season, he led our team to a playoff berth, and more importantly, his playoff performances showed that he is amongst the top goaltenders in the NHL. We know that Cristobal likes the city of Montreal, we were convinced he wanted to stay with the Canadiens, and we are pleased to have him under contract for the next two seasons," said Gainey.

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How Do You Really Feel

Bill at A2Y is beginning to understand what Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press is all about. The last word of his rant fits perfectly.

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from Gary Shelton of the St. Peterburg Times,

What in the wide world of sports is ESPN thinking? Dominoes? What, did someone forget the Pick-Up Sticks? Paintball championships. Poker tournaments. Rodeo. Game shows. Billiards. Kickboxing. Logrolling. Hot dog eating contests. Sports writers yelling at each other. If these are sports, they should hold the Olympics at Chuck E. Cheese's. The other day, I was in a restaurant, and bowling was on the TV. Not just any bowling, but trick bowling. Arena bowling, if you will. ...At this point, Bettman needs to bend a knee and issue a plea. He needs to point to all of the various ESPN channels and beg for one of them, any one, to show his league's games. He needs to settle for any announcer, even Chris Berman. If it takes it, he should offer to let the players play Trivial Pursuit between periods. Parcheesi, maybe. Frankly, the NHL needs ESPN. And despite the low ratings of the past year, ESPN could use the NHL.
more...I am not sure if Mr. Shelton realizes it or not, but ESPN did not want the NHL on their network. The best course of action is just wait, if the NHL continues to improve, maybe we can have a bidding war for network rights in the not to distant future.

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Lidstrom Talk

Jim Nill, Wings Assistant GM was on WDFN this morning and one thing I found interesting was Nill said when the Wings talked to Lidstrom in Vancouver, Nick wanted to know the layout of the team for next season. Nill said the Wings will sign him, it is a matter of coming to a $$$ agreement. Nill mentioned the Wings need to get younger and the cap wil force them to make some changes. He also stated the Wings will probably go the UFA route for a goalie instead of a trade. They will take their time in getting a goalie, if they jump in now they will be forced to overpay. Nill again pointed out the key is getting Lidstrom signed, then everything will fall into place. I imagine Yzerman will be asking the same question when he meets with Holland this week to discuss his future plans. My take on this, if Yzerman feels the Wings have a Cup run in them, he will return, if not, #19 will be hanging from the Joe rafters sometime this upcoming season.

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Islander Plan

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Now that the future is in place, Smith and Nolan can direct their attention to the present. Decisions must be made on qualifying restricted free agents such as Arron Asham, John Erskine, Eric Godard, Trent Hunter, Mike York and Rick DiPietro. It is possible Smith might let one or two walk to create room on the roster for players he and Nolan want. DiPietro's agent, Paul Krepelka, already has begun preliminary negotiations for a long-term contract. DiPietro is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2008. He maintains that he wants to be an Islander for the rest of his career. Meanwhile, in five days, Smith will go back into the free-agent party he used to crash as Rangers GM. He joked about still having "post-traumatic stress disorder" from those free-spending days working for the Garden, throwing money at all of the top free agents available while small-market teams had no chance to compete. "I felt like I was going to the execution every year, like, 'Boy are they gonna hate me tomorrow,'" Smith said
read on

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Decision Time

from the Star-Telegram,

If Guerin made half of his $6.7 million salary, perhaps the Stars wouldn't be seriously considering a buyout by Friday. Instead, in the salary-cap era, they could save $4.5 million toward the $44 million cap - and they currently have only about $8 million left with 15 players under contract and free agency ahead. The decision facing team owner Tom Hicks and general manager Doug Armstrong - if they haven't already made it - seems to be all about the numbers. For instance, could they even theoretically keep Guerin and sign free-agent center Jason Arnott and either defenseman Willie Mitchell or Jon Klemm? "It just becomes a math equation then," Armstrong said. "Look at your roster and add that number. You really do have to rob Peter to pay Paul in a cap system to get it all in there."

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Things Have Happened

from the Edmonton Sun,

Chris Pronger has a message for Edmonton: It's not you, it's me. The soon-to-be ex-Oiler, through his agent Patrick Morris, wants the city and its hockey fans to know that he doesn't hate them. He still wants out, but he doesn't hate you. "He's a great player and the Oilers wanted this to last a long, long time, as Chris did,'' said Morris, who made Pronger's trade request public last Friday. "But at the same time I think they understand that people come before business and things have happened - not necessarily to change Chris's mind, but to change his ability to stay there.'' See, it's not you, it's him.

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No Waiting- Make A Deal Now

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

...the Star's crack hockey reporter Ken Campbell who located a soft spot in the new agreement during a CBA seminar with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHL Players' Association boss Ted Saskin on Saturday. Campbell asked that since the league and union had publicly agreed on a new salary cap of $44 million (all figures U.S.) for next season, and thus a new maximum salary of $8.8 million (20 per cent of the cap), could players negotiate that figure immediately rather than waiting for the July 1 free agent kickoff? Daly and Saskin looked at each other, agreed that was probably the case, but acknowledged it hadn't been an issue before. In theory, then, while Tampa Bay's Brad Richards was restricted by a maximum $7.8 million max under the old $39 million cap when he negotiated his new deal after the end of the season, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, by waiting just a few extra weeks, now has a higher threshold to work with immediately. At the entry draft on Saturday meanwhile, there was talk that Carolina GM Jim Rutherford was offering teams an opportunity to negotiate with soon-to-be free agent goalie Martin Gerber between the draft and July 1 if, as a condition of the opportunity, they would take defenceman Oleg Tverdovsky and his $2.5 million salary off Carolina's hands.
read on

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What About McCabe

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The heat will be turned up on Bryan McCabe this week. Will he stay or will he go? The Maple Leafs need to know because GM John Ferguson Jr. has to decide what direction he's going to take with his club's blue line by July 1. If McCabe doesn't sign with Toronto, there's a strong possibility the Leafs will try harder to acquire Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger, who has asked Edmonton for a trade because of personal reasons. ...Asked if it was time for McCabe to accept the deal or move on, the Leafs boss was coy. "The deal is not done. He has not been signed. We've been working on this for a long time and nothing has changed in the last couple of weeks," he said. Ideally, Pronger would like to be moved to "a location south of the border," according to Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe. But the Oilers -- obviously unhappy with the prospect of losing one of the NHL's top rearguards -- will have the final say where he goes. The Leafs are not alone in their pursuit of Pronger. The Senators, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues also held discussions on the draft floor Saturday.

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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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