Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the National Post,
Nobody doubts Winnipeg is a great hockey town, the only questions that remain to be answered are: (a) will Winnipeggers fork over $100 a night for 41 nights to buy tickets; (b) are there are enough corporate dollars in town to maintain a franchise; (c) is the MTS Centre (at 15,100 seats) big enough; and (d) who will write the cheque for $180-million (or more) to bring an existing franchise or a potential expansion franchise to town?...
Here in the ‘Peg, the NHL debate will continue to rage. As as Gretzky and Laforge both know, compared to Tampa, South Florida, Phoenix, Atlanta or Nashville, Winnipeg isn’t a good hockey town, it’s a great one.
Of course, until someone is ready to write that big cheque, all the talk is meaningless.
from Norman Chad at the Washington Post,
For reasons unclear to anyone not born under a hockey rink, the NHL keeps lengthening its season. One might say the NHL overstays its welcome, except most of us are not even aware it’s in our living rooms.
The season now starts Sept. 29 and the Stanley Cup finals could go until June 9. This means—and I want all of you sitting down when you hear this, so you can fall off the sofa like me—that July and August are the only months the NHL does not play regular season or postseason games….
Anyway, the NHL regular season will open in London. That would be like “Othello” opening in Disneyland.
more (reg. req.)
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Ray Emery doesn’t have an answer.
After taking part in his first full practice with the Senators yesterday at Scotiabank Place, Emery told reporters he’s not sure when he’ll be able to play, but doesn’t believe he’s ready yet.
“I’m just working hard at getting back right now. I obviously want to get some games in, but I’ve got to make sure that I’m not going to get hurt when I get in there,” said Emery. “I’m close, but I’m not where I want to be as far as playing a game. It’s kind of frustrating for me right now, but I’ll get in there.”
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Still, though there will be plenty of bonding time, this will be a working vacation. Last year 1st Sgt. J.B. Spisso, a Greensburg native, put the players through rigorous boot camp-like drills, including dragging a wounded soldier and carrying someone like a firefighter does when taking an unconscious person out of a burning building.
“We do some things that are very unique and very fun ... but you’ve got to go there with the right attitude and that’s the great things about the guys is that they have the right attitude,” Penguins forward Mark Recchi said. “I’ve been on teams where they haven’t got the right attitude and they didn’t get anything out of it, but the guys are excited about it and we’re looking forward to it.”
from the National Post via the Ottawa Citizen,
After Wellwood missed 33 games with a sports hernia last season, head coach Paul Maurice instructed the third-year forward to hit the weights and get stronger this summer.
According to Wellwood’s father, the 24-year-old took a different approach.
“He likes to take the time off to rest himself mentally,” Rick Wellwood said in a telephone interview yesterday. “In the past, that has worked for him. But maybe he’s now going to have to do more in the summer; he’ll decide to take care of himself better when he decides to do that.”
From USA Today,
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle’s severed tendons in his wrist area were surgically repaired Sunday and he’s projected to be out of the lineup four to six weeks. Boyle was injured in a freak accident after Saturday’s loss to Washington when his skate fell off its hook and sliced his wrist.
“The doctors who did the surgery today said it was a cut with surgical precision,” said Tampa Bay general manager Jay Feaster.
According to Feaster, Boyle told him that he put his skates on the hook, as he always does, and was talking to teammate Doug Janik when it came crashing down. Feaster said members of the media heard the lid of Boyle’s cubicle slam shut, and they theorize that the vibration knocked the skate off the hook.
From Pierre LeBrun, CP via Globe & Mail,
Bettman’s voice fills with emotion has he responds to criticism that the salary cap has risen too high at US$50.3 million and salaries are back to pre-lockout levels.
“I think the agreement has been misconstrued,” Bettman said. “People are saying there’s a $50-million cap and now we’re back to where we were and higher. That statement, when it’s made, indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of how the system works.”
To wit, Bettman points out that in the pre-lockout season of 2003-04, the top payroll was in the $80-million range with other teams in the 70s and 60s. More importantly, he adds, it’s the average payroll that really matters pertaining to dividing up the 55 per cent of the revenue pie to players.
more… (*wide-ranging interview on issues like television coverage, European markets, etc.)
from Spector at Fox Sports,
In Atlanta, talks are ongoing between Thrashers general manager Don Waddell and top forward Marian Hossa, who’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July. Reports out of Atlanta suggest thus far both sides are agreeable on the term of a new contract (three or four years) but the dollars have yet to be hashed out.
It’s essential to the Thrashers to retain Hossa, arguably their best forward, to prove to their fans that the team still considers itself a serious playoff contender, but uncertainty over the club’s current ownership situation might be affecting negotiations.
read on... My gut feeling, Hossa will offer himself to the highest bidder next July…
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Yet whatever Richardson ends up doing on the ice, he figures to serve an important role for the Senators on the bench and in the dressing room.
He’ll lend an ear if a younger player asks his advice. He’ll remove a struggling player from the dressing room for a pep talk or pat a player on the back for a job well done. He’ll take a prospect home to dinner to make him more comfortable in his surroundings. When Richardson was in Columbus, rookie Gilbert Brule lived with the family for a while.
Think of him as the Kevin Costner character in the baseball movie, Bull Durham, providing whatever tips he can, based on his experiences.
from John Steigerwald at the Observer-Reporter,
At 1 p.m. New Year’s Day, given the choice, of watching two 7-5 teams playing each other in the Papajohns.com Bowl or watching an outdoor hockey game being played in front of 75,000 people in a football stadium, it’s a slam dunk - or maybe an empty netter. I’m watching hockey.
I don’t think there will be many people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., making that same choice, but those people wouldn’t watch the hockey game if it were played on their front porch.
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.
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