Kukla's Korner

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Marleau Leads Off The Ice Too

from the Mercury News,

All of that is impressive. But if you want an even bigger reason the Mercury News is today naming Marleau the 2006 South Bay Sports Person of the Year . . . well, let me tell you about a phone call that happened last weekend.
Many of the Sharks do community work. But Marleau is usually the go-to man, according to Rob Jaynes, the Sharks’ director of fan development.
``He’s just one of those guys who loves doing that stuff,’’ Jaynes said. ``Last week, we heard from a family in Connecticut with three kids and their dad is in the final stages of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. They were Shark fans. I spoke with Patrick and he agreed to have me set up a call to the family last Friday.’‘

read on

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Get Rid Of Fighting Or The Instigator Rule

from the Harford Courant,

Removing the fear of retribution has rid the sport of an unspoken code among players. Players in past generations thought twice about their conduct because there was the threat of retaliation.
It was part of the NHL.
“It’s self-policing,” Clement said. “It traces back through the history of hockey.”
Either the NHL should work toward eliminating fighting or it should embrace it as part of the sport. One way or another, the league needs to figure out what to do with an element of its sport that has been around since the first puck was dropped.
“I think it’s an inherent, important part of our sport,” Clement said. “It’s part of the heritage of our sport. ... I don’t like apologizing for the fighting.”


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Keep An Eye On The Biega Family

from the Montreal Gazette,

Many years from now, when people are looking for answers as to what is behind the legend of the Biega brothers, they will need look no further than the backyard of their Pointe Claire home.
In the image of the Staal hockey family of Thunder Bay, Ont., that is starting to make its mark in the NHL, the Biega family has four boys with very bright hockey futures ahead of them.
The eldest of the four brothers, Alex, 18, is in his freshman year as a defenceman at Harvard University and was a fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in last summer’s NHL entry draft.


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High Praise For Doug Wilson

from Jim Adams at The Union,

...It is an indicator of how far this franchise has come and the bright future on the horizon. Even though he may appear to take all of this in stride; the intelligence, demeanor, and direction in which Doug Wilson has led this team has been a determining factor.
His promotion to general manager was a defining moment.
Although he may be the very last to drink from the Stanley Cup should it arrive in San Jose over the next several years, there will be little doubt among those closest to the sport and the team of the individual who brought credibility and success of the sport to Northern California.


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Briere Was Sending Message

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

All right, so I missed it. I’m no better than the NHL referees, who didn’t see it, either. Apparently, we were all looking the other way Tuesday night when Daniel Briere speared Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in the groin in the first period of the Sabres’ 6-3 win.
There was no penalty on the play. But I’m imposing a two-minute minor on myself for being hooked - by the Sabres’ promise that they wouldn’t seek physical retribution against Ovechkin for running Briere from behind when he was skating to the bench in early December.


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Manny Should Worry About Playing Goal

via the Tennessean,

Legace called Tootoo a “donkey” following the game, and added that Tootoo was “out there running around, just trying to kill our guys.”...
Tootoo paid little heed to the comments.
“They can yap all they want, but I’m here to help our team win and whatever that takes,” Tootoo said following Wednesday’s practice. “Obviously it’s bringing emotion to the game. They just seemed to get rattled. But it’s all about the results. That’s why we’re in first place in our division.”
Predators Coach Barry Trotz had a concise message for Legace.
“Manny should just be worried about playing goal,” Trotz said.

added 9:50am, via the New-Democrat,

Davidson said injuries are a part of hockey, but was particularly upset about Tootoo’s hit on Backman.
“The only thing that bothered me was when Tootoo takes a charging penalty on an icing call, that breaks the code,” Davidson said, referring to things that are and aren’t accepted as typical behavior by NHL players. “If you’re going to take a charging penalty and hit somebody on an icing, to me that should be a major penalty. You have no intention to play the puck, it should be a major penalty.
“You can’t have people in this league running 60-80 feet full speed and not being able to be held up because it’s against the rules. Yet you can take a charging penalty and really hurt a player.”

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Canes Face Conference Leaders Back-to-Back

from the News & Observer,

Riding a season-best, five-game win streak, Carolina (20-14-4) faces the Buffalo Sabres on the road tonight and the Anaheim Ducks at home Friday.
“It’s two big tests for our hockey club,” Carolina center Eric Staal said. “If we want to show we will be in the thick of things, we need to play well and to get wins in these two games.”...
“Every team wants to play good against us, because we won the Cup last year, the same way you want to play good against the best teams in the league,” Walker said. “Fortunately or unfortunately, we’ve got them back-to-back.”


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Foppa Back, Nittymaki Hurt

from the Delco Times,

Peter Forsberg and Robert Esche were back, but now it looks like Antero Niittymaki will be gone for at least a little while. And the soap opera continues for the Flyers, who, by the way, lost for the 10th straight time, 3-1 to the Florida Panthers.
Forsberg played, but got winded after the first period. Esche played too, but only because Niittymaki got hurt.
Niittymaki said he felt pain in his left groin for most of the game and that it kept getting worse and worse.


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Phoenix Getting Offers

via the Arizona Republic,

The NHL lifted its holiday roster freeze on Wednesday, and according to multiple sources the Coyotes have been getting inquiries from other teams about impending unrestricted free agents Ladislav Nagy, Mike Comrie and Shane Doan.
No deals are imminent, but by virtue of their weak offensive numbers, those three players have given the Coyotes no choice but to consider all offers.
The Coyotes might be willing to part with one, two or all three forwards considering there are several younger forwards waiting in the wings…

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Winning Is Fun

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Unlike a handful of other players, Vyborny never went batty while trapped in a culture of losing. He never requested a trade, never quit playing hard, never headed back to the Czech Republic.
And now that the Blue Jackets are tasting victory and tracking upward under coach Ken Hitchcock, nobody’s enjoying the success more than Vyborny.
“It’s more fun to go home at night,” Vyborny said. “It’s more fun to come to the rink the next day.
“It’s something new for all of us here, including the fans. We’ve waited for it, a long time.”


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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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