Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

You Asked For It

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Vancouver Canucks are struggling, but even three days after Nonis offered his opinions of free agency at a chamber of commerce meeting, hockey people are still debating the merit of his remarks. You should know, for starters, there was no debate about his comments at the National Hockey League's head office. The rocket would have been fired up Nonis' posterior within seconds of his remarks reaching New York. When Nonis said the free-agency system is "a joke" he said, in effect, that the collective bargaining agreement, which codifies free agency, is also a joke and, therefore, by extension, the NHL executives who negotiated it. If there's one thing commissioner Gary Bettman is consistent about, it is his insistence that you don't criticize your product.
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Malkin Was Well Prepared

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

One person watching Malkin carefully these days is Dave King, his former coach with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Russia last season. Of Malkin's rapid adjustment to life in the NHL, King said: "I'm not surprised at all. I knew he was ready, almost a year ago. "The one thing about Malkin is, he wasn't a guy who would get five points in one game and then go four or five games with nothing. He scored consistently almost every game. He was really consistent in terms of the effort he delivers — and when you're consistent with your effort, quite often you're more consistent with your statistics, too. They're related.

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DiPietro Loves Long Island

No kidding. from the NY Times,

Paul Krepelka, DiPietro’s agent, said recently: “He fell in love with Long Island. He loves the area, and his goal is to retire with the Islanders. I know it’s a young kid talking, but this was something that he discussed with his family at great length.” Yes, DiPietro is really kind of a homebody. He says he does not pay attention to those who say he can coast through the contract, because he wants to prove he is worthy of such an enormous commitment from the Islanders’ owner, Charles B. Wang. “He’s got a real competitive side that can match anybody’s,” said Mike Dunham, DiPietro’s backup, who has also played with the Rangers and the Devils during his 10-year career. “He wants to win at everything he does. He’s confident in his game, and he’s confident in his abilities out there. I think it takes someone of that mentality to play in New York.”

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Point To The Players

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Asked if some of the Senators were looking at their past records and they didn't feel like they had to work hard to have success, Muckler said to talk to the players. "If I were you, honestly, maybe, you are asking the wrong guy. Ask the players that question. That's what you should do. Ask the players that question," said Muckle while watching practice. "Because when I am sitting here as a fan I only see what I see. I see inconsistency. I see breakdowns, for instance, being scored on shorthanded. Right now, we're not playing well enough to be able to afford a mistake like that. That's what usually happens to clubs that are not playing very well. But get inside their heads ... Ask them." The players know they have no one to blame, but themselves.
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Uncertain Future

from the Journal News,

"It's a very painful thing in my career playing with New York and being sent down to the minors," Kasparaitis said prior to skating in the the Hartford Wolf Pack's 4-3 victory over the visiting Portland Pirates last night. "There's nothing I can do but play good and get back with the Rangers, or play good and maybe be somewhere else." In their conversation and to the media, Renney said his hope was that the defenseman would work his way back to the Rangers. But given where Kasparaitis was sitting yesterday, the defenseman sounded skeptical. "That's what he told me, but anything can happen," Kasparaitis said. "I was sent down to the minors after playing only a couple of games in the NHL. ... All I need is to play and have the coach's support. Sometimes you need somebody to support you and tell you we're here, we care about you, we want you to be good."

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Refs Consider Mandatory Visors

from the Toronto Sun:

Two National Hockey League referees have suffered serious facial injuries in the first month of play, firing up the same debate about mandatory visors as in the players' ranks. Don Koharski took a puck in the face in a game in Phoenix early last week and damaged his orbital bone, while Rob Martell has been sidelined since early in the schedule with a puck that struck just above the eye that still is causing him vision problems. There have been close calls elsewhere through the first 170 games. "We've had a few scares," NHL senior vice-president and director of officiating Stephen Walkom said yesterday. "Don was fortunate in that he required just seven to nine stitches. He's doing well and he has gone home to take it easy a few days. He should be good to go in games next week.

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Koivu Motivated To Face Champs

Saku Koivu faces Carolina for the first time since an errant Justin Williams stick almost cost him his career last Spring. Via the Montreal Gazette.

Yesterday, Koivu said it's the chance to beat the club that ended the Canadiens 2005-06 season and went on to win the Stanley Cup, and nothing personal with Williams, that motivates him. "What happened, happened," he said. "It was an accident. He didn't have the intention of hurting me. To be honest, I hadn't thought about the Williams incident. It's not going to play a big role (tonight).

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Daly: Fans Like Sked As-Is

from David Pollack of the Mercury News:

[Dave Nonis's] public outburst was nothing that league officials hadn't heard privately, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. ``We're aware of his concerns,'' Daly said. ``I certainly understand them and appreciate them, but they don't represent the majority of the teams in the league.'' Still, he added, ``if there are ways to make the schedule better, we would pay attention and seek to make it better. It's just identifying those ways.''

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Mum’s Already The Word in Minnesota

Here's a complaint we don't usually hear until playoff time. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports this morning that the Wild are too tight-lipped when it comes to injury disclosure.

It's only November, but playoff lexicon is now in the daily vocabulary of injury disclosures by the Minnesota Wild. Diagnoses such as "lower-body soreness" typically are reserved for postseason injury reports. But the team said Wednesday it would start classifying injuries to its players in the vaguest terms while forbidding them from commenting about theirs or teammates' injuries the rest of the season.

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Calder Competition For Malkin

Via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette,

But just as Ovechkin had to hold off the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to win the Calder last season, Malkin appears to have some strong competition in 2006-07. One push could come from teammate Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old who beat the odds to stick with the Penguins.
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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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