Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Flyers Better This Year

from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,

This week's signings brings the Flyers' current payroll to about $35.5 million. If Gagne agrees to a deal worth about $5 million and Pitkanen signs for around $2 million, the Flyers will be left with a payroll of about $42.5 million, about $1.5 million below the NHL's new $44 million salary cap. That should explain why the Flyers did not make a big splash in the free-agent market. Still, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke thinks his 2006-07 roster will be better than the one that finished in a first-place tie with the New Jersey Devils with 101 points. "We signed our big guys last year," Clarke said, referring to Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Mike Knuble (in 2004). "Our weaknesses, even when we were healthy, was that our third and fourth lines weren't scoring enough. This year we got faster, more skilled, smaller players for our third and fourth lines that we think we are going to be a better team than we were last year. Until all of our injuries we were a real good team last year."

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Goodbye Tough Guys

from the National Post,

Gary Bettman has always known that he had to get the heavyweights out of his game if he was going to sell hockey to corporate America. Not necessarily fighting, per se. But the goon, the slugger. The guy who rolls up his sleeves and throws off his helmet as he circles, sizing up the other team's biggest, toughest guy. Bettman couldn't simply ban fighting. He had to shape the game so fighting would ban itself. And so it was, as the National Hockey League's commissioner so often says, "a work in progress." Late Tuesday afternoon at the NHL's head offices in New York, they hung the painting.
read on

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Gionta Wants To Stay With The Devils

from the Bergen Record,

In a surprising move, Gionta opted not to file for arbitration before Wednesday's 5 p.m. NHL deadline because he feels the best way to land the long-term contract he wants is to continue negotiating with the Devils. "It may not be today or tomorrow or next week, but I think at the end of the day we both have the same goal at heart, which is to make Brian a fairly long-term New Jersey Devil and we're going to continue to work toward that," Gionta's agent, Steve Bartlett, said Wednesday. "We factored everything in, the fact that Brian wanted to be a Devil and we're just going to keep working through this."

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Blackhawks Still Seeking Players

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

As the free-agent dance got under way in the NHL on Saturday, the Blackhawks looked like the wallflower--waiting, in vain, for someone to ask them onto the floor. The lack of interest established NHL players have shown the Hawks is yet another slap at the franchise, which should be one of the league's prime destinations. "There is no one we haven't talked to, no one we haven't identified and we've never worked so hard," Hawks general manager Dale Tallon said Thursday at the team's prospects camp. "It's a small talent pool with so many teams." ...His best bet to add could be via trade. When the dust clears after free agency and arbitration, teams should be looking to move players to fit below the $44 million cap. One of those teams will be New Jersey, which has nearly $43.5 million committed with center Scott Gomez still unsigned.
read on

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What’s Going On In Edmonton

from the Edmonton Journal,

It's a good thing I'm not a native Edmontonian, because by now I'd be getting a complex, what with all the ex-Oilers fleeing the city like it was Chernobyl on the North Saskatchewan. And one of them -- Jaroslav Spacek, citing travel and family issues -- chose Buffalo, N.Y., over the Heartland of Hockey, for crying out loud! Mother of Mercy, what is going on here? The Oilers came this close to winning the Stanley Cup and the boys were off the bus and into a dead run down Calgary Trail for the airport faster than one of Spacek's one-timers. And no, you can't squeeze all the hockey players into the same parachute harness. It has to be case by case.

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Having Fun Yet?

from the Vancouver Sun,

A computer scientist believes it's only a matter of time before she can develop a system to measure the amount of fun and excitement each video game generates. Regan Mandryk is the first person in the world to measure heart rate and facial muscle movements to quantify the emotional states of gamers while they play. Three groups of men between the ages of 18 and 27 played NHL 2003 by EA Sports while they were attached to physical sensors that included electrodes sewn in velcro strips placed on the index and ring fingers of the same hand.
read on image

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Blues Still Looking To Improve

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

There's a lot to like about what the Blues accomplished since new owner Dave Checketts took over one week ago. But there are also a lot of questions about this club even after the free-agent signings. The Blues needed scoring, and the biggest offensive acquisition they came up with was Guerin, who scored 13 goals in 2005-06 with the Dallas Stars. Either they're asking a lot of Guerin, or they'll be counting on several unknown quantities. "Everybody could use scoring," Davidson said. "Who else out there is a scorer? There's Brendan Shanahan. But Brendan Shanahan is going to be able to pick his own city and his own price. I know he loved playing in St. Louis. I'm not going to say we didn't look at Shanahan, because we did ... but right now it just doesn't make sense for us."

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Belfour Could Sign Soon- Shanahan Not So Soon

from the Detroit News,

The Red Wings got the results of free-agent goalie Ed Belfour's physical Thursday. And they liked what they saw. General manager Ken Holland said the tests showed Belfour's rehabilitation from back surgery in April has been successful. While Belfour could be signed in the next couple of days, forward Brendan Shanahan, who had 40 goals last season, is no closer to deciding his future with the Wings. Shanahan's agent, Rick Curran, said six teams are showing interest in his client.
continued added 8:55am, via the Boston Herald,
According to a knowledgeable source, the possibility of free agent winger Brendan Shanahan signing with the B’s is now dead. Reportedly, St. Louis and Detroit are in the running for the 37-year-old’s services.
added 9:00am, via Mlive,
Holland spoke to Rick Curran, the agent for forward Brendan Shanahan, again on Thursday. Holland also left a couple of messages on Shanahan's cell phone, telling him the team wants him back. "(Curran) tells me Brendan says we're a strong option,'' Holland said. "He just wants to see what's out there.''

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Touring The NHL Team Websites

Every so often I will take a tour of the NHL teams websites. See what is shaking, etc. Tonight I thought I would go to some of the big spenders in the past, checking out the headlines on the home page always has some interesting news. Hmmm, something is up... Colorado...Avalanche Signs Tyler Arnason Dallas...Stars sign Halpern, Barnaby Detroit...Osgood Returns to Wings NYR...Rangers Agree to Terms With Defenseman Ward Philadelphia...Flyers Sign Center Mark Cullen St. Louis...Blues’ Introduce Bill Guerin and Jay McKee Toronto...Lindros Looking to Return Not really earth shattering news. Guerin and Lindros might be newsworthly, if it was 2001. Boy have the times changed!!!

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Antropov Agrees To Contract With Leafs

from TSN,

Restricted free agent forward Nik Antropov has agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Terms have not been released.

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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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