Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Decision Time For The NHLPA

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Slap Shots has learned that the PA Executive Board — which consists of the 30 player reps plus the current Executive Committee officers — will hold a conference call today chaired by Ted Saskin, in which it will discuss, if not vote on, narrowing the payroll band that would thus reduce the cap beginning next season. Apparently terrified by the prospect of significant escrow losses over the life of the CBA, the PA appears poised to accept the NHL's long-preferred payroll band of $10M as opposed to the $16M set forth in the agreement. This would fix the cap at $5M above the calculated midpoint, not $8M, with the floor similarly established. Which means that if this season's revenues come in at the now projected $2B, next season's cap will be $41.55M rather than $44.55M. Which means that free agents will have dramatically fewer options available to them when they hit the open market...
read on (reg. req.)

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Running The Goalie Must Stop

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

It's a situation the league cannot allow to continue. Goalies are the most important players on any team and often the most highly paid. To allow them to be sitting ducks for minimum-wage plumbers whose primary purpose on the ice is to hurt people, makes no sense whatsoever. But no one wants the return of the video rule which, after an apparent goal had been scored, left fans wondering whether they should cheer or wait for the video replay. Most GMs feel the answer is to be found in allowing the defencemen more leeway in their treatment of encroaching forwards. But that presents problems too. It means that different standards will be applied in different parts of the rink.

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Patrice Bergeron Getting Extra Attention

from the Daily News Transcript,

"I don’t know if they can get any higher," says Sullivan of the expectations for Bergeron. "We think so much of him as a player and as a person. It seems like the more challenges we present to him, he just thrives on it. He gets that much better. We use him in all the critical situations, and he embraces the challenge, whether it be defending our net or trying to get a goal late in the game." Bergeron, who won’t even be allowed to legally buy a drink for another six months (he turns 21 on July 24), seems unfazed by the extra attention he’s getting and the increased role he’s playing. "Not really," says Bergeron when asked if he’s putting more pressure on himself now. "All the forwards got to step up and score more. We’ve got to get the results."

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Both Are Impact Players

from the Allentown Morning Call,

If the NHL wants to market its new ways, simply put Ovechkin's magnificent goal on a non-stop, 24-hour replay loop and then open the box office. That moment of ad-lib genius is destined to define the Washington wizard's career the same way Michael Jordan's sky walk at the NBA Slam Dunk competition did 20 years ago. The scary thing is, Ovechkin appears to have the skills to author these transcendent plays on any given shift, so you'd better pay attention. Ovechkin has stolen a lot of the thunder away from Sidney Crosby, the 18-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins phenom, who was anointed the league's savior before the first puck was dropped back in October. Sure, he's been goaded into some stupid penalties and needs the added strength that physical maturity will bring, but Crosby has certainly delivered as advertised.
read on

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Lemaire Thinks Team Will Finish Last

The top four teams in the Northwest are all in the playoff range, and though Minnesota is just nine points back, closing the gap won't be easy. The number of games within the division means that just about any night, one of the teams ahead of the Wild are getting points. "I feel eight (divisional games) is a lot," Lemaire said. "Six would be perfect. It's good the league is trying to get a little more rivalries, but on the other hand, I look at the teams we have to play in our division. Playing these teams for us is tough. We're last in that division and I think we'll finish last."- via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Bettman Talks Drugs

from the Toronto Sun,

Gary Bettman is disappointed Bryan Berard tested positive for an anabolic steroid but maintained the league's position that it's not a widespread concern. "My own belief is that it is not a pervasive problem and it will be something we look back on as probably one of the few positive tests we see," Bettman, the NHL commissioner, said last night. "We will move forward with our program and our testing, and the fact is that in the next few months we are going to have a very clear statement of what the status is (in the NHL)."

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Hopefully Nedved Can Play Like Nieuwendyk

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Hitchcock likened Nedved's role to that of Joe Nieuwendyk in Dallas behind Mike Modano. "Joe was really good coming out of that second hole where he could help other players on his line," Hitchcock recalled. "We think Petr can do the same." Nedved's passing and puck-possession skills add a dimension that Forsberg also brings to the game. "When you add players with good skill level, they can make other players around them better, and Petr has that ability," Hitchcock said.

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Losing The Edge

from the Denver Post,

Words that never should be whispered on Avalanche home ice were shouted. It was a sad sound. "Let's go Red Wings!" a disturbingly large contingent of red-clad fans chanted during the third period of Detroit's 4-3 victory against Colorado. Say what? Let's go Red Wings? Cheering for Detroit should be blasphemy in Denver. Let's go Red Wings? I never thought we'd hear the day.
read on

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Nash Is Go To Guy

from the NY Times (Sunday Edition),

"If Rick Nash was healthy and we didn't have some of the major injuries we had during the season, there's no doubt in my mind we'd be battling for a playoff spot right now," Columbus Coach Gerard Gallant said last week. Fedorov, 36, said that Nash had impressed him, but that he would like to teach him how to work a simple give-and-go, a skill that a dominating player like the Rangers' Jaromir Jagr perfected long ago. "I've mentioned a few times to Rick if you do that, you'll be unstoppable," Fedorov said.
a little more...

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Malkin Dominates RSL

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

It’s been more than two decades since Dave King has coached a talent like Penguins prospect Evgeni Malkin. Malkin, Pittsburgh’s second-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, is dominating the Russian Super League for his hometown team Metallurg Magnitogorsk under King’s direction. “Mally is a great player. He has skill and energy. He is not a peripheral player. He will dish out as much contact as he takes. He has great enthusiasm for the game,” said King, a native Canadian in his first year at Magnitogorsk. “I am lucky. I get to see him when reporters or scouts don’t and in situations people normally don’t see him; I get to watch him practice and dryland train off the ice. He’s a real throwback. He’s like a country boy who eats, sleeps and dreams hockey.
read on

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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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