Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

B’s Roster Set - For Now

from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,

General manager Peter Chiarelli said yesterday there’s a “high likelihood” that the Bruins will start training camp in three weeks with the players they already have under contract, despite flexibility under the salary cap and the availability of high-scoring left wing J.P. Dumont on the free-agent market. While the club is right up against the $44.5 million salary cap, with an estimated payroll of more than $43 million, it still has wiggle room because of a long-term injury exception the NHL has granted for Alexei Zhamnov, last year’s free agent disaster. Chiarelli said the medical assessment received by the Bruins, and approved by the NHL, is that the 35-year-old center suffered “a career-ending injury” when he broke his ankle on Jan. 10, an injury that still keeps him off the ice, which effectively eliminates his $4.1 million salary for 2006-07 from cap consideration — unless he should make a miracle recovery and return.
read on

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Willie Mitchell Wants A Fun Season

from the Vancouver Province,

"I like having fun," the amiable Mitchell said Thursday following a Burnaby 8-Rinks skate. "When I was in Minnesota, coach Jacques Lemaire always thought he couldn't understand me because I'm always having fun and he's all business. But I also take a lot of pride when the game starts. But around the rink, if you're not having fun why do it? It's a great occupation and it's pretty fun." The fun started at age four when Mitchell first donned the blades. A passion for the game soon developed.

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Wild Spending Spree

from the Hockey News,

“For five or six years I’ve been here, stuff like that never happens with the Wild,” said Gaborik, who scored a career-high 38 goals last season despite missing 17 games with injury. “It’s good to see them do these moves. It’s good for the team, and also they’re showing they want to win.” There’s no doubt the five-year honeymoon, one where expectations were fueled with a stunning run to the Western Conference final in 2003, had ended. Fans and media expected more. So did Gaborik. “I’m tired of going back home after April 15 and watching the playoffs on TV and through the Internet,” said the rising star.

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Looking For A Job In Hockey?

It appears Sport-Express (not translated) is looking for hockey correspondents located in NHL cities. I would imagine you would have to be fluent in Russian! image

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NHL Without A CMO

from Brand Week,

The NHL may be without an official CMO this season as Michael LaBroad, who this past February became the first person to hold that title with the league, will not return for the 2006-07 campaign. According to a league official familiar with the situation, LaBroad recently decided against relocating his family to New York from the Midwest. LaBroad had been living in a hotel since February while looking for a permanent residence.

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Franchise Players

from Jeff Gordon at Fox Sports,

Few elite athletes settle into a city and become the true "franchise" player — roster cornerstone, team leader and smiling public face of the entire operation.... Who are the most vital, indispensable athletes in major North American team sports today? Alexandre Ovechkin Sidney Crosby may be the best young player in the NHL, but Ovechkin is the most electrifying young talent. He is an explosive goal scorer on the otherwise out-manned Capitals. When he rushes the puck with a head of steam, he is the best spectacle in the sport.
read on...AO was the only NHL player to make Gordo's list, but others received honorable mention...

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The NHL’s Media Revolution

By Alanah Downie I just wanted to add something about this excellent article at Sharkspage which Paul linked to earlier today. Blogger PJ explores some issues of importance to both mainstream and "citizen media" (ie. "hockey bloggers", and a term I stole from Capitals' owner Ted Leonsis when he mentioned it on my own blog a while back). While notable newspapers like the LA Times and others reduce their NHL coverage, there continues to be more hockey coverage online than ever before. Why? Because the demand is greater than ever before. There aren't less fans interested in hockey, just less traditional media interested or (more likely) financially capable of devoting their resources to the sport. But as PJ points out in his piece, "[When] hockey fans do not get the coverage they want from television, radio, or in print, they will move online." And guess who's producing an enormous amount of that online hockey coverage (with an enormous number of readers, I might add) without any support from many NHL teams? That's right: Citizen Media. In my own experience, even the busiest and/or most reputable hockey bloggers and other fan websites continue to face an uphill battle getting even the smallest concessions of support from the teams they cover. The NHL itself appears to be making a sincere effort to rectify that, but many individual teams, left to their own devices, aren't as interested. And what's most important about that isn't the welfare of the hockey blogger, it is the welfare of the NHL team. They have an enormous targeted fanbase reading and sharing material at their favourite blogs, and too many teams are taking that for granted. And if any professional sports league should care about reaching out to a "targeted fanbase" it's certainly the National Hockey League. On the bright side, there are teams that DO reach out to this fan base -- the Washington Capitals is an easy example of a team that faithfully works to build its fanbase and interact with the community of citizen media which helps cover their product. I'm sure there are other teams who deserve credit as well. For those teams and their fans, it is a win-win situation: more hockey coverage. If you have any positive experiences with other NHL teams -- either as a fan or a hockey blogger -- I'd love to hear them. Perhaps those forward-thinking teams will help inspire the rest, who seem oblivious to the media revolution going on around them. Updated: 5:39 p.m. EDT

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Covering The Game

P.J. at Sharkspage has a very detailed post on the media coverage of the NHL. Well worth your time to read it.

The Sports Editor of the New York Times, Tom Jolly, is answering questions from readers all this week on nytimes.com. Hockey fan Fred Winters asked Jolly about the lack of New York Ranger coverage in the Grey Lady:... Jolly's response was posted in full because it is important for the league to take notice of his comments. The Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, three of the largest papers in the U.S. have all expressed similar concerns about the league. In each instance, editors will cite individual stories that prove that they still keep an eye on the sport. Unfortunately, it takes regular day in and day out coverage to build a fan base.

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Looking At The Central

Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated breaks down the Central Division. Regarding the Nashville Predators...

The blue line defections included Brendan Witt and Markov, two veterans who are just plain miserable to play against. Although he signed 6-foot-5, 220-pound Alex Henry on Monday, Poile looks ready to go with youngsters Shea Weber, Kevin Klein and Greg Zanon at the bottom end of a potential-packed corps. That's the right move to start the year, but he'll need to buttress that back end at some point if he hopes to see the Preds get past the first round this season. He's also yet to sign defenseman Dan Hamhuis, a critical element of the top four. That should happen soon, but if the stalemate drags on past the start of training camp, Poile's summer looks less impressive.
more on all of the Central...

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KK- Talking Hockey & Wings

I appeared on 'Hockey this Morning' via XM radio this morning. Had a great time and was very impressed with the host Cam Stewart. He knows hockey! They were able to record the 15 minute segment and if you wish to listen (mp3), be my guest.

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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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