Kukla's Korner

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Auditions

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Saturday night in the desert, there was a brief intersection of young Olympic dreamers and Olympic decision-makers who are on the clock. Eric Staal, Paul Mara and Keith Ballard -- all bright lights hoping to burn just a little brighter on this night -- show a little bit more given a rare opportunity to impress opposing coaches who just happen to be the head coach of the U.S. Olympic team (Peter Laviolette) and the executive director of Canada's Olympic squad (Wayne Gretzky). "I don't think one game is going to make or break you," insisted Staal, the 21-year-old sensation who entered Saturday's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Phoenix Coyotes tied for eighth in NHL scoring. "But obviously you want to leave a good impression."
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Roenick Uncomfortable

from the Daily Bulletin,

Jeremy Roenick is nothing if not candid. Even when it comes to criticizing himself. Before the Kings left for an important four-game road trip Tuesday, Roenick publicly said what others have been whispering for weeks: that he's playing some of the worst hockey of his NHL career. "I haven't felt comfortable on the ice since day one," Roenick said. "Is my game where it was three years ago, or two years ago? No. Will it be? You know, I really don't know."
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Drury Starting To Click In Buffalo

from the Buffalo News,

The Buffalo Sabres entered the summer of 2003 with one major goal. They wanted to add a top-six forward, a guy who could play on the first two lines and enrich the offense. In Chris Drury, they got so much more. "I think early on I was a little rusty," Drury said Saturday from the hotel after a team bowling outing in lieu of practice. "I didn't feel all that sharp the first eight, 10 games. Maybe there were a few in there that were OK, but overall it wasn't great. I think since the eight- or 10-game mark, I just feel so much better. It's clicking."
continued

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It Is More Than A Sweater

from the Edmonton Sun,

"I never saw that guard again, but I'll never forget how his face lit up when he saw that Smoke Eaters crest. "We were liberated from the prison camp on VE-Day, and when I got back to Trail, I still had the sweater with me. I wore it until it was falling to pieces, then I cut off the crest and gave it to Jimmy Morris for a keepsake. "I think my old German guard would have liked that."
A great story....read on

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Road Trip

from the Morning Sentinel,

I've always loved hockey, but I was a little skeptical about dedicating a week and good portion of my bank account to following a sport that betrayed its adoring fans for a year. After watching a few Bruins contests, I realized the NHL's rule changes to open up the game were probably a good thing. I love the shootout, and the up-and-down action had me on the edge of my seat for the first time in years. I used to fall asleep watching a half-period of the old clutch-and-grab pre-lockout NHL. The wheels started turning.
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Pointing Fingers At Boston & Chicago

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

For years now, there have been two dysfunctional franchises in the National Hockey League -- the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. Year after year, they bumble along in their own inimitable fashion, progressively ruining what were once great hockey markets, dating back to the six-team era.
All not only blasts the Boston and Chicago organizations, but touches on many other NHL 'hot' topics...read on

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A Great Man, A Roll Model

from the Stockton Record,

At 23, Derek Campbell had to do a thesis during his senior year in college on anything he wanted. As a Black hockey player who wants to play in the National Hockey League someday soon, finding a topic back then was easy: He wrote about his hero, Willie O'Ree. The same Willie O'Ree many consider the Jackie Robinson of hockey. After spending several weeks studying the life and career of the man who broke the NHL's color barrier 47 years ago, Campbell found himself filled with admiration. "Willie O'Ree is a great man," said Campbell, now a member of the Stockton Thunder. "If you understand what he did, you can't help but admire the man."
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Changes Likely For Team USA

from the Salt Lake Tribune,

The yearlong lockout in the National Hockey League not only deprived many nations of a season to evaluate players for their Olympic teams, but it also resulted in rule changes that emphasize skating and finesse, and might help players better prepare for the international style of play at the Olympics. And, perhaps most important, the Americans seem poised to head in a different direction under new coach Peter Laviolette and general manager Don Waddell, turning to younger, less-heralded players rather than some of the big-name veterans who played in the past two Olympics. "When you get to the Olympic Games, the future is now," said Dave Ogren, the executive director for USA Hockey. "The margin for error is very, very thin."
continued

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Jiri Fischer Visits With Teammates

from the Detroit News,

He was glad to see them, and they were thrilled to see him. Defenseman Jiri Fischer, recovering from two heart-related incidents the last few weeks, visited with his Red Wings teammates Saturday morning at Joe Louis Arena. Judging by his comments to coach Mike Babcock and teammates, Fischer doesn't sound as if he is through playing, either. "He said for sure he wants to be a hockey player," Babcock said. Fischer spent approximately 90 minutes talking with players and coaches before the media showed up, and the Wings dressed and carpooled to City Rink.
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AO Drawing Attention

from the Journal News,

Everything about Alexander Ovechkin, from his shaded visor to his spectacular rushes up the wing, demands attention. And that's exactly how the Washington Capitals' 20-year-old Russian rookie likes it. "I don't want to be like everybody," said Ovechkin, who had a goal and three assists last night in a 5-1 win over the Rangers. "I want to be like it's me." Being himself is what differentiates Ovechkin from fellow phenom Sidney Crosby. So while the NHL desperately tries to spark a rivalry between its two young superstars, the only real link between them is their prodigal ability for points. "Everybody's talking about me and Sidney," Ovechkin said. "It's pressure."
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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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