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Q & A with Saskin

from ESPN,

Fresh off a recently ratified six-year collective bargaining agreement with the NHL, the NHL Players' Association is entering into a new world in a relationship with a league it so often crossed swords with. How it will do so, however, has been open to much speculation. Can there be a working relationship between a union and a league that locked its players out twice in a decade, the second time canceling an entire season? Can there truly be a "partnership" between a group that had to swallow a 24 percent rollback in income and accept a salary cap and linkage to league revenues? What will be the legacy of former union head Bob Goodenow, and is the new executive director, Ted Saskin, the right man for the job? Is there a plan for the game, not just for winning back fans lost in the lockout but also for growth, especially growth in the United States? Can all this be done while the players' association undergoes a change at the top?

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Lecavalier Wants to Stay in Tampa

from the St. Petersburg Times,

"I think Vinny is prepared to take less than what is perhaps fair market value if he wanted to be a free agent next year," agent Ken Hughes said. "He is prepared to take less to stay in Tampa and try to win one or more additional (Stanley) Cups."

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Kiprusoff Signs with Calgary

According to a Finnish Iltalehti (no translation available), Kiprusoff signed a 3 year, $10 million contract. update 11:33am, TSN now confirming.

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Kings Sign Valeri Bure

from the LA Times (reg. req.),

The Kings, who have lost out on a handful of upper echelon free-agent forwards, have signed veteran forward Valeri Bure to a one-year contract. Bure, 31, could give the Kings depth up front. He had 22 goals and 52 points with Florida and Dallas during the 2003-04 season. Bure scored 88 goals during a three-season stretch with Calgary, from 1998 to 2001, but also feuded with coaches over work ethic.

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All Hail Peter

from the Philadelphia Inquirer (reg. req.),

The story gooes that in 1994, the tiny seaport town of Ornskoldsvik was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and the Swedish king and his family were coming for a visit. The king planned a stop at a school, and the schoolchildren, hearing that the king was coming to visit, flocked to see him. Only when they saw their reigning monarch, the children walked away disappointed. One child, voicing the displeasure of all, said, "Oh, it is that king. Our king is Forsberg.'' Urban tale? Swedish myth? Perhaps. But that is the level of hero worship afforded the man who on Monday will don a Flyers sweater for the television cameras' bright lights and the fans' delight.

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ESPN Needs the NHL

from the LA Times (reg. req.),

At least hockey fans are familiar with the strategy ESPN is using in its off-again, on-again interest in NHL television rights. It is called dump and chase. Dump the contract in April, let Comcast do the dirty work and make the NHL a tangible offer, then chase the contract again. Comcast dropped the puck this week with its two-year, $100-million offer to televise the NHL on its Outdoor Life Network, which is the kind of found humor Gary Bettman's league seems to pride itself in. Ice hockey, the quintessential indoor sport, on the Outdoor Life Network? That makes as much sense as having more NHL franchises south of Kentucky than in Canada, but that's the NHL.

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Florida Taking Luongo to Arbitration

from the Lakeland Ledger,

Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers may be headed to salary arbitration, a move that ensures the record-setting goaltender will be under contract when the team opens camp next month. The team filed Thursday to take Luongo to arbitration; a hearing could occur as early as Aug. 22. Panthers general manager Mike Keenan said it's "certainly within the realm of possibility" that the sides could resume working on a deal before lawyers decide what Luongo, a restricted free agent, will earn this season. "We tried a lot of different scenarios," Keenan said. "We just couldn't find the middle ground in this particular case, so this is a good way of facilitating a contract for Roberto and we're excited about the fact he will be under contract and will be playing for us in the fall."

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Lindros Signs with Leafs

The Fan 590 reporting information from Sportsnet that Lindros has signed a 1 year, $1.55 million contract with Toronto.

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Thornton Signs with Bruins

via Sportsnet, Thornton agreed to a 3 year, $20 million contract. update 4:18pm, TSN link.

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NHL Owners Making Fans Pay

from the Grand Rapids Press via Mlive,

It's a league that has been rocked by negativity and needs to win loyal fans back with something more than slogans. But the NHL is moving at Zamboni-like speed when it comes to public relations. Now, the NHL should show it really is a new world for the sport with a sincere thank you to fans. Ticket prices for all 30 teams should be cut across the board. No excuses, no whining about hidden costs. It shouldn't be left to individual teams like the Red Wings to make that decision. As a group, owners should establish a cut -- a minimum 10 percent for all teams -- and promise not to raise prices for at least two years. They worked as one to get an agreement. They should work as one now. Let's not lose sight of the fact that owners created hockey's financial house of cards in the first place. For a decade, they offered ridiculous multi-million dollar contracts to players who were bargains at half the price.

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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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