Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Breaking Down the CBA

Kevin Allen from USA TODAY does a nice job of answering some key questions regarding the CBA.

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Mowers Signs with Wings

Of interest to Wing fans- According to the Portsmouth Herald, the Wings signed Mark Mowers to a one year contract on Saturday. Looks like the Cup is a lock now.

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An Important Message

A frequent reader of Kukla's Korner has been stationed in Iraq for quite some time now. I emailed him recently just to see how he was doing. His response follows: If you wanted to pass a message to your readers you can tell them this: The reasons we are here are just ones. Iraqi kids are going to school safely. The country is being re-built and businesses are developing without the fear of the former regime. Also, the American servicemembers deployed here are incredible young men and women, sacrificing so much more than people realize. I read Jeremy Roenick's comments and laughed. The arrogance was amazing, when compared to Americans like him who are literally putting their lives on the line every day to help a nation find democracy. No JR, you can kiss MY ass.

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Columbus Wants Respect

from the CP via TSN,

Doug MacLean sighs at the end of the phone when asked how he feels when time and time again his Columbus Blue Jackets get lumped with Florida, Nashville, Carolina, Anaheim and Atlanta as markets that may struggle mightily coming out of the NHL lockout. "It irks me to no end," says the Jackets GM. "And I've said it on more than one occasion to the ones who have said it. It just seems to be an easy name to throw in that mix. It's out of ignorance is what it is. It's a lack of knowledge of what's really going on in our market." If ticket sales are any indication, the Jackets remain a hot item despite the year without hockey. The club is sitting at over 12,000 season tickets, with 70 per cent of the holders keeping their full investment on their account during the lockout. The Jackets averaged 17,376 fans per game at the 18,136-seat Nationwide Arena in 2003-04, including 16 sellouts. They've sold out 95 of their last 138 home games. "People who say they want to get rid of Columbus, that's just frustrating," says Jackets centre Todd Marchant. "They've obviously never seen a game there or else they would never dream of thinking that. "When we get a Pittsburgh coming in on a Wednesday night and we sellout or close to, that says it all."

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Will NHL Players Avoid Boston

from Russ Conway of the Eagle Tribune,

Everybody has heard the old proverb: Be careful of what you wish for. Well, with the National Hockey League finally in its reconstruction mode, those words of wisdom fit the current Bruins situation as snug as one of the new spandex, Spiderman-type uniforms that goaltenders may be required to wear as part of their downsized equipment. Now that team owner Jeremy Jacobs has gotten his wish — a league-wide player salary cap at approximately $39 million and a formula linking 54 percent of NHL team revenues to player costs — his hard-line role in negotiations and the season-wasting lockout may come back to bite his team in the new Ice Age. Hard bargaining is one thing. But insiders repeatedly told yours truly that Jacobs often became condescending when in attendance during ongoing negotiating meetings as one of the owner representatives. His attitude, sprinkling sarcasm as he lectured players and union reps or looked at his watch while others spoke, became a counter-productive irritant.

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Team by Team Analysis

Ted Kulfan, the Red Wings beat writer for the Detroit News, provides a capsule look at each NHL team as the buyout period begins.

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Putting Out the Fire

from the Buffalo News,

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman is certain to reap high praise in the coming weeks for a job well done. The league is up and running again, mainly because he unloaded so many rights on Bob Goodenow that the Players' Association chief was begging for a left. The NHL should be in better shape now that a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached and the rulebook has been rewritten. The league has regained financial sanity. It appears everything is back in order. It's all true, but this is only faint praise for a league that fell apart under Bettman's watch. Do we honor a man for extinguishing a fire . . . or admonish him for starting the blaze? Bettman did some fine work during the past 10 months, but it was necessary only because he failed during his first 10 years. In fact, he still hasn't led the league to safety. He has merely proved that he owns a compass.

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Rule Changes Impact the Game

from Fox Sports,

With the excitement generated by Friday's "Game On" pronouncement out of New York, who can wait to see how these new rules will develop? Here is one set of opinions on the major revisions introduced to the NHL's on-ice product. Remember, however, that these rules are a package deal, with one change reliant upon several other alterations to succeed. "The changes all run into one another," explained Lou Lamoriello, the general manager of the New Jersey Devils. "They are all interdependent on each other." So, in the end, the package will be judged on its merits as a whole. Until then, however, here is a look at some of the major components of hockey's new look.

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Comcast and the NHL

via the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Now that there is linkage between revenues and salaries in the NHL in the new collective-bargaining agreement, broadcast rights are more crucial. What would happen if Comcast were to outbid ESPN for the rights to televise nationally? Is the league obligated to accept the higher bid? "There is not a contractual obligation," said Ted Saskin, NHL Players Association senior director. "But you still have to make good business judgment. We have a joint committee who will now consult on marketing and broadcast issues. Hopefully, you don't always take the offer that's the most money, but what is right for the sport. I am sure that is something the league will focus on, and we will have input in those discussions." That certainly means the NHL will likely do all it can to woo ESPN back to the table for 2005-06 and beyond because of its long-standing relationship. Still, you wonder whether the NHL would turn Comcast down if its offer were tens of millions of dollars more than ESPN's.

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Yzerman Expected Back

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The future of Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman will be decided this week. It's expected the 40-year-old will play one final season with the Wings -- although it has yet to be announced -- and will sit down with GM Ken Holland sometime next week to discuss his future. The Nepean native has kept himself in good shape during the lockout and still has the desire to play. He also received an invite from GM Wayne Gretzky to attend Team Canada's Olympic training camp in Kelowna, so another shot at winning a gold medal in the upcoming Games in Turin, Italy, is also a good motivator to return for another NHL season. It would only make sense for Yzerman to come back. Detroit fans deserve the chance to say a proper goodbye and the vision of Yzerman, laying on the ice with a bloody towel over his face after getting a puck in the eye against Calgary in the 2004 playoffs, is not the way he should be remembered.

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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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