Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Your Views and Prediction

Over the last few weeks, I have had a pretty positive attitude regarding the future of the NHL. However, some teams will still struggle to make their bottom line, advertising is way down in cities where the NHL is an afterthought. Fans in most established NHL cities are anxiously awaiting for the season to begin, but will hockey take off or is there a wait-and-see attitude? My question to you, will the salary cap for the 2006-07 season decrease or increase?

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Linesman Remembered

from HockeyRefs.com,

The late Stephane Provost is being memorialized on the NHLOA website. Provost, 37, was an 11-year NHL veteran when he died in a late April motorcycle accident. “What Stephane leaves behind as his legacy is more than his love of the game, it is the importance to live and enjoy the present moment,” lamented referee Stéphane Auger. “What I will miss most is his unwavering and unequalled friendship.”

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The Cup Is Back

from alan Hahn of Newsday,

For those of you who need a reason to come back to the NHL after the year-long absence made your heart go wander, we bring you the Stanley Cup. Come and get it. Throughout the past winter of discontent, the Cup traveled around the world as it often does, maintaining a semblance of dignity for a game that lost its season and its way. "Everywhere I've always gone, people have recognized it," said Phil Pritchard, one of the Cup curators. "Whether it's in Miami on the beach, or at Redondo Beach in California . . . To me it's a myth that hockey is on an all-time low in the U.S." Over the years Pritchard has met millions of people who apparently haven't been told that no one is interested in hockey anymore. "Bottom line," Pritchard said, "there's a lot of hockey fans out there."

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Phoenix Players Intimidated By Gretzky

from the Arizona Republic,

Brett Hull said Sunday that some of his teammates are letting the fact that Wayne Gretzky is their head coach affect their play. The Coyotes lost six of eight preseason games. "I think everyone has underestimated how intimidated players are reacting to Wayne being there (behind the bench)," Hull said. "Their expectations of themselves have risen, and I think they're having trouble grasping that within themselves. They're nervous and they're playing tight. I think that's going to take some time to wear off."

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Five Canadian Teams Could Win The Cup

from the Toronto Star,

It's time for the Cup to come home. And Canada has just the teams — yes, more than one — to make it happen. This, of course, will come as some surprise to those legions of hockey fans in the United States intending to watch the NHL in its comeback season on either NBC or, ahem, the Outdoor Life Network. Check the schedules. Neither outlet has the slightest intention of showing any Canadian content if it can help it, regardless of the quality of the six squads north of the border. Well, U.S. fans from Tallahassee to Albuquerque are going to be mighty surprised when Lord Stanley's tournament gets down to the nitty-gritty next May and June. The new NHL, it appears likely, will feature more Canadian power than at any time since the late 1980s, partly because of the faded brilliance of the three U.S. clubs who have dominated the league for a decade.

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Calling all The Penalties

from the Toronto Star,

"I was the guy who used to let it rock, let them play," Devorski said. "Back then the players and coaches accepted it. They didn't want us to interfere with the outcome of the game and late in the game you wouldn't call anything. Now we're at a stage where if you have five 5-on-3s, that will be normal. In the past, you'd have Bobby Clarke or Harry Sinden tearing down your door if you did that." Now Devorski will have to answer to Stephen Walkom, the former referee who is now the league's director of officiating, if he doesn't adhere to the league's elevated standard of obstruction and stick fouls. If one good thing came out of the lockout it's that the league had an unparalleled opportunity to examine the way the game was being played and make it better. It has responded with a strict crackdown on obstruction and stick fouls that it vows to maintain.

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Harlem Globetrotters On Ice

from the Milford Daily News,

Assume for argument's sake that NHL referees will continue all season to call penalties as they did in the preseason, although cynics still suspect the obstruction fouls will be 50 percent back by January and all the way back in the playoffs. But if wide-open, zero-tolerance play remains the law of the land, then the incessant parade to the penalty box will slow down only marginally and most games will be decided by specials teams. You wanted hockey with no defense? Be careful what you wish for. "Now," said B's veteran Tom Fitzgerald, "you've got Harlem Globetrotter hockey." The idea will be to win 6-2, not 6-5. Meaning: Get lots of power plays, and cash in on a high percentage of them. But keep your own penalties to a minimum. Easier said than done.

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Canucks Team To Beat In The West

from the Calgary Sun,

By now you've probably heard: The Calgary Flames are expected by many to charge out of the gates and win the Stanley Cup. But who do the favourites favour as the age of the salary cap and obstruction crackdown is set to begin? Darryl Sutter doesn't have to look far to see what he considers the best team, beside his Flames, of course. "I've said it from Day 1. Absolutely the team to beat out here is Vancouver," said the Flames GM/head coach yesterday.

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Three Reasons

from the Kansas City Star via the Mercury News,

Three Reasons Why: The Philadelphia Flyers will hoist the Stanley Cup next -Adding Peter Forsberg. They don't come much better than Forsberg. The Flyers originally drafted him but traded him away for Eric Lindros before he ever donned the orange and black. He will make the Flyers better anytime he's on the ice. -Goaltending depth. Look, Robert Esche stepped up big-time as the Flyers almost beat the Lightning in the playoffs in 2004. And if he struggles, rookie Antero Niittymaki, who helped the Philadelphia Phantoms win the AHL title last year, will be waiting. -The Tampa Bay Lightning. As good as the Bolts were in the last playoffs, it's hard to imagine they'll be able to put everything together perfectly again. And guess who'll be ready if and when they stumble?

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Everyone Wil Start Believing

from the Boston Herald,

It's a whole new season for Boston advertising agency Fort Franklin. Two weeks ago, the small ad shop switched teams, leaving ESPN's roster of agencies to join up with the sports cable network's potential rival OLN. Fort Franklin has been working furiously – members often sleeping in the office – after Comcast's OLN, formerly the Outdoor Life Network, signed with the agency to provide a national promotional campaign for its coverage of the upcoming National Hockey League season. ``(OLN) called us right after they had signed with the NHL,'' said Marc Gallucci, Fort's chief executive and creative director. Gallucci said the agency pulled off a ``Herculian effort,'' developing and producing its ``We Believe in Hockey'' campaign – featuring a 30-second television spot, print ads and online marketing – in just 12 days.
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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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