Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Making The Game Better

from the Mercury News,

• Get the players' personalities more out front. This goes completely against hockey's traditionally modest all-for-one ethos. But if the new rules open up the game and create more scorers, I guarantee you some marketing person can find a way to make those scorers into more familiar faces. Good gravy, they've done it with poker players. Why not power players? • Additionally, hire the NFL Films staff to produce a weekly highlight package to show between periods of the NHL's broadcasts on NBC, as well as on other shows. Nobody frames a sport in a more viciously romantic way than the NFL Films folks. • Give away the puck from every winning shootout at a home game to a randomly chosen fan. And invite him or her back to another game, along with three or four friends.

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Spezza Starting To Shine

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Rules changes have given the NHL's creative players more time and space, and Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza is demonstrating how to best use the less-hostile environment. "No question he is taking advantage of it," Ottawa general manager John Muckler says. "Anyone with skill is having fun playing in the National Hockey League today because we are taking a page right out of the 1980s."

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Old Time Hockey Alert

Anytime I can alert the readers of a story about "old time" hockey, I will always pass it on whenever possible. from the Detroit Free Press, More than a year after he last played in a regular-season hockey game, Steve Yzerman is expected to make his comeback Thursday night with the Red Wings. Ted Lindsay knows a little about how he feels. In Lindsay's day, NHL players held a second job in the off-season to make ends meet, and elliptical cross-training regimens were decades away from common use. Lindsay's comeback in 1964 was one of the most remarkable in sports. Most players back then retired in their early 30s, and Lindsay himself first retired at age 34. He hadn't played for the Red Wings for more than seven years.

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Could Lindros Be Back

from the Daily Times,

Standing outside the Maple Leafs locker room, with a comfortable smile and a cup of coffee, the only things missing for Eric Lindros were the ruby slippers. That’s because in so many other words, Lindros said "there’s no place like home." The lockout came at just the right time for Lindros and could have saved his career. "I think it did," Lindros said. "(After) having the shoulder surgery, any time you have that much time between all the big bangs it adds to good healing. I feel good, I feel strong."

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New Rules Working

from the Denver Post,

In the NHL of the recent past, stoppages in play seemed to occur every few seconds. A pass went across two lines, a puck was touched up for icing, a player didn't tag up on the blue line fast enough before a chip-in or any number of other things brought the game to a halt. Nearly a week into the season, frequent incidents stopping play are - surprise, surprise - goals.

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Slow Start Hurting Flyers

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Philadelphia Flyers were supposed to be a powerhouse this season. And they may still be. They showed flashes of brilliance at times last night. But the rest of the night, the Maple Leafs were more than a match for them and came away with a 4-2 victory, handing the Flyers their second loss in three games. Once again, the Flyers got off to a sluggish start. Every game so far, they've fallen behind -- and played poorly in the process. "I think that's probably a fair assessment," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said. "And I wish I had an answer. We're just not finding any kind of rhythm right now early in the games.

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It Is Not All Good

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

All of those magnificent attendance numbers cited by commissioner Gary Bettman of late can't hide crowds in some of the weaker American markets that resemble the familiar gathering of family and friends. The greatly improved esthetics apparently haven't moved the NASCAR crowd, nor were they enough to inspire supporters of the Ottawa Senators to fill the Corel Centre when the archrival Maple Leafs arrived for the first time this season on Monday. n Buffalo the other night, after a massive radio advertising blitz pushing cheap tickets deep into Ontario's hockey-mad Golden Horseshoe, only 12,000 people turned out to see the home team take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, with both Mario Lemieux and the saviour, Sidney Crosby, in their lineup.

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Sharks Expect to Lose Money

from the Contra Costa Times,

Despite the NHL's new economic structure and a payroll that's $7 million less than when the team advanced to the third round of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Sharks say they expect to lose money once again this season. The current problem, Jamison said, is revenue. Ticket prices were lowered an average of 10 percent, so if attendance drops, "that can be almost a double dip," Jamison said.

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Goalies Claiming Interference

On Monday we had Kolzig mentioning goalies were getting interfered with, today Theodore claims the same. from the CP via Canada.com,

Montreal Canadiens star Jose Theodore is wondering when the NHL's crackdown on obstruction will make its way to the goal crease. "A couple of times they were in my crease and the refs didn't call it. They gave them some warnings, but they kept coming back in the crease. I think that's something the refs need to be really strict about." Theodore said that with the NHL telling officials not to allow defencemen to clear the front of their nets the way they used to - usually with a two-handed slash or a cross-check - that his crease has become increasingly popular with forwards he's not used to seeing there. "Before, some of the guys didn't want to go in front of the net and pay the price, but now you're not going to get that cross-check behind the legs or in the back because it's not allowed," Theodore said. "So for sure, there's some guys who didn't used to go in front of the net, but now they go."

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OLN Still Having Issues

Some NHL fans who expected to view the Dallas/Phoenix game tonight are still unable to see the game on their cable/satellite feed. As I mentioned earlier in the day, OLN was trying to resolve the issues, especially with the smaller cable companies. If you are having a problem, you can contact OLN directly at 203.406.2500 and they will attempt to resolve the issue.

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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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