Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Palffy a Pen

via TSN, Zigmund Palffy is the latest free agent forward to land with a new NHL team, signing on with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is a three-year contract worth $13.5 million US

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Important Dates Coming Up

August 10 Player-Elected Salary Arbitration Notification August 11 Club-Elected Salary Arbitration Notification August 12 NHL/NHLPA to Schedule Arbitration Cases August 15 Qualifying Offers Expire Automatically August 22 First Day of Salary Arbitration Hearings September 1 Last Day for Salary Arbitration Hearings September 2 Last Day for Issuance of Salary Arbitration Awards September 4 Last Day for Second Buy-Out Period [Only for Clubs with Salary Arbitration Cases] (Latest Day for Clubs Receiving Salary Arbitration Awards on September 2 to Exercise Second Buy-Out Option) December 1 Signing Deadline for Group 2 Free Agents SALARY ARBITRATION Who will be eligible for Salary Arbitration? As a general matter, players will be eligible for salary arbitration after four years in the League instead of three. For the first time, Clubs also will have the right to elect salary arbitration with respect to two categories of players. For players who are earning more than $1.5 million in their prior year, Clubs will have the right to elect salary arbitration in lieu of making a Qualifying Offer. Clubs also will have the right to elect salary arbitration with respect to other Group 2 players who chose not to take the Club to arbitration.

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Hejduk Back with the Avs

from the CP via TSN,

The Colorado Avalanche signed all-star winger Milan Hejduk to a five-year deal Saturday. The five-foot-11, 185-pound Hejduk played for Pardubice HC in the Czech Elite League this past season, recording 25 goals and 26 assists in 48 games. Hejduk has eclipsed the 30-goal barrier four times in his six-year NHL career, including 50 in 2002-03 to collect the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league's top goal-scorer. "I wanted to keep playing in Denver for a long time," Hejduk said in a statement. "There's no better place to play hockey than in Colorado, where our fans have been so supportive.

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Loving The New NHL

from Slam,

Isn't this just absolutely wonderful? Over the last five days, the NHL has been a lot like Christmas: Fans wake up in the morning and find that shiny new player under the tree. You know, the one their team had absolutely no chance of signing in the old days. Chris Pronger in Edmonton? Wow! Scott Niedermayer in Anaheim? Amazing! Paul Kariya in Nashville? Unbelievable! The list goes on and on. The result, we all hope and envision, is a competitive NHL like we've never seen before. All this exciting free-agent action might even make fans forgive the league for its lockout -- maybe.

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Bruins Want to Keep Thornton, Samsonov

from the Boston Herald,

Mike O'Connell couldn't predict how long Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov would be Bruins, but the team's general manager came close to guaranteeing that the pair would remain with the club throughout the 2005-06 season, regardless of what the future holds. O'Connell said yesterday he will attempt to hammer out long-term deals with Thornton and Samsonov - set to be unrestricted free agents next summer - after the weekend. But if things can't be worked out, O'Connell said he was willing to let the players simply sign their one-year qualifying offers and let the chips fall where they may.

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Calling Bowman’s Bluff

I imagine Scotty would be a great poker player. from the Buffalo News,

Not just anyone can step onto the ice and square off against Michael Peca or Jay McKee. Everyday people just don't get to stand behind a bench and try to outwit Scotty Bowman. Maybe folks can take advantage of a promotional event and leisurely skate around with hockey glitterati. But it won't be full-tilt action. The competitive nature of an elite athlete, while frequently observed by the average fan, rarely is experienced. A change of venue, however, can provide such an opportunity this weekend in Niagara Falls. Hockey Hall of Famers, Buffalo Sabres alumni and NHL stars will gather in Seneca Niagara Casino for a charity poker tournament at 5 p.m. Sunday. Anybody willing to put up a tax-deductible $300 can compete for big bucks against some serious puck luminaries.

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Parity, Maybe Not

from the Globe and Mail,

Quite a week, it was, featuring the greatest shuffling of the big-league hockey deck since the demise of the World Hockey Association. When it was all said and done, so many instant conclusions were being drawn: that Edmonton is bound for a return to the glory days; that Bob Clarke is a genius and Philadelphia is poised to win the Stanley Cup; that Jarome Iginla really loves life in Calgary; that brothers prefer to play with brothers, and buddies pine to be together in sunny Florida; and that John Ferguson Jr. somehow didn't hear the starting gun and then was forced to overpay a fan (and owner) favourite just to keep the talk-show wolves at bay. And that the age of parity in the National Hockey League is now upon us. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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Listening to the Players

from the Tampa Tribune,

The National Hockey League, in its quest to pump up abysmal TV ratings, win back fans and increase advertising and other revenue, is considering placing microphones on players and coaches during games to make TV broadcasts more exciting. The league, in a series of conference calls with member teams in recent months, also disclosed another proposal: working with local sports networks to increase and diversify camera angles during games and increase pregame TV access to players, confirmed Bill Wickett, a spokesman for the Tampa Bay Lightning. NHL owners and players are wrestling with how to make hockey games more compelling for television viewers in order to grow broadcast revenue and sell more game tickets.

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Some Teams Sitting Back

from Spector and Fox Sports,

The opening week of the 2005 NHL's unrestricted free-agent market has been noteworthy for the unprecedented number of signings. Just as notable were the teams that have thus far barely dipped a toe into an unusually deep free agent pool. It's difficult for fans of these clubs to watch other teams snatching away the cream of the free-agent talent for seemingly affordable deals, but it's much easier to play armchair general manager than it is to actually do the job.

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No Sale for the Pens

from the AP via NHL.com,

Don't remove the owner's tag from Pittsburgh Penguins owner-player Mario Lemieux's title just yet. In an about-face brought about partly by the team drafting Canadian super prospect Sidney Crosby, the Penguins said Friday that Lemieux's group will retain its majority ownership. William "Boots" DelBiaggio, a San Jose-based businessman who was to buy a majority stake, will instead buy a minority share.

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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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