Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Can Isles Contend For The Cup

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Islanders owner Charles Wang recently mentioned "some magic" about his Islanders team this season. Alexei Yashin said after three straight playoff berths, "expectations are higher" for the Islanders. But newcomer Brad Lukowich, a defenseman who has two Stanley Cup rings with Dallas (1999) and Tampa Bay (2004) and grew up a fan of the Islanders dynasty teams, is making a bolder statement he hopes catches on among his teammates. On a blog he wrote for the Islanders team Web site during training camp, Lukowich referred to a conversation he had with fellow newcomer, defenseman Alexei Zhitnik. In it he said, "I was talking to Zhitnik about this a few days ago and I know he felt the same way. I came here because I think this team will contend for a Stanley Cup."

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Crackdown On Obstruction Is Essential

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun via Slam,

On the eve of the new National Hockey League season, fans everywhere are pondering the impact of the new rules and the crackdown on obstruction. The coach of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, John Tortorella, says the latter is much more important than the former. He sees the crackdown as essential to the league's success, and believes that if the standards slide, the game will suffer. His Lightning won the Cup with a fundamental style change -- away from the trap to a game built on speed. Tortorella feels this is the style of game fans want to see. "I think the key for the league getting faster is to allow the best players to be the best players," he said. "It doesn't come into any of the rule changes that are going on. It comes into the interference, the enforcement. It comes into the new standard."

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50 Goal Scorer

Obstruction as we know it is now a thing of the past. The game will open up which means more offense and more scoring. Power plays will be abundant. How many 50 goal scorers will we see this year? How about a 60 goal scorer? Remember, shootout goals will not count for personal stats. I feel at least one player (Iginla) will reach the 60 goal plateau, and at least seven players will reach 50 goals. Your thoughts?

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OLN-HD Feed Detroit Area News

I just received confirmation that tomorrow's OLN High Definition feed of the game between the Rangers and Flyers will be on INHD, channel 206 for Comcast customers in the Detroit area. update 8:57am, penguinsfan, a frequent reader of Kukla's Korner, has just pointed out upcoming games are now listed on the INHD website. So it looks like anyone with INHD will get the games in high definition. See the comments section of this post for more information. update 12:56pm, I have had a few emails asking about Center Ice on Directv. It appears it will be offered.

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Around The NHL

-Mogilny to miss season opener with hip flexor problem. -Yzerman skated in practice yesterday, surprising Babcock who thought he would only skate 10-15 minutes. -Get a piece of the Big M, Frank Mahovlich is the latest former NHL star to put his hockey memorabilia up for auction. Classic Collectibles, which has auctioned off jerseys, trophies and other items for greats such as Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau, announced Monday that a collection is on the block from Mahovlich, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens from 1956-74. His 1961-62 Maple Leafs and 1972-73 Canadiens Stanley Cup trophies have already drawn bids of $3,000 US each and a 1960s game-worn wool jersey drew $13,310, according to Classic Collectibles' Marc Juteau. Other items include Mahovlich's red uniform from the 1972 Canada-Soviet series, which had a bid of $4,026, and his 1981 Hockey Hall of Fame ring ($1,815). update 3:21pm, Defenseman Andy Delmore will try his luck with another expansion franchise. On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed Delmore off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings, who signed him as a free agent over the summer.

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It All Depends On Jagr

from the New York Times,

The issue with Jaromir Jagr has never been his talent. Jagr's nine All-Star Game selections and five Art Ross Trophies, given to the N.H.L.'s scoring champion, attest to his talent. The question has always been Jagr's state of mind. His ultimate unhappiness in Pittsburgh and Washington led to his being traded from both cities. But as Jagr, a 33-year-old right wing, enters his 15th N.H.L. season - his first full season as the only truly recognizable face of the rebuilding Rangers - he insists he is more than happy.

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Continue To Crackdown On Obstruction

from the Globe And Mail,

The Globe and Mail's Allan Maki sat down with three experts who know the National Hockey League and its players from the ice level. In this round table, former NHL goalie and Hockey Night in Canada analyst Kelly Hrudey, Canadian men's national team head coach Marc Habscheid, and the newest member of the Belfast Giants, Theo Fleury, discuss how new rules will change the game in the coming season.

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The Ultimate Crapshoot

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Going into Wednesday's 15 openers, it is difficult to separate about 24 of the NHL's 30 teams and place them in an order that you could confidently predict, this is how the year will unfold. Take, for example, a team that many predict could win the Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers. In a best-case scenario, the Flyers will win because they've added arguably the most complete player in the game (Peter Forsberg), to a line-up that includes an emerging star (Simon Gagne), an exceptional leader (Keith Primeau), two of the best prospects (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards) plus a defence corps that blends toughness and experience (Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje) with skill and puck-handling (Kim Johnsson, Joni Pitkanen).

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Wings Finalize Roster

from Mlive,

They were longshots to hang around this long, but Dan Cleary and Brett Lebda bucked the odds. They played well enough during the preseason to earn their place on the Detroit Red Wings' season-opening roster. Cleary, 26, beat out three other forwards invited to camp on a tryout -- Rem Murray, Dan LaCouture and Blake Sloan, who were released. Lebda, 23, outplayed veteran defenseman Andy Delmore, who will be assigned to AHL affiliate Grand Rapids, if he clears waivers. Wings coach Mike Babcock said Lebda's skating and decision-making earned him a spot. He's ahead of veteran Jamie Rivers on the depth chart and could be paired with Chris Chelios on opening night. "He didn't turn the puck over; he was confident," Babcock said. "In today's NHL, if you can move the puck, you got a chance. Can he keep it going? I'm going to watch."

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OLN Celebrates The Return Of The NHL

With the NHL season around the corner, OLN is launching an aggressive tune-in campaign centered around one central tagline: We Believe in Hockey. The campaign was developed to convey the commitment and passion of hockey fans, while igniting excitement for the new season. In the series of 30-second television spots, clips of memorable hockey footage are accompanied by a voiceover of thousands of fans declaring statements like: “we believe we can score on the opening face-off” and “we believe in the unbelievable.” Through the creative executions, the spots demonstrate OLN's passion for the sport and excitement at being its new national cable home. “We wanted to make an emotional connection with hockey fans,” said Wendy McCoy, Vice President of Marketing at OLN. “There is so much to look forward to when hockey returns to the ice, between the new players, the new rules and the unprecedented access the league is allowing. Hockey is a huge priority for OLN and we can’t wait to show fans a new game when the puck drops on the fifth.” “’We Believe in Hockey’ is such a pure statement that we plan on using it for all promotional material throughout the season,” said Michael Magnotta, Vice President and Creative Director at OLN. “The tagline speaks to every true fan of this game – from the league to the players, and from the guy who won't wash his lucky hat to the kid who gets his first hockey stick at age three.” McCoy and Magnotta were responsible for the campaign development, which was created by Fort Franklin, a Boston-based advertising agency. “We Believe in Hockey” also includes a print component, firmly establishing the NHL on OLN. The campaign’s full-page ads will run in newspapers, consumer and trade magazines including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Outside Magazine and Advertising Age. There will be a large internet component, as well as local market promotion in markets where OLN is featuring a game to include TV, radio, print and internet placements. “‘We Believe in Hockey’ is an expression of the dedication and passion for the sport in the voice (literally) of core hockey fans. Featuring actual game footage instantly connects with the core and is the most honest way to show OLN’s commitment to the sport and its fans,” said Marc Gallucci, CEO and Creative Director of Fort Franklin. “As an agency, we were meant for this assignment, not only due to our past campaigns for the NHL and ESPN, but because we are religious hockey fans who truly believe in the game.” If you haven't seen the 30-second spot from OLN, you can view (will open wmp video) it now and here is an advertising poster they are using.

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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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