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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Linden Wants to get Back on the Ice

from AP via TSN,

A weary Trevor Linden was ready to get out of the boardroom and back on the ice Thursday. As president of the NHL Players' Association, Linden has spent weeks studying documents, analysing data and negotiating with the league. "I'm looking very forward to getting on the ice and becoming a player again," the Vancouver Canucks forward said after the PA voted to approve the new collective bargaining agreement. "There's no question about that." The 16-year NHL veteran has said little publicly during the last few weeks of hard negotiations been the NHL and the players' association. Even so, he is believed to be a driving force behind getting the two sides back together when there seemed little chance of doing so, because he knew the players had had enough.

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The Leaders Must be Held Accountable

from ESPN and Scott Burnside,

Talk about an exercise in suspension of disbelief. Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman, architects of the most devastating labor stoppage in pro sports history, sitting shoulder to shoulder, insisting that, heck yes, they're prepared to become partners in a new NHL. As if it would be any other way. The two, appearing at a joint news conference for the first time since the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, practically killed each other with kindness Thursday as they came together to announce the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by the players. Please. Thank you. I agree. You're quite right. No, you first. I insist. As for the fact the two have been at each other's throats in boardrooms and across bargaining tables for more than a decade? Completely blown out of proportion, they insisted -- a media fairy tale. "I think there's been too much made about a fragmented relationship. It tends, I suppose, to make for interesting reading and telling," Bettman told reporters during a news conference that was broadcast live nationally in hockey-starved Canada. "But Bob and I have always had a professional relationship. On a personal level we've never had a problem dealing with each other. And I don't suspect there'll be any change in that. "I have no doubt that labor and management can work together for the benefit of the game and the fans in an unprecedented way," Bettman added. "I agree totally," Goodenow chimed in, and it was a wonder he didn't throw his arm over Bettman's shoulder to make the point. "I think anyone who suggests that there's a problem and an inability for us to work together don't really know the level to which, as Gary alluded to, that we have had discussions in the past," Goodenow said. "I think you would all be very surprised at the level of the topics we discuss when we get together." The only thing missing was a rendition of Kumbaya.

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Goodenow’s Future Intriguing

from the CP and Canada.com,

Will he stay or will he go? The future of NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow was a hot topic as players overwhelmingly ratified the new collective bargaining agreement Thursday. Given that this isn't the deal he would have wanted left to his own devices, many wondered if can live with it moving forward. But Goodenow left the impression that's he not going anywhere. "There's been some reports and speculation (about the future) and that goes with the territory," Goodenow said after his joint news conference with counterpart Gary Bettman. "But I enjoy my work, I have a contract and I intend to abide by it certainly."

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NBC A-Team

The lead broadcast team for the NBC NHL broadcasts will be Mike "Doc" Emrick and John Davidson. Great decision by NBC.

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Rangers Hope to Stop Bad Luck

from the CP via Canada.com,

The New York Rangers can end a dubious drought Friday at the 2005 NHL draft lottery. New York is among four teams to have the maximum three balls in the lottery, which will determine which NHL squad will have the first overall selection and the opportunity to select Canadian junior phenom Sidney Crosby. The other franchises are the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers haven't had the first overall pick since 1965 when they took Andrew Veilleux, a Jr. B right-winger from Montreal who never played a regular-season game with New York.

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Voting on Rule Changes

from the CP via Canada.com,

The NHL's relaunch will officially get started Friday with the announcement of new rule changes meant to open up the game. Colin Campbell, the NHL's director of operations, met with the newly created competition committee Tuesday to nail down a final list of recommendations for owners to vote on Friday. The original 13-point memo sent out to GMs on June 29 has been whittled down somewhat. "It was revised a little bit," Campbell said Thursday. "The board of governors now have it in their hands." Campbell would not disclose what was on the final list but here are some of the changes that are expected:

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Peace in Our Time

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

Peace in our time." The late, not-so-great, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain knew nothing from hockey but his words certainly ring true on the NHL front today. Pending the obvious certification of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Friday by league owners, hockey's worst Civil War is over. This was made official on Thursday afternoon when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his NHLPA counterpart Bob Goodenow shared the dais to reveal that more than 85 percent of the union members approved the new CBA. "We now can move forward together," said Bettman, "and move our sport to new heights." Reviled by many for his negotiating tactics, Goodenow described the process as "long and challenging." Nevertheless he showed a commitment to peace on the big-league hockey front by adding, "We are fully committed to the new deal and are optimistic to get to work." How intense the recriminations and bitterness experienced in the days and months ahead are difficult to discern. Questions about Goodenow's future as NHLPA boss were diffused during a question-and-answer period.

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Quote of the Day

Best quote of the day: Mike Gartner talking about the hit the players took from the fans. He said the NHL could have hired Curly, Larry and Moe as a PR firm and destroyed the players. After all, fans look at the players as millionaires and there was no way they would have looked good in the eyes of the fans.

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Recap of NHLPA Ratification Meeting

from the CP via Canada.com,

NHL players voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed labour settlement Thursday, setting the stage for a return to hockey. "I'm pleased to announce that the NHLPA members voted today and ratified the new collective bargaining agreement," said NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow. "If the NHL board of governors ratifies the agreement, as we expect they will tomorrow, the hockey world will still be able to celebrate the return of NHL hockey."

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Linden:  “Very Strong Deal for the Players”

Trevor Linden on TSN, "Very strong deal for the players. Not even close to what was offered in February." Linden compared the CBA negotiations to a tough workout, you say why did I do this then you realize the reward was worth it.

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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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