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GMs Can’t Control Themselves

from the Toronto Star,

The hockey landscape was altered beyond recognition by the NHL's nuclear winter and the subsequent new collective bargaining agreement with its players. The constant, however, remains the inability of several teams to completely control themselves, even within the restrictions of a hard $39 million (all figures U.S.) salary cap. A longer contract has become the dealmaker for clubs trying to lure free agents or in convincing their own stars to stay beyond the time when they could hit the open market. Tampa secured both Vinny Lecavalier with a four-year, $27.5 million deal and Martin St. Louis with $31.5 million spread over six seasons. Edmonton gave Chris Pronger a five-year deal for $31.25 million, Sergei Gonchar will get $5 million in each of the next five years from Pittsburgh. It goes on and on. "Has everybody lost their hockey mind?" Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos wondered aloud to the Raleigh News-Observer last week. "Some of the GMs have a short attention span."

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NHLPA Losing Jobs

from the Milford Daily News,

With a hard salary cap linked to league revenues, restrictions on entry-level contracts, reforms in the arbitration system and a 24-percent rollback on all salaries, the NHL's new Collective Bargaining Agreementwas an overwhelming victory for the owners. While players have continued to land lucrative deals in the past month since the free agency period opened, it's becoming clear that the union suffered another serious, though less obvious, defeat in hockey's lopsided labor war. The roster size for each team was not reduced in the new CBA, remaining at a maximum of 23 active players per club. But teams are not required to keep 23 players up with the big club, and with salary cap concerns paramount, many teams will likely opt to go with several players less than that maximum this season. That means in addition to all the lost wages given up in the lockout and ensuing CBA agreement, the players association has also essentially lost several dozen jobs for its membership.

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Tickets Moving fast In San Jose

from the San Fancisco Chronicle,

Nobody knows how the Sharks would have fared in the season that wasn't played, the first in a major sports league in North America to be wiped out entirely because of a labor dispute. But it's tempting to wonder. And they'll have most of the key components in place when their regular season opens Oct. 5. As it turns out, they'll also have the great majority of their fan base with them. Of the season ticket-holders from 2003-04, 90 percent have renewed, slightly more than the club expected, says Malcolm Bordelon, the Sharks' executive vice president of business operations. With more than 500 new season ticket buyers, the club will have 11,000 in all, surpassing the 10,750 it had when the Sharks won the 2004 Pacific Division title, although shy of the 13,200 it had in 2002-03. Despite the anger of many Bay Area hockey fans over the work stoppage, the Sharks improved their season ticket numbers by not playing.

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Hockey clubs in Toronto Helping Out

from the Toronto Star,

Hockey organizations in the Toronto area are mobilizing to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "It's the worst natural disaster to befall the United States in its history," said Hugh Ross, president of Wexford Raiders and chairman of the 12 AAA organizations in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. "We are supposed to be in hockey to help children and there are thousands of children in the U.S.A. Gulf coast who need our help." Ross is challenging all hockey organizations to equal or better a $1,000 donation from Wexford Raiders Hockey Association. The tragedy has also spurred the Greater Toronto Hockey League into action. "I will be calling the United States Consulate on Tuesday morning to ascertain what types of relief agencies should be considered and more specifically if there is one that will provide aid to children specifically," GTHL president John Gardner told the Star. Ross, who owns a moving firm and has trucks at his disposal, says he's ready to ship supplies south. "We don't want to impede them or be in the way. If what they need is an 18-wheeler full of bottled water or whatever, then I will send a truck," Ross said. "If we don't give soon, the health situation could deteriorate and what is now a horrific tragedy could be made worse ..."

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Long Island Businesses Ramping Up

from the NY Daily News,

Island businesses that saw profits melt away during the NHL's 18-month sabbatical are gearing up for the October return of the New York Islanders. "We're psyched," said Jerry Rizzo, food and beverage director at the Long Island Marriott Hotel, which houses Champions Sports Bar a few hundred feet from Nassau Coliseum. "We're starting to get our promotions together with the different liquor and beer companies. We can't wait." Champions took the biggest hit when hockey disappeared. The bar and grill is legendary among Islander fans as the prime spot to party on game nights, especially when it's too cold to sip spirits in the Coliseum parking lot. For Rizzo and the Champions staff, the hockey lockout felt much longer than the 18 months that have passed so far.

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Now On DVD- NHL Rules

from the Toronto Sun,

Just one click of the television remote should help confused NHLers better understand the new rules being implimented by the league this season. In order to document what players will -- and, more importantly, will not -- be allowed to get away with in 2005-06, the NHLalready has started shipping a DVD to general managers and coaches, one which attempts to highlight which tactics will be deemed no-nos by the league's referees. With training camps set to open just around the corner, the league's operations department hopes the flick will provide both players and management with a better grasp of what officials will be calling.

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Faces Change In Carolina

from the News & Observer,

With training camp little more than a week away, the scene at the RecZone on Friday was a familiar one. The same players who have participated in preseason workouts at the practice rink carried on the same long-running disputes, told the same inside jokes, dressed at the same lockers. There will be plenty of new faces. But for now, there's lots of the same faces. For a team that expects to have between a third and half of its opening night lineup filled with players who weren't around when the Canes last took the ice, it was a little odd how few of them are here.

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Ryan Smyth A Good Fit For Flyers

from the Phildadelphia Inquirer via the Mercury News,

Ryan Smyth wants a three-year deal to remain with Edmonton. The Flyers want to lose a center and gain a winger - and Michal Handzus figures to be the odd man out if the Flyers trade another center. Such a deal would make sense. General manager Bob Clarke has long coveted Smyth, who has yet to sign his one-year qualifying offer of $2.7 million. Handzus will earn $2.1 million this season and next. Handzus' salary fits better into the Oilers' payroll scheme; the club is trying to lose salary since signing Chris Pronger to a five-year, $31.2 million contract and then adding Michael Peca, who will earn $3.9 million this season. According to the Edmonton Journal, Smyth wants a deal that averages $4 million. He won't get that from Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, but he could get it from Clarke next year.

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Zetterberg Update

Peter, a Mlive regular, found a story from the Sunday Afton Bladet newspaper in Sweden. It basically says Zetterberg is far apart in negotiations with the Wings and is prepared to play in Sweden. The last story from Detroit papers stated the Wings would be talking again with Zetterberg early nest week. All I know is this is starting to get down to the nitty gritty. Will any side move or will Zetterberg actually play in Sweden if he does not get what he wants. update 10:07pm, A much better translation from a Wings fans in Sweden.

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Nice Offer Nashville

from the AP via Dateline Alabama,

The arena that already hosts the NHL's Nashville Predators is being offered up as a temporary home for 12 home games for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets this season. Hugh Lombardi, general manager of the Gaylord Entertainment Center, said he has contacted the NBA to offer the arena as a potential site for some home games. The New Orleans Arena is located next to the Louisiana Superdome, and the NBA has informed teams the Hornets may relocate. "We wanted to be sensitive to the whole issue and to see if we can help out if we could," Lombardi said. "And also, if we could get some home dates here, it would be great for the city of Nashville."

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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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