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Boynton Signs

The Boston Bruins have signed defenseman Nick Boynton to a one-year contract, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. "We are very pleased to have Nick signed," said O'Connell. "He is one of the best young defensemen in the game, is a leader in our dressing room and we expect that he will play a big part in our team's success this season." update 10:26am, TSN reporting 1 year deal for $1.75 million.

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Scoring Up 41 Percent

from Yahoo,

Eight days into the first season after the NHL became the first league to lose a whole season in a labor dispute, attendance jumped from an average of 16,643 a game at this stage in 2003 to 17,673, 95 percent of arena capacity. Teams average 6.4 goals a game compared to 4.5 a game two years ago, a 41 percent increase. Total shots are up 6.3 a game to 58.9 a game. And rallies from two goals down to win have leaped 400 percent. "This is the new NHL," Predators left wing Darcy Hordichuk said. "We knew we could come back. It's great to be here with the new rules. We have fast guys. We were built for the new rules. "If you can't skate and move fast, you can't be in the league anymore."

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Are The Refs Relaxing The Rules

I have been able to watch portions of many of the games in the first week of the NHL season, and have noticed in the last two days some of the referees have relaxed a bit on some of the calls. What were penalties the first couple of games are now "judgment" calls from some of the refs. The recent Leafs/Sens game had some obvious calls that were missed and the NHL is actually reviewing the game. As Colin Campbell said, if the refs don't call the game as we expect, they won't be calling the games for long. Hopefully, Campbell will stick to his word and get this straightened out quickly.

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OLN Ratings Dip

via Reuters,

Monday and Tuesday night games of the first full week of the NHL telecasts on OLN (a.k.a. Outdoor Life Network) scored well, but ratings fell from the opening-night numbers. The Pittsburgh Penguins-Buffalo Sabres game Monday night averaged 278,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That compared with 111,336 viewers OLN delivered a year ago. Tuesday saw a lower rating for the Phoenix Coyotes-Dallas Stars game, 143,438 viewers, double the 70,554 viewers in the same time period last year. Both ratings are lower than the 353,000 viewers the New York Rangers-Philadelphia Flyers opening-night matchup OLN received October 5. Hockey bowed to tough competition this week, with a highly touted "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers along with the elimination game of the best-of-five playoff series between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Tuesday's game went up against Game 1 of the American League Championship Series between the Angels and Chicago White Sox.

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Flyers Looking For Leadership

from Philly Burbs,

He's a creature of habit, so when coach Ken Hitchcock moved up the weekly veteran leadership committee meeting from Thursday to Wednesday, the Flyers knew something big was going on. Actually, it didn't take a lot of guesswork. All they had to do was look in the mirror and realize they've lost games in the third period twice in the first three outings. Tuesday night's meltdown in Toronto wasn't quite as bad as the opening night debacle against the Rangers, but it was enough to get Hitchcock to shake things up. The coach blames some of this on the fact the Flyers' roster had so much turnover during and after the lockout.

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Fans Will Come Out To Games- Hopefully

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

The National Hockey League held its 29th "We're Sorry We Shamed the Game With Our Petty Quibbling" party in San Jose on Wednesday night, and it was pretty much like the first 28, and like the last one tonight in Calgary. Giveaway trinkets, cheerful and smiling ushers, a little less of that "You're not spending enough money" look. That is, if you don't mind the comforting juxtaposition of being handed a flute of champagne to the strains of that grand old Anglican hymn, "Highway to Hell."

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View Is Tough At The Top

from the St. Petersburg Times,

Funny, but they looked more graceful in the parade. Not at all like the clumsy, plodding and misguided hockey players we watched against Boston the other night. Strange, but they seemed so much larger in the posters. Not even close to the timid and hesitant bunch that showed up for the first week of a Stanley Cup title defense. Remarkable, but these guys looked nothing like hockey gods. No miracles, no parables, not even a parting of the neutral zone. They looked, almost, human.

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The Bystander

from Eric Duhatshek of the Globe and Mail,

The other shoe dropped on Tuesday and as it usually does in these situations, it landed with a thud on an innocent bystander named Brad Larsen. On the same day that Ilya Kovalchuk finally showed up for work, the Atlanta Thrashers assigned Larsen to their minor-league affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Kovalchuk, the league's reigning goal-scoring champion, had been involved in a bitter contract dispute with the Thrashers that was finally resolved on Saturday when he agreed to a five-year, $32 million contract that will pay him an average of $6.4 million per season.

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Herb Brooks Selected To Olympic Hall Of Fame

from the Pioneer Press via the Mercury News,

Herb Brooks, the St. Paul kid who grew up to orchestrate one of the greatest moments in sports history, was selected Wednesday for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Brooks was involved in hockey at all levels before his death in an August 2003 car accident, but his signature achievement was leading the U.S. men's hockey team to the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.
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Thornton Out For Tomorrow

via the CP,

The Boston Bruins will face the Florida Panthers on Thursday night without the services of their top two centres. Star centre Joe Thornton has joined Alexei Zhamnov (shoulder) on the shelf. The Bruins sent Thornton, who is suffering from back spasms, home to Boston on Wednesday to get examined.

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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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