Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Nashville Gets A Star

from the Tennessean,

In the moments after learning his team had signed Paul Kariya, Predators forward Scott Hartnell did what any young hockey fan would. He got on the phone with his buddies. "I was so excited,'' Hartnell said. "I remember talking to a lot of my friends and saying, 'Did you see that we signed Paul Kariya?' I mean, that's one of those names that's up there with a Wayne Gretzky or a Steve Yzerman.''

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Hire Clement

from the Philadelphia Inquirer via the Mercury News,

The National Hockey League is moving to Comcast via OLN after ESPN rejected matching the cable provider's offer sheet this past week. Comcast will pay $65 million in the first year, then $70 million with the money increasing on option years. Its focus now is to build its network and talent base. The next move should be hiring Bill Clement, whose contract with ESPN expires on Sept. 30. Quite frankly, Clement is the best hockey analyst in North America. "I love hockey," Clement said this week. "Especially now, because I am so optimistic about the sport. (Commissioner) Gary Bettman has refined the business model; there's rules changes to make the game better. It's all positive. It's a new beginning for the NHL."

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Cover Boy

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Will Scott Stevens Play

from the Star-Ledger,

Back home in New Jersey and in top physical condition, Scott Stevens said yesterday he still hasn't decided whether he will retire from hockey or sign a new contract to continue playing for the Devils. An unrestricted free agent, Stevens has indicated he does not envision signing with another team. Although he has been skating and lifting weights, the 41-year-old veteran of 22 NHL seasons said he hasn't determined whether he will be in training camp when Devils players report for physicals Sept. 13. "When I make my decision, I'll tell you," Stevens said.

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Atlanta After Bondra

from TSN,

The Atlanta Thrashers have added their name to the list of clubs interested in aging sniper Peter Bondra. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Thrashers have offered Bondra a one-year contract with the club. The team is expecting a decision early next week from the right winger.

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USA Hockey Fans Take Note

from Slam,

Gary Bettman has announced a two-year deal worth $135 million US with the Outdoor Life Network to show NHL games. This seems to be a perfect fit for a network whose lineup includes croc wrestling, bass fishing and hunting beloved woodland creatures with big, soft eyes. You know, since folks in the U.S. consider hockey players to be animals anyway. For Bettman, the good news is that the channel reaches 64 million households in the U.S. The bad news is all of them believe frozen water is just a waste of a good fishing hole. How good is this deal for the NHL? Well, instead of being ignored by 89 million households on ESPN, it now will only be a turnoff in 63 million American living rooms. If your name is Bettman, this is called progress.

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No More Trapping

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

In hockey, success is quickly emulated. It did not go unnoticed that the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup using a system that enabled them to effectively counter the neutral-zone trap. Even before the season ended, some other National Hockey League teams were starting to adjust, and by the time Team Canada goes to Turin for the 2006 Olympics, it will be using the same method. "It's kind of a game based on risk and trust," explained Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock, who is also an assistant coach of Team Canada. "Tampa, to me, changed the game a lot. They were the first team in my opinion, to attack the trap with depth rather than width. "That puts a lot of pressure on other teams to either change their forechecking patterns or get hurt badly. And a lot of teams did get hurt badly because they weren't able to adapt later in the year."

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Sign Marty

from the Tampa Tribune,

Would you blame Lightning pocket rocket Martin St. Louis if he thought no player lost more during the NHL lockout than he did? Would you blame him if he cursed his luck? If he cursed this new system? I wouldn't. How can you not root for Marty? It's like pulling for Dorothy to get to Oz, like cheering on Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. That said: Sign, Marty. He should sign with the Bolts because the Bolts should -- should -- offer a five-year deal at no less $25 million -- not a penny less.

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Empty Feeling for Sakic

from the Rocky Mountain News,

Training camp will be a lot different next month for Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic, and not just because he's eager to get back on the ice after an entire year without the NHL. For the first time in 14 years, when Sakic looks around the locker room, he won't see Adam Foote or Peter Forsberg, who left to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers.

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NHL Has Slipped

from the Times Union,

Congratulations to the NHL. It has officially gone from mainstream to Field and Stream. If any more validation were needed to prove the NHL has slipped further off the sports TV radar and moved into worlds of cycling, rodeo and yacht racing, the announcement late Wednesday that the Outdoor Life Network will be the league's new national cable buddy pretty well does that.

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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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