Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Parity, Maybe Not

from the Globe and Mail,

Quite a week, it was, featuring the greatest shuffling of the big-league hockey deck since the demise of the World Hockey Association. When it was all said and done, so many instant conclusions were being drawn: that Edmonton is bound for a return to the glory days; that Bob Clarke is a genius and Philadelphia is poised to win the Stanley Cup; that Jarome Iginla really loves life in Calgary; that brothers prefer to play with brothers, and buddies pine to be together in sunny Florida; and that John Ferguson Jr. somehow didn't hear the starting gun and then was forced to overpay a fan (and owner) favourite just to keep the talk-show wolves at bay. And that the age of parity in the National Hockey League is now upon us. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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Listening to the Players

from the Tampa Tribune,

The National Hockey League, in its quest to pump up abysmal TV ratings, win back fans and increase advertising and other revenue, is considering placing microphones on players and coaches during games to make TV broadcasts more exciting. The league, in a series of conference calls with member teams in recent months, also disclosed another proposal: working with local sports networks to increase and diversify camera angles during games and increase pregame TV access to players, confirmed Bill Wickett, a spokesman for the Tampa Bay Lightning. NHL owners and players are wrestling with how to make hockey games more compelling for television viewers in order to grow broadcast revenue and sell more game tickets.

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Some Teams Sitting Back

from Spector and Fox Sports,

The opening week of the 2005 NHL's unrestricted free-agent market has been noteworthy for the unprecedented number of signings. Just as notable were the teams that have thus far barely dipped a toe into an unusually deep free agent pool. It's difficult for fans of these clubs to watch other teams snatching away the cream of the free-agent talent for seemingly affordable deals, but it's much easier to play armchair general manager than it is to actually do the job.

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No Sale for the Pens

from the AP via NHL.com,

Don't remove the owner's tag from Pittsburgh Penguins owner-player Mario Lemieux's title just yet. In an about-face brought about partly by the team drafting Canadian super prospect Sidney Crosby, the Penguins said Friday that Lemieux's group will retain its majority ownership. William "Boots" DelBiaggio, a San Jose-based businessman who was to buy a majority stake, will instead buy a minority share.

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“Big” Signing for Tampa Bay

Who is six-foot-eight, 258-pounds and signed by Tampa Bay? Last season with Springfield of the AHL, he collected three goals, one assist and 179 penalty minutes in 45 games. He has played a total of 91 AHL games with Springfield, Worcester, Milwaukee, Saint John, Hamilton and Lowell. He has four goals, three assists and 313 penalty minutes. His East Coast Hockey League record shows 13 goals, 23 assists and 656 penalty minutes in 184 games with Tallahassee and Columbus.

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LHN- Everthing is Backwards

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

In Edmonton, Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe got a little choked up when he swung the deal for elite defenseman Chris Pronger. In Toronto, the media has used the term "choke" in a much less complimentary fashion when assessing the work of Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson during the free-agent blizzard of the last week. Welcome to the new world order, NHL style. As frantic and topsy-turvy as many expected this first free-agency period under the new collective bargaining agreement to be, few imagined it would unfold as dramatically and quickly as it has. Imagine that Robin Hood took a vacation from Sherwood Forest and wandered into the NHL, plucking the league's best players from the greedy, big-market teams and dispersing them to the poor and needy.

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Allison to Leafs

per The Fan 590 in Toronto, the Leafs have signed Jason Allison. 5:15pm, TSN reporting he is a Leaf.

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Kariya to Nashville

from TSN,Unrestricted free agent forward Paul Kariya has signed on with the Nashville Predators, TSN has learned. The deal is worth $4.5 million US over two years.

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Good News for Caps

from Sportsnet,

The Washington Capitals agreed to terms with left wing Alexander Ovechkin, the first overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, on a three-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced.

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Bolts Plan to Defend Cup

from Tampa Bay Business Journal,

The Tampa Bay Lightning have pledged to hockey fans and corporate sponsors they will defend the Stanley Cup without their championship goaltender. "We want our fans to know we're not going to roll over. We're going to work hard to retain the title," Lightning GM Jay Feaster said during an impromptu press conference Friday afternoon.

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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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