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Sabres Rolling

from Kevin Allen of USA Today,

With the new NHL now about dazzling plays and scoring, the Buffalo Sabres don't have a single player among the NHL's top 75 scorers. With the new NHL about new faces and altered lineups, the Sabres had fewer changes than most teams entering the season. With the NHL now about high-profile No. 1 scoring lines, the Sabres essentially have three lines that make similar contributions. But the NHL is still about winning, and right now the Buffalo Sabres, taking 25 of their last 28 available points, are the NHL's hottest team.

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BOG Makes Needed Rule Tweaks

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

To deal with some minor problems that had cropped up in the shootout, the National Hockey League passed a couple of rules yesterday. All shootout shots are now subject to review to make sure that any goal is legal. In the past, some referee decisions on shootouts had not been considered reviewable. In cases of long shootouts, if a team has players unavailable because of injury and thereby qualifies to use its first shooter again, the opposing team also gets to go back to the top of its list, even if it has players who have not shot.
read on

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Lang Expects Fischer To Retire

from Mlive,

Detroit Red Wings center Robert Lang is one of Jiri Fischer's closest friends on the team, a fellow native of the Czech Republic. And like many others in the organization, Lang found it difficult to watch Fischer's emotional press conference on Monday. Lang is also bracing for the likelihood of another news conference in the not-so-distant future, one in which Fischer will be forced to declare that he cannot return to the game he loves because of his heart condition.

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Luc Goes Cold

from the LA Daily News,

The subject of Luc Robitaille is not a comfortable one for the Kings. Robitaille, a certain Hall of Famer, needs just three goals to tie Marcel Dionne's franchise career record of 550, but these days Robitaille is on the verge of becoming the Kings' invisible man. Since he returned from a leg injury, Robitaille has one goal and no assists in 10 games and his minutes have dwindled. In Wednesday's loss to Washington, Robitaille played five minutes, 10 seconds and had just one shift in the third period, the low point of a frustrating season in which he has five goals in 20 games. "Physically, I'm great," Robitaille said. "(Mentally,) I'm OK. It's never fun, but we'll see what happens."

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Lemaire Goes Off

from the Pioneer Press,

The Wild absorbed another bitter loss Thursday night (to Boston) that left goalie Manny Fernandez seething, his snakebitten teammates exasperated and coach Jacques Lemaire ranting. "If they couldn't see the replay that the guy pushed it with his hand, well, they need good glasses," Lemaire said. "It's so obvious on the replay. You don't need to do hockey for 20 years to see that the guy... he pushed the puck in the net. A kid could notice that." The episode opened the door for Lemaire to scorch the remaining off-ice officials responsible for recording statistics and running the penalty and game clocks — a crew separate from the supervisor and video replay judge. "I've been here for five years. It's got to be the worst crew I've seen in my entire career," he said. "They've been told by the NHL that they're the best. I know why they tell them that. They're the best because everywhere you go, they cheat on seconds before they blow the whistle so the home team gets more seconds. We live through this all the time. "Here, it's the opposite. Maybe that's why they're saying they're great."
more (reg. req.)

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Brrr! Lambeau In February

from the Green Bay Press-Gazette,

The lure of hockey on the so-called frozen tundra of Lambeau Field has proven to be so strong that more than 31,000 tickets have been sold for the Feb. 11 game between the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State. The historic football stadium will hold about 41,000 fans when configured for the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic. That leaves about 10,000 tickets available for the 3 p.m. game, said Mark Wagner, the Green Bay Packers' director of ticket operations.
read on

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Level Playing Field Tilted

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

...Gary Bettman told the league's governors in Arizona that the salary cap was expected to rise as high as $45 million for next season. If it happens, it would be a $6 million (all figures U.S.) per team increase from this season. Even more important, perhaps, the maximum salary would rise to $9 million from $7.8 million. All of this means, ladies and gentlemen, that the "level playing field" supposedly created by the institution of the cap system just became skewed once again in favour of the league's richest teams. Tilt. Ostensibly, this is good news for the NHL because it means business is, in relative terms, good, although the improved Canadian dollar did a great deal to help the balance sheet look rosier.

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Sullivan Knows Shania

from a Q & A at ESPN,

Q: Speaking of music icons, you are from the same hometown as Shania Twain. Have you ever met her? A: Yeah, we met a few times. She threw a huge banquet concert in Timmins, Ontario, in 1999. She had a big dinner the night before the concert and I was invited to go meet her. I was star struck when I met her. We talked for awhile, and during the concert, she brought me on stage with her. She's a great girl, down to earth. Her fame hasn't changed her. She's totally down to earth. Q: When you drive into the town line of Timmins, what does the sign say? A: It says "Welcome to Timmins: Home of Shania Twain."
read the whole interview, Sullivan is a much underrated player and will be a force for the Preds. image

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Cap Will Rise

via the CP,

The NHL's spirited comeback from its labour lockout appears to be good news for the bottom line next year. A source at the NHL board of governors' meeting said current projections show next season's salary cap will be between $40 million and $45 million (U.S.).
update 6:20pm, from the Toronto Star,
More precisely, Bettman told owners Thursday that current projections call for revenues to be just over $2 billion this season. Under the CBA, the next season's salary cap is based on the previous year's revenue total. Revenues of exactly $2 billion for this year would correspond to a $41.6-million salary cap next season, $2.1 billion in revenue would give a $43.4-million cap, and $2.2 billion would bring on a $45.3-million cap. If attendance dips in the coming months and revenues instead total $1.9 billion, the cap would be $39.8 million next season. "I know historically the projections we get at this point in the season, they could still be two, three, four per cent off," Bettman said after the four-hour session. "And so what we did is, with some degree of comfort and intuitiveness, said this is where we think we're going to be. But I think it looks pretty clear that it's going to start with a two ($2 billion or more). "Clearly the cap is going up this year and that's good for everybody."

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It Was Garth, Not Larry

Brooks addresses NHL owners' meeting When I first read the headline from TSN, I thought Bettman had lost his mind. Inviting Larry Brooks to speak to the Board Of Governors was a death wish! from the CP via TSN,

Country music star Garth Brooks had the floor at the NHL's board of governors meeting Thursday, explaining to owners and GMs why his charity foundation does so much work with hockey. "I'm a fan of the game but I can't skate worth a damn - with a butt like this, of course, you knew that," Brooks said after his presentation. "I love the game. I love the speed of it, and truthfully I've fallen in love with the players because these guys are the sweetest. And they're just kids, so it's nice to see."

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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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