Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Buzz For Bolts

from the CP via CJAD,

Hockey fever is back in Tampa, says Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier. "I don't know how to describe it. The buzz is unbelievable," Lecavalier said in an interview Tuesday. "Everybody says it's a football city - and you know it is - but right now what I hear more is about hockey. That's what makes it so exciting. "Everyone wants to go see that Oct. 5 game (against Carolina) to raise the banner. It's pretty cool to see how (excited) the city's been, even though we had a year off last year, people are just as excited or even more."

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Still Some Signings To Do

from the CP via Slam,

Veterans Peter Bondra and Vincent Damphousse headline the list of unrestricted free agents still looking for work but the real action these days is with the restricted free agents, where NHL stars such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have yet to re-sign with training camps just around the corner. Kovalchuk, who shared the Rocket Richard Trophy as top NHL goal-scorer with 41 in 2003-04, can be an unrestricted free agent in July 2008 so Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell would like to get the 22-year-old sniper under contract for more than three years. But that will come at a price, likely around $6 million US a season.
and about Datsyuk and Zetterberg,
Datsyuk, 27, signed a deal with Russian club Avangard Omsk, a one-year contract apparently worth $6 million. If the deal includes an out-clause, and it would be a shock if it didn't, then he remains free to re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings but GM Ken Holland can't dish out that kind of money. He only has about $7 million under the $39-million cap and has to re-sign Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Holland, who spoke to Zetterberg's agent last Thursday, hoped to resume talks with the Swede's agent this week. As for Datsyuk, who has been unsigned since last summer, Holland had long feared this would be a difficult process. "I negotiated from May 2004 to early September 2004 with them and we were so far apart at that point in time that I guess I was figuring if we picked up where we left off we were a long ways apart," Holland said Tuesday. "We'll see what happens."

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Source Of Income

via Sportsnet,

If you thought there was too much advertising already at NHL arenas, there may be a little more. Sources have told Sportsnet that the NHL is considering placing advertising on goalies' jerseys. They would wear a different coloured jersey than the rest of the team to further stand out on the ice.
Wonder if Target would be interested?

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HDnet Hockey Fans

quick note: HDnet will be releasing their NHL schedule within 10 days. Great to see that they will be televising the NHL again this year.

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Stevens To Sit Out This Year

from the AP via TSN,

New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens will sit out this season, although general manager Lou Lamoriello said health was not the reason the star would miss the year. Lamoriello did not say the 41-year-old Stevens was retiring and left open the possibility that he would resume his career. "He's been an integral part of all the success we've had," Lamoriello said of the 13-time All-Star who has played more NHL games than any other defenseman during his 22 seasons. "He's been a leader on and off the ice as a hockey player and a person. He feels he's accomplished a lot of things and now wants to devote a lot of time to his family." Lamoriello added that Stevens will stay with the organization in some capacity.
update 4:47pm. Th context of this story has changed, now stating Stevens announces retirement.

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OLN News

from Sports Business Journal,

The future of Comcast’s OLN network calls for a 40-cent-a-month rate increase and Time Warner possibly taking an equity stake in the network, sources say. Time Warner has an option to acquire an 11 percent stake in OLN, multiple sources said. It’s one of many such options that Time Warner Cable has written into carriage deals with cable networks owned by other media companies. The deal with OLN dates back to 2001 when Time Warner reached a new carriage agreement with OLN after Comcast acquired the network. Time Warner is expected to exercise its option and become part-owner of the network if OLN successfully acquires rights to the NFL or Major League Baseball. OLN, fresh off adding NHL rights, is in talks with both leagues, sources said. Should OLN add the NFL, internal plans call for the network to ask cable operators to pay 40 cents more per subscriber per month, according to a source with knowledge of OLN’s long-term business plan.

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Looking Forward To The Season

Word is that Czech model Karolina Kurkova is looking forward to having the NHL end its one-year timeout. "Can't wait for her beloved Rangers to resume playing hockey Oct. 6 at the Garden -- especially because there will be five of her countrymen on the team -- Jaromir Jagr, Martin Rucinsky, Martin Straka, Marek Malik and Petr Prucha.'' "Prucha is from Kurkova's hometown of Decin. She's never met him, but wants to take all of them out for dinner before the season starts.'' "I can't wait to see my Czech brothers on the ice again,'' she said. "I was miserable for a year without hockey, I'm so glad it's back.

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Small Town, Big Time

from Canada.com,

Many Canadian boys dream of making the National Hockey League, but a new study shows that those born in smaller cities have a better chance of becoming professional athletes. "We have this stereotypical image of hockey players as these big boys who come from small towns," Cote said in an interview from Ireland. "It turns out, the odds of making it are much better for those living in smaller populations."

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Datsyuk Demands Too High

Detroit area reports on Datsyuk signing with Omsk: from Mlive,

"He's priced himself right off of our team," Holland said. "I don't see any way he's on the team; the numbers don't add up." "I upped my offer significantly," Holland said. "It got to the point where you can't go any higher. "We have no choice, we got to get on with it." If Datsyuk's contract contains an out clause, he would need to sign with the Red Wings by Oct. 5 (the start of the regular season) to be eligible to play in the NHL this season (restricted free agents who don't sign with a European team have until Dec. 1 to sign with an NHL club). But, there's no reason to believe the sides will suddenly bridge the enormous gap in contract talks.
from the Detroit News,
"Obviously it's a disappointing loss," Holland said. "We were really counting on him." "We'll be a difficult team to play against," Holland said.
from the Detroit Free Press,
It was four o'clock in the morning in Moscow when Ken Holland finally got through to Pavel Datsyuk's agent. Their conversation lasted 30 seconds and left more questions unanswered than answered. Yes, Datsyuk had signed a contract with wealthy Russian Super League team Avangard Omsk. But as of late Monday afternoon, Holland, the Red Wings' general manager, was still waiting to find out one very crucial little fact. "Everything," Holland said, "depends on the out clause." A Reuters report said Datsyuk does have an out clause, but Holland said he didn't want to comment until "I know it's based on fact."

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Why No Offer Sheets

Somebody want to wake this guy up? from proicehockey.com,

In the NHL's new economic era, the rules governing restricted free agents are unchanged. Any team can sign a player like Datsyuk or Zetterberg to a tentative contract - or "offer sheet." Detroit must then match the offer or let the player go and take draft choices as compensation. Zetterberg reportedly wants $2 million a year. Nobody will name Datsyuk's asking price, but let's say he'll take Sergei Samsonov money - $2.77 million. Or call it $3 million. At that price, why won't a team take a run at the pair? With several roster spots to fill and little cap room, the Red Wings can't match two offer sheets. So you would get one or two excellent young players and all you give up are draft picks. Depending on the exact salaries, the cost might be a first and second-round pick for Zetterberg, two first-round picks and maybe a second rounder for Datsyuk.

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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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