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OLN and the NHL

from NY Newsday,

Imagine a prime-time, nationally televised NHL game preceded by a bass fishing or hunting show and followed by the day's sports highlights on a fast-moving, comprehensive roundup show. Sounds like ESPN2 from a pre-NHL lockout season, doesn't it? Actually, that could be the lineup on Outdoor Life Network before long. The 10-year-old cable network, which has 150 employees tucked away in offices in Stamford and nearby South Norwalk, Conn., attracted 1.7 million viewers for its telecast of the final stage of the recent Tour De France, and is aiming for bigger game: The NHL and the NFL.

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NHL Free Agent Movement and Trades For Monday, 8/1/05

I am going to make this a sticky post. Any player movement will be posted here. If the transaction has been verified, it will be noted as such and if it is a rumor, it too will be noted. If you hear of any signings or trades, feel free to post a comment in this thread or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) me. I am not sure what to expect today, will we see a flurry of signings or just a lot of talk. We shall soon find out. 1pm, The Boston Bruins have acquired left wing Brad Isbister from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. 1:55pm, Roberts, Nieuwendyk sign in Florida 5:17pm, For Detroit Fans, Yzerman decision not due until Wednesday now. 5:58pm, AP story via Detroit Free Press 6:02pm, Team 590 Radio in Toronto saying Rangers are expressing great interest in Forsberg and Naslund. 6:54pm, The St. Louis Blues have signed unrestricted free agent right wing Aaron Downey to a one-year contract. 7:11pm, Minnesota announced today that the club has signed free agent LW Andrei Nazarov. 8:47pm, The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with unrestricted free agent right wing Tom Kostopoulos. 11:04pm, Adam Foote Signs with Columbus, per Sportsnet. Doug MacLean was just on Team 590 radio, said it is close but nothing yet, basically up to Foote to decide. update 11:24pm, Now TSN is reporting the signing.

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Player Talk

via the NY Times (reg. req.),

Most teams and several players agents said they thought the two most prominent unrestricted free agents, Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund, both of Sweden, would sign as a package - much the way Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne signed together with Colorado two summers ago. The primary difference is that Forsberg, who has played nine seasons with Colorado Avalanche, and Naslund, who has spent the last eight-plus seasons in Vancouver, have different agents. Kariya and Selanne shared the same agent when they signed with the Avalanche. But Naslund's agent, Mike Gillis, said last night that a package deal was not a prerequisite to sign his client. "Unless a team came up and decided that it would have to be a package deal, that's when it would be really considered," Gillis said in a telephone interview. "I only represent Markus Naslund. It will become an issue only if teams want to make that happen. Until then, it's not an issue for us." "I haven't heard from the Rangers at all," one prominent agent said last night. "It's not the traditional free-agent market teams that we're hearing from." If the Rangers are not in the market to sign Forsberg and Naslund, they are probably not going to try to re-sign Brian Leetch, whom they traded to Toronto in March 2004. Leetch had spent nearly 17 seasons with the Rangers and is the most accomplished defenseman in franchise history. Instead, the Islanders made the 37-year-old Leetch an offer, but Leetch has apparently already declined. The Boston Bruins were also believed to be interested in signing Leetch, who played a year at Boston College. Niedermayer's agent, Kevin Epp, said Niedermayer had not ruled out the possibility of re-signing with the Devils.

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All Eyes on Joe

from the Boston Herald,

In the NHL world, the biggest unknown of all right now might be the fate of Bruins captain Joe Thornton. Myriad sources around the league put great credence in the rampant speculation the "huge" potential deal of which B's general manager Mike O'Connell spoke Saturday would be a trade of Thornton – who, if not the best player in the league, has to be among the top few. But O'Connell was adamant last night the B's have no desire to deal away their star. "None, none at all," said O'Connell. "We have no interest in trading Joe Thornton. I want to keep Joe and surround him with the players we want to surround him with".

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Modano to Bruins?

via RDS (translated from French to English),

Player of center high-speed motorboat and autonomous player, Mike Modano, received three offers of teams of the national League. Modano is currently in reflexion in order to decide where it will continue its career. Thrashers of Atlanta, Penguins de Pittsburgh and Bruins of Boston would be in the race. But the fellow-member Renaud Lavoie learned that all indicates that Bruins would be in the test card of Modano and that an advertisement could be made as of Tuesday.

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Yzerman and Wings Update

from the Detroit Free Press (Tuesday edition) via the Mercury News,

A source close to the Detroit Red Wings said Monday it's 95 percent certain captain Steve Yzerman will return for another season, but an official announcement may not come until Wednesday. Yzerman and general manager Ken Holland, who was busy sorting through the free-agent market, did not speak to each other Monday. "Ken and Steve never connected today," Wings PR executive John Hahn said Monday afternoon. "With the opening of free agency, Ken spent most of his time on the phone. He hopes to speak with Steve by Wednesday."

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Merchandising and the NHL

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

The NHL wants to join the party. With a collective-bargaining agreement finally in place, new rules designed to create a more entertaining product and the expectation of many marquee players shifting to new teams, the only league to miss an entire season due to labor strife is hopeful to rebuild its licensing business to pre-lockout levels in two to 2½ years. “The American fan is forgiving; we’ve seen that after every labor stoppage,” said Ed Doran, who heads the licensing business for VF Corp., the longtime rights holder for the NHL’s official championship locker-room T-shirt. “The good news was no licensee was hurt badly because we all knew this was coming. So we think we’ll be back up to 75 percent [of pre-lockout levels] sometime next year.” Even during a year without hockey, there were some encouraging signs. A pricing war in the video game category certainly helped, but nonetheless it is intriguing to note that during a season where it did not play a single game, NHL licensees sold more video games than ever. The NHL already has reached agreements in principle with all of its video game licensees — EA Sports, Take 2, Sony and Atari — to return. Hockey equipment sales also stayed strong until recently. Reebok successfully introduced its RBK and Vector hockey lines, following its acquisition of The Hockey Co. As for Nike, “we’re feeling pretty good, because we actually gained share [during the lockout],” said Nike Bauer Hockey President and CEO Chris Zimmerman. With the lockout just settled, the league licensees have missed the fall buying season but may be able to chase some business for the holiday season. The first big sales push will come for the fall 2006 season. During the lockout, the NHL took the opportunity to prune its licensee base by around 10 percent, update many licensing contracts and move its quality-control process entirely online.

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Daily Dose of Rumors

from Spector and Fox Sports,

Boston Bruins GM Mike O'Connell raised expectations on Monday with his comments to the Boston Herald that he was working on a "huge trade", fueling speculation he was about to ship out forward Joe Thornton. Turns out O'Connell has a sense of humor, as he dealt a fourth-round pick in 2006 to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Brad Isbister, a failed power forward whose career has stalled in recent years. Could the Boston Bruins wind up shopping Joe Thornton? It certainly appears to be a distinct possibility. Although Bruins management claims they're trying to re-sign him long-term, the Thornton camp was unimpressed by the club's five-year, $25 million offer.

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Babcock with Albom

Of interest to Wing fans, Mike Babcock was on Mitch Albom's Monday Sports show and said the Wings will be relying heavily on Fisher and Krowell. Said he expects Datsyuk to be back, if he wants to play against the best, this is the place to be, but mentioned he has to fit into a salary slot. A bunch of teams after Khabibulin and getting a player like him is like a marriage, you are in it for the long term and you have to ask yourself, are you ready for that. 7:54pm, Shanahan was just on with Mitch, Shanny said he signed for $17 million, Wings had to cut 17 players to afford him, but he is working extra hard to replace them. Also mentioned the players are happy to give up all the money they were used to earniing as long as it goes to the coaches and owners. Oh, that Shanahan sense of humor. Shanny said in the past, when a player got a raise, it helped the other players, but now there could be some bad feelings among players but it is up to coach and management to make sure the locker room is ok. He talked about his decision to come back, basically shut off his cell phone for a few days, called the Wings and said he was coming back, Wings said ok and that was it. He wanted to check with Holland to make sure he was a "fit" and was assured he was. Thinks Babcock will do well. Wings lacked a bit of discipline at times and thinks Babcock's demanding ways will be good, compared him to Bowman in that way. With Dave Lewis, team was run by committee, under Babcock, it will be his way. Mitch assumed Yzerman was coming back, Shanny thinks he will be back. Steve was not happy with the way things ended for the Wings and he still has hockey in him. If he felt his decision was bad for the team, he would not come back. He has made the decision that he can compete in the NHL and just because he doesn't score 60 goals, he can still do other things. He still has it in him, win a big faceoff, score a winning goal, etc. Shanny feels the future is good for the league. Players had to take a few steps back, we hurt the fans, there may be a period of time in cities to win the fans back. NHL must give them value for the dollar and a better product on the ice.

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Russians Against IIHF Agreement

from the CP via TSN,

The NHL's tentative new agreement on player transfers with the International Ice Hockey Federation has apparently hit a snag. Several Russian media outlets reported Monday that Russian clubs voted not to sign the new IIHF-NHL agreement. The Russian hockey federation can't sign the deal without the consent of its clubs. All other European federations have ratified the agreement.

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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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