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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Andreychuk Still Driven

from the St. Petersburg Times,

The chase was supposed to be all-consuming. It had crossed borders and decades, it had put up with several almosts and a few not quites. When it finally ended, when Dave Andreychuk was no longer the longest-tenured NHL player without a Stanley Cup, the world discovered something new about his 22-year journey. He hadn't been chasing a dream, after all. Turns out, he'd been living it. The airplanes and buses. The teammates and rivals. The sore joints and aching muscles. The coaches who screamed and the ones who chuckled. And the moments on the ice. Most definitely, the time on the ice.

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Brodeur Upset With NHL Rules

from the NY Times,

Among the National Hockey League's many new rules is one category officially titled, "Restrictions on Goalie Handling the Puck." Unofficially, that section is better known as the Brodeur Rule, a testament to Martin Brodeur, the Devils' goaltender, and his ability to play the puck outside of the crease. Not surprising, Brodeur, 33, does not like the new rule. "You can't be happy, taking away something I've worked on all my life to do and help my teammates and help my defense," said Brodeur, who has guided the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships since 1995. "It's just part of me, playing the puck. So, definitely, you can't be happy. "It's just the fact that the N.H.L. wants to show the talent to their fans and stuff. And I think this is not doing it. I think it goes the other way around. It goes taking away a talent from guys. There's a lot of guys that can't play the puck, and that doesn't affect them."

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Voting On Saskin

from the Toronto Star,

With a few minutes between skating drills, Anaheim Mighty Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere plopped down at his locker yesterday afternoon, turned to teammates Ruslan Salei and Keith Carney and pondered the future of Ted Saskin, the besieged NHL players' union executive director. "We've got to vote about Ted," said Giguere, the team's union representative. The union this week sent secret ballots to Giguere and other team reps, asking them to vote on whether to hire Saskin. Yet the reaction from Salei, an eight-year veteran, and Carney, a 13-year veteran, was hardly enthusiastic. Both said they wanted more information about Saskin's controversial hiring by union president Trevor Linden. "Everybody feels a little bit in the dark right now," Giguere said yesterday in an interview. "We're just trying to get the right guy as executive director for the right money." It seems that Giguere's conversation with the Mighty Ducks defencemen is typical of many exchanges in dressing rooms around the NHL. Sources say player reps for as many as 13 teams have agreed to indefinitely delay voting on whether to approve the hiring of Saskin. Among the concerns about Saskin's anointment has been that the union's 37-member executive board wasn't consulted when Linden awarded him a $2.13 million (U.S.) annual salary.

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Learning To Play Defense Again

from the Long Beach Press-Telegram,

The initial days of training camp can be rough on all pro athletes trying to work their way back into game shape, but NHL defensemen have faced a more daunting task this week. New rules designed to increase offense mean referees will be cracking down on obstruction penalties this season. To quicker, good-skating defensemen, the change is viewed as a positive. To those who have made careers out of mucking up the neutral zone with physical play, it's something of a nightmare. "Pretty much everything I've ever been taught in my entire career goes out the window," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "I'd always been taught to grab guys and pin them against the boards, but now that's the last thing you want to do, so there's definitely going to be an adjustment." The Kings have taken to whistling plays dead during their practices when a penalty occurs in an attempt to give players a practical display of what they will no longer be able to get away with during games. "I took 10 minors in practice (Wednesday)," Miller said.

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Fleury Fighting To Make The Pens

from the Beaver County Times,

Lost amid the Sidney Crosby mania that's gripping Pittsburgh is the plight of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Whereas the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft has a locker stall in the Penguins' dressing room - between veteran stars Mark Recchi and John LeClair, no less - the No. 1 overall pick from the 2003 draft suits up in relative anonymity in a reserve locker room deep in the bowels of Mellon Arena. Not that Fleury is complaining. Nor is he jealous. The 20-year-old goaltender is just happy to be back in Pittsburgh. With the Aug. 10 signing of veteran goalie Jocelyn Thibault, Fleury is left battling for a place on the big-team roster along with Sebastien Caron and Andy Chiodo. "I'm pretty sure the coaches have penciled in Thibault as No. 1 already (but) nothing is done yet," Fleury said. "My goal is to make the team and we'll see after that."

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Rooting for Stumpy

from the Toronto Sun,

Suddenly in the silence of training camp the puck is on Steve Thomas' stick and now there is noise. The surprising number of fans in attendance at the Ricoh Coliseum chant his nickname. They cheer when he does almost anything. They erupt, as they did yesterday, when his snapshot eludes Ed Belfour for a pretty goal by Team C. He is a strange symbol of hope, the cause celebre in the early days of camp: Stumpy. Our Stumpy. Just another one-named hockey player in a town with too many. Only this one-named player happens to be older than the general manager he must impress, without any kind of job security of his own. He doesn't have a contract. He doesn't have anything guaranteed but his effort. He is here quite simply because he isn't ready to walk away from the National Hockey League and can't envision himself living or playing anywhere else.

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Rem Murray Feeling Better

from the Detroit Free Press,

Rem Murray could not look over his right shoulder. He barely could play with his young kids. And hockey? Hockey was his career, and hockey was out of the question. To say it is a success that Murray is even here at Red Wings training camp really is not an understatement. Thursday was his third day of skating at Centre ICE, his third day of centering a line between Steve Yzerman and Kirk Maltby, his third day of absorbing hits and feeling fine. It is a stark contrast to how he felt 20 months ago, when a neurological disorder threatened to end a respectable NHL career. It is even in stark contrast to just a few months ago. "When I get out on the ice I don't think about it at all, which is the biggest thing, to put it behind me mentally," he said. "It's good to get back and play again. It's a little bit of an adjustment after being out for a year and a half. Every day I feel a little better."

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Datsyuk Want to Avoid Russian Arbitration

from Russian Hockey Digest,

Translated by Alexei Belousenko (RusHockey.com) & Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com) Yesterday, Soviet Sport correspondent gave Pavel Datsyuk a phone call, who declared that he flatly refuses to let the PHL’s arbitration court determine the outcome of his current RSL situation. Pavel, how are you? P. Datsyuk: So far… not well. Everything was clear until the moment I signed the contract with Avangard (Omsk). Now you see how the situation unpredictably turned out… To play in Avangard was my personal decision and now I would like to fulfill my commitments in front of the Omsk club. Did you get upset that Dynamo matched Avangard’s contract offer, and you ended up outside of hockey for an uncertain period time? P. Datsyuk: No, I understand that this is business. I am not upset with anyone. A few days ago you talked in person to Dynamo’s president Anatoly Kharchuk. He said in Soviet Sport’s interview that he had an impression that Datsyuk didn’t realize that he signed an offer sheet with Avangard. P. Datsyuk: Why an offer sheet? I signed a full contract with Avangard. At the time, I didn’t have any obligations in front of Dynamo. When I signed the contract with Avangard, I informed all of the parties. I am not going to blame anyone for this situation. Of course I understand that general managers do everything possible for the good of their teams. Unfortunately, everything turned out the way it did… Did you determine which club you’d like to play for? P. Datsyuk: I foresee my future plans only in Detroit. I know that GM Ken Holland is awaiting my final decision. But in this situation I’d like to fulfill my duties in front Avangard. By that I mean my one-year contract. In theory, you could pack your things, fly to Detroit and play in the best hockey league in the world. What is holding you here? P. Datsyuk: Commitments which I made to Avangard are holding me here. I am a respectable person and can not go back on my word.

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Datsyuk Rumor

Yesterday afternoon someone sent me an email saying Pavel Datsyuk was involved in an auto accident in Russia. The sender of the email came from an email address that could not be verified so I check with a few sources and of course the rumor was completely false. I did not even post it yesterday since I verified this was totally false. Now a blogger has posted the he received information that Datsyuk was in a car accident and was checking into it. I say check into it first before you post something like that. To any doubters, I received this yesterday and don't you think we would have heard something by now. Again, the rumor is false and people need to check sources before even posting something like that.

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Kapanen Out 10 Weeks

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Philadelphia Flyers forward Sami Kapanen is expected to miss 10 weeks with an injured right shoulder. Kapanen, 32, said he was hurt several weeks ago in a scrimmage. The Flyers said Kapanen will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Philadelphia. The Flyers now have three players sidelined. Center Peter Forsberg is out for about two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove an infected bursa sac in his ankle. Defenseman Derian Hatcher is also recovering from a slightly sprained knee. Kapanen said he was frustrated by the shoulder injury, which involves torn cartilage. The native of Finland had just spent the summer rehabilitating a surgically repaired knee. "Last month I finally started feeling good," he said Thursday. "Not being able to play in the next couple months will be hard."

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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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