Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Ovechkin Faces Deadline

via Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals' No. 1 draft pick last year, has until midnight tonight to decide whether he will wear a Capitals uniform next season or play in Russia, his agent, Don Meehan, said yesterday. "Alex has a very, very tough decision to make," Meehan said by telephone from his Toronto area office. Ovechkin already has agreed to play for Avangard Omsk of the Russian Super League in 2005-06. But the contract contains an escape clause that allows the 19-year-old left wing until midnight to back out of it and sign with the Capitals. "He will have to make that decision with his family," Meehan said. Meehan has not commented on the specifics of Ovechkin's contract with Omsk, except to say that it is worth "nearly three times" what he could make in the NHL next season.

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Will Goodenow be Ratified

from Newsday (Wed. edition),

Bob Goodenow will face his constituents here today and likely will face some heat as the new collective-bargaining agreement is outlined to members of the NHL Players Association. After today's presentation of the 600-page document in a hotel ballroom here, the players will gather again tomorrow for a ratification vote. About 200 players are expected to attend today, with the remaining 500-plus participating via the internet. here is little doubt the agreement will be ratified by the players. What is uncertain is if they will continue to endorse the embattled Goodenow as the union's executive director. There have been reports about players demanding Goodenow also take a 24 percent cut in his salary, as he negotiated for his players in the new deal. "Apparently his salary has never reflected ours," said one veteran player. "He gained it from a proposal put together by a professional firm, comparing him to major union leaders. How long he will be a union leader is the question."

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Getting the Cap to Fit

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Some people look at a salary cap and see a limit. Irwin Mandel, the Chicago Bulls' senior vice president for financial and legal affairs, sees a challenge. "You have to be very aggressive and creative," said Mandel, who has worked for the club for 32 years. "I try not to take no for an answer and I sort of take it personally if the salary cap prevents the Bulls from doing something the Bulls want to do. "That's not to say that in 100 percent of the cases you can get around the cap legally. My philosophy is that it doesn't do any good to say, 'Darn, this can't work.' If alternative one doesn't work, go to alternative two. You try to figure out a way to get done what the general manager gets done." Mandel's philosophy should be duly noted by his counterparts in the NHL, where crunching numbers will soon be as important as crunching opponents. With the NHL and the players' association set to vote this week on a collective bargaining agreement that includes the league's first salary cap, club executives are warming up their calculators. They're about to learn what their NFL and NBA brethren already know: A good capologist — someone who knows the cap rules and can utilize them to his club's advantage — can be as valuable as a first-team All-Star.

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No 3 on 3 or Big Net

Bob McKenzie of TSN reporting there will be no 3 on 3 this year in overtime, and the big net option is a no go. The shootout and no red line will be part of the NHL this year. update, 7:44pm. Bob explains the rule changes (will open WMP video). one more update, 8:44pm. If you don't feel like watching the video, you can read what Bob has to say about the new rule changes.

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NHL Draft on TV

from the Canadian Press via Slam,

The Sidney Crosby sweepstakes will be on TV after all. It was confirmed Tuesday that the NHL draft lottery in New York will be televised Friday. But like the NBA, only the results of the draw will be shown. The actual drawing will take place away from the cameras. The original plan had been to hold the entire lottery behind closed doors during Friday's board of governors meeting, with commissioner Gary Bettman subsequently announcing the results at a news conference. Now hockey fans will get to see how it unfolds. The order of the draft will be unveiled, starting with the 30th pick and ending with the prized first. The event will be carried live on TV, starting at 4 p.m. EDT following the 1 p.m. board of governors meeting.

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Blog Update

I did a little bit of internal work on the blog today. This blog now has an official link. While doing the the work, I had to delete most of the commnets that have been made in the last few days. Now the fun work starts, I will be able to design this blog with the NHL in mind. Changes will be taking place for the next few days, but the address will remain as is, so feel free to bookmark it now. I appreciate your comments and understanding while this transformation has been taking place.

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NHL Open for Business on Saturday

from the Canadian Press via the Montreal Gazette,

Barring the players rejecting the proposed labour deal deal, the NHL officially re-opens for business Saturday. That marks the start of a six-day window in which clubs can determine buyouts and a nine-day period to negotiate exclusively with their own unrestricted free agents. Player agents better be quick learners. They'll be under the gun just 24 hours after wrapping up their orientation sessions with the NHL Players' Association in Toronto IMG's J.P. Barry is expecting "one of the busiest summers ever." "There will an extreme amount of work for everybody," he said Tuesday from Calgary.

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NHL Talking with Four Cable Outlets

The National Hockey League is talking to four parties interested in the cable TV telecast rights--ESPN, Comcast, Turner and Viacom's Spike TV, according to sources familiar with the discussions. ESPN exercised its option to drop the final year of its rights following the end of this past canceled NHL season. ESPN was paying $70 million per season for the rights. With the expected ratification of the new players' collective bargaining agreement this week, the next season is on schedule, and now the cable rights talks have heated up. Sources close to the talks said they are just in the preliminary stages and there is no deadline for reaching a new TV rights agreement. The NHL has a deal already in place for next season for the broadcast TV rights with NBC, but that is a revenue/expense share deal, in which the NHL does not just get rights money.

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Spread the Hockey Gospel

from Terry Frei of ESPN

, In April, while on a book-promotion trip made possible because Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow had twiddled their thumbs and thumbed their noses at NHL fans, I detoured from media and bookstore appearances to speak to a fifth- and sixth-grade class at Blessed Sacrament School in Madison, Wis. When Father Pat Norris opened the floor to questions, they came in quick succession. And were they about books or writing? Nope. First question: "When's the NHL coming back?" And then, all from different kids: "Do you know Joe Sakic?" "Peter Forsberg?" "Steve Yzerman?" Yes, the Wisconsin Badgers' home arena was within walking distance, and the sport always has been almost as big a deal in Madison as Plaza Burgers and State Street Brats, but I still was surprised. It turned out that more than one of the students was a rink rat, and the hockey interest in the class largely crossed all the aisles. Interestingly, though, these kids were within driving distance of Chicago, but because they had limited opportunities to see the Blackhawks on television, they weren't asking about Jocelyn Thibault.

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Leafs Lunch

Bill Watters said Colin Campbell wants a slight change to some of the rules while Bettman wants significant changes to the rules and how the game is played. Please Gary, don't turn this game into a circus!!! Plus, don't say well if it doesn't work, we can always change it back; this upcoming year is critical in the fans eyes, especially those who may be watching for the first time.

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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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