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Difference Makers In The East

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,

With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn full attention to the players who are potential difference-makers over the final 30 games or so. That’s of particular importance to the teams that are hovering around the NHL’s Mendoza line—the coveted eighth and final playoff spot—which this year consists of at least a half dozen squads in each conference.
With that in mind, here are three guys who can truly impact their teams’ fortunes in the Eastern Conference with a strong finish.
Sergei Samsonov, Canadiens
Brad Richards, Lightning
Matt Cullen, Rangers

read on...

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Stars Of The Week

NEW YORK (Jan. 29, 2007)—Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Mark Recchi, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Fredrik Norrena and Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 28.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.

Continue Reading »

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CBA Flaw

from Neil F. Abbott of Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

However, there are flaws in the CBA that are causing many GMs significant problems.
For example, teams make decisions in July and August on player contracts. Once decided, a contract under this system becomes inviolate. The warm and fuzzy joy of July signings become the chill of December when you are in 14th place in an eight-team playoff race. Restructuring or altering existing deals is prohibited. It is all or none and the built-in inflexibility of the CBA hinders a GM’s ability to make needed changes that are apparent in December but hidden in July.
Teams are also prevented from rewarding a player who has exceeded expectations and is on a multiyear deal. For example, a 26-year-old on a two-year deal cannot earn any incentive bonuses. If he is successful in year one, the team cannot redo his deal or award him a bonus. While the team could grant him an extension for a third year he must play for the salary set in year two. The absence of a bonus pool for every team prevents a GM from rewarding success and developing continuity in his lineup. A team cannot tear up an existing deal and reward a player who had proved his mettle. This CBA makes it more likely than not that good players will be forced to a new team to achieve the market value they earn by performance with their old team.

Neil F. Abbott has been a sports business lawyer in Boston for 25 years and has represented professional hockey players since 1981.

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Report- Forsberg Agrees To Possible Trade

from Sportsnet,

Sources are telling Sportsnet that Peter Forsberg has agreed to lift his no-trade clause with the Philadelphia Flyers for the purpose of going to a playoff contender.
Multiple teams have contacted the Flyers about the possibility of obtaining the two-time Stanley Cup champion, including the Maple Leafs, Canadiens and the Rangers

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Skratins Closing In On Record

from the Daily Times-Call,

This record won’t make a ripple anywhere.
Maybe a blurb on the ESPN crawler, but that’s about it.
But if everything goes OK over the next 12 days, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Karlis Skrastins will enter the NHL record books.
Skrastins played in his 482nd consecutive game in Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Detroit. He is four games shy of tying Tim Horton for most consecutive games played by a defenseman, a mark he will reach Feb. 6 against Florida.
Two days later, at home against Atlanta, he can sit atop the list.

continued

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Broadcasting Balance

By George James Malik

According to Ted Kulfan, one defensive game begets an NHL catastrophe:

Why, oh why, does the NBC (and Versus, for what Versus is worth) continue to force the Red Wings vs. Avs on everyone in the nation? WHY!!!! It’s only a heated rivalry worth watching, apparently, in the opinion of NBC. Nobody is left from the rivalry. The Avs aren’t even a playoff team. The Avs aren’t very good. The talent level on both teams isn’t close to what it was during the glory years. But it doesn’t seem to matter, apparently, to NBC. It wants to keep showing the outdated video of the fights and blood and gore of years long gone by. But, the present day games stink. And, it gives would-be fans another excuse to not watch.

With all due respect, it’s one game.  One game that’s less than scintillating does not a disaster make. 
The Avs are a thin team this year.  The Wings played a defensive game—while taking 41 shots on Theodore—because at least five Red Wings played through a vicious flu bug.  The Avs and Wings’ players regularly state that while they don’t want to punch each other’s lights out, they genuinely feel a rivalry still exists between the two teams, fueled by fans and the teams’ historical rivalry. 

 

Continue Reading »

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Hemsky Wants To Be A Star

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

The 23-year-old talent has decided he wants to be a recognized leader and wants to be viewed as a winner at the same time.
“Everybody has been saying ‘You’re going to be a star.’ I want to get to the point where they are saying ‘You are a star,” Hemsky said in a revealing one-on-one interview yesterday.
“I’m in the league for five years now.
“I want people to say that all the time now.
“That’s the challenge I have….”

read on

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It’s Versus Thru 2011

from Multichannel News,

Amid flat national ratings and sliding regional numbers, Comcast will remain in the rink with the National Hockey League into the next decade.
Comcast’s Versus network will televise national NHL games through 2011 after exercising an option to air the 2007-08 season and picking up the rights to three additional campaigns.
“We’ll definitely have the third season, and we’ll have [the NHL] for six years,” said Versus president Gavin Harvey, who declined to discuss deal terms. “We’re looking forward to season three on Versus.”

continued

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Fisher on Dryden

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette:

Come back with me to Moscow on a hot July afternoon in 1972. The city was on fire, the worst heat wave in 30 years. Andrei Starovoitov, the No. 2 hockey man in the Soviet Union, looked uncomfortable. So did roughly 20 of his colleagues sitting in their dark suits around the table.
“We would like to ask a few questions about your team,” Starovoitov said to a reporter from the Montreal Star, there to write a series on the Soviet “amateurs” who, for the first time, were to meet the NHL’s professionals in a Summit Series in September. The first four games would be played in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver, the last four in Moscow.
“Seth Martin, is he on your team?” Starovoitov asked.

Fisher followed Dryden from the very beginning of his NHL career.  His story defines the term “must-read.”

continued

 

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Poutine And Fisticuffs

from the Toronto Sun:

Think of the worst nightmare you have ever had.
For those selling the Gary Bettman-led vision for top-level pro hockey, it would be the fight-filled, Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey (LNAH), or the North American Hockey League.
As the NHL spins shootouts, fuzzy-faced teenaged sensations, aero-dynamic new uniforms and corporate talking points, fighting majors continue their steady decline. Fighting has been declining or levelling off at the minor-pro level as well, in leagues such as the 27-team American Hockey League, the 25-team East Coast Hockey League, and the lower-level eight-team Southern Professional Hockey League, according to statistics gathered by websites like hockeyfights.com.
All except in places like Sorel-Tracy, 80 km northeast of Montreal, in a 56-year-old rink called Colisee Cardin. This is a place where bare-knuckle hockey is not only condoned but marketed. As the heavyweights gradually disappear from pro hockey’s landscape, as minor pro leagues adapt to a faster, offence-oriented game in lock-step with the NHL, this is where many come to find their final hockey resting place.

continued

 

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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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