Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
The Hockey News has learned Martin Straka will play overseas in 2008-09.
Reports surfaced last week that Straka would return to play in his native Czech Republic, but those reports were later denied.
A source close to the situation has now confirmed Straka will indeed leave the NHL.
from On the Islanders Beat,
When one door closes, another one opens. The only problem for former Islanders goaltender Wade Dubielewicz is that the door to his future is located halfway around the world. On the other hand, Door No. 2 will pay him much more than what he would have received to remain in the Islanders’ organization.
Agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Dubielewicz, confirmed reports his client has signed to play with AK Kazan in the new Russian Continental League that is starting up this season. Overhardt declined to discuss specific terms of the deal, but it’s likely his client will make several times what he did after taxes on the $500,000 contract he received from the Islanders last season.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Viktor Kuzkin, a three-time Olympic champion, has died after a diving accident earlier this week. He was 67.
Kuzkin won gold medals with the Soviet Union teams at three Winter Olympics from 1964 to ‘72, and eight world championships.
The Moscow-born defenceman played 169 times for the USSR, scoring 18 goals, and was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
From Kent Youngblood at the Star-Tribune,
Winger Branko Radivojevic, who spent the past two seasons with the Wild, has signed a two-year deal to play with Spartak in the Russian Premiere League.
Radivojevic came to the Wild from Philadelphia as a free agent before the 2006-07 season. In two seasons in Minnesota he totaled 18 goals and 41 points, becoming one of the team’s most reliable checking forwards.
The Czech site iDNES has reported the following:
Some unnamed player from Omsk was told by the boss of the club that Jagr is gonna play there next year. “We dont know anything about length of contract or about money but they told us Jagr will play here. Thats fantastic news!”
Thanks to a KK reader for the pointer and the translation.
from Moscow News,
Loko clinched its first final in five years thanks in part to the performance of acquisition Alexei Yashin, who signed a one-year deal last season, and whose arrival was greeted with great excitement by the Russian hockey world.
Here was one of Russia’s top players, a star originally from Yekaterin-burg who went to the NHL, and whose career was by no means washed up, agreeing to come back to his homeland. This even though he left behind probably more money, and disadvantaged his parents, who now live in Canada, and his girlfriend, former supermodel Carol Alt, in New York.
It signaled that the league, just as it was preparing to revamp itself into a serious challenger for hockey global supremacy, was legit. And it seems that Yashin enjoyed a bit of a lift in Russia in his slumping career
From The Puck Stops Here on FoxSports,
So far this season, there have been 30 Russian players who have played one or more NHL games, down from 57 prior to the lockout. Talent is already being drawn away from the NHL.
The skeptics will argue that the elite Russian talent still comes to the NHL, which is clearly true when one looks at the scoring race. However, some proven NHLers are having good seasons in the Russian Elite League right now and would be able to contribute to any NHL team were they in the NHL. A quick look through the Russian Elite League shows there are teams with former NHLers Aleksey Morozov, Alexander Perezhogin, Oleg Saprykin, Alexei Yashin and Maxim Sushinsky all leading them in scoring.
From Jeff Z. Klein at Slap Shot (NYT),
Why does the NHL persist with its broken standings system, whose guaranteed-point scheme encourages teams to play for regulation ties and has triggered an epidemic of third-period sleepwalks? Well, for one thing, it keeps the standings close and the playoff races tight. … Or does it?
Starting today we present the standings as they appear under the NHL’s current system (designated as N below) and as they would appear under the European system (E, or 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an OT or shootout win, 1 for an OT/SO loss, and 0 for a regulation loss) and under the Slovak Extraliga system (S, or 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an OT/SO win, 0 for any kind of loss).
from Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Russian hockey teams, fueled by petro dollars, are reversing the flow of Russian players: Increasingly, they are luring NHL players back home, and they have designs on catching and surpassing the N.H.L. as the world’s premiere hockey league.
Alexei Yashin moved back with a $17.63 million buyout from the Islanders. He now plays for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. “Less and less players are going to the N.H.L. and more and more are coming back here,” Yashin said in an interview in English after a recent game.
from the Prague Post,
“We’ve become a supermarket for the NHL, where they get top products at discount prices,” said Zbyněk Kusý, the national team’s general manager. “We are left begging NHL clubs to pay our players while letting them play for the national team in their free time.”
The national team’s head coach, Alois Hadamczik, is planning to leave late this month on a North American tour, hoping to lure some Czech NHL players in for the World Championship in May. The more NHL players on the national team, the stronger it will be, Hadamczik said.
“The days when NHL players merely boosted our team are gone. … Now, we must form the whole team with them in order to be competitive,” he said.
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.
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