Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Yahoo,
It’s debatable what kind of impact their Cup win will have on hockey. The NHL is a copycat league and if other clubs try to mimic Anaheim’s defence-first, hard-hitting style, the new NHL won’t quite be what it had hoped coming out of the lockout.
That’s not a shot at the Ducks, who were well-built and whose determination and work ethic was unmatched this season. They deserved the Cup. But from a fan’s perspective, the prospect of other teams adopting the defence-first philosophy won’t be terribly exciting.
The kind of hockey that Buffalo, Ottawa and Pittsburgh play in the Eastern Conference is what the league was hoping to see coming out of the lockout, a breathless offensive-minded style.
more on the Ducks…
Spector has some UFA talk up today and I will be relaxing just a bit.
We have the NHL Awards Show coming up next week, the NHL Draft and the craziness that is the UFA signing period which begins on July 1st.
KK will also be undergoing a major facelift and a few other surprises too.
Kick back a relax a bit today… I will have the results of the KK Stanley Cup Challenge up sometime in the next few days. It will take some work to tabulate the TOI (time-on-ice) and match them up to all the predictions.
from Bob Duff at MSNBC,
With the right amount of tweaking over the summer to add a little offensive depth, the Canucks will be Stanley Cup champions next spring.
While Anaheim remains a young team with an outstanding core and future, it’s difficult to envision the Ducks winning two Cups in a row after enduring the grind of playing deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second year in a row.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
First money: The rumors circulating around expansion fees are that teams would pay in the neighborhood of $150 million in order to gain entry into the NHL – a big hike over the $80 million paid in the last round of expansion that brought us Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus. A bonus for NHL owners: expansion fees do not count as revenue in terms of their partnership with the players’ association, so that’s all money in the bank for teams in the Original 30.
from Damien Cox at the Spin, his blog at the Toronto Star,
Would the NHL governors be more willing to accept a second team in southern Ontario if new teams were added in K.C. and Nevada? Could the compensation issue be somehow linked to expansion, as it was when L.A. owner Bruce McNall received half the $50 million expansion fee when the Mighty Ducks moved into Anaheim?
Could the dreadful concept of NHL expansion, and the obvious dilution of talent it would produce, actually be good news for Canadian fans if it means a seventh Canadian team?
This story grows more intriguing and complicated by the hour.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Once Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson gets Mats Sundin signed, before the June 15 deadline to pick up the option on Sundin’s contract, and then gets himself signed to a contract extension by the end of the month, he will set his sights on a more important signing, at least as far as the team’s immediate future is concerned.
Ferguson’s No. 1 target on the free-agent market, according to those who know him best, is winger Ryan Smyth. Then again, you could say this about every GM in the National Hockey League with a minimum of $6-million (all figures U.S.) per year to spend.
There are four top-end forwards among the pending free agents - Smyth and centres Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Scott Gomez. Given Smyth’s pedigree as a gritty character player who can score, he will be the object of the fiercest bidding war.
To answer a few of your emails all at one time, Nik Antropov has NOT re-signed with the Leafs. Perhaps close to signing, but not a deal yet.
added 12:04pm, Fan590 in Toronto reports the Leafs have agreed to a contract with Antropov, 2 years for $4.25M. Contract hsa not been finalized.
Now, what about Yashin, who wants him?
added 11:12am, from an open letter to Yashin from The Maven,
Who could have figured the nosedive that followed the wonderful Spring war with the Maple Leafs? Not me.
But it happened—and it was messier than a spilled Samovar.
You know what I’m talking about. The business about this coach not handling you right; and Steve Stirling not being your kind of mentor and Michael Peca being a pain in the prose.
And this and that and the other thing and you being the captain as well.
from Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News via WFAA,
Quick, before commissioner Gary Bettman renders this league extinct, here are 10 ways to fix the NHL and deliver an improved product to more viewers in 2008.
3: Convince the selfish Eastern Conference general managers to act in the best interests of the game and change the schedule. This was voted on and rejected a few months ago. But Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, moving into the prime of what’s going to be a fantastic career, needs to play a game in Dallas and Los Angeles and Chicago every year. Not once every three years.
via Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The National Hockey League plans to play host to another outdoor game on New Year’s Day 2008. The host team has yet to be determined, but this time the game is not expected to be held in Canada. Detroit, Buffalo and Pittsburgh are three of the interested teams. The 2007-08 NHL schedule is not expected to be finalized until mid-July.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
If you’re going to strap on the gear and pull a National Hockey League sweater over your head the way every one of us Canadian boys dreamed of our entire lives—still have the dream once in a while, actually—then you should be ready to take an elbow (or a set of bare knuckles) in the chops once in a while.
Hard, tough hockey is at the root of why Canada is a one-sport nation. Sure, we play ‘em all. But there is only one we are the best in the world at; only one we would choose, if we were stranded on a desert island with only one specialty channel.
We’re rougher, and we fight more than everyone else. We’re hard to play against because we are a fearsome competitor. Beating us at hockey hurts, and the moment they start taking pain out of the game, all those other nations are going to take a step closer to Canada.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org