Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Russia Today,
Two players from the Pittsburg Penguins, who took the Stanley Cup last week in a dramatic seven-game thriller against Detroit, may leave the U.S. for KHL this summer, Sportbox.ru reports.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk is interested in Czech Petr Sykora, who played 76 games for the Pens this season, scoring 25 goals and 21 assists.
The club’s contract with the player has expired and, according to his agent, the team is not going to offer him a new agreement….
Another Stanley Cup winner, Miroslav Satan, is wanted in Kazakhstan by Barys hockey club. The Astana team has ready offered a two year contract worth $6 million to the Slovak player.
from Melissa of the Las Vegas Sun,
While the Palms is setting the stage and rolling out the red carpet for Thursday’s NHL Awards, Caesars Palace is rolling out the rink.
The casino has created a skating rink in advance of the annual awards, which are visiting Vegas for the first time this year.
The league has committed to handing out hockey’s highest honors here in Las Vegas for the next three years. What’s more, the NHL Players Association is also holding their annual meetings here this week.
In response, the city and some of its major casino operators are rolling out the welcome mat for the league’s players, managers and fans.
At Caesars Palace, however, the so-called welcome mat is actually a giant skating rink.
OK, technically it’s a synthetic ice surface built with sheets of special plastic, but it skates the same as the real stuff and won’t melt under the desert sun.
Temperatures are, after all, expected to hit the mid-80s today.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will lace ‘em up and go for a skate tonight as part of the demonstration outside the casino’s main entrance.
Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler will also take part.
from Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic,
The NHL commissioner must prove he is as passionate about us as he was in defeating a rogue billionaire attempting to break in the NHL’s back door. But I worry about Gary Bettman’s sincerity.
He claimed there are four groups interested in buying the Coyotes, something a shrewd bankruptcy judge refuted as “hearsay.” Yet none of the interested parties have stepped forward and spoken publicly. None of them have said an encouraging word to us, the potential customers. Isn’t that strange?
When arguing that hockey was still viable in Arizona, Bettman also cited the work of an advocacy group, Save the Coyotes. Problem is, that group was a small pocket of diehards who gathered in a parking lot like the breakfast crowd at Denny’s, and the paltry attendance made the apathy problem seem worse than it really is.
Don’t get me wrong. Those fans are loving, ambitious and more than the Coyotes deserve. Yet by referencing this small group as a beacon of hope, Bettman revealed himself as dishonest or completely out of touch. Neither bodes well for the future.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Judge Baum avoided making a real ruling on the Coyotes after several failed attempts to push the NHL and Jim Balsillie towards mediation.
I won’t dwell on what you already know.
You know that because of a ruling Monday night, as of today the Phoenix Coyotes are not coming to Hamilton right away and, by the laws of probability, it would appear no new team is coming to Canada for the 2009-10 season.
A bankruptcy judge in Phoenix, Redford T. Baum, has seen to that.
Does that mean Jim Balsillie’s bid to “Make it Seven” is dead?
Not according to the Balsillie camp.
(Bryan) Murray stated that he would like to get a deal done before next week’s draft in Montreal but despite the “off-year,” Murray realizes it will be difficult to get equal value for a sniper of Heatley’s caliber.
“I’m just not going to let him just walk away for nothing as you know. Whether we get the ideal trade or not that is one thing but I have to get something good for this organization coming back.”
The agent for Heatley has also submitted a list of teams that the two-time 50 goal scorer was willing to go to, however Murray stated that list will not necessarily be stuck with if he is unable to find the right deal.
“If he doesn’t want to be in Ottawa and there is team that offers me a deal that I think is a better deal obviously I have to put some pressure on them to accept that or he may end up playing back here.”
“We didn’t interfere with the players. We had five calls in the final game, they were all restraining fouls. There were no roughing fouls, no scrums. The first and third periods of Game 7 were the fastest of the whole series. The players were able to skate freely. The credit goes to the players and coaches.”
-game 7 ref Bill McCreary. More from McCreary from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times.
from Jim Gintonio of Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
Infused with hope after a judge’s decision to keep the Coyotes in the Valley, team President Doug Moss is optimistic about the future.
“As the league said, they don’t give up on their franchises, they don’t give up on their markets,” he said. “I think that the next step is for the league to conduct an auction process and find and owner who wants to operate this team in Glendale and be a success.”
A September auction is likely, and four bidders could be in the mix. The team needs a new owner to step up and make a commitment to keep the team in the Valley—and one who is willing to make some bold moves in the free agency arena.
It will be interesting to see if more than the die-hard hockey fans appreciate an NHL team. This season’s attendance will go a long way in determining that.
added 1:29pm, Shane Doan was on Leafs Lunch today…
He says all this talk about moving the team north of the border makes for a tough situation. “You love Canada and you’d love to come back to Canada, but you’ve been in (Phoenix) for a long time so it makes for a delicate situation.”
from the New York Rangers,
Avery chatted with (Jimmy) Fallon for several minutes before Fallon surpised the 29-year-old Blueshirts winger by challenging him to an accuracy-shooting contest. Fallon agreed to donate the suit he was wearing to Career Gear, an organization that gives job-interview clothes to the homeless and others trying to get a fresh start in life, if Avery won the shootout.
If Avery lost the shootout, Fallon said Avery would have to put on a Philadelphia Flyers jersey to honor the members of his show’s band, The Roots, who hail from Philadelphia.
Avery accepted the challenge and went on to easily defeat Fallon in the shootout, breaking four of five targets before Fallon had broken his first.
more and watch a video of the Avery appearance below…
from Joe O’Conner of the National Post, Sure,
Scottie Upshall wants to resign with the Phoenix Coyotes, and yes, the Coyotes have indicated they hope to make the sixth overall pick from the 2002 NHL draft happy, whenever the time comes.
But nobody knows when the time will come. And what might happen when it actually does.
“We are certainly working towards getting Scottie Upshall signed in Phoenix, that is the intention,” Gerry Johannson, Upshall’s agent, said yesterday. “We have had good conversations. But obviously, there is some stuff going on in Phoenix.”
The Coyotes are trapped in bankruptcy court limbo, with an undecided new owner and an unclear operating budget for the days ahead, including July 1, the day Upshall and Keith Yandle, a promising young puck moving defenceman, are set to become restricted free agents….
Phoenix general manager Don Maloney was not taking calls yesterday, and neither was Burke, now with the Leafs. Yet one wonders how the men would label a scenario where an opportunistic GM targets Upshall or Yandle, or both, with an offer sheet, knowing the Coyotes could be too tied up in court—or too bankrupt in general—to match.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
With former offensive defenseman Todd Richards set to become the Wild’s next coach, even Nick Schultz—known more for his defense on the back end—might have carte blanche to step up in the play.
After a recent meeting with new GM Chuck Fletcher, Schultz was told the handcuffs were coming off.
“I said, ‘Can you get your butt up ice?’” Fletcher said, laughing. “I said, ‘You don’t have to be Brent Burns, but I remember Nick Schultz in junior hockey, and that guy got his butt up ice.’”
Yes, this new rendition of the Wild will look a whole lot different than the Wild of yesteryear.
“Everything I read [Monday] about Todd Richards, everywhere he’s been, he’s won,” Schultz said. “This is very exciting. He’s a young guy with a maybe different approach to things than we were used to in the past, which is exciting for players.
“New GM. Now a new coach. These are big changes for our franchise, but I think it’s for the best and we’re headed in the right direction.”
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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.
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