Kukla's Korner

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So You Are Now On An Expansion Team

from Ray Ferraro of TSN,

You don’t have the luxury of being picky when you’re an almost 35-year-old hockey player coming off multiple knee surgeries. If you want to keep playing you have to be willing to go wherever there’s an opportunity. Every team is on your radar. That’s how I ended up in Georgia for the inaugural season of Atlanta Thrashers hockey.

Free agency came and went for me in the summer of 1999 after four years with the Kings. I knew no one was going to sign me the first week, and my agent was still talking to a bunch of teams into early August. Despite my knee issues, I knew I wanted to keep going. I trained that summer as if I was going to play. Atlanta ended up offering a two-year deal, which was good for me. I felt like I was going to need part of the first year just to get healthy again.

Usually there were 40-45 guys at the start of training camp. We had about 75. It was an enormous camp and none of us had any idea what to expect. We just showed up in Orlando. You might think a blank slate like that makes it easy to build your own team chemistry, rules and culture, but the problem was the roster was so transient. I couldn’t even tell you how many different guys were on the team at some point that first year. Guys that I’d never even heard of were showing up at morning skates. It was a complete mishmash from start to finish.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+ferraro


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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.

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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