Kukla's Korner

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Willie Gets The Nod; LTI Explained

from the Detroit Free Press:

Forward Jason Williams will be in the lineup tonight when the Red Wings play the Oilers.
“I’ve felt pretty good the last 4-5 days and each day I feel better,” he said Saturday after the morning skate. “To get in tonight, just to get back into a game situation, will feel good. I just want to try to help this team get back on a streak again. I’m just sort of anxious to get out there, give a hit, take a hit, see what happens.” Williams is likely to play on a line with Robert Lang and Henrik Zetterberg. Coach Mike Babcock said Josh Langfeld will be scratched.

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Jax Get Serious In Search For Head Coach

from the Columbus Dispatch:

Doug MacLean has presented Blue Jackets owners his list of coaching candidates to replace Gerard Gallant, who was fired Monday. The list includes five names, said MacLean, the team’s president and general manager. Ken Hitchcock, fired in October by the Philadelphia Flyers, is known to be on the list, as is Gary Agnew, currently the Blue Jackets’ interim coach. Other names believed to be included are former Los Angeles Kings coach Andy Murray, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn and former Blue Jackets player Kevin Dineen, now coaching the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ top minor-league affiliate in Portland, Maine.
Update from TSN:
"I hope it's done within a week," MacLean told the Columbus Dispatch. The interview process likely will begin this weekend and carry over into the early part of next week. "We'll start with three interviews," MacLean added. "Then we'll take a step back, evaluate how the interviews went and decide if we want to go any further, if we want to talk with the other two. "Really, there are three guys in the top group, and that's because of their experience. The other two guys don't have the same experience, but they're great candidates."

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Dasvedanya, NHL?

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News:

All of these legal battles and the lack of Russian involvement in the NHL/IIHF transfer agreement will impact the drafting of Russian players in the future. Teams won't want the hassle of legal action or want to risk having to pay a large fee to get the player to North America. Those two issues still stand in the way, but at least with legal precedent staying in favor of the NHL, hopefully teams will find the players worth any possible inconvenience. If a judge ever rules in the other direction, watch for a massive dropoff in Russians drafted, particularly in those drafted high. Nobody wants to waste a pick on a player they may never get out of Russia.
continued

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An Out-Of-This-World Slap Shot

from Reuters:

Never mind that he has played golf only twice in his life. Next week the Russian flight engineer aboard the International Space Station will hit a drive that even Tiger Woods couldn't match. Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin plans to begin a spacewalk set for Wednesday evening by knocking a lightweight golf ball off a tee placed on the top of the Russian docking port. "I play ice hockey and my understanding is that it is very similar," Tyurin said in an interview during which he discussed the stunt, part of the Russian space agency's quest for commercial contributions.
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Leonsis Disputes Forbes Report

from the Washington Times: Ted Leonsis admits that the lockout really was about franchise equity while disputing Forbes' assertion that the Caps made money last year:

"We lost $6 million last year, with revenue sharing," he said. "That is inaccurate. They said we were going to make money this year, and we're going to lose money. They said we are worth $125 million, and we are probably worth $180 million. I read it, and you just go. "They weren't close on the numbers," Leonsis continued. "Our revenues are higher, we're losing money ... we did not make a profit. If you do the math, it is like losing $15 million, and then you get $10 million revenue sharing."
"We are a couple of million dollars away [from making money] in ticket sales, and the burning off of Jaromir Jagr's contract, and then we are at break even," Leonsis said. "Then, if you make the playoffs, then you can really start to make some profit. We are a couple of years away from that. "The goal is to have the asset appreciate more than you are losing money," he said. "That wasn't happening pre-lockout. You would lose $30 million and the team would appreciate $5 million. Now if you are losing $4 million or $5 million or breaking even, your team is appreciating. The rule of thumb is you should double your asset value every seven to 10 years. So right now the Wizards are probably double their value in the last 10 years, with a new CBA and stability. We have a better CBA in the NHL. So we think team values will increase dramatically. So we are really happy. This is the most relaxed I've been since I've been in the league."
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Biron’s The Sabres’ Go-To Guy—For Now

from the Niagra Gazette:

Unlike his early years, when Biron would stand on his head through the first 58 minutes, only to surrender the game-losing goal in the final moments, Marty’s recent work has been marked by timely saves, even if they come after a few sloppy goals. “I’ve been giving up a lot of goals lately, but we won,” Biron said. “The big thing is at the end of the day, you want to finish plus one. Teams are winning 7-6 and other teams are winning 2-1. “It doesn’t matter. Sometimes as a goalie, you go home and think ‘what was that all about?’ But you won.” There’s never a sense that the Sabres are pressing to help Biron, even though he’s clearly the second goaltender in the franchise. With their top defensive pairing still out, Buffalo didn’t change the plan one iota, worrying first about offensive transition. “It’s the same as last year, we didn’t really care who was playing back there, we were comfortable and confident,” Teppo Numminen said. “I don’t think anybody notices a difference.”
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JR’s Gambit Was Ill-Conceived

from the LA Times:

Kings fans get a chance to welcome the Coyotes' Jeremy Roenick back to Staples Center today. Last season, Roenick became the poster boy for the Kings' collapse. He was acquired in a trade, showed up to training camp out of shape and finished with nine goals In a TV interview last month, Roenick said that he intentionally showed up out of shape to spite the NHL for the lockout. Tim Leiweke, the Kings' governor, declined to speculate whether Roenick should return some of the $4.94 million the Kings paid him to show up in shape. "The Roenick experiment was bad for him and worse for us," Leiweke said. "The risk we took, and the money we paid, he did not take on the responsibilities we needed him to take on. It was a major disappointment. We've learned our lesson and moved on."
Roenick replies:
"I loved playing here; unfortunately, I didn't do anything or perform the way I wanted to, and I'm sure that I disappointed a lot of fans here and that disappointed me," Roenick said. "And by no means do I just say 'whatever' about the whole situation. I really feel bad that I didn't perform for those fans, but I'm past that and if they want to boo me and all that stuff because of my poor performance, that's fine. That's understandable." Asked if he would boo him if he were one of the Kings fans, Roenick smiled and said: "Yeah, I probably would."

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Fontinato Recalls Howe Bust-Up

from the Guelph Mercury:

Lou Fontinato makes no bones about it. He wanted to fight Gordie Howe that night. "If he's going to start anything, I'm going after him," Fontinato said he told teammate Eddie Shack prior to the fateful Feb. 1, 1959 encounter between Fontinato's New York Rangers and Howe's Detroit Red Wings, a New York home game. What Fontinato didn't know is the fight he went looking for would follow him for the rest of his playing days and beyond. It was a fight that some feel destroyed Fontinato's reputation as the league's toughest player and helped cement Howe's reputation as a player as tough as he was skilled.
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You Were Loosening My Grip On Bobby Orr

from Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail:

No. 4! Bobby Orr! Whatever happened? How did he become our lost legend, a loner, a distant relative to his home country? Our three greatest hockey players of the past few decades have all made their homes outside Canada. Mario Lemieux settled in Pittsburgh. Wayne Gretzky commutes between Phoenix and Los Angeles. And while these two have stayed connected, the inscrutable Bobby Orr, save for the odd happy-faced TV commercial, has remained off limits, in Boston, estranged of his own volition. His boys, Darren and Brent Orr, have never even played the game. The legend never gave them the opportunity. As sports writer Stephen Brunt tells us, "Bobby Orr's sons didn't even learn to skate."
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KK- Game Time Nearing

I am headed to Columbus, Ohio to attend a college football game that is barely on the national radar. Updates today will be supplied by IwoCPO, Alanah and George.

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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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