Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Leafs Crumbling

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Strangled by their own economic mismanagement, the Maple Leafs plod on, unable to make changes, perhaps incapable of change. The very premise of this Leafs season -- a team built around an ultra-expensive defence, apparently emerging goaltenders and strong special teams -- is crumbling nightly.
continued

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Personality Removed From The Game

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

"I don't miss hockey at all," said Fleury, whose last three teams have been the Horse Lake Thunder, Belfast Giants and a Calgary summer- league squad. "I haven't really thought about it a whole lot. I've just been having fun with this." This is a family business he started with new wife Jennifer and brother Travis after reading Entrepreneur magazine on his honeymoon this summer.... "I don't see the game as being fun -- you don't have to get your nose dirty any more," said Fleury. "You can't be a (jerk) on the ice because there are two officials and 12 guys in Toronto watching every move you make. For a guy like me, I needed that aspect of my game to be effective. The craziness, the intimidation, the unpredictability -- there's no more of that in the game. They've taken personality right out."
more

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Fan Base Not Increasing

from Brian Milner of the Globe and Mail,

Higher ticket prices in 25 of the 30 NHL markets were only possible in the wake of last season's deep discounts, and the cost increases are largely being absorbed by corporate customers. But it's not the smartest of business moves, considering that the league held out the promise of lower prices as one of the consumer benefits of getting its salary costs under control. The average price of an NHL ducat has climbed 3.7 per cent. But it is an exorbitant 29.1 per cent higher in Florida Panthers country, where the team isn't exactly a crowd magnet to begin with, and a ridiculous 45 per cent more in Carolina, whose brain trust must think that one Stanley Cup victory was enough to convert the state's fickle, basketball-loving sports fans to puck aficionados.
more

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Phil Kessel Diagnosed with Cancer

From Steve Burton at CBS4 in Boston:

CBS4 has learned for the second time in recent months, another young athlete is in a major medical fight. The Boston Bruins' first-round pick Phil Kessel has testicular cancer. Sources say Kessel is currently at Mass. General Hospital and was due to undergo surgery. Kessel is said to be in good spirits. He was the Bruins' number one pick and fifth overall in the NHL. Testicular cancer usually occurs in young men and can be treated and often cured, according to the American Cancer Society.
Continued... (And thanks to David at The Ice Block.com for the heads-up) *Earlier statement from the Bruins and the Kessel family was noted here.

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St. Louis Blues’ Coach Mike Kitchen Fired—Andy Murray Hired

From TSN:

Andy Murray is back coaching in the NHL. The St. Louis Blues have fired head coach Mike Kitchen and replaced him behind the bench with Murray. The Blues announced the move late Monday night but will hold a news conference at noon ET Tuesday to formally introduce Murray. The decision to change coaches wasn't entirely surprising, though. St. Louis is last overall in the NHL standings with a 7-17-4 record and is on a seven-game losing streak.
Continued... From St Louis Blues Online:
St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that Andy Murray, one of hockey’s most respected coaches with over 25 years of experience at both the National Hockey League and International level, has been named the Head Coach of the St. Louis Blues. Murray becomes the 22nd coach in Blues history. Murray replaces Mike Kitchen, who was relieved of his duties earlier this evening. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as per team policy. “Andy comes to us with extensive experience and a very successful coaching pedigree,” said Davidson. “He is one of the most prepared coaches in the NHL and I believe that he is the right person for the job. I look forward to working with him closely as we move ahead and get this franchise back to where it belongs.” “I would like to thank Mike Kitchen for the job he has done here the past two seasons,” continued Davidson. “He has stood behind our bench admirably and should be commended for that. I wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
Continued...

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Trying To Compete

from the New York Times,

Every day for two years, Ted Nolan awoke craving another head-coaching job in the N.H.L. Then one day he went to the movies, and what he saw helped him deal with the fact that he might not coach again. Nolan saw “Ali,” which starred Will Smith, and was impressed by how Muhammad Ali clung to his identity despite setbacks. Nolan, who grew up on an Ojibwa First Nation reserve in Ontario, had already been forging an identity apart from coaching.
continued

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Ducks Have A Plan

from A.J. Perez at USA TODAY,

The Anaheim Ducks certainly aren't a Walt Disney production anymore, and some on this side of the 57 — a freeway that crosses between the arena and nearby Disneyland — don't seem to mind. "I never got the feeling (Disney) wanted to win," says right wing Teemu Selanne, who returned to the team as a free agent last season after being traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2001. "I remember after many years, we had one of the best lines in (the NHL). It was something we could have built around. We had meetings with the GM … and he said they wanted to go into the free agent market. That never happened."
read on... a good look at the Ducks...

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Bondra May Play Tuesday

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune via the Santa Barbara News,

...But Bondra did miss the NHL and the competition. And even though he said ''it's just a number,'' he certainly would like to reach 500 goals before he calls it a career. Bondra, 38, is two shy of that mark, and the Blackhawks are hoping he reaches that milestone this week-and moves well past it. Bondra passed his physical and had his first skate with the Hawks on Monday, and coach Denis Savard wouldn't rule out using him Tuesday night against the Blues. ''He looked pretty good,'' Savard said. ''We'll see where he's at. There's a chance.
more

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“New” Jersey Talk

from Stan Fishler at the Hockey Journal,

Just Wondering Dep’t. What happens if fans turn thumbs-down to the NHL’s decision to introduce state of the art uniforms at the All-Star Game? We might add that spectators throughout the league might not take to the “modernization” that will come with updated jerseys, etc. For example, Toronto fans will find that the Leafs next uniform will have a jersey featuring a maple leaf that’s never been seen before. The spin language is that it’s a “different silhouette.” Hmmm! Wonder what Conn Smythe would have said about that!
more tidbits from The Maven...

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The End Of VCOE Is Near… But…

I can understand the feelings of Alanah right about now. But as I said to her, the future looks bright and she isn't closing down, just moving into another neighbo(u)rhood.

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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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