Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Thibault Facing Pressure

from the Tribune-Review,

The Penguins will score their share of goals this season. However, if they hope to prevent enough goals to make the playoffs, Thibault will have to go to work. Of course, if Thibault works in Pittsburgh the way he did the past five seasons in Chicago -- specifically, start 50 or so games in goal and stop the majority of pucks sent his way -- then Pittsburgh might play host to its first Stanley Cup playoff game since 2001. No pressure, though. "Kind of, but it's a kind of pressure I'm looking forward to, for sure," Thibault said Wednesday, the second of two successful house-hunting days he spent in Pittsburgh. "It seems like the Penguins are really trying to win this year, and it's been a while since I've been in an exciting environment like I am now.

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Goodbye ESPN

from Media Week,

ESPN has declined to match a bid by Comcast's Outdoor Life Network for the cable TV rights to air National Hockey League games under a new contract, meaning OLN, whose offer had already received approval by the NHL board of governors, will win the agreement. ESPN announced its intention not to exercise its right to match the deal just hours before the midnight deadline. OLN bid a guaranteed $135 million for the first two years, and another $72.5 million for a third option year, according to sources. ESPN in late May had opted out of the final year of its TV rights deal ithat would have required it to pay the NHL $60 million for the right to air games the upcoming season, but retained its right to match any offer from another network.

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Reggie and Jamie Leach Honored

from The Powell River Peak,

Former Pittsburg Penguin Jamie Leach and his father Reggie of Philadelphia Flyers, both Stanley Cup winners, are being inducted into the First Nations Hockey Hall of Fame for 2004. "I'm shocked I was inducted," said Leach. "I'm honoured to be inducted." Hockey was the only thing Leach knew from a young age. "I've been around hockey rinks since I was born.That's all I did. "I was five or six for Dad's Stanley Cup and remember the cup being in our house."

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The New Look

from the CP via TSN,

The new hockey jerseys Canadian teams will wear at the Olympic Games and world junior championships have been designed to be cooler, lighter and make the players faster. The jerseys were unveiled Wednesday at the Olympic team orientation camp. The home white sweaters feature the Hockey Canada Maple Leaf logo on the front, black trim around the neck, and red and black stripes on the shoulders. There are also red and black stripes on the sides. The red away sweaters have black and white stripes.
more

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Can’t Keep Up

from the CP via TSN,

Kris Draper has given up trying to keep track of who is playing where in the post-lockout NHL. ''I'll wait for opening day and will kind of take a look at the rosters then,'' Draper, the veteran Detroit Red Wing forward, said Wednesday after the Olympic hockey team had its first day of workouts at the Prospera Place arena in Kelowna. A new $39-million US salary camp plus new liberal free agency kicking in next season has resulted in players switching teams like pieces on a chess board.

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Decision on Thursday

from Media Week,

The National Hockey League is expected to wait until Thursday morning to announce which network has been awarded the rights agreement to televise its games, as a result of confusion over the deadline for ESPN to file a matching bid to Comcast's Outdoor Life Network. OLN bid a guaranteed $135 million for the first two years, and another $72.5 million for a third option year, according to sources, and OLN believed the deadline was 5 p.m. Wednesday, while ESPN believed the deadline was midnight. ESPN would not comment on whether it would make a bid, but earlier in the day, an ESPN representative had said, "We've been carrying hockey for a long time. Sure we're interested in continuing."

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Friends Fighting for A Piece of the Pie

from Canadian Business,

Lecavalier's $6.875-million annual pay has eaten a big chunk out of the Lightning salary cap. It means St. Louis, a restricted free agent who was the last NHLer to be named regular-season MVP, will probably have to sign for less than $5 million a year. Welcome to the new NHL, where friends fight for a piece of the same pie. "Everybody's doing the math, it's not rocket science to see what it means," said fellow Tampa star Brad Richards. "I'm very good friends with both guys, it's a tough, tough situation - it sucks. There's no other way to put it.

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Down to the Last Hour

from Media Week (reg. req.),

Don't count ESPN out in the bidding for NHL TV rights. With a little less than an hour to go before a 5 p.m. deadline to match a three-year $210 million offer by Comcast, ESPN executives were said to still be interested in carrying the NHL games and trying to determine whether the dollars and other terms make financial sense. "We've been carrying hockey for a long time," said an ESPN representative. "Sure we're interested in continuing." ESPN would not comment on whether it will indeed submit a matching bid prior to the deadline, but Comcast insiders aren't popping champagne corks just yet. For competitive reasons, ESPN might have no choice but to match the offer.

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Stumpel to Panthers

Jozef Stumpel signs with Florida, 2 years, $3.25 million.

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Bourque Signed

The Washington Capitals have signed forward Chris Bourque, the team’s fourth choice (second round, 32nd overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year contract. Did I get anyone wih that headline? Thanks to a reader of Kukla's Korner for the heads up.

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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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