Kukla's Korner

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Challenges Early

from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

So the Leafs lose a key player at centre when they’re thin, and the Bolts lose their best defenceman off a relatively thin blueline. In a similar way, another Eastern Conference playoff hopeful, Atlanta, has to be terribly worried about early season groin problems being experienced by No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen. If Lehtonen’s out, only Johan Hedberg stands between the opposition and big-time trouble.

The salary cap, of course, dictates that every team has to make decisions where to spend and where not to spend, leaving most teams with a part of their roster they just have to hope and pray won’t be hit by injuries. It’s a judgment call, but right now, for example, the Senators are looking pretty smart for hanging on to goalie Martin Gerber, with starter Ray Emery’s immediate future still cloudy due to ongoing post-surgical wrist issues.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Souray Backs Edmonton

from the Calgary Sun,

“I had a tough time with how the city was being perceived,” said Souray, who suited up against the Flames last night in their pre-season encounter. “I could also understand because they went through a situation where their best player took them to the finals—(Chris) Pronger—and him wanting to leave sets the stage and people could ask, ‘Why would he want to leave after having that great year?’

“I could understand and see how some guys would think that way, but I would never put myself in that situation.”

Don’t underestimate what Souray’s signing did for the team and its psyche.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers, sheldon+souray

Talking Winnipeg

from the National Post,

Nobody doubts Winnipeg is a great hockey town, the only questions that remain to be answered are: (a) will Winnipeggers fork over $100 a night for 41 nights to buy tickets; (b) are there are enough corporate dollars in town to maintain a franchise; (c) is the MTS Centre (at 15,100 seats) big enough; and (d) who will write the cheque for $180-million (or more) to bring an existing franchise or a potential expansion franchise to town?...

Here in the ‘Peg, the NHL debate will continue to rage. As as Gretzky and Laforge both know, compared to Tampa, South Florida, Phoenix, Atlanta or Nashville, Winnipeg isn’t a good hockey town, it’s a great one.

Of course, until someone is ready to write that big cheque, all the talk is meaningless.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

A Look At The NHL Season

from Norman Chad at the Washington Post,

For reasons unclear to anyone not born under a hockey rink, the NHL keeps lengthening its season. One might say the NHL overstays its welcome, except most of us are not even aware it’s in our living rooms.

The season now starts Sept. 29 and the Stanley Cup finals could go until June 9. This means—and I want all of you sitting down when you hear this, so you can fall off the sofa like me—that July and August are the only months the NHL does not play regular season or postseason games….

Anyway, the NHL regular season will open in London. That would be like “Othello” opening in Disneyland.

more (reg. req.)

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Emery Still Needs More Time

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Ray Emery doesn’t have an answer.

After taking part in his first full practice with the Senators yesterday at Scotiabank Place, Emery told reporters he’s not sure when he’ll be able to play, but doesn’t believe he’s ready yet.

“I’m just working hard at getting back right now. I obviously want to get some games in, but I’ve got to make sure that I’m not going to get hurt when I get in there,” said Emery. “I’m close, but I’m not where I want to be as far as playing a game. It’s kind of frustrating for me right now, but I’ll get in there.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, ottawa+senators, ray+emery

Pens Head To West Point

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Still, though there will be plenty of bonding time, this will be a working vacation. Last year 1st Sgt. J.B. Spisso, a Greensburg native, put the players through rigorous boot camp-like drills, including dragging a wounded soldier and carrying someone like a firefighter does when taking an unconscious person out of a burning building.

“We do some things that are very unique and very fun ... but you’ve got to go there with the right attitude and that’s the great things about the guys is that they have the right attitude,” Penguins forward Mark Recchi said. “I’ve been on teams where they haven’t got the right attitude and they didn’t get anything out of it, but the guys are excited about it and we’re looking forward to it.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins

Wellwood Relaxed This Summer - Maybe Too Much

from the National Post via the Ottawa Citizen,

After Wellwood missed 33 games with a sports hernia last season, head coach Paul Maurice instructed the third-year forward to hit the weights and get stronger this summer.

According to Wellwood’s father, the 24-year-old took a different approach.

“He likes to take the time off to rest himself mentally,” Rick Wellwood said in a telephone interview yesterday. “In the past, that has worked for him. But maybe he’s now going to have to do more in the summer; he’ll decide to take care of himself better when he decides to do that.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kyle+wellwood, toronto+maple+leafs

Dan Boyle Out 4-6 Weeks

From USA Today,

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle’s severed tendons in his wrist area were surgically repaired Sunday and he’s projected to be out of the lineup four to six weeks. Boyle was injured in a freak accident after Saturday’s loss to Washington when his skate fell off its hook and sliced his wrist.

“The doctors who did the surgery today said it was a cut with surgical precision,” said Tampa Bay general manager Jay Feaster.

According to Feaster, Boyle told him that he put his skates on the hook, as he always does, and was talking to teammate Doug Janik when it came crashing down. Feaster said members of the media heard the lid of Boyle’s cubicle slam shut, and they theorize that the vibration knocked the skate off the hook.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: injuries, tampa+bay+lighting

Gary Bettman Talks Salary Cap and More

From Pierre LeBrun, CP via Globe & Mail,

Bettman’s voice fills with emotion has he responds to criticism that the salary cap has risen too high at US$50.3 million and salaries are back to pre-lockout levels.

“I think the agreement has been misconstrued,” Bettman said. “People are saying there’s a $50-million cap and now we’re back to where we were and higher. That statement, when it’s made, indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of how the system works.”

To wit, Bettman points out that in the pre-lockout season of 2003-04, the top payroll was in the $80-million range with other teams in the 70s and 60s. More importantly, he adds, it’s the average payroll that really matters pertaining to dividing up the 55 per cent of the revenue pie to players.

more… (*wide-ranging interview on issues like television coverage, European markets, etc.)

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Sign Hossa

from Spector at Fox Sports,

In Atlanta, talks are ongoing between Thrashers general manager Don Waddell and top forward Marian Hossa, who’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July. Reports out of Atlanta suggest thus far both sides are agreeable on the term of a new contract (three or four years) but the dollars have yet to be hashed out.

It’s essential to the Thrashers to retain Hossa, arguably their best forward, to prove to their fans that the team still considers itself a serious playoff contender, but uncertainty over the club’s current ownership situation might be affecting negotiations.

read on... My gut feeling, Hossa will offer himself to the highest bidder next July…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, marian+hossa

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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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