Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Difference Makers

from the New York Times,

One season after the Penguins finished last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth consecutive time, they are 10-7-3 (2 points out of first place) with a roster of fledglings who have drawn comparisons to the Edmonton Oilers when Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were their young stars. Sidney Crosby, the 19-year-old center, does commercials in English and French, leads the N.H.L. All-Star fan balloting in the Eastern Conference and creates passing lanes in tight spaces. Evgeni Malkin, a 20-year-old center, has 10 goals and 10 assists. A federal district court ruling last week allowed him to keep playing for the Penguins after his former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, in southwestern Russia, initiated legal action against him, claiming it still had Malkin under contract. “Some cities never get a superstar,” Johnston said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “We’ve got a couple of them.”
read on

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Looking Ahead To UFA Season

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

The contract talks between Detroit and Pavel Datsyuk are expected to try the patience of everyone involved. It might be easier forging an alliance between Republicans and Democrats in Congress next session than it will be to find a quick contract solution between Datsyuk and the Red Wings. The Buffalo Sabres also face future angst figuring out how to afford to keep both Daniel Briere and Chris Drury next season while maintaining a reasonable budget.... With the subplots already starting to unfold, here's an early ranking of next summer's potential top 10 unrestricted free agent forwards:
read on

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Talking Head Shots

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Much to the chagrin of the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL has decided not to pursue supplementary discipline against Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell for his high, hard hit on Johan Franzen Wednesday night. So the net result stands as a two-minute minor for interference. But the Mitchell hit on Franzen could yet be something of a turning point in the head shot debate that has been ongoing in the wake of devastating hits on Trevor Letowski, Aaron Downey, Jason Williams and now Franzen.

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Texas Politics: Mike Modano Wants Your Vote

By Alanah D I frequently complain that the NHL's teams never seem willing to exhibit even the slightest sense of humor or originality in their marketing. But today I see that the Dallas Stars have produced this video to solicit votes for Modano's trip to the 2007 All Star game. With Brett Hull being the self-described "Ambassador of Fun" and "Campaign Manager", how can they go wrong?

Note #1: I am in NO WAY advocating votes for Mike Modano. Enjoy the video, but feel free to vote for someone else... please?! Note #2: Voting can be done here till January 2, 2007.

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The Brothers Koivu

From Bill Beacon at The Canadian Press, via The Daily Herald-Tribune,

A scheduling fluke brought Mikko Koivu to Montreal just in time for a slightly early celebration of his big brother's birthday. Saku Koivu turns 32 on Thursday, a day after Mikko's Minnesota Wild were to play Saku's Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The brothers celebrated the occasion on Tuesday night at the Canadiens captain's house. ''It's the only chance we get to see him in the season, so it's fun,'' said Saku.

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Thrashers/Caps Continue Battle

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

Both coaches -- Washington's Glen Hanlon and Atlanta's Bob Hartley -- are likely facing thousands of dollars in fines, and at least one player from each team -- probably Donald Brashear of the Capitals and Thrashers captain Scott Mellanby -- will be suspended for one game. Brashear and Mellanby each received penalties for instigating, fighting major and a game misconduct. Capitals veteran Brian Sutherby also received instigating and fighting penalties, as well as a game misconduct, opening the possibility of a suspension for him. "It was a 4-2 hockey game and someone, a 21-year-old kid with a cut mouth, gets his head knocked off with a high hit and one of their players is grabbing our captain, grabbing his cage and shaking it," Hanlon said. "What the heck are they supposed to do?"
read on (reg. req.) Update 3:59 p.m. EST: Suspensions, fines confirmed. From TSN,
Washington Capitals forwards Donald Brashear and Brian Sutherby and Thrashers' forward Scott Mellanby, have each been suspended automatically for one game, while Washington head coach Glen Hanlon has been fined $30,000 and Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley fined $10,000. The disciplinary action is pursuant to NHL Rule 47.22...

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Maurice Not Happy With Refs

from the Globe and Mail,

Neither Maurice nor any of his players was happy about the way the game was officiated. "I was not looking for an explanation," Maurice said, explaining his heated words at the referees after the game. "I don't think there is an explanation." Was there another memo sent to the referees from their National Hockey League bosses to tighten the standard of officiating once again? "I don't know what standards were out there," Maurice said. "I know all you guys see a gazillion games, I don't need to tell you, so speak your mind. You know what you saw. I lost five pounds barking."
read on

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Smart, Skate & Cap Savvy

from Gary Thorne at USA TODAY,

Talking with an NHL ref recently only highlighted the fact that the changes are here to stay. "We are graded on every game and the biggest part of that grading is maintaining the calls that keep the game moving," he said. "It is very clear that we had better not let up on enforcement, or we will pay the price." The league wanted the skills of the players to be on display, and that is happening. Speed matters. In an interview with USA TODAY on Nov. 6, Brian Burke, the GM of the Ducks, said that his definition of the new NHL team is one with "good foot speed and a high hockey IQ." That is just the kind of team Burke has put together in Anaheim. The construction of NHL teams is the second part of the new NHL, and that goes hand in hand with the salary cap.

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Hitch About To Make His Mark

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Hitchcock, hired by the Blue Jackets yesterday, is legendary for his demanding style behind the bench, his my-way-or-thehighway approach, and, of course, his winning ways. The Blue Jackets will practice for Hitchcock for the first time this morning and play their first game under him Friday in Philadelphia. Brace yourselves, boys. "I’m sure some guys are nervous," Blue Jackets left winger Rick Nash said. "But I’m sure more guys will be excited than nervous. "We need a change here, and I don’t think there’s a better guy than him to come here and make it happen."
read on

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Gordie Welcome’s You

from Bob Duff via the Vancouver Sun,

Gordie Howe was thrilled to be made an entrance. "It's a lot better than an exit," joked the 78-year-old Detroit Red Wings' legend. It could be said that the path to Hockeytown was cemented with Howe's elbows. Wednesday, they made it official. Thirty-three years after previous ownership essentially shoved Howe out the door, the Wings named one after him. The west entrance to Joe Louis Arena was officially christened the Gordie Howe Entrance prior to Detroit's game with the Vancouver Canucks. The move recognizes Howe's contribution to the establishment of Detroit as one of top National Hockey League teams and also honours the 60th anniversary of his debut as a Red Wing. Still, there was plenty of irony in the announcement.

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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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