Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Finding Ken Hitchcock

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Who is this man? Hitchcock’s life as a salesman is just as simple as Death of a Salesman. He has been content everywhere he has been, yet he has kept moving. He has been sought, he has been fired and he has won championships, including the game’s ultimate prizes, the Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal. For his first big job, he submitted a resume written in pencil on a sheet of lined paper. He got his latest job after a 10-hour interview that included much philosophical discourse with a self-made billionaire.
Hitchcock has evolved, and continues to evolve, but some constants remain. As his old boss at United Cycle in Edmonton put it: “Ken is not set in his approach, but he is set in his philosophy.”

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No Canada

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

(Question: When did hockey last appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, that arbiter of mainstream American sports taste? Answer: Aside from a Steve Yzerman commemorative edition produced for the Detroit market, it was Oct. 14, 2002.)
But Bettman is undeterred. He is still trying to accomplish the mission he was hired to perform. He can’t make a hard left turn now, or ever.
When might the NHL add teams in Canada? When the business implodes, or when the vision changes — which might amount to the same thing.
Either would require, or inspire, a change at the top.

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Pens Knockin’ Boots With Del Biaggio?

from The Hockey News:

William “Boots” Del Biaggio, a former minority owner of the San Jose Sharks and frequent golfing partner of Mario Lemieux, has emerged as a potential buyer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sources say Del Biaggio would then attempt to relocate the Penguins to Kansas City, pending approval from the NHL’s board of governors.
Del Biaggio, a prominent San Jose businessman, tried to purchase the Penguins in the summer of 2005 and signed a letter of intent to do so, but the sale was pulled off the table after the Penguins won the draft lottery and the rights to Sidney Crosby.
Del Biaggio headed a group that was poised to buy the Penguins for about $100 million last summer, but then Lemieux and partner Ron Burkle, a California grocery magnate, announced that they would keep control of the Penguins.

continued

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Signs Of Slippage

from Gerry Fraley at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

There are signs of slippage, which the NHL has inflicted upon itself.
— Entering Wednesday’s play, per-game attendance was down 2.6 percent from last season. Attendance numbers are tickets distributed, not bodies in the building. There are numerous anecdotal offerings throughout the league of in-house totals being far less than the announced attendance.
The six Canadian clubs returned from the lockout stronger than ever and continue to draw well. Edmonton is the laggard, and it is playing to 98.5 percent of building capacity.
It’s a different matter in the States.

much more

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Hockey Speak- Canucks & Beyond Style

Alanah finds the hockey quotes you may have missed.

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Gifts For Everyone

from Damien Cox at ESPN,

For some NHLers and teams, Christmas came early. Columbus got a new head coach and a new attitude. Mats Sundin potted his 500th goal. Evgeni Malkin successfully got himself out of Russia, and Garth Snow got his dream job.
What else might appear under the tree, and for whom? Here are some hockey suggestions for Santa:
• A long, lingering smile for Brian Burke: You’re winning. Life is good. Enjoy.
• A world without hypocrisy for Rick Tocchet: So being a bookie, or an alleged bookie, is unforgivable. But cozying up to casinos and Internet betting sites is OK. Somebody ‘splain the critical difference, please.

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Under Review

Behind the scene video of the “Review Room” in Toronto.

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The Ultimate Power Forward

from Debbie Eicksen at NBC Sports,

The ultimate power forward,” former Bruins coach and current broadcaster Don Cherry says of Cam Neely. “He had everything going for him. He was big. He was tough. He controlled them, a 50-goal scorer, hit a ton. There was nothing he couldn’t do.”
Now Neely himself admits he was more of a finesse player when he was younger, but when his body grew bigger with adolescence, “I couldn’t go around people like I used to, so I thought about going through them.”

read on

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Sit A Spell And Read

Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com has a great weekly feature called Crashing the Net
Make sure to read every section of the feature, it is well worth your time.

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Lemieux Won’t Sell Pens, Threatens Move

from the Pittsburgh Penguins, via Sportsnet:

“Recent developments, including yesterday’s decision by the PGCB, and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny.
Accordingly, starting today, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania. After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams.
As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan.
We will have no further comment at this time.”

Bettman’s imposition of an NHL buy-back clause on Balsillie simply laid the groundwork for a franchise move to Kansas City and it’s empty, NHL-friendly 18,500-seat arena.

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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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