Kukla's Korner

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Blue Collar Mentality

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Jay McKee, who spent 10 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and led the NHL in blocked shots last season, signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Blues. The club also re-signed one of its own unrestricted free agents, inking captain Dallas Drake to a two-year, $1.1 million-a-year deal. "We're talking about people that are going to play with blue-collar attitudes," new Blues President John Davidson said. "It fits what we're doing. Looking at Jay, we wanted to get somebody in our top four (defensemen) and now we have somebody for a long period of time. "Dallas is a player that leads by example. Talking to people associated with the club, we felt it was important to bring him back." "I have all the respect in the world for JD," McKee said. "He's a huge addition to the organization, a huge factor in my decision to come there."
read on

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Bruins Open The Bank

from the Boston Herald,

A key feature of the “new” National Hockey League is that the salary cap and liberalized free agency make it possible for losing teams to improve dramatically from one season to the next. The Bruins, in the matter of a few hours yesterday, certainly improved in a big way. The B’s brass has said for months it no longer was going to be business-as-usual for a team known as one of the stingiest in the NHL. The B’s backed up their optimistic predictions with bold actions, signing giant defenseman Zdeno Chara, formerly of the Ottawa Senators, to a five-year deal worth $37.5 million. Gorton was on the phone with an aggressive offer to Chara’s Boston-based agent, Matt Keator, at one minute past noon. The two parties would talk several times over the next 2 hours - with new B’s coach Dave Lewis and former star players Cam Neely and Don Sweeney also getting on the phone to make a pitch to Chara - before the stunning deal was locked up.
more

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Blow It Up

Is Bill at Abel to Yzerman representing the the majority voice of Wings fans?

Just like the trade deadline when needs were clear, money has handcuffed Holland. Where it used to be a non-issue, it’s now the ONLY issue. Here’s my suggestion. Tell Steve Yzerman what’s about to happen so he realizes what he’d be coming back to, then blow the damn thing up. Yep. If three glaring weaknesses are going to be acknowledged then allowed to bake in the sun and become more rotten each day, let’s just get down to the business of re-building. Lang, Schneider, Maltby: gone. Traded, waived, bought out…whatever. Clear the rolls and move on.

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Who’s Smiling Now

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The good news: Zdeno Chara didn't sign with the arch-rival Maple Leafs. The bad news: His choice of a new home isn't much better for Ottawa. Peter Chiarelli got the last laugh on the Senators yesterday and owner Eugene Melnyk must be furious. The outgoing Ottawa assistant GM couldn't participate in contract negotiations, but he must have had a smile a mile wide when he found out Chara had signed a five-year, $37.5-million (all terms US) agreement with the Bruins -- the team Chiarelli will take over in two weeks.
continued

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Teams Wearing Dunce Cap

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

One summer and one day of triple- capped free agency has proven that there is no such thing as an NHL idiot-proof system, try as hard as the myopic league power brokers did to install one. For after reviewing some of the free-agent signings of last year and yesterday, we can only conclude that the NHL's 54-percent solution comes in the guise of a pointy dunce cap, hard though it may be, and the payroll upper limits enforced by the CBA on big-market clubs merely provides all of the league's 30 clubs with an equal opportunity for lunacy.
continued (reg. req.) Also from Larry Brooks, Elias turned down bigger offers to stay with the Devils...
On the day when flawed players with marquee names were signed by desperate teams for staggering sums of money, Sather's Blueshirts were believed offering a long-term deal worth $7M per to Elias, while the Blackhawks, according to sources, were in at $7.5M per. But Elias, who was weighing his options at his offseason home in the Czech Republic, spurned the extra cash to remain with the only NHL organization for which he's played. A two-time Cup champion, Elias is the Devils' signature skater and is all but certain to be named team captain next season.
more (reg. req.)

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See You Soon

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Elias Staying In New Jersey

via TSN,

The most sought-after forward in the NHL's free agent pool is staying in New Jersey. Patrik Elias has signed a seven-year, $42 million contract to remain a New Jersey Devil.

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Sean Hill Bought Out

from Sports Ticker via TSN,

While most teams added players on Saturday, the Florida Panthers parted ways with one when they bought out the contract of defenseman Sean Hill. Signed as a free agent in July 2004, Hill appeared in 78 games in his only season with the Panthers in 2005-06, recording two goals, 18 assists and 80 penalty minutes.

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Johnsson Headed To Minnesota

from TSN, The Minnesota Wild continue to re-tool their defence. After signing Keith Carney earlier on Saturday, the club has signed Kim Johnsson to a four-year, $19.4 million contract.

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It Was A Tough Day

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune via the Mercury News,

Like a post-Christmas shopper who arrives 10 minutes after the store opens, Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon found the best items already taken before he could get his checkbook out as the NHL's free-agent frenzy got under way Saturday. "It was a tough day," Tallon said. "It was frustrating." Every year it's expected general managers will exert caution and fiscal restraint, but even with a salary cap in place, the contracts given Saturday were long and rich. "I thought it would take some time (for deals to get done)," Tallon said.
continued

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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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