Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Should Have Kept Big Georges

from the Edmonton Sun,

We would never compare Georges Laraque to Steve Yzerman in terms of their on-ice skills. But no one can deny that they are, in their own way, the kind of professional hockey player that is too rare these days. And while it was inevitable after the Oilers rebuffed his very public pleas to stay with the team for less pay, it was still disappointing last week to read that Laraque had signed a two-year, $2.4-million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. Which is why it's unfortunate that the Oilers could not find a way to keep Big Georges playing in the City of Champions - or even not playing, but paying him to be the team's goodwill ambassador to the community, a role that comes naturally to the affable Laraque.
read on

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Blues Make Contract Offer To Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, captain of the French World Cup team which lost a tense final round game to Italy, has been offered a spot on the roster of the American hockey team St. Louis Blues. This unexpected twist compounds a day of intrigue for Zidane, sparked when, after a heated exchange of comments with Italy's Marco Materazzi on the pitch in overtime, the Frenchman head-butted Materazzi, slamming square into the Italian defender's chest and knocking him to the grass. An unapologetic Zidane spat at the media afterwards, saying, "This wimp blocks and holds me, then verbally assaults me. I was merely giving him a taste of his own medicine." He continued, "If only this were the NHL - those guys get into all sorts of scrapes and fights, and they're just given a quick timeout. Hockey is tough, where slamming into each other is just part of the gameplay." St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Kitchen, after hearing of the incident and Zidane's comments, quickly researched the player and forwarded a formal offer to the former soccer player, as this game marked his last before retiring from the sport.
more...

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Rangers & Wild Make Right Moves

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Rangers, whose salary-cap position is ameliorated by the Washington Capitals’ generosity in picking up a large part of Jagr’s salary, are not finished yet. Sources say they are considering repatriating Brian Leetch, who is 38 but still a highly skilled defenceman and a crowd favourite at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will need a repeat performance from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist next season, and it wouldn’t hurt if Sandis Ozolinsh could conquer his personal devils. But there is every indication that the Rangers have turned the corner. The other long-downtrodden club showing signs of emerging from the ranks of the stiffs is the Minnesota Wild.
more

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Dvorak Wants To Stay In Edmonton

from the Edmonton Oilers,

Radek Dvorak never said he wanted to leave the Edmonton Oilers. In a wide-ranging interview with the official Czech hockey federation site, hokej.cz, Dvorak said: “I’m doing everything to make sure I have a good year, similar to my previous successful seasons. I talked to Edmonton’s management and they told me they were interested in me. I am thinking of other offers, too. I hear from (a journalist) that my agent Rich Winter told the Edmonton Journal that I do not want to play for Edmonton. I don’t know why he said it and he’ll have to explain it to me. “Obviously, it must be a part of his negotiating strategy. I’ve never said anything like this, I love Edmonton, and I would never say anything bad about a team where I’d worked...."
continued

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3-Way Deal

from TSN,

The San Jose Sharks have acquired Mark Bell from the Chicago Blackhawks in a three-way deal that is expected to see Martin Havlat go to the Blackhawks. The Sharks acquired Bell in exchange for Tom Priessing and Josh Hennessy, who are expected to be part of a package Chicago will use to acquire Havlat.
update 9:46pm, via TSN,
The Ottawa Senators have traded Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski to the Chicago Blackhawks in a three-way deal also involving the San Jose Sharks. Chicago sent Mark Bell to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Tom Priessing and Josh Hennessy, who the Blackhawks added to a package to land Havlat and Smolinski. Along with Preissing and Hennessy, the Blackhawks sent prospect Michal Barinka and a 2008 second-round draft pick to Ottawa in exchange for Havlat and Smolinski.

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Why Shanny Left

from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press (Monday edition) via the Mercury News,

There's a time when you cast a shadow and a time when the shadow casts you. This, more than anything, is why Brendan Shanahan left the Red Wings on Sunday and signed with the New York Rangers. "It was just a growing instinct," he said via phone from his summer home in Massachusetts. "As great as the future is in Detroit, I think I belonged a little more to its great past." This is not your typical departing-athlete statement, which more often goes: "I had to do what was best for my family."
continued added 7:30am Monday, link to Detroif Free Press now available... FYI, Mitch not only has covered Brendan while in Detroit, but they also consider themselves friends... added 9:12pm, from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press (Monday edition) via the Mercury News,
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock boiled the question down to this: How does a team replace a 40-goal scorer? The answer, from general manager Ken Holland, is that maybe it doesn't. The Red Wings learned during the weekend that prolific scorer Brendan Shanahan has decided to play next season for the New York Rangers, creating a hole in the Wings' lineup. "We've got a competitive team," Holland said Sunday. "We'll try to find another player if we can. If not, we'll start the season with what we've got. Maybe we'll use the Edmonton model and save for the trade deadline."
more added 7:30am Monday, link to Detroit Free Press now available...

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Report- Belfour A Wing On Monday

WDIV in Detroit is reporting the Wings will announce the signing of goalie Ed Belfour on Monday. added 7:37am Monday, from Mlive,

Ed Belfour could officially become the Detroit Red Wings new starting goaltender today. Wings general manger Ken Holland said Sunday that he would reveal today whether the club will sign the 41-year-old Belfour to a one-year contract. WDIV-TV in Detroit reported Sunday night that Belfour will sign with the Wings today.

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Brendan Shanahan Almost Got Me Fired

I completely forgot about this... In a previous life, I worked for a major radio station in Detroit. Right after 9/11, our building was basically on lock-down, no visitors allowed, etc... Brendan was scheduled to be in-studio for a live interview and first had to clear security in the lobby of our building then had to clear security on our floor. Well, the interns who were waiting for Shanahan had no idea who he was so I passed through our lobby and saw Brendan waiting in line to get into our offices. I had met Shanahan on numerous occasions before and I whisked him into our offices without his yellow ID badge announcing him as a welcomed guest. We had a little chit-chat, I walked him to the green room, notified everyone involved that Shanny was in the building and went on my way. Next thing you know, I am getting called into the office, people questioning me "who was that guy", "why did you let him in", blah, blah, blah... I explained to the big-wig and his shadowy assistant it was Brendan Shanahan and there was no reason for him to go through a security process, he was not a threat to our well-being. Long story short, it went into my file, as what, a possible spy? I laughed it off and and still laugh about it today.

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Let’s Not Forget

The building was electric, filled with anticipation. The Wings finally had their power forward. It was rumored for weeks in Detroit, the Wings were attempting to acquire Shanahan from the Whalers. The wishes of many Wings fans came true on October 9, 1996. The final piece was in place. Shanahan made it to the Joe with minutes to spare for the first game that season. The Wings actually held up going onto the ice so Brendan could join them. With Shanahan scoring 46 goals that year, the Wings went on to win the Cup and repeated the feat the next year. Now he is gone, and with it the "piece" leaves a big hole in the Wings lineup. Now where do they go? Gomez in New Jersey may be an option, the Devils are cap strapped and need to move some salary. Can Anson Carter replace one of the greatest goal scores in the last 15 years? Ken Holland has some work ahead and now is the time for Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Kronwall to put their stamp on the Wings. Meanwhile, Shanahan will be a huge hit on Broadway. Just don't believe him when he tells you he was a goalie on the Irish National Soccer team. added 12:38pm, Official announcement from the New York Rangers... added 4:25pm, from the CP via Yahoo,

"It really came down to an instinct I had," Shanahan said Sunday. "Detroit has a great past and a great future ahead of them as well, but I guess I just felt that maybe I was identified with the past a little bit more than the future." "To take on a new challenge was a little scary and exciting at the same time," said Shanahan, who scored 41 goals last season.
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According To The Players

from the Hockey News,

Lindy Ruff’s Sabres may have come up short in Game 7 of the Eastern final, but his team’s performance in 2005-06 did not go unnoticed. The Hockey News asked 30 players, “What NHL coach did the best job this season?" Of the players polled, eight listed Ruff, the Jack Adams Trophy winner, as this year’s best coach, while six voted for Carolina’s Peter Laviolette. The Rangers’ Tom Renney and Detroit’s Mike Babcock also got several nods.
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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