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NHL Drug Policy is Weak

from Al Stachan of the Toronto Sun,

It sounded awfully impressive when the National Hockey League announced it. It's the new and improved (fanfare) Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Its revelation was met with a sage nodding of heads and grave intonations. There were nods of assent, and assurances that the NHL is taking the lead in cracking down on substance abuse. The even deeper thinkers decreed this was a step to keep the U.S. Congress happy, as if the House of Representatives cares in the least about the NHL. In fact, this program is likely to be nothing more than a fertile battlefield for the ongoing acrimony between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. If it does anything more than line the pockets of a few dozen lawyers and the occasional stray doctor, it will be downright astonishing. What wasn't widely noted by those making the announcement was the fact the program is limited to performance-enhancing substances.

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HDTV Makes a Difference

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Notice the difference? Analog picture on the left, HDTV on the right. Many of us know Comcast has an interest in televising the NHL on a national level. This article, although a few days old explains why hockey is so good in HD. I have a HDTV and swear by it, the difference is well worth the additional cost, especially if you are a sports fan. From AudioRevolution,
On television, no sport gets more benefit from HDTV than hockey. The contrast of a gleaming white surface and a fast moving black puck is inherently hard for the new fan to watch on traditional TV. Increase the resolution to 1080i and the motion is easier to follow and the puck is easier to see. The more rectangular shape of the movie theater-like 16:9 aspect ratio screen is much more analogous to the rink than a virtually square 4:3 television screen.
See comments for additional pictures.

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Refs Without a Leader

from Hockeyrefs.com,

Even though the NHL will be back, there has yet to be an announcement on who will run the officiating. That news has re-ignited speculation amongst members of the officiating community. Andy Van Hellemond, a retired referee and Hockey Hall of Fame member, resigned the director of officiating position last July when misconduct allegations surfaced. Among the accusations were claims that Van Hellemond asked his officials for personal financial loans. “There is no timetable on the hiring and we do not comment on individuals who are being considered,” said NHL vice president Gary Meagher. While the league won’t comment on possible replacement, some reports have retirees Bruce Hood and Terry Gregson as likely candidates.

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Bruins Make Offers

Thanks to a long time reader for this information. Now posted on the Bruins homepage. Boston Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell today made contract offers to several of the team's restricted and unrestricted free agents. O'Connell offered Joe Thornton a five-year contract. Sergei Gonchar was tendered a four-year deal. Sergei Samsonov, P. J. Axelsson and Martin Lapointe were made three-year contract offers.

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All About The Bolts

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from the CP via TSN,
Vincent Lecavalier was chewing on some toast Tuesday morning when he opened the Journal de Montreal and saw a blown-up picture of himself with the headline - Lecavalier with the CH: Why Not? Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Montreal native will be able to go where he likes next summer. At 26, as an eight-year veteran, the World Cup MVP will be able to choose unrestricted free agency. That is unless Lecavalier, currently a restricted free agent, signs a long-term deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer. ''To tell you the truth, I don't know what I'm going to do yet,'' he said in a phone interview Tuesday. ''Obviously, if I sign a one-year deal then I'm free next year. Or I can sign a long-term deal. But I don't know what I'm going to do yet.''

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NHL Entry Draft- Team Needs

from Fox Sports,

With teams about to get busy filling their rosters, this year's NHL Entry Draft is taking on much more of a long-term focus for the teams and their fans. Outside of Sidney Crosby and perhaps Anze Kopitar no player in this draft is ready to make the jump to the NHL this season. With tighter restrictions on salary caps, the means teams have for acquiring talent are limited, making the draft that much more crucial to the long-term success of an orgainzation. No longer will teams be able to buy their way out of trouble like they did in the past. The heat has been turned up on the scouting staffs. Here is a brief look at each NHL team's top prospects in the orgainzation and what they need to address:

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Ducks Shopping #2 Pick

from TSN,

The Pittsburgh Penguins have no intention of trading the first overall pick in Saturday's NHL entry draft, but the finalist in the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes is shopping the second overall pick, and shopping it hard. Anaheim general manager Brian Burke said he has no qualms about trading the No. 2 pick...for the right price, of course. "I've already gotten eight to 10 calls but I haven't heard anything so far that would cause us to move it, not even close," the Mighty Ducks' GM told TSN. "We will shop this pick. We have a lot of kids ready to step in for us -- Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid -- and if we can trade the (No. 2) pick outright for an established player who is a good fit for us, we will do it. And if we get offers to move down a few spots and we can get another (draft) pick, we can do that too. It's really wide open. We want to see what's out there."

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Top UFAs Available Monday

from the CP via Slam, A look at the top unrestricted free agents hitting the market Monday unless they re-sign with their respective NHL clubs.

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More on Yzerman and Wings Buyouts

from TSN, R

ed Wings GM Ken Holland will meet with future Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman later this week to iron out the Detroit captain's future. "I'm looking forward to sitting down and talking to Steve," Holland said Tuesday from Detroit. "Beyond that, I have no idea if Steve wants to play or doesn't want to play. I've made no contract offer to Steve. We just are planning to meet." If Yzerman, 40, wants to play one more season, it will definitely be in Hockeytown regardless of the fact he's eligible to be an unrestricted free agent as of Monday. "He's already said he's not going to play anywhere else," Holland said. The classy Yzerman has spent his entire 21-year career in Detroit.
update 3:45pm, In a related note, Holland was just on Detroit radio and said the Wings are done buying out any players. Holland also mentioned Shanahan has until 5pm Thursday to tell the Wings if he is coming back or not. Also talked about Datsyuk. Pavel's agent says he has not signed a contract with a Russian team, but has a very nice offer on the table. Under the deal with the IIHF, if Pavel does sign with the Russian team, the Wings will have until August 15th to sign him and that contract would overrule the Russian one. So basically Holland is looking at August 15th as a deadline to get a deal done with Datsyuk.

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Thoughts from Buccigross

from ESPN,

Here are some random hockey thoughts as I try to un-squint my eyes that were trying to see those microscopic NHL logos during last week's NHL Draft Lottery: - If I'm the Bruins I have 10 Bobby Orr Bobblehead Nights, 10 for Ray Bourque, 10 for Cam Neely, 10 for Joe Thornton, and one for Moe Lemay. - Part of me still doesn't believe we are going to have hockey this fall. - Who gets more goals? No. 87 or Alexander Ovechkin?

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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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