Kukla's Korner

Europe On The NHL Radar

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from William Houston/David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

The NHL is aiming to have teams based in Europe within the next 10 years, the league’s deputy commissioner said yesterday.

“As time goes on, you’ll see us making increasing movement into Europe,” Bill Daly said in an interview. “Certainly, it’s a possibility that within 10 years time we will be playing games there.”

Asked whether he viewed European expansion within 10 years as a good possibility, he said: “I hope so. But again, I think it’s a long way between here and there. And I think all the pieces have to continue to line up in order for that to happen.

“So, certainly, we would hope that would be the case. But I can’t say with any degree of certainty at this point.”

continued

Update 11:09am ET (alanah): From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN

There remain hurdles, to be sure, serious ones. For starters, there’s the issue of travel. That’s obvious. But I believe the one issue that worries the NHL even more is European sports fans generally aren’t used to paying the same kind of money for tickets as North Americans. Getting fans in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, etc., to pay out bigger amounts for NHL games will be the real test if and when this ever comes to fruition.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cole Will Play His Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

But if you think the seriousness of the injury has made the power forward shy away from the heavy going, think again.

“You learn to play the game a certain way, and if that style’s been successful and you’ve come all this way, it’s hard to change,” Cole said earlier this week as he skated with several other NHLers at Kinsmen Arena, preparing for the opening of the Oilers’ main training camp on Friday, Sept. 19.

“I’ve always played a hard-nosed style.” Cole was apprehensive in his first playoff game after breaking his neck. His Carolina teammates had unexpectedly lost Game 5 of the final in overtime on Fernando Pisani’s short-handed goal and had to fly clear across the continent after coming tantalizingly close to winning the series on home ice.

“It wasn’t an ideal situation to play my first game,” confessed Cole.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+cole

Top Rookies

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Marek of Upon Further Review at CBC,

You can pretty well take it to the bank that Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos will be a standout (the surrounding cast he has to work with pretty well guarantees that fact) and is easily the front-runner in the early race for the Calder trophy.

But who else?

I’m putting my money on Phoenix’s Kyle Turris winning the Calder and playing as a second-line centre behind Ollie Jokinen, not unlike the role Stamkos will occupy playing below Vincent Lecavalier.

more rookies to watch…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How Much Is Jordan Staal Worth

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,

Which brings us to Jordan Staal who, according to rumors, is related to Eric in some fashion.

He’s a restricted free agent after this season. How does he get his first big pay day?

Does he need to hit the 30 goal/60 point mark? Does he essentially need to be Ryan Malone’s replacement on one of the first two lines? Does he need to ride shotgun on the wing of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? Does he need continue his sterling defensive play?

If you ask us, the answer is yes to all these questions. This is why we expect a big season out of Staal.

more

from Kevn Allen of Mucking & Grinding,

Staal said he understands why Therrien plays him on the third line, “he believes it’s a better fit at center for me and we were winning games.”

  He hasn’t even talked to Therrien about moving up permanently to the wing. “But for my future I believe I’m a top six guy and I want to play up there,” he said. “I want to fit somewhere in that puzzle. Hopefully I can stick around in Pittsburgh and find a good spot.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jordan+staal

Could Be A Long Year In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

Fletcher tossed around words like “patience” and “development” as he examined the upcoming campaign.

“Unfortunately, there’s no fast-track system. There’s no miracle cure out there,” he said of rebuilding the Maple Leafs.

The message was clear: Brace yourself. The Leafs are going to struggle early and often. But with Ron Wilson behind the bench, proper tutelage in the organization, and the continued acquisition of young talent, Toronto could eventually have the base for sustained success. Once there, they’ll even get back in the business of signing big-name free agents.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jarkko Ruutu Welcomed In Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

Along with a player like Sean Avery (who topped the SI poll) of the Stars, Ruutu sets the standard when it comes to agitating in the NHL.

“I guess you could say so. That’s why I get paid a lot, I’m sure,” said the 33-year-old. “I don’t think they want me to score goals. I have to play with my strengths and not try to do too much other stuff. Obviously, you want to score when you get the chance.

“I have to prove myself every night. That’s the key. Whether you have a 10-year contract or not, it doesn’t matter. You have to put yourself in situations where you can make the difference in the game. That’s what’s fun about the game in Canada. You can’t get away with stuff like taking a night off.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarkko+ruutu

NHLPA Taking NHL to Court Regarding Pension Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From TSN:

The NHL Players’ Association hopes to see a pension dispute with the league solved in court.

The NHLPA announced Thursday that it had filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding an interpretation of the league’s pension plan.

The issue relates to the calculation of the death benefit for players with NHL service prior to July 1, 1986. The NHLPA believes widows and other beneficiaries of players who passed away before taking their pension were paid less than is required by law.

The NHL disagrees.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhlpa, pension+plan

More Changes Needed To Goalie Equipment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,

Protection is the most oft-stated reason for the overall lack of change. That’s valid, but only to a point. There is new equipment on the market that is so good that serious goalie injuries, once the bane of the game, are virtually non-existent. Slimming down the equipment without threatening the health and well- being of the players is known to be a doable deed.

What seems to be the obstruction here is that no one has or is willing to exert the necessary authority to make change happen. The goalies have power on the ice, with the players’ association, and with a strong, powerful voice in the media.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Brian Heaton Passes Away

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,

Brian Heaton, the Kingsville resident who helped revolutionize goalie equipment design in the past 25 years, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack while competing in a horse-riding competition in London.

The 58-year-old Heaton built up a world-wide reputation in hockey by offering a customized service and design to NHL goaltenders.

Among the innovations Heaton has been credited with included introducing coloured equipment, using new man-made materials and coming up with several flap and safety designs that allowed goalies to enjoy superior protection in lighter equipment.

continued

Filed in: Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+heaton

Rangers Will Be Busy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rangers Report,

In talking to a number of players about the preseason schedule, almost everyone is aware of the challenge it presents. Some just rolled their eyes and said it was unfortunate. Others were more direct.

“Who approved this?” one veteran asked me. “I know we approved the Prague games, but not this.”

Indeed, while players signed on for the Europe trip, the preseason schedule is made up by Rangers management. Almost everyone would agree that the six games, including trips to Ottawa and Tampa Bay, is a bit much on top of the Europe trip.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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