Kukla's Korner

No Progress For Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit News,

Forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Niklas Kronwall are still unsigned, and the Wings had no progress to report on those fronts Tuesday. "There's lots of work to be done," Holland said. Asked Tuesday if the Wings could go to training camp next month without one or more of those restricted free agents, Holland said, "Yeah, it's possible."

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A Good Investment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tampa Tribune,

Tuesday's deal with Lecavalier ensures that the player who has been a cornerstone of the franchise since he was selected first overall in the 1998 draft will remain in a Lightning uniform for four more years. Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, Lecavalier could have signed a one-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But there were a plethora of reasons to stay in what has become his second home, including trying to defend Tampa Bay's Stanley Cup championship. "The first four years I was there, we lost a lot and people weren't coming out to see us and people did not respect our team," Lecavalier said Tuesday from Vancouver, where he is attending a training camp for Team Canada. "Now we have turned it around. Now we are a competitive team and we are winning every year and we have a chance to keep it going. "My sister lives in Tampa, my niece and nephew are there. My parents come down a lot. Tampa is very special to me. I've been there so long."

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The Equalized NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach Post,

"Everybody now feels they have a legitimate chance," said former Panthers General Manager Rick Dudley, now a scout with Chicago. "Owners who have a lot of money don't mind spending it as long as it's not a fruitless effort. But before, the top end of some teams' budgets was half of what other teams were spending. Now they're on equal footing." Said Panthers broadcaster Denis Potvin: "It's been strange. You've got teams like Edmonton, Calgary and Nashville, who no one expected to be particularly active, who have been. And other teams that have always been involved in everything — Colorado, Detroit, Toronto — have been out of it, just trying to sign their own players. "A lot of what has happened has really been unexpected." Longtime ESPN analyst Bill Clement said the "new NHL," with its salary-cap range, has simply returned to some basic principles of doing business. "There are two realities under this model," Clement said. "One, every team is now allowed a fair chance to succeed, and two, winning is going to be based on your organizational model instead of who's the most wealthy. "You have to earn excellence — you can't buy it. You have to draft well, nurture well, trade well and plan well financially.''

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Recchi Started The Movement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Long before this episode of Extreme Makeover, long before cost certainty and a certain ping-pong ball bounced his club's way, this free-agent signee stood by himself. A lone star. Alone. For 121/2 months. He was the biggest such signee by his club in almost a decade and a half, yet he also was the biggest target of hockey abuse hurled across his homeland. All because he joined a team that was last place in every NHL regard: standings, attendance, free spenders, free-agent destinations, arena age ... Kevin in Kamloops, you're on the air with Mark Recchi. Yeah, Mark, why on earth the Penguins?

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NHL Ready To Partner with OLN

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from USA TODAY,

The NHL leaves ESPN for an up-and-coming network willing to pay more for the league's national TV rights — although the upstart reaches fewer homes. That happened when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. And the NHL, probably today, might pull off a similar slap shot. Sometimes, the NHL seems like one lucky league. In 1988, now-defunct SportsChannel America hoped NHL games would help it cobble together a network of fewer than 10 million households. It paid $17 million annually over three years — twice what ESPN had been paying — to show NHL games in about one-quarter of the households ESPN then reached. That ended up being too much: SCA managed to get a fourth NHL season for just $5 million. Likewise, the Outdoor Life Network seems ready to outspend ESPN in hopes of using NHL games to heighten its profile.

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Mogilny to the Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sportsnet has learned Alexander Mogilny has agreed to a two-year, $7-million deal with the New Jersey Devils. update 11:36pm, The Maven chimes in with the Mogilny signing.

If ever there was a right move at the right time for the Devils it happened late Tuesday evening when Lou Lamoriello announced the re-acquisition of Alexander Mogilny. “He’s going to make our team better,” says the Devils CEO-President-General manager. “We’re delighted to bring him back because he’s a player who can break a game open at any time.” The fleet, crafty forward has survived two operations on his left hip but asserts that he’s completely recovered. Lamoriello claims that the rapid Russian is “one-hundred-percent healthy.”
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Cujo Close to Decision

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN, Curtis Joseph is about to be taken off the list of available NHL free agents, as TSN has learned that the netminder is close to reaching terms on a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Boat Load of Signings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I know most of you follow just about every NHL signing and I have tried to point out some of the significant ones, but don't forget to check out the Daily Tracker from both TSN and Sportsnet for all of the transactions.

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Laviolette to Lead Team USA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com, Peter Laviolette, currently the head coach of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, was named today by USA Hockey as the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team.

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Broadcast Decision Nearing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Will ESPN continue to televise NHL Hockey? We should know the answer within 24 hours. I for one hope the NHL figures out a way to allow both Comcast and ESPN into the deal At times ESPN has done a very poor job of promoting the game and when they do, it is usually highlights of a scene like the Bertuzzi fiasco. ESPN never opens Sports Center with NHL news, it is usually pushed back to the rear of the show and only slightly talked about. Lately they have even gone as far to advise on-air radio hosts to avoid talking about the NHL and as we all know, the majority of ESPN viewers don't even follow the game. On the other hand, the best chance to get the exposure the game deserves, ESPN would be my choice. This may be the last shot this game has to entice viewers, and let's face it, ESPN can do it better than anyone else right now. I also think if Comcast was able to broadcast games, the competition between the two networks would be a positive. Comcast would be a new and possibly a refreshing alternative to ESPN and force them to enhance their coverage of the game. A must is broadcasting as many games as possible in HD. IF you have HD, you know the WOW factor it brings; heck I watch almost anything in HD because of the picture quality. Maybe others will do the same and tune into a game just for the viewing pleasure it provides. The NHL must get TV exposure now. Will they get it right remains to be seen.

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