Kukla's Korner

It’s An Opportunity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

It's an old metal door which looks a little out of place inside the modern-day dressing room with that double wide giant copper Oilers logo to walk through every night. It's the old metal blue dressing room door with big dents from players whacking sticks at it on their way back into the room after losses all those long ago seasons. On the door are stickers. One sticker for every playoff win and five Stanley Cup stickers at the end of the longest rows. It's the next sticker that's the stickler. One more sticker to get to the Western Conference Final. And the Edmonton Oilers can almost lick the back of it as they lick their lips to go get it. "It's an opportunity. That's our mantra,'' said Ethan Moreau. "We have a chance to do something great.''
read on

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It’s A Canadian Thing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

More than ever before, it seems, Canada's six NHL franchises exist in a separate universe from the rest of the league. Not competitively, of course, although the once seemingly absurd concept of an all-Canadian division certainly doesn't seem so ridiculous anymore. Once, it would have been a ghetto. Now, with the new NHL salary cap system having reconfigured the industry, it could be paradise, albeit with a murderous travel schedule.
continued

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Laviolette To The Islanders?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Might the Islanders be waiting for Peter Laviolette? The four-month delay in naming a general manager could be explained by the playoff success of Laviolette's Carolina Hurricanes, who open the Eastern Conference finals Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.
continued

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Bet On It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

...But let's be fair to Bettman. He opposes gambling only for you and me. If you own a hockey team, it's fine. Then you can sell board ads extolling the virtues of the local casino. Or you can even own the casino if you own the Detroit Red Wings. Wait a minute, let's clarify that one. Bettman made it clear that Wings owner Mike Ilitch couldn't own the casino. So his wife does. Surely no husband and wife would ever discuss their business around the house. And surely Mike would never spend a penny of the money that Marian makes from the casino. Bettman even allows his owners to accept money from Sports Select. It's among hockey's primary advertisers, not only on television, but in the arenas themselves. In Toronto, it sponsors a between-periods contest for prizes of $1,000. Isn't that gambling?
more

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Wings Stop Negotiating With Grigorenko

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Wings Central,

The Detroit Red Wings will have to wait yet another year for top Russian prospect Igor Grigorenko to arrive in North America. Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill confirmed Tuesday that he is no longer negotiating with Grigorenko, who recently signed a lucrative contract with Lada Togliatti of the Russian Elite League.
continued

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Will This Ever End

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

Sources tell Sportsnet the Toronto Maple Leafs' grievance hearing with former Leaf Owen Nolan has been adjourned until June, due to logistical reasons. Both sides presented opening statements Tuesday in New York, but the availability of witnesses and hearing dates for the arbitrator are both contributing in the lenthy gap between the initial proceedings and a resumption in June. Nolan's representative J.P. Barry is believed to be the only witness questioned and cross-examined Tuesday. It is anticipated that this case could evolve into the longest grievance hearing ever with as much as $10.3 million hinging on the outcome.

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AHL Coming To Cleveland In 2007

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP,

The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers has bought a minor league hockey franchise that will begin play at Quicken Loans Arena in 2007. Dan Gilbert's purchase of the Utah Grizzlies, an inactive franchise of the American Hockey League, was approved Tuesday by the AHL's board of governors. The franchise will replace the Cleveland Barons, the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL San Jose Sharks. The Barons moved to Worcester, Mass., this year after losing millions of dollars in five seasons in Cleveland. "We've got a great deal of confidence in the market, and we'll approach this the same way we approach all of our business -- give it the support it needs, build it the right way and make it something really fun that people want to be a part of," Gilbert said in a statement.

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San Jose Has Been Down Before

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The sports cliches are popping up today!!! from the AP via TSN,

"We've been an underdog all year," Wilson said after practice Tuesday. "We've been so far behind, we got lapped. We've been in this position so many times that we're kind of immune to it." "It happens every year, and it hasn't happened yet this year," Wilson said. "We'll be ready, and we'll throw everything we have at Edmonton, and if they win, we'll stand back and applaud them ... but I think our guys will get it done." "Well, it's supposed to be fun," said Jonathan Cheechoo, who has goals in the past two games after a five-game drought. "We're going to try to stick with what's worked for us out there. I think it helps to leave some of the pressure (on the ice) and not think about the game so much." "I don't need any brain doctors to handle this type of situation," Toskala said. "It's going to be fine."
more

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Eastern Coaches Square Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Lindy Ruff and Peter Laviolette held a conference call today to answer a few questions about their team and the upcoming series.

Q. The first couple rounds, the Sabres may have been believed to be or been playing the underdog role. Going in against the Hurricanes, I know you did finish with fewer points, albeit maybe two points. Do you think that underdog role has now been shed from the team? LINDY RUFF: I think it has. I think when you get down to the final four, and you've won two series, you've got two teams that both deserve to be there. I don't believe that you could call either one an underdog. I believe one team is going to get the job done now and one isn't. Q. Have your boys made you go out and get the white bathrobes, the shower sandals that are all the rage in the Triangle now? PETER LAVIOLETTE: It's pretty big here. The hair is God-given. The bathrobe, you get to pick the gifts for Christmas from the team. There was a barbecue set, the 'Canes cooler, 'Canes luggage. He saw the bathrobe, ordered it up. Had the 'Canes logo. The staff went out and sewed No. 22 on it. All of a sudden it's the hit of the Triangle, even getting bigger than that. You know what, he's a terrific person, liked by everybody on the team. He's just got a great personality.
Read the rest in the comment section of this post. It is long but I am sure fans of both teams want as much information as they can get from their head coach.

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Looking Towards Early July

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Random and idle thoughts as the National Hockey League post-mortem season shifts into high gear: Wade Redden's comment that he may or may not be back with the Ottawa Senators flies against the conventional wisdom as it relates to this summer's impressive unrestricted free-agent crop. The thinking, from people both sides of the negotiating fence — agents and general managers — is that the most attractive of the free agents are also the least likely to move elsewhere. That has long been the case in the NHL, where proven stars often give their current teams a home-town discount, simply because they are settled where they are and given their druthers, would rather not pick up house and home to chase the biggest dollars somewhere else in the league.
continued...more free agents mentioned...

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