Kukla's Korner

Imagine Niemi In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gary Peterson at the Mercury News,

But, and here we arrive at Niemi’s unique appeal where the Sharks are concerned, how delicious would it be to wind up with the goalie from the team that swept you in last season’s conference finals? Before you dismiss it as no factor, remember that Wilson, like most GMs in the NHL, isn’t known for pursuing restricted free agents, but he still signed Chicago’s Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet.

The Sharks and Chicago were the class of the West last season. The Blackhawks were the hottest when the two teams met in the playoffs. Now the salary cap has turned them into what could be a one-hit wonder. This could signal some high times for the Sharks, if they can get their goalie situation in order. If they can do that and strike a psychological blow against the reigning Stanley Cup champions? Reasonably priceless.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

Why Was Tim Kennedy Waived?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Darcy Regier never came across as an unseemly character, so you wanted to take him at his word Tuesday when he insisted there were no ulterior motives for waiving Tim Kennedy four days after the South Buffalo native was awarded a one-year contract worth $1 million in arbitration.

Regier said he held no resentment toward Kennedy after he had the audacity to challenge the Sabres over money. The general manager made it clear that he was not intending to send a message to other players in the future. The decision to buy out the hometown winger was just, well, you know, business.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+kennedy

Bargain Days Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

With just over a month to go before the start of training camp, 50-plus unrestricted free agent veterans are looking for employment.

“I think everyone is tying up their key players, and the squeeze has been on the bottom six forwards and bottom two defensemen,” Burke said. “There have been bargains already, and there will be more bargains.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kovalchuk Arbitration Hearing Begins Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Everson of the NY Post,

If, as expected, arbitrator Richard Bloch rules in favor of Kovalchuk, perhaps as late as Monday, his contract will be immediately validated. But then the Devils will have to find a way to shed some $5-6 million in salary-cap liability by season’s start to get under the $59.4 million lid and still have wiggle room for injuries.

Vital players would have to go, perhaps among Bryce Salvador, Colin White and Dainius Zubrus, either by trade or waiver/demotion.

Most important, such a verdict would validate heavily front-loaded contracts that the NHL claim circumvent the CBA, and become a major NHL demand for the next pact.

Should Bloch back the NHL and find that the contract is indeed an end-run around the CBA, Kovalchuk would again become an unrestricted free agent, and teams like the Kings and Rangers, as well as the Devils, would again be able to bid for his services in a more straight-forward salary arrangement.

Although it appears unlikely, the NHL then also would have the option of initiating its own punitive action against Kovalchuk and the Devils. A circumvention ruling off a league-filed action could cost the Devils $1.5 million in fines, with a similar amount deducted from their cap limit. Kovalchuk himself could be liable to a fine of $250,000-$1 million.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Detroit Wanted Modano

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

They believed enough in Modano to fly him in and sell him on the franchise. Imagine, selling someone on what is arguably the best managed and most successful franchise in the NHL for the better part of the last two decades.

Detroit has won 15 division championships – and four Stanley Cups – in the last 20 seasons. The Red Wings typically are top five in scoring and in power-play success. They have produced numerous All-Stars and trophy winners.

And they seriously believe Modano will make them better.

That is intoxicating to a guy who was just told that he should look elsewhere.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+modano

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I’m always going to be a New York Islander. I’m always going to be a supporter of Charles and the franchise. My relationship with the team and the fans there is second only to family. The opportunity to be part of it again these last four years was really special for me. All I have are positive feelings and a lot of appreciation for the people I had the opportunity to work with…”

-Bryan Trottier who was recently relieved of his duties as player development coach for the Islanders.  More from Chris Botta of NYI Point Blank.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+trottier

Datsyuk Has No Plans To Play In The KHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via RussiaToday,

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk says he is not planning to return the KHL like some other Russian veteran hockey players did this summer.

“Do you think it’s time for me to quit? I turned 32 just recently, and I plan to play for five or seven more years,” Datsyuk wondered in an interview with Sportbox.ru.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner believes that the NHL is the better place for a longstanding career.

“On average, the NHL players finish their careers three or four years later than in Russia. And the reason is – I do not want to offend anybody – is that there is more one professionalism [in the NHL]. I have long realized that if you want to achieve something, you must sacrifice something,” he said.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pavel+datsyuk

You Know Where They Really Love Them Some Willa Right Now?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Chicago’s too busy with their own issues to worry about this thing.  Seriously.  That town’s in a Turco tailspin right now and it’s best that we just leave them be to figure out how to fix their own house.  In the East?  Pittsburgh may raise an eyebrow but that’s a rivalry we really won’t care about again until next June for the Clubber Lang edition.

But there are places across our great land where the angst is boiling over, as usual.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Antti Niemi . . . We Hardly Knew Ye

Blog: KK Members Blog By eternal_fields

So just like that, the Antti Niemi Era has ended . . . almost as unspectacularly as it began.

This week, the Blackhawks let their rookie Stanley Cup-winning goaltender walk away from a $2.75 million arbitration ruling and ushered in Dallas castoff Marty Turco as his replacement.

Make no mistake: The Niemi Era was short lived, but spectacular.

It began in fits and starts with no small amount of organizational waffling as Joel Quenneville and the Hawks brain trust bent over backwards giving Cristobal Huet every possible chance to cling to the starter’s job. But throughout the regular season, Huet ran from lukewarm to cold, leaving many to wonder about the kid from Finland who was exceptional in most of his backup stints. This went on and on and sometime in March – long after it became apparent to everybody with a functioning pair of eyes that Niemi was the man – Huet gagged hard in an 8-3 loss to lowly Columbus and the Hawks had no choice but to make it official: Huet was toast and Niemi was the Hawks new #1.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

Demers Lucky To Be Alive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

A gruesome accident during what should have been a routine operation nearly killed hockey man-turned-parliamentarian Jacques Demers this summer.

The frail-looking Conservative senator has gone public to describe his brush with death.

Now resting at his Montreal-area home, Demers has lost 43 pounds this summer and even his voice is sounding a little thinner.

Demers described his ordeal in an interview with the RDS sports network, where he worked for years as a hockey analyst.


Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+demers

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