Kukla's Korner

Always Hope

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Excerpted from Leafs Abomination: The Dismayed Fan’s Handbook to Why the Leafs Stink and How They Can Rise Again.

from the Globe and Mail,

There is nothing that prepares you for it. You’re grinding away in your hockey career, pulling yourself up each rung of the ladder. The toast of small- town Canada in junior. Riding the buses in the anonymity of the American Hockey League as a young pro. Waiting for a shot.

Then you make the League, and while the money is good, playing in Nashville or St. Louis or Phoenix is a lesson in humility. You’re a big shot at the arena on game nights, but on Thursday afternoon at ShopRite? Not so much.

But then you get traded, or you sign as a free agent.

And overnight you’re a Toronto Maple Leaf. In an instant, your life changes.

continued

If interested in the book, it can be purchased at Amazon.

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

Did Heatley Get A Wake-Up Call?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTV Olympics,

For now, the consensus around the NHL is that the only reason Heatley hasn’t been traded yet is because no one is prepared to give the Senators full value in return. When the dollar commitment to a player is so staggering, any GM making that sort of deal puts himself squarely on the firing line.

He needs to be absolutely convinced he can make it work. Otherwise, if it blows up in his face, it is the sort of gaffe that can send a GM to the unemployment lines in a hurry. And so, these managers protect themselves by offering a discounted value - and if the deal doesn’t go through, there is no harm in trying.

On Thursday night, during Canada’s intra-squad game at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Heatley made his first public appearance since his trade demand and was roundly booed whenever he touched the puck - or until he scored a goal in the shootout. That had to be a sobering moment for him - to get that sort of reaction in his hometown, where you’d think the fans would be happy that he didn’t end up in Edmonton.

And if that experience has an effect on Heatley, then who knows? Maybe it will act as an awakening for a 28-year-old young man who, up to now, skated away clean through all the trials and tribulations of his life thus far - presumably leaving him with the feeling of being bulletproof, invulnerable.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Not The Time For Internal Bickering

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

There are suggestions that Kelly is in trouble for not taking a hard enough line (suggesting in one interview, for instance, that his job in the next contract negotiation was to avoid a lockout rather than to secure the best possible deal for the players). But many people inside and outside the NHLPA’s membership are pointing fingers directly at Lindros (and his parents) now, suggesting that he is the driving force behind what appears to be a budding insurrection.

Hockey fans can be forgiven for not caring about any of that. Battles among millionaires don’t exactly tug at the heartstrings, especially at a time of real economic woes for real people.

But that said, anyone who is interested in a resolution of the Phoenix debacle that would result in a seventh NHL franchise in Canada, or who would like the pros to continue playing in the Olympic Games after 2010, has a vested interest in who is leading the PA.

more

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Report- Tanguay To Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RDS (translated) is reporting Tanguay has agreed to a 1yr. contract with Tampa Bay.

added 9:20pm, Meanwhile…

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

The Wild continues to wait patiently for free-agent winger Alex Tanguay to make a decision on his future.

While sources say the Wild hasn’t budged on a one-year, $2.5 million offer—the max it can legitimately offer the playmaker and still be comfortably under the $56.8 million salary cap ceiling—the Wild has continued to talk to both Tanguay and his agent….

The biggest obstacle for the Wild is Tampa Bay. If Tanguay signs with the Lightning, he has been told he would play alongside star center Vincent Lecavalier, which could be too good an opportunity to pass up.

The Lightning offered Tanguay a one-year, $2 million deal, sources said. But since the Lightning has more salary-cap room than Minnesota, Tanguay’s stall tactics could be a way of trying to get the Lightning to come up in price as training camp approaches.

more

added 9:50pm, TSN is just confirming the RDS report.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+tanguay

NHL Monitoring Flu Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Bruce Constantineau of the Vancouver Sun,

North American sports leagues — including hockey, football, basketball and university sports — will ramp up during the flu season this fall and winter but few are planning for worst-case scenarios that would see games or seasons cancelled and millions of dollars of revenues lost.

The National Hockey League’s response is typical.

“We’ve focused on it and met internally to discuss the matter but at this time we have no firm ‘cancellation’ or other contingency plan in place,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and step up our preparation efforts if and when it becomes necessary.”

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“This is a soap opera.  This ends in legal hell regardless of the outcome.”

-Robert Boland, professor of sports management at New York University on the Phoenix situation.  More from Ben Klayman of Reuters.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Can The Blackhawks Continue To Improve?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

“The challenging thing is that it just doesn’t magically happen again,” Bowman added. “There’s an awful lot that has to happen to get back to that level.”

One of the biggest challenges for the team might be in how it now is perceived around the NHL. For a team that spent as long as the Blackhawks did looking up at the rest of the league, they will have to get used to being considered contenders. That not-so-subtle change in dynamics isn’t lost on Bowman.

“I like our chances,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expectations, but, like I said, you can’t be paralyzed by it.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kings Hockey Fest Starts Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The LA Kings have been doing a great job in promoting their Hockey Fest so they deserve a little attention… 

Kings Vision, the Los Angeles Kings’ Online Video Network featured at LAKings.com, will be streaming live coverage of both the Opening Ceremony and the Triple Crown Speaker Series during LA Kings Hockey Fest ’09, a three-day interactive festival set to open later tonight at LA Live in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. 

Live coverage of Hockey Fest ’09 begins tonight at 6:30 p.m PT. when Kings Vision takes you inside the Nokia Theatre for team/alumni/and special guest introductions followed by a special acoustic performance by Eddie Kowalcyck of LIVE.  After Eddie’s performance, the Kings Care Foundation, the Kings award-winning children’s charity, will make a special announcement.  To tune into tonight’s coverage, visit http://www.lakings.com/hockeyfestlive

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Now Have Some Room To Move

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,

...But beyond that, trading Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich clears $4.67 million in cap space, and signing Torrey Mitchell and Brad Staubitz (or someone else for the fourth line) and Thomas Greiss is likely to leave maybe an extra $2 million on the table. All of which would seem to give GM Doug Wilson more flexibility for whatever roster maneuvering may lie ahead between now and that 2010 trade deadline.

Hypothetical: Let’s just say the Sharks do want Dany Heatley and the $7.5 million cap hit he brings. Now they don’t have to clear dollar-for-dollar to make that happen. Same principle would apply to any lesser deals.

“When the right thing is there,” Wilson said today, referring to ongoing talks with other teams this summer, “having that flexibility is a wonderful thing under this system, being able to explore things or put closure to them. When the timing is right and it makes sense to both teams, you have the flexibility and those things can happen.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Gillis Talks Canucks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Gillis of the Canucks was just on the Bill Watters Show on 640am in Toronto.  He feels he defense can now generate 180-200 points from his defense and that is what he was looking for.

He said you need puck moving dmen and offensive-minded too in order to be successful in the league.

They realized depth at ‘D’ was an issue and felt they needed 8 NHL type dmen to succeed this year.

Bill asked him about Sundin, Gillis said they have had discussions with him over the summer and after his wedding this week, he will let them know if he is coming back.  Says Mats was happy playing in Vancouver and liked the city.  Said Sundin was a force in the room and would be happy to have him back.  Mike did say he would have to be in Vancouver from day 1 and Mats realizes that too.

Gillis feels the Canucks need to work on their discipline and felt they should have won the Chicago series.  PP struggled and more offense should have been generated from their defense.

With Luongo they know they will not be drafting high and feels 20 goals+ from six players this season is expected from the current roster.

added 4:40pm, As Greg Brady (co-host with Bill) just said, it sounds like Sundin is coming back.  Stated Gillis would have shot-down the Sundin talk but it sure did not seem that way.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+gillis

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