Kukla's Korner

Waiting On X-ray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the OC Register,

Scott Niedermayer is scheduled to have an X-ray on his right foot to see what, if any, healing has occurred in the stress fracture that has kept him out of skates since Jan.20. Niedermayer was able to rest for 12 days over the All-Star break to give the injury time to heal.
Niedermayer is expected return, but how much time it will take remains undetermined.
“The doctors are going to describe what’s going on there,” Niedermayer said. “Certainly the impression I had from our initial discussion was to at least give it a chance to start healing - and if it doesn’t look like that’s happening, then eventually I should get back and start playing.”

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Riding Raycroft

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

In reiterating yesterday that Raycroft could play all 31 remaining games, the coach would be making the inconsistent Raycroft the first Leafs goalie since Potvin to get in 70 decisions in one season. Potvin established that club record in 1996-97, but his mark of 27 wins, 36 losses and seven ties failed to get the Leafs in the playoffs.
“I’m going to run Razor as hard as I possibly can,” Maurice said when questioned about playing Jean-Sebastien Aubin tonight against the New York Rangers, the only back-to-back games situation this month. “I think his game is coming along. He won us a game, in my mind, in Tampa and he was solid the other night against Montreal.

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NHL Looking At Racing Guy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star Telegram,

People who know Eddie Gossage say he could sell ice to an Eskimo. What the NHL is interested in investigating is if the TMS (Texas Motor Speedway) president can sell ice hockey to apathetic fans.
Sources confirmed that a headhunter has contacted Gossage on behalf of the NHL to gauge his interest in joining the league in a yet-to-be-determined executive position.

continued

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Rags Look To Add The Other “Walt”

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

[A]s the Blueshirts prepare for tonight’s Garden match against the Maple Leafs, Plan A appears to be St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk, who, in the final season of a contract under which he earns $5.7 million, has played a significant amount of center for the Blues this season while re-elevating his game. Tkachuk, 34 in March, has a no-trade clause, but it’s believed he would waive it to become a rental player with the Blueshirts.
But the cost isn’t going to be at all cheap, even if it’s understood that Tkachuk would return to St. Louis after becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1….
The Post has learned the Rangers have inquired into a couple of Plan B alternatives. The Blueshirts, who have been engaged in various trade discussions with the Blackhawks since late October, have inquired about 35-year-old Bryan Smolinski, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Brian Smolinskis of the world tend to have a better track record than superstar acquisitions when June rolls around…

continued

 

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Talking Shop With GM’s

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Canadian Press’s Pierre LeBrun was able to squeeze a few deadline-related comments out of several GM’s on Monday evening:

“My sense is that it’s going to go down closer to the trade deadline,” Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland said yesterday.
“If you look at the standings, in the East every team except Philly is within six points of a playoff spot and in the West, 12 teams are within six or eight points of a playoff spot. So I think we’re going to be waiting for the last few days to the deadline.”

“Teams are walking that tight rope,” said Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke. “It takes courage to sell this early. But I think there will be so few teams mathematically eliminated at the deadline that the playoff-bound teams will end up fighting over five or six guys.”

“We’ve had more calls probably in the last 10 days on some of our unrestricted players,” [Flyers GM Paul Holmgren] said. “I would say that’s a fair comment, that it’s heating up.”

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Kapanen Decides To Stick It Out

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Delaware County Times:

IKapanen, 33, has let the Flyers know he wants to come back next season and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has responded in kind, saying the team wants Kapanen back as well.
“I would like to stay here and I’m confident we can make it work,” Kapanen said. “I could see myself and my family staying here after hockey. The longer you stay here, the more comfortable you get. The way we’ve been living over here, it’s been fun.”

At this point, Sami Kapanen’s much more likely to exit Philly as a spring rental than Peter Forsberg…

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Can Stevie Sell

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Accordingly, the attraction of going to Russia to play in the 2007 tournament, after a long difficult NHL season that ended in either a missed playoff spot or an early playoff exit, can sometimes cause a candidate to say ‘thanks but no thanks.’
Hockey Canada believes that when Yzerman is at the other end of the telephone, making a pitch for participation, that players will have a difficult time saying no to the future Hall of Famer. It is a strategy that worked well during Wayne Gretzky’s various turns as Canada’s Olympic and World Cup GM.
How will Yzerman do as a salesman?

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NHL Beats NCAA B-Ball

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A little snippet today in Blog Maverick, the blog of Mark Cuban…

The NHL Beats College Basketball in the Ratings
The NHL on NBC beat College Basketball on CBS, 1.1 to .70 Is College Basketball doomed?  Does no one care anymore about college basketball?  Is the NHL on a resurgent climb? (This just in, NHL was up again to 1.3 on NBC) Is NBC just really good? Are both great sports in a crowded market? Stay tuned

Thanks to a KK member for the heads-up.

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Overstating The Facts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Montgomery at USA TODAY,

But I can tell you that former Wing Mark Mowers did not enjoy playing for Babcock, and I know that Tomas Holmstrom, Jason Williams and Andreas Lilja have all griped to the media about being benched by Babcock. But to call it an all-out coach-against-players situation is really overstating the facts. There is probably not a team in the league that doesn’t have players who are ticked off at their coach. It’s just part of the game. Besides, some of these Wings played for Scotty Bowman, the coach who wrote the book on head games played with players, and they did pretty well. The only thing that matters is results on the ice.

much more on the NHL from Ted… and he remembers The Gumper…

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Those Shadowy Figures

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star Tribune,

It’s 6:40 p.m. on a Thursday night, and Gary Harker has settled into his familiar spot in another corner of another dimly lit high school hockey rink.
All his tools are ready to go. He’s got his notebook—the contents of which might tip the future of an NHL hopeful in one direction or another—and his bag of arena popcorn.
“This is my supper,” he says. “I don’t eat the hot dogs.”
Most think of Harker and the three other NHL scouts in Edina’s Braemar Arena as sports’ version of super-spies, shadowy figures in dark coats recording secret observations and disappearing from the back rows of the stands.

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