Kukla's Korner

Remembering The Sabres Bankruptcy Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,

Henrik Tallinder was a typical rookie, happy to be in the NHL and possessing a mind filled with questions. The best place to go for answers was to the veterans, but the defenseman noticed they were occasionally preoccupied. Even a 23-year-old newcomer could tell why.

Mixed in with power-play meetings were bankruptcy updates. In addition to game plans, the 2002-03 Buffalo Sabres had to discuss which prospective owner might buy the team. Some guys had their minds split on faceoffs and court dates, wondering whether a judge would permit their bonuses to be paid.

It certainly wasn’t how Tallinder had pictured professional sports, but it’s how things were on the bankrupt Sabres team being run by the league.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It Is Important The Predators Make The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

Over the past five years, only four National Hockey League teams have made more playoff appearances than the Nashville Predators.

But after failing to reach the postseason last year, those numbers shouldn’t necessarily make the franchise feel comfortable.

Some sports business experts believe it’s even more important to produce a consistent winner in nontraditional hockey markets such as Nashville than in places where the sport has deeper roots, where fans are more likely to keep their hearts and wallets open to the team, even in less successful times.

Miss the playoffs for a year in a place like Music City, and you can probably repair the damage done to the fan base, ticket sales and sponsorships. Miss the playoffs on a regular basis, however, and there’s the risk of encountering the bane of all sports franchises: apathy.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Good lord. Brad May is a Red Wing, signing a one-year, $500,000 deal. He’s a teammate of Todd Bertuzzi again (as they were in Anaheim a couple years ago).

I’d say this is further proof the Wings are on the way down, when Brad May is the most desirable signing option right now.

-Adrian Dater of All Things Avs.  Read more from Adrian.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+may

What Happened To The Severe Punishment?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province via Canada.com,

“If there’s tampering going on, ultimately there are no secrets in this world. We will get to the bottom of it,” Bettman vowed in May 2008.“And I’m no fan of tampering. And when it happens, it gets punished severely.

“A team that meddles with an individual under contract could face heavy fines and the loss of draft picks. And an individual who talks to a team while he’s still under contract would face fines and a possible suspension.”

Seventeen months later, severe punishment has been reduced to a gag order. “Heavy fines” and the “loss of draft picks” have turned into $25,000 US. And Bettman’s call to arms has become a call to prayer. Because we should all pray that the Leafs aren’t allowed to operate above the law because of their power, friends and influence.

Here’s the kicker, even if the Canucks think the decision is a farce, they are not allowed to express it, by NHL order.


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

Victor Hedman Not Your Ordinary Rookie Defenseman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,

With the style of game he plays and fluid skating style, Hedman is Nicklas Lidstrom with size. With a big build, long reach and neutralizing ability on the rush, he is Chris Pronger without the mean streak.

“Victor Hedman brings to his game an unsurpassed combinations of size, explosiveness in his skating, quickness and offensive ability,” NHL director of central scouting E.J. Maguire said prior to the draft. “He is indeed the whole package.”

While defensemen often take a few seasons to figure the game out at the NHL level, Hedman has stepped right into a top-two role on the Lightning’s defense in the first two games….

“He just doesn’t look like a rookie, and not just the way he looks because he is big, but the way he skates, the way he thinks, the way he does things out there, he’s more like a 30-year-old than 18,” Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said.

“In my mind, he blew right by (any expectations).”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: victor+hedman

IS There A Captain Candidate In Toronto?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,

Coach Ron Wilson has indicated the vacancy will be filled in the coming weeks. GM Brian Burke told the Star yesterday maybe yes and maybe no. “If the coach names a captain, I’ll totally support his decision. But the word `soon’ implies there’s a need for it in the near future. I’m not sure we even have the right guy right now.”...

It’s telling that no successor to Sundin jumps out as the obvious choice. Arguably the Leaf “brand’’ these days, the face of the franchise, is Burke. In his image the club has purportedly been designed. He’s the template.

Burke rejects that characterization. “I don’t want to be the face of the team. Sure, I’ve been doing all the TV and radio to kick off the season but now the players take over. Soon, you’ll be looking for me on milk cartons.”


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

Chicago Will Have Salary Cap Issues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

Monitoring each NHL team’s proximity to the NHL’s $56.8 million salary cap has become a daily routine.

The Chicago Blackhawks are a great example of a team whose payroll indicates that moves are coming and good players could have to go.

The Blackhawks have 13 players under contract for 2010-2011 and a committed payroll of $43 million. Assuming the cap stays the same, that leaves roughly $15 million for Chicago to re-sign ten restricted free agents and two potential unrestricted free agents in John Madden and injured forward Adam Burish.

Star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, along with defenceman Duncan Keith are among the Hawks’ free agent class.

Early indications suggest Keith can expect $5 million or higher, while Toews and Kane may come in around $6.5 million each on an annual average. That’s $18 million for just three players.


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

Wings Sign Brad May

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Detroit Red Wings have added some more veteran experience to their team as they have signed forward Brad May to a one-year deal.

added 11:27pm, per Bob McKenzie, contract is $500K

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+may

Watch Kings Ransom

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

In case you missed or were unable to watch Kings Ransom on ESPN, you can view it below.

Kings Ransom is the story of the 1988 trade that brought Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

Brad Smith A Hall Of Famer? - Yep

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,

Perhaps Brad Smith’s greatest talent as an athlete was his ability to make an impression.

With his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 17, Smith has ensured it’ll be a lasting one.

“For a mediocre player, I had a great NHL career,” said Smith, who played 222 NHL games before a back injury forced his retirement after the 1986-87 season.

“Knowing you’re liked and well-respected by people because they took you for what you were means a lot to me.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+smith

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