Kukla's Korner

Comrie Will Not Be An Oiler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

It may be the hottest rumour on Internet sites, but forget about Mike Comrie and the Edmonton Oilers kissing and making up.

“It ain’t happening ... he ain’t coming here,” said a well-informed source. “Mike doesn’t fit any need that we have right now.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+comrie

All Stephen Walkom

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Brophy does a Q & A with Stephen Walkom who has left his job as the NHL’s director of officiating and will be returning as a referee this season.

Sportsnet.ca: Some critics suggested the standard for calls took a little dip in last season’s playoffs and once again referees were turning a blind eye to infractions. Do you agree?

Walkom: They talked about it a little bit, but I think everybody is always ready to pounce on it. That’s why I compared the first period prior to the lockout against the first period of this year’s playoffs. Yeah, there was probably one penalty in the first period that we should have called, but we don’t want our guys making up penalties just so we can call the standard. Was there one hook missed? Yeah, there was. Was there a hold we could have called in the second period? Perhaps. But the thing is there were 14 of those four years earlier. Our guys aren’t missing penalties by choice; not calling penalties because of the time of the game or the score of the game. That mentality is gone. If they see something, they react to it.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: stephen+walkom

Gretzky Will Stay With Phoenix If Ice Edge Gets The Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

If Ice Edge LLC nets the Phoenix Coyotes, then it may be thanks to a big assist from Wayne Gretzky.

The group of Canadian and American hockey-loving investors seem to have gotten their wish in getting Gretzky to have a bigger role with the club in the first inkling that the Great One has chosen a side in the bankruptcy case.

“Mr. Gretzky is actively working with Ice Edge Team LLC and Ice Edge Arena LLC (together, the `Ice Edge Group’) who may become the eventual owners of the team,” said a brief the NHL filed in support of its own bid for the bankrupt club.

“We have been working with Wayne very closely throughout this process,” said Ice Edge CEO Daryl Jones. “If we are successful, and we expect to be, he will have a major role in the Coyotes.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

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
 

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