Kukla's Korner

Time For The NHLPA To Open The Books

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

While Saskin has been clearly hoping the dissidents would gradually lose steam and fade away, the decision of the player reps is clear evidence that over the past year many moderate and disinterested players have slowly become increasingly militant, frustrated at the stories and speculation surrounding the union and their inability to get answers to straightforward financial and procedural questions….
The turning point, in retrospect, may have come last November when ex-player Steve Larmer, a widely respected individual in union circles, stepped down from his position as the NHLPA’s director of player relations.
Larmer said he felt the union had taken “a giant step backwards, back to the days of (Alan) Eagleson where a select few made decisions for the group.”

more

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Looking To Jagr

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

It is up to Jagr to shoulder the burden over the final 34 games and the Rangers in the middle of a seven-team pack hunting for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. And No. 68 understands that.
“I’m not going to talk about what the team should do; I have to be the first guy to do it,” said Jagr, who chose his words very carefully so as not to appear egotistical. “I’m not saying that I am the team, but if I play good, the team will play good.
“I understand that it’s a team game, but when the game is on the line, individuals have to make the difference. That’s what I truly believe.
“If you want to be a special guy, you have to have special moments. That’s what I play for. That’s what I live for.”

more

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Steve Sullivan’s High Horse

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Nashville City Paper:

“Nothing has changed for us this season,” right wing Steve Sullivan said. “Detroit is right on our heels. We continue on our path toward the goals we set in August and September. We still have a lot of work to do.
“We are at the point now where we are getting some of the best performances from the opposition. It is not as if it is just another game. That makes us better and more aware. With the balanced scoring we have, if a team is not quite ready for us we are able to score some goals.”
“We don’t have players going to the Internet to see how much coverage we are getting,” Sullivan said. “We are the prototypical new NHL team. We are the team everybody is going to be trying to mold themselves after for years to come.

I’m all for the power of positive thinking, but Sullivan’s snobbery’s just silly.

continued

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A Rip-Roaring Good Time

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Montreal Gazette:

For going on half a century, Rip Simonick has been up to his armpits in long johns, damp equipment, dull skates and many hundreds of hockey players - the great, the good and the ghastly alike.
Heaven on Earth, in other words.
Simonick, 57, is the longest-serving equipment manager in the NHL, an employee of the Buffalo Sabres since shortly after the club’s birth in 1969. He’s midway through his 36th season, nearly twice the service of Pierre Gervais, his counterpart with the Canadiens, and five years more than Gervais’s retired predecessor, Eddy Palchak.

“Today, we’re labourers, psychologists and babysitters. They call me a father figure, and I guess I can do it all. My job, as (former Sabres coach and general manager) Scotty Bowman told me long ago, is to eliminate the stuff that bothers the players, to make sure that they have everything they need to perform to the best of their ability.”

continued

 

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Is It A Sin To Covet Another Town’s Team?

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Kansas City Star:

Hey, Pittsburgh, cut us some slack, will you?
Like Michael said in “The Godfather,” “It’s strictly business.”
The Penguins want a new arena, and Pittsburgh has been slow in making plans to replace the dump that the team plays in now.
So how is that Kansas City’s fault?

continued

 

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NHL Extends Versus TV Deal Another Year?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

William Houston of the Globe & Mail had an interesting tidbit buried in his column,

Versus, the U.S. cable channel, has extended its deal with the NHL through 2007-08. The Versus audiences are growing, up to about 195,000 a game, but far short of ESPN’s 416,000 average in 2003-04.

much more…  including status of negotiations between the NHL, CBC and TSN for 2008-09

*Some analysis at The Ice Block who spotted this story earlier.

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Testing The Limits Of Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press (Friday edition) via the Mercury News,

The All-Star Game was on Versus. That’s a cable network. Or so I’m told.
This kind of thing can kill a sport’s national audience. But the NHL has high ambitions. The league apparently wants to kill its local audience, too.
How else can we explain 32 Red Wings games against Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis and Nashville? Three of those teams stink.
Unbalanced scheduling is how they do it in baseball. But here is the difference:
People like watching baseball.
Before you send me gasoline-drenched e-mails, let me explain: I understand that some people think hockey is the greatest sport ever. Others (like me) enjoy it, especially live, and especially in the playoffs.

more

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GM Stevie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

It is not yet official and probably won’t be for another week or two, but it looks like Steve Yzerman will be the general manager of Team Canada at the 2007 World Championship in Russia.
The recently-retired superstar, who is now a vice-president with the Detroit Red Wings, has had several conversations about the job with Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson.

continued

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Youth Hockey In China

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the China Daily,

“Our goal is to find a ‘Yao Ming’ for China’s ice hockey team,” said Angela Ruggiero, director of Project Hope, initiated by Charles B. Wang, owner of National Hockey League (NHL) team New York Islanders.
The project was launched in August last year, and over the next five years it will aim to establish a China Ice Hockey Training Centre, three Women’s Ice Hockey Training Bases, 30 primary and 10 middle schools under Ice Hockey Project Hope.
So far, the project has involved eight schools in Harbin, Qiqihar and Jiamusi, three major cities in northeast China’s Herlongjiang province.

more

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Weinrich Signs With Portland Pirates

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from WCHS6,

Anaheim Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and Portland Pirates General Manager Bob Murray announced that the team has signed defenseman Eric Weinrich to a professional tryout (PTO) agreement, effective Thursday, January 25th.
“The Anaheim organization gave me the opportunity to stay in hockey and stay in Maine this summer as a coach. It was a great chance for me to stay in the game I love and settle the family in Maine,” said Weinrich. “Now, Kevin Dineen and the Anaheim Ducks presented me with the scenario of becoming a player. To live at home, not change the daily routine much and still have the same home with my family has made the decision almost a no-brainer. I still have the desire to compete and I would love to win in Portland.”

read on

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