Kukla's Korner

Choices For Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

After months of sporadic negotiation between the Blue Jackets and restricted free agent Nikolai Zherdev, a recent flurry of talks is bringing the situation to a head. Yesterday, MacLean said, the team made another offer — $6.9 million for three years. Zherdev had the day to think about it before the offer was pulled from the table. "I’m just not sure where to go," MacLean said. "I’m sort of maxed out right now." "If we can’t get something done, I will be moving into the (free-agent) market," MacLean said. "That’s not a threat. It’s just that I’ve got no choice."
read on

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Jaques Crib

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

Demers' favourite room is the TV/theatre room over the double garage. It has rich yellow/gold walls filled with photographs and memorabilia from Demers' distinguished career, including a signed sketch of the coach by the late Charles Schultz, creator of the cartoon strip Peanuts. The room features a 50-inch Samsung plasma TV, four blue chairs, two of which are recliners, and a yellow couch. A medium-brown stained cabinet that holds his beloved miniature replica of the Stanley Cup and his Stanley Cup ring. The family room also has a plasma TV — a 42-inch Samsung. The walls are painted cream and on the floor is a jewelled-tone area rug. There is a beige ceramic gas fireplace .
read on

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Spezza Confident Back Is Fine

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,

Jason Spezza will be ready to roll in the season opener. The Senators centre has been skating for the last two weeks after having back surgery May 31 and he's confident he'll be fine when the puck drops. "It's feeling a lot better than it did at the end of the season and in the playoffs," said Spezza, who had disc surgery. "I should be fine. I'm going to go into camp and see how it feels. I think I'll be able to do everything everybody else does, but I can't make that prediction right now."

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Ovechkin Feeling Stronger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the National Post,

The Washington Capitals' boy wonder sure doesn't look too happy. In fact, he looks like a cross between a clown and an acrobat from the Moscow Circus. His face is contorted in concentration, his tongue is hanging down to his chin and his feet are balanced, precariously, on a giant blue sphere. Elevating the irritation factor is a svelte and perfectly sculpted bundle of muscle named Tony Mark, who keeps lobbing a tennis ball at Ovechkin's midsection. The NHL rookie of the year keeps bunting it back with the blade of a hockey stick. "I'm a little bit scared of it," Ovechkin says of the almost daily balancing act he has been performing for the past four weeks at Balance Personal Training, Mark's boutique gym in mid-town Toronto. "I like more to play hockey. I don't like to practice."
more image

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A Couple Messages

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A2Y has a two messages, one for Detroit fans and the other for... According to Red Wings Central-

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Boyd Devereaux is expected to arrive at the team's training camp in Traverse City, Mich., next week as a tryout, a camp official said Friday night.

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RFAs Still Unsigned

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector at Fox Sports,

The contentious contract talks between Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean and forward Nikolai Zherdev show no sign of abating. MacLean's hard-nosed approach has spurred questioning of his tactics from the local media and fans. There's speculation MacLean may have made another offer to Zherdev's agent, motivated more perhaps by Zherdev's threat to play in Russia this season than from local criticism. Time is running out for MacLean to get the talented youngster under contract. If Zherdev plays one game in Russia after the start of the 2006-07 NHL season, he'd have to pass through waivers before he could report back to the Blue Jackets, where he would be plucked away by a rival club. That would effectively make him unable for the Jackets to bring him back this season.
much more on they key RFAs...

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Pittsburgh Rookies Hit The Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

The young Russian star stepped on Mellon Arena ice for the first time Friday afternoon. It was a moment he had dreamed about since the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him second overall at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. That’s because he grew up idolizing Penguins icon Mario Lemieux. “It is difficult for me to describe my feelings because it was like a dream came true,” said Malkin via translator Olga McQueen. “I felt very proud and excited and, at the same time, a bit nervous. But everything goes so great because everyone shows me so much support that I am really very pleased. The ice is great. I really enjoy my time here.”
more

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Babcock Addresses A Few Topics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Traverse City Record Eagle,

We were the fifth best team of all-time last season during the regular season. We were good offensively, good defensively. It seemed we were able to play any (type of) game. But we were unable to score and unable to keep it out at playoff time — and we got beat by a better team at playoff time in Edmonton. We have to address those things (that went awry)." On Thursday, he touched on a number of other topics. • On who he expects will elevate their games: "Datsyuk and Zetterberg really took a step last year, and we expect them to take another step. People can say all they want about (Datsyuk) not scoring in the playoffs, but he was hurt and didn't play at the start. He's a dominant player. We're not concerned about that at all. He's a great hockey player and competitor. He and Zetterberg give us an unbelievable one-two combination."
more

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Sabres Sign Miller

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms with goaltender Ryan Miller on a three-year deal.

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A Fluid Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

As NHL training camps open next week, Blake will be one of more than a hundred players starting fresh, with new teams. Some moved on in blockbuster trades — Roberto Luongo is in Vancouver, Todd Bertuzzi in sunny Florida. Some signed as free agents — Blake, Zdeno Chara, Ed Jovanovski, Jason Arnott. There were changes at the top end of rosters and there were changes at the bottom. Just about every transaction was filtered through the game's new economics, which theoretically leveled the playing field for all 30 teams and left the chase for the Stanley Cup wide open again. "It's going to be very fluid," said the Nashville Predators' Paul Kariya, "and obviously, with the age for unrestricted free agency going down, it's going to be even more like this in the years to come. I think this is just the beginning."
more

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