Kukla's Korner

No Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

(Question: When did hockey last appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, that arbiter of mainstream American sports taste? Answer: Aside from a Steve Yzerman commemorative edition produced for the Detroit market, it was Oct. 14, 2002.)
But Bettman is undeterred. He is still trying to accomplish the mission he was hired to perform. He can’t make a hard left turn now, or ever.
When might the NHL add teams in Canada? When the business implodes, or when the vision changes — which might amount to the same thing.
Either would require, or inspire, a change at the top.

more

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Pens Knockin’ Boots With Del Biaggio?

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from The Hockey News:

William “Boots” Del Biaggio, a former minority owner of the San Jose Sharks and frequent golfing partner of Mario Lemieux, has emerged as a potential buyer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sources say Del Biaggio would then attempt to relocate the Penguins to Kansas City, pending approval from the NHL’s board of governors.
Del Biaggio, a prominent San Jose businessman, tried to purchase the Penguins in the summer of 2005 and signed a letter of intent to do so, but the sale was pulled off the table after the Penguins won the draft lottery and the rights to Sidney Crosby.
Del Biaggio headed a group that was poised to buy the Penguins for about $100 million last summer, but then Lemieux and partner Ron Burkle, a California grocery magnate, announced that they would keep control of the Penguins.

continued

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Signs Of Slippage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gerry Fraley at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

There are signs of slippage, which the NHL has inflicted upon itself.
— Entering Wednesday’s play, per-game attendance was down 2.6 percent from last season. Attendance numbers are tickets distributed, not bodies in the building. There are numerous anecdotal offerings throughout the league of in-house totals being far less than the announced attendance.
The six Canadian clubs returned from the lockout stronger than ever and continue to draw well. Edmonton is the laggard, and it is playing to 98.5 percent of building capacity.
It’s a different matter in the States.

much more

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Hockey Speak- Canucks & Beyond Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Alanah finds the hockey quotes you may have missed.

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Gifts For Everyone

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox at ESPN,

For some NHLers and teams, Christmas came early. Columbus got a new head coach and a new attitude. Mats Sundin potted his 500th goal. Evgeni Malkin successfully got himself out of Russia, and Garth Snow got his dream job.
What else might appear under the tree, and for whom? Here are some hockey suggestions for Santa:
• A long, lingering smile for Brian Burke: You’re winning. Life is good. Enjoy.
• A world without hypocrisy for Rick Tocchet: So being a bookie, or an alleged bookie, is unforgivable. But cozying up to casinos and Internet betting sites is OK. Somebody ‘splain the critical difference, please.

more

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Under Review

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Behind the scene video of the “Review Room” in Toronto.

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The Ultimate Power Forward

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Debbie Eicksen at NBC Sports,

The ultimate power forward,” former Bruins coach and current broadcaster Don Cherry says of Cam Neely. “He had everything going for him. He was big. He was tough. He controlled them, a 50-goal scorer, hit a ton. There was nothing he couldn’t do.”
Now Neely himself admits he was more of a finesse player when he was younger, but when his body grew bigger with adolescence, “I couldn’t go around people like I used to, so I thought about going through them.”

read on

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Sit A Spell And Read

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com has a great weekly feature called Crashing the Net
Make sure to read every section of the feature, it is well worth your time.

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Rory an All-Star??!!...Who Cares?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Oh, the horror. Just three days before Christmas and we're wringing our hands because write-in 'Nuck Rory Fitzpatrick has vaulted ahead of St. Nick The Captain. Ted Kulfan was astounded this morning, as we've already mentioned. Thankfully, James Mirtle sees the campaign for what it is.

...the impetus behind Fitzpatrick's rocket up the all-star balloting vote has been nothing more than a clever program that votes for the blueliner. Over and over — and over again.
Please tell me you're not stressing over this. If you are, and you've voted, you have only yourselves to blame. Fan all star voting is the biggest common joke in all of sport. A popularity contest, a finger stamina exercise. Wing message boards are rife with outrage. Anguished cries of protest, demands to go Chicago on the ballots through 2 January when the "polls" close. Until the all star rosters are determined by the players themselves, with maybe the exception of one write-in for each side, who represents each team means nothing. We, the fans, proved long ago that we can't be trusted to vote based on stats and talent alone. Would you have voted for Patrick Roy in '97? I know I wouldn't have. I, for one, hope Fitzpatrick not only starts, but ends up the top vote getter for defensemen....just to see how Little Gary handles that one.

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Frei:  Hasek Bargain Of Year So Far

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

'dique apologist Terry Frei writes for ESPN today that Dominik Hasek tops a list of ten "best bang for the buck" goalies.

That's right, the Red Wings are getting far more than their money's worth from Hasek, who will be 42 when the playoffs begin. Of course, all bets are off if he breaks down before the postseason and Detroit has to count on either Chris Osgood or Joey MacDonald in the playoffs.
Wouldn't it be something if Hasek DID break down, only to leave the team in the hands of Osgood...and he succeeds? I guess his $900,000/year deal would qualify as a bargain then too, eh?

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