Kukla's Korner

The Way Of Doing Business

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Last week in this space, a case was made to say that the Blue Jackets are resolutely squeezing Zherdev, nickel-and-diming him in contract negotiations, for no other reason other than they can. In ensuing days, during the normal course of phone gabbing with hockey types, there arose an interesting defender of Blue Jackets management. "I know I’m an agent and I shouldn’t be saying anything like this, but I can understand where the team is coming from," the defender said. "When we, as agents, have leverage, they know (darn) well we’re going to use it. And when (management) has leverage, well, they’re going to try to use it, too. That’s the business. Why should they pay a guy when they don’t have to? "
read on added 8:13am, Also from the Columbus Dispatch,
MacLean must have forgotten his remarks. One of the most promising young talents in the NHL, Nikolai Zherdev, is now being jerked around in contract negotiations. Once again, fans are going to have to face losing a star player over a disagreement about length of contract. Apparently MacLean did not learn his lesson when he let Ray Whitney slip away.
more...fans speak out on this situation...

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Fresh Start In Toronto For Gill

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Boston Globe,

The fans rarely let Gill slide last year. He was a lightning rod for their ire and was heckled frequently. He acknowledged that was another incentive to get out of Dodge. ``I don't know what the reasons were," said Gill. ``There were times when I thought I was playing well and they came down on me hard, and sometimes you can't understand it. But when a team is not winning, they're going to find something to point a finger at, so I thought I handled it well and it didn't get to me that much. ``But I guess it was just kind of another reason that it was good for a change. I don't think it affected me all that much but it definitely wasn't a fun thing to have people on you."
much more...

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No Sunday School For Caps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottaw Citizen,

Capitals general manager George McPhee didn't like the way defencemen such as Zdeno Chara went after Alexander Ovechkin last year. So he went out and got Ovechkin some protection in Donald Brashear. "We're not running a Sunday school," said McPhee.
read on for bits and pieces from around the NHL, including the Sens cap numbers...

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Leetch Would Work For Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Leetch won't come back for sentiment's sake. That's not what he's about and that's not what his final season(s) will be about, either. The Rangers are way beyond that, as well. But the Blueshirts have a need on the blue line - no one can be sure about Karel Rachunek, and Marek Malik has value on the trade market if creating a spot becomes necessary - that Leetch can fill. Wouldn't it be nice if Peoples' MVP Jaromir Jagr were actually sprung now and again? At the same time, the Rangers have what Leetch needs, too - a stable organization with a fine coach and a goaltender who gives the team a chance to win every night.
more (reg. req.)

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New Agent For Malkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

For the second time in two months, Penguins top prospect Evgeni Malkin has fired his agents. Up until Friday, Malkin was represented by Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management. Fellow Newport agent Craig Oster confirmed Saturday that they were no longer representing Malkin. It is believed that Malkin has returned to Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry, who bought IMG's hockey division last month.
continued...Does this mean a different strategy for Malkin, I don't believe so...

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A Sabre-Rattling CBA

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Hi, everybody! My name's George Malik, and I write the Snapshots blog on MLive, and a second one's on the way. I've followed the Wings and the NHL since the days of Paul "Rocketman" Ysebaert, and the stories I've made up about my goaltending exploits are legendary. Paul very kindly extended an offer to share my opinion with you, and I hope you do the same. I'll start 'er off with one of my favourite topics: the Collective Bargaining Agreement. ______________________ On the day the previous CBA expired, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made a promise to the fans of two smaller-market teams that felt they couldn't compete in a world where salaries kept climbing in an "inflationary spiral."

For the fans it has meant high and increasing ticket prices, and the status quo has meant that teams cannot meaningfully compete. It is a fact, a fact, that during this CBA, a team in the top one third of salaries has been three times more likely to make the Playoffs than a team in the bottom third. This is a status quo with which we simply cannot continue to live. Our game and our fans deserve better.
[W]e owe it to hockey's fans to achieve an economic system that will result in affordable ticket prices and stable, competitive franchises.
That "affordable ticket prices" business? Sorry, ol' Gary says that ticket prices vary on a "market-to-market basis,” which is why the Islanders and Kings (via a "facilities fee") decided to raise prices after non-playoff seasons. Competitive franchises? Twenty-plus teams fight it out every year for playoff spots, cap or no cap. What about the CBA helping franchises become “stable?” Let's look at one of Bettman's poster-boy franchises, and ask the fans of the Buffalo Sabres how they like ol’ Gary’s definition of stability:

Continue Reading »

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Bruins Take A Walk Away From Tanabe

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

The Boston Bruins exercised their "walk-away" option on the arbitration award to defenseman David Tanabe on Saturday. The decision allows Tanabe to become an unrestricted free agent, Tanabe was awarded a one-year, $1.275 million contract on Friday and, under terms of the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bruins had 48 hours to accept the award and sign Tanabe or exercise the "walk-away" option. "This is one of the difficult decisions that must be made while managing a salary cap," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "We have made two significant additions to our defensive corps this off-season and we are very comfortable with the depth we have at that position."

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Mikhnov Trying To Join Oilers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

With no signed Russian player transfer agreement with the National Hockey League this year, the Oilers' first-round pick in the 2000 NHL draft is taking a page out of Russian labour law to hopefully exit Yaroslavl. "Mikhnov has already given his 14-day written notice to the Yaroslavl team that he wants to leave," said his agent Don Meehan, acknowledging the statute that allows employees to leave employers with little fuss. It has never been used by a hockey player.

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Vorobiev Says Blackhawks Biased Against Russians

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Reuters via the Guardian,

Chicago Blackhawks forward Pavel Vorobiev has accused his NHL club of bias against Russian players. "In America, they don't like the Russians, often hate us, and Chicago is the worst club of all," the 24-year-old right wing was quoted as saying in Saturday's Sport-Express newspaper. "When 11 Russian players showed up at Chicago's pre-season training camp last year, everyone there was in shock," he said. "When I was leading the team in scoring at the start of last season it was irritating a lot of people in our club. "They just couldn't take that a Russian would be the best. For Americans such a thing would be absolutely unacceptable."
continued...and remember, something may have been lost in translation... Discuss in the KKF...

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Howe Fans- Set The DVR To CBC

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CBC,

Mr. Hockey: The Life and Times of Gordie Howe Monday, August 7 at 8 p.m. Repeating Sunday, September 17 at 2:30 p.m. Floral Saskatchewan is famous for two things: a grain elevator, built in 1927, that stands to this day, and the birthplace of the greatest hockey player of all time--Gordie Howe. His journey to glory is an epic story of a man whose love for the game is shared by his family. And there is no one else who has the right to the nickname.

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