Kukla's Korner

Yzerman Decision Expected Soom

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Detroit News,

Steve Yzerman could officially be back with the Red Wings by Saturday. Yzerman, 40, was offered a one-year contract by the Red Wings Wednesday at a Toronto lunch with general manager Ken Holland and senior vice-president Jimmy Devellano. Financial terms of the offer were not disclosed. "We offered Steve a one-year contract and he said he'll get back to us by the end of the week," Holland said. The Wings are likely to make some sort of announcement at Saturday's NHL entry draft in Ottawa. The Wings had hoped to have an answer from Yzerman before the unrestricted free-agent period begins Monday. Holland believes Yzerman can be a significant addition to the Wings this season. "I want Steve to play this year," Holland said. "With the new coaching staff, he can be a tremendous asset to the coaches with his leadership in the locker room. He has some great hockey left in him."

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Options Still Remain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector and Fox Sports,

With two days remaining for NHL teams to exercise their "no-penalty" buyout options to pare down their payrolls, it's the number of players who aren't being bought out that have made news thus far. The New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings are four notable clubs that thus far proclaimed wouldn't buy out the salaries of some of their higher-priced players.

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NHL Drug Policy Criticized

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via Sports Illustrated,

The drug policy in the NHL's new labor deal was criticized for "loopholes" and "inadequate testing" by the heads of the congressional committee that grilled Mark McGwire and has proposed legislating steroid testing in pro sports. House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, and ranking Democrat Henry Waxman of California wrote a letter Wednesday to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow, detailing concerns about the league's steroid program.

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Wings Assistant Coaches

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

For the Wings fans, a souce has informed me that Barry Smith will not be retained as an assistant coach for the Wings. Looks like Kocur will stay with the organization but not as an assistant coach.

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Hardline Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

It comes as no surprise that the Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to terms with blue-chip 2003 draftees Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. What is a surprise, though, is the new entry-level contracts they will sign in Philadelphia, contracts that could have a huge implication on how entry-level deals are negotiated throughout the league for many years to come. Quite simply, the Flyers took a hard line with a pair of potential NHL stars.

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Blues Make Qualifying Offer to Pronger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The St. Louis Blues extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent defenceman Chris Pronger. It is a somewhat surprising move, following the Blues' assertion that they would not be buying out forwards Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk. With Tkachuk and Weight combining to take up $13.3-million of the new $39-million salary cap, it figures to be a challenge for the Blues to find room for Pronger's $7.22-million offer.

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Thinking Out Loud

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NHL GMs are beginning to filter in to Ottawa to prepare for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. I do expect to see some big trades in the next few days. I am a little stumped on the direction Shanahan is taking. He has until late tomorrow afternoon to inform the Wings if he is coming back, but if he was "on board" you would think he would have made his decision by now. I know Shanahan has a home in the Boston area, his wife is from there and maybe he might be headed to play for the B's. Is it possible he developed a relationship with Jacobs while being involved in the CBA meetings? What direction will the NHL move in with a national cable deal. The decision will probably be made within the next two weeks, and I sense Comcast being involved. The NHL and ESPN have had talks, but I don't think they are on the same page.

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Thornton’s Agent Not Happy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CP via TSN,

''Joe Thornton is one of the very best hockey players in the world,'' his agent J.P. Barry of IMG said Wednesday from Calgary. ''He is an elite franchise player and if he accepts his qualifying offer, he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer at only 26 years old. This is a very unique situation. The multi-year offer Boston has made is actually less than Joe's qualifying offer. It makes you wonder if they truly understand what kind of hockey player they have with Joe.

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Hasek and News of the Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CP via Slam, Senators GM John Muckler liked what he heard from Dominik Hasek when the two talked recently. "I could hear that passion in his voice . . . He's on a mission and he wants to prove that he cam become an elite player again," Muckler said in a conference call Wednesday. "That excites me." It excited Muckler enough to exercise the Sens' one-year, $1.52-million US option on the 40-year-old goaltender.

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Scheduling Quirks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Looking over the Wings schedule, I found a couple of unique quirks. The Wings play October 22nd and October 24th in Columbus. Then they go to Chicago for a game on Oct. 27th, back to Detroit for a game against the Black Hawks on October 29th and then play in Chicago again on November 1st. I can't recall playing the same team twice in 3 days on the road or playing a team 3 times in a row. Ah, the new NHL. Any other teams have a weird schedule too?

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