Kukla's Korner

Rally Around Bob

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto globe and Mail,

Bob Goodenow, for whom the word embattled has become a prefix to his title as executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, received an informal show of support last night from at least some players. However, that does not mean Goodenow and his fellow union leaders didn't hear any criticism when they unveiled the new collective agreement, with its infamous team salary cap tied to revenue, to a group of about 200 players at a Toronto hotel. But any clashes remained behind closed doors, as the players only made themselves available when they entered the meeting.

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Fast Approval Likely

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

The NHL's players yesterday sat through a detailed explanation of the new collective-bargaining agreement, which will be presented for ratification today. Most of the 200-plus players who arrived here for the ratification process were already resigned to the reality of the salary cap-based deal and the general feeling was it would be passed overwhelmingly. "The fact that guys want to play will make it unanimous," Islanders captain Michael Peca said. Peca joined Islanders player reps Adrian Aucoin and Mark Parrish, and past teammates Steve Webb and Garth Snow at the meeting. The Rangers were represented by Darius Kasparaitis, Tom Poti and Kevin Weekes. "So far it seems like guys are excited at the prospect that we might be playing hockey again," Aucoin said during a break in a 10-hour meeting. "I know I am." Players will begin voting in the morning and those who did not make the trip will cast their vote via the NHLPA's Web site. The result should be known by mid-afternoon. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was scheduled to appear at a 5 p.m. news conference today with NHLPA leaders -- including executive director Bob Goodenow -- to announce the players' approval.

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The Future of Goodenow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

So, what about Bob? These are not great days for NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow. He has to had to deal with serious illness in his family. He has had to endure sniping from players who are not happy at having lost a year of their careers, and corresponding income. And on Thursday, Goodenow's NHLPA is virtually certain to endorse an economic system of linkage and a salary cap that Goodenow personally abhors and vowed never to accept. Amid questions of how involved, or not involved, he was in the process that led to the settlement of a new CBA, the question that must be asked now is, what now for Bob? There appear to be three options.

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NHL Draft Lotto on ESPN News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

Well, what do you know? ESPNews is going to show live segments of the NHL draft lottery between 4 and 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday - including the live selection of the top two picks. The NHL draft lottery results in their entirety will be shown live on Canadian television network TSN, which will be airing the entire half hour without interruption.

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Topics Being Addressed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector and Fox Sports,

With the NHL lockout officially set to end by Friday the league is getting some flak as it prepares to re-launch itself to the sporting world. First came news that the much-anticipated draft lottery. Initially, the order of the 2005 entry draft and the right to draft the highly-touted Sidney Crosby would not be broadcast live when it's conducted on Thursday. After much protest from fans and media, however, the NHL reconsidered and decided to allow Canadian sportsnetwork TSN to carry the results of the lottery live; although the actual lottery itself will still be conducted privately. The league's original decision to shut out the media from the lottery was puzzling. After a solid year of negative publicity, this was the NHL's chance to start putting things right with their fans and with the North American sporting world. Perhaps the powers that be believed coverage of a bingo-ball lottery wouldn't generate any real excitement. But considering the future NHL destination of Crosby is on the line, as well as those of other top junior players, fans starved for positive hockey news have been waiting months for this. Fortunately the league backtracked, but even conducting the lottery in secret raises the dark specter of "fixing" the draft in order to ensure that some teams, such as the New York Rangers, might get first crack at Crosby. It's a ludicrous suggestion, since none of the other team owners and general managers in attendance for this lottery would knowingly stand for that kind of monkey business.

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Crosby Could Make A Mint, If…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

Hockey phenom Sidney Crosby could make 10 times more money in sponsorships if he is drafted by Toronto, Boston, Chicago or New York, according to sports marketing experts. ''His endorsement levels would be phenomenal in a large market compared to what he would get going into in a small market,'' said Keith MacIntyre, president of K. Mac & Associates in Mississauga, Ont., which advises companies on sports marketing. Wherever the consensus No.1 draft pick plays, ''he's still going to get the deals with the equipment manufacturers, he's still going to get the deals with some of the core athletic apparel companies and so on,'' MacIntyre said. ''But you put him into a big market like New York or Toronto and he'll make 10-fold what he would make elsewhere.'' Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh and the Rangers have the best shot at getting Crosby's rights. They will have more balls in the drum when the draft lottery is conducted Friday because they haven't made the playoffs in several years. Sponsorships could prove huge for Crosby's pocketbook especially with an NHL rookie salary cap of $850,000 US and lower eligibility for performance bonuses than in years past.

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Ovechkin Cleared to Play in NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

Alexander Ovechkin has cleared the way for himself to play in the NHL this season. TSN has learned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NHL entry draft has exercised his option to void his contract for this season with Omsk of the Russian Super League. Ovechkin, property of the Washington Capitals, could escape the Russian contract if he were given a contract offer by the Capitals on or before a deadline of July 20 (today). Although the NHL is not yet officially open for business, Washington apparently was able to make some sort of offering that gave Ovechkin the choice to void the contract with Omsk. And sources say Ovechkin informed the Capitals today that he is, in fact, escaping his commitment to Omsk and wants to play for the Capitals in the NHL this season. Based on the terms of the new CBA, Ovechkin and the Capitals can officially begin negotating a contract on Saturday. It likely won't be much of a negotiation. As a No. 1 overall pick and potential franchise player, the Capitals will likely give Ovechkin everything he's entitled to as a 2004 draft pick. Ovechkin is eligible to receive slightly more money than the players who will be drafted in 2005, but not as much as he would have received if he and the Capitals had negotiated a contract prior to the beginning of the lockout.

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No time To Point Fingers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the National Post,

Mike Peca came to the players' meeting not only to vote on the new NHL labour agreement but also to support the union leadership that negotiated it. The New York Islanders captain is tired of players griping about the deal and the negotiators at the NHL Players' Association who are responsible for it. "I think it's unfair for guys to start to point the finger," Peca said prior to a meeting of more than 200 players Wednesday evening at a Toronto hotel. "It is what it is. "Any deal that we would have gotten was going to be significantly worse than the one we came off from. We tried to go in a certain direction and at a certain time the executive committee tried to make the best of the situation they were in and I think they did that. I think they did a nice job."

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CBA Tidbits

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Tom Benjamin states,

A little birdie - a player agent who has seen the summary of the CBA - tells me that costs are indeed certain in the new CBA. Escrow is not 15% as has been widely reported. It will be adjusted four times a year, presumably depending on spending and revenues.

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Roenick Says Goodenow Will Quit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

On the eve of the ratification vote, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick went on the record today when he sat down with Michael Landsberg for Wednesday's Off The Record (seen tonight at 6pm et/3pm pt on TSN). Roenick who made headlines for his comments throughout the lockout was candid in his reponses. When asked about Bob Goodenow's future with the NHLPA, Roenick held nothing back. "It (the salary cap) is not something he's been in favour of from the start," Roenick said. "I really think the players are going to vote it into the game and he's going to quit and go someplace else."

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