Kukla's Korner

9/11

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Don't Ever Forget!

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Future Unknown

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

"With the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), we're going into an unknown -- who are the good teams, who are the bad teams?" Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "Without Datsyuk, a lot is going to have to go right for us to have a good year. But, that's the same for a lot of teams. Nobody has any depth, that's the nature of these new rules. "Are we going to be as good as we were in the past? Of course not. But that's the new world." The line between the league's elite clubs and its perennial also-rans has been blurred, but the Wings aren't conceding anything.

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Start A Revolution

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Ted Saskin "dodged a bullet" when he was approved as the new executive director of the NHL Players' Association. But he's not out of the woods yet. While Saskin will make a reported $10 million (all terms US) over five years in his new contact, many members of the 'PA are concerned about what the escrow portion of the new collective bargaining agreement holds for them. While the players approved Saskin's deal 10 days ago during a heated five-hour conference call with president Trevor Linden, the word is Saskin and Co. could face a mutiny once the rank and file has to start paying into the owners' escrow account. "My feeling is Saskin could have a revolution on his hands," said a well-placed league source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

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Bits From Brooks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The Thrashers are offering Kovalchuk, the 22-year-old Group II free agent, the exact same five-year, $27M deal that Rick Nash signed with the Blue Jackets, with Waddell indicating that he's not prepared to budge. Did someone say, penny-foolish and pound-foolish all at once? Kovalchuk is not posturing, even if his prospective unrestricted free agent eligibility would be postponed by a year from 2008 to 2009 if he doesn't play in the NHL this season. You'll recall that Kovalchuk, who had 87 points to Nash's 57 while each scored a co-league-leading 41 goals in 2003-04, signed a contract in Russia last year that bound him to his club after Dec. 31, regardless of whether the lockout ended after that. For this year and this year only, once the season starts, all players 25 and older who play in one game either in the NHL or in the minors, are exempt from waiver claims either going down or coming back up. In a brewing and growing controversy that threatens to further splinter the battered and shattered union, no fewer than 19 player reps — a majority of the PA's 35-member executive board — have hired Bob Lanza, the former chief counsel of the NBA Players' Assn., to undertake a thorough review of a series of the executive board's actions commencing with the end of the lockout.

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Culture Change

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The way out of the quagmire that the league created in the previous 10 years will rest in large part with the guys drawing X's and O's. But when the flood of penalties begins this month, coaches will find it hard to restrain their anger, especially those toughest on zebras . "No one has the right to complain," said Edmonton Oilers' general manager Kevin Lowe, a member of the competition committee. "We all signed off on it. "It's our aim to put the tools of the game back in the hands of the offensive players and get a balance with physical play. I've had (officials) tell me, 'I ref a rodeo, there's so much obstruction going on.' "I hope they (crack down) early so there is a parade to the penalty box in the exhibition games. I've talked about this with my coach, Craig MacTavish. Guys who take penalties will not play on our team."

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Playing For The Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News Journal,

Today, four years removed from the Lindros era, the Flyers are recognized around the NHL as one of the most attractive teams in the league. "I don't think a player can ruin the image of a team," said Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins, who lived through the Lindros era and is beginning his 11th season with the Flyers. "I think it's more who is on top and how they treat people. "You talk around the league and there aren't many guys who treat their players like Clarkie and [team chairman Ed] Snider. If you respect them, they'll respect you." Desjardins said there are NHL teams who cut corners on hotels and air travel and meal money, and it affects team morale.

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Remembering ‘72

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Edmonton Sun,

Alexander Yakushev doesn't speak English, but his expression revealed the answer even before the interpreter delivered it. Even 33 years later, Bob Clarke's two-handed slash that cracked the ankle of Russian superstar Valeri Kharlamov in Game 6 of the Summit Series rankles Yakushev. "That moment should be on Bobby Clarke's conscience," Yakushev said recently. Reached in Philadelphia, Clarke declined comment.

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Thomas Back With Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

With the Maple Leafs lacking both depth on the wings and veteran leadership, Toronto has added a familiar face to their training-camp roster. Steve Thomas has accepted the Toronto Maple Leafs' invitation to attend camp on a tryout basis. Thomas told Sportsnet, "My intention is to eventually sign a contract and play this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs."

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CBA Causing Defections

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

"(The CBA) is pushing many players to look at Europe." "(The departures) will just increase every year," added prominent player agent Pat Morris. At issue is a clause within the agreement that has earned scant public attention. It falls under the category of minor-league compensation and is the newly created "re-entry waiver." Simply put, if a player is subject to waivers — typically meaning he has at least three years' professional experience — and is making more than $75,000 (all figures U.S.) at the minor-league level, he can not move freely between the NHL and the American Hockey League. If he is demoted to the AHL, he must clear waivers before he can be recalled.

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Players May Take Saskin To Court

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

Los Angeles Kings veteran Trent Klatt and a growing group of disgruntled NHL players are considering going to court to challenge the recent hiring of players association executive director Ted Saskin, sources say. In the days since the union's 35-member executive board last Wednesday ratified Saskin's hiring during a five-hour conference call, controversy has percolated over the way the 46-year-old Saskin was hired. The chief complaints about Saskin's $2 million (U.S.) annual contract, according to executive board members who participated in last week's conference call, were that the union didn't hire a search committee to find other potential candidates to replace Bob Goodenow and that Saskin's deal was ratified over the phone and without a secret ballot, as required by the union's constitution. "Ted should put his hat in the ring, but we do need to have a search committee," Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi said.

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