Kukla's Korner

The New Bertuzzi Or the Old One

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Todd Bertuzzi is back. Deal with it. Of all the story lines crossing and crisscrossing the new NHL landscape, few have or will continue to evoke the kind of visceral response that Bertuzzi's return to the game has. As it should be. His shameful attack on Steve Moore on March 8, 2004, has exacted a terrible toll on everyone connected to the incident, from Moore and his family, to Bertuzzi and his own loved ones, to the Canucks and to the entire game itself. On Monday, before or after the first on-ice session for players being considered for Canada's Olympic team, the disgraced power forward is expected to make his first public statements since being reinstated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. This will mark the first time he has publicly discussed any of the events that have unfolded apart from the brief, teary media apology two days after the hit. It will mark a seminal moment in this tawdry, unfortunate tale.

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Ban Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

This was supposed to be a new beginning for the National Hockey League after a season-long lockout. But the league's decision to reinstate Todd Bertuzzi suggests it's business as usual -- and that business is fighting. The NHL, in making sweeping rule changes this summer, missed a golden opportunity to ban fighting and other forms of gross violence -- probably in the belief that fists appeal to fans. That might be true in places such as Philadelphia where the Broad Street Bullies appealed to knuckle-dragging fans who craved violence. But that's not the case in many other cities such as Ottawa, where patrons yearn for skill. If Philly and other punch-drunk stops wants that kind of game, start an X-league with all the accoutrements of wrestling. In fact, wrestling fakes the violence. In the NHL, the thugs and the pain are real.

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Colorado Fans Not Happy with May Signing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rocky Mountain News,

Turns out, free speech isn't that useful these days without an e-mail link. Who knew? Lots of people wanted to tell the Avalanche what they thought of the Brad May signing. They just couldn't figure out how to do it. The fans that sent these messages used words like "reprehensible" and "inexcusable." They asked questions like, "Where is your conscience?" The most popular adjective was "disgusted." Some said they will not attend Avs games or purchase Avs merchandise until May is gone. Many said they believed the Avalanche was a better organization than this.

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Will You Come Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

It has often been said, wisely, that it is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. With an enemy it is easier to understand, if not like, meanness and stupidity. With friends we expect so much more. Maybe that's the way it is with the NHL and its fans. The league and its players fought a bitter 301-day lockout and it is fair to say those who suffered the most as a result were the ones who got dragged along — the secondary employees and the fans. A pox on both their camps, the players and the owners. Are you ready to forgive the greedy idiots, the bunch of them? Ready to lay down hard-earned cash to grease the gears and get the Great Zamboni back up and running? On the one hand Canadian fans are understandably eager for the NHL's return, but at the same time the love of the game runs deeper here than it does where hockey is still viewed as a niche sport. That makes the forgiving harder, more genuine. Hockey's not the enemy, anyway — it is the people running the NHL who have betrayed it, and us.

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Luongo Hurt by Arbitration

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Sun-Sentinel via the Mercury News,

The Panthers are in a quandary. Roberto Luongo's heart, the one that bleeds "Panthers," is bruised. Luongo says he's hurt, and you don't want your star goaltender, the man who is the only face of your franchise, the man who will determine how far you will go, to be hurt. "I just can't believe they're taking me to arbitration," Luongo said. "It's the last thing I thought would happen. They wanted to sign me for five years and I was so happy. Then they were only trying to sign me for two. Now one? To think they're taking me to arbitration, it's the route I expected the least." The Panthers feel they've been more than fair with Luongo. They offered him a three-year deal averaging $3.75 million a season, more than double the $1.8 million they had to qualify him at.

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Lemieux Not Attending Canadian Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

Mario Lemieux will not be attending Canada's Olympic Orientation camp in Vancouver and Kelowna due to commitments to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vancouver Caucks forward Brendan Morrison was named as Lemieux's replacement for the camp, which runs from August 15-19.

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Confirmation of Hamrlik Signing With Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Roman Hamrlik is off the open market and back in Alberta, as the unrestricted free agent defenceman has signed on with the Calgary Flames. TSN has learned it is a two-year deal worth $7 million US.

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Team Canada Set To Open Olympic Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via NHL.com,

The preparation for defending the men's Olympic hockey title begins Monday when Team Canada hopefuls hit the ice at GM Place (8 p.m. ET) to open a five-day orientation camp. There was a time when it appeared this camp would never happen because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wasn't in favour of taking a two-week break in the 2005-06 schedule after losing all of 2004-05 to the lockout. But NHL Players' Association executive director Ted Saskin pushed hard for Olympic participation to be included in the new collective bargaining agreement, meaning NHLers will take in their third Games.

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Season Tickets on Record Pace for Avs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The 2005-06 Colorado Avalanche season ticket renewal rate number for the team’s Tenth Anniversary Season in Denver is on a pace equal to that set in August 2001, two months after the Avalanche captured its second Stanley Cup. “To say the least, the interest of our fans in this market is just amazing for Colorado Avalanche Hockey,” said Paul Andrews, Executive Vice President of Kroenke Sports Enterprises. “The support and loyalty they are showing is remarkable and I’m taking this opportunity to sincerely thank them.” As in past seasons, the Avalanche will cap season ticket sales at 15,500 in order to maintain seat availability for family nights, groups, and individual game buyers.

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Big Demand for Wings Training Camp Tickets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Traverse City Record-Eagle,

From where she stood Saturday morning, Gail Wrona couldn't even see the front doors of Centre ICE. "You have to admit, hockey isn't dead in northern Michigan," the Charlevoix resident said. "Especially with the Red Wings." Wrona was one of hundreds of people in line as tickets for the Detroit Red Wings training camp in Traverse City went on sale. When the doors for the first pre-sale of tickets for the camp - set for Sept. 13-17 - did open, Tim Glasscock of Rockford was first in line. Glasscock arrived and camped out beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday for the honor of being first in line. He admitted his devotion to the Red Wings was a little nutty. "Pretty much," said Glasscock, who was buying two tickets to the Sept. 16 Gold Medal game and for the Red-White Game the following day for him and his wife, Katherine. "Crazy for the Red Wings ... you know." He wasn't the only one.

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