Kukla's Korner

Panthers Eye Pronger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach Post,

While most of the focus in the NHL free-agent market that opens today will be on unrestricted free agents, Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan appears to be zeroing in on one of the restricted variety: defenseman Chris Pronger. Keenan traveled Sunday from Ottawa to Toronto, apparently so that he could be closer to many of the big-name agents who will broker deals when the free-agent market opens today at noon. Not coincidentally, one of those agents is Pat Morris of Newport Sports Management, who represents Pronger and always has taken a keen interest in his career. Morris did not return phone messages Sunday. Sources acknowledged Sunday that Keenan has had "discussions" with St. Louis about the 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman, though Keenan did deny one report that a possible deal could involve Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

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Pens Have $10 Million to Spend

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

With contracts offered to every previous regular except Matt Bradley and Michal Rozsival, with Sidney Crosby and apparently Evgeni Malkin on the way once deals are completed, the Penguins and general manager Craig Patrick wade into the NHL's flooded free-agent market at noon today with cash to spend. Probably at least $10 million, if you figure into the new salary-cap mix the projected values of the two rookie centers and a certain part-owner/player, Mario Lemieux. "We have a plan in mind," Patrick said last night, when qualifying offers had to be extended to unsigned players whose rights a team wanted to retain. "Whether we can execute it ... we'll see what happens."

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NHL Back, Better Than Ever

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from tvnz.co in New Zealand,

Key players have been the first to receive contracts and cream the big money but sacrifices will have to be made and old ties severed. Expect more deals and trades before the puck drops in October than a typical week on Wall Street. If players can't make the dollars they were privy to under the old free market model they'll go where they like as opposed to where the money is. The obvious consequence is that Canadian players, which make up the majority of the league, will play for the teams they idolised as youngsters. That's most likely to be the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs so we could see those teams return as the forces they once were.

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Cap Issues for Lightning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Based on NFL history, a salary cap means never having to say you are sorry for not having the money to retain top-notch players. But with the NHL salary cap only 10 days old, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Jay Feaster says he's having difficulty maintaining the stoic salary-cap demeanor when it comes to goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. The NHL free agent period starts at noon ET today, and Khabibulin will be among the more attractive unrestricted free agents.

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Yzerman Decision Tomorrow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Yzerman will be speaking with Wings general manager Ken Holland tomorrow morning to update him on his decision for the upcoming year. Many sources expect Yzerman to return for his 22nd season, but until the official word comes down, his status remains up in the air. update 9:50pm, from Mlive,

Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings are expected to talk Monday about the one-year contract that has been offered to the captain to return for a 22nd season in Hockeytown. The team had said it wanted to know whether the 40-year-old captain planned to accept the offer by the weekend, but both parties agreed to communicate Monday after having trouble doing so on Sunday.

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Dallas Stars Signing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sergei Zubov was re-signed to a three year contract.

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GMs Gearing Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The NHL has ticked the 2005 entry draft off its to-do list. Next up, free agency. Barely more than week after players and owners approved a new collective bargaining agreement, Sidney Crosby pulled the Pittsburgh Penguins' jersey over his head to start the draft proceedings Saturday. Six hours later, it was done and managers of the 30 teams headed for the exits of an Ottawa hotel ballroom and shifted their focus to the start of free agency at noon Monday. So is the life of an NHL GM at the moment, hopping from decision to decision in a shortened off-season that follows the season that never was.

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Bruins Qualify 13 Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Thornton included in QO. from Sportsnet,

The Boston Bruins have tendered qualifying offers to 13 players, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. Teams must tender qualifying offers to players who had 2004-05 contracts and are under the age of 31 in order to retain their compensation rights. Qualifying offers are in three groups, based on the value of 2004-05 contracts adjusted by the 24% rollback: players at $660,000 or less receive qualifying offers at 110% of that amount; players earning more than $660,000 up to $1 million receive qualifying offers at 105% of that amount; and players earning more than $1 million receive qualifying offers at 100% of that salary. If a Group II restricted free agent is not tendered a qualifying offer by his club by 5:00 p.m. on July 31, he will become an unrestricted free agent on August 1st.

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What About Schneider

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mathieu Schneider is one UFA you don't hear much talk about. The Wings have stated they will try to sign him back but I think they may not be able to reach his salary demands. Schneider had a very good year with the Wings, many believed he had more of an impact than Lidstrom. He is also the kind of defensemen the gms will be looking for, good first pass, plays on the pp but does have a problem of turning over the puck at critical times. It should be interesting to see what salary slot he fits in.

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Rumors Galore

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Check out Spector's Rumors including: THORNTON FOR JAGR? KHABIBULIN TO RETURN TO PHOENIX? THE LATEST ON CHRIS PRONGER

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