Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Winners & Losers

from the Courier Post,

Just what kind of impact did Wednesday night's signing of Peter Forsberg have on Flyers ticket sales? The club isn't releasing specific numbers, but word around the ticket office is that season ticket sales are so brisk that, aside from single seats, the only seats available will be in the upper level family sections, amounting to about 400 tickets. Those tickets, priced at $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under, will be sold in 30-day increments, so that they are not swiped up before the season begins. Here are last week's winners and losers:

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Marketing the Player

from the Ottawa Sun,

The NHL free-agent market -- no one's free, but there is a lot of marketing going on. The league's absence last year gave all players a chance to return on a level playing field, and it's unlike anything we have experienced in the past. Some players maintained their skills by representing their country in international competition. Others chose to stay in shape overseas. But the NHL is the standard by which hockey excellence is measured. We know the names of the players in the top echelon, and some (Jarome Iginla) will likely be more reliable that others (Bobby Holik). That being said, there's money to be made on both sides -- and with the ability to score a "name," most teams are jumping at the chance to add a known player, thereby increasing the odds of a marketing angle to sell their fans on. Here are some of the standouts on both ends of the spectrum:

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Steve Moore May Play Agin

from the Toronto Sun,

Steve Moore is on the verge of being medically cleared to return to professional hockey, The Toronto Sun has learned. What hasn't been determined is whether Moore wants, in fact, to return and whether there is actual interest from National Hockey League teams in signing the free agent forward, who many thought would never play again.

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The Backhawks are Back

from the Chicago Tribune,

After spending the last decade tripping over their own feet, all of a sudden the Blackhawks can do no wrong. Friday might have been the best day in the best week in the best summer this franchise has ever seen. t's hard to exaggerate the importance of signing Nikolai Khabibulin, the reigning Stanley Cup champion goaltender, on the future of this once-proud organization. "The Blackhawks are back," general manager—and leading candidate for NHL executive of the year—Dale Tallon said. Indeed, the addition of Khabibulin was a definitive statement that these are no longer your father's Blackhawks.

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Overpaying

from the Tampa Tribune,

So much for a salary cap restraining owners and general managers. The first week of free agency in the new NHL looked more like the old NHL when it comes to bidding for players. For some general managers -- Philadelphia, maybe? -- it was business as usual. For others -- Columbus, Nashville, Atlanta -- it was as if they were kids let loose in the candy store for the first time. And how about the teams that once cried poor -- Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Edmonton -- all of sudden dipping into their wallets like they had a reserve built up during the lockout. The new lay of the land looks an awful lot like the old landscape -- teams are still overpaying for players. Two things have become crystal clear in the past week -- teams are still trying to understand how to play under a salary cap and owners made a monumental mistake with one clause in the new collective bargaining agreement.

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The Bar is Set

Rick Nash, $5.4 million per year for five years!!! He just turned 21 years of age. Season Totals: 2003-04 80 game played 41 goals 16 assists 57 points -35 +/-. Again, $5.4 million a year!!! Will this throw the UFA market into disarray next year and for years to come? What happens when arbitration rolls around, will this contract be the measuring stick for future contracts? I have a feeling there are a lot of GMs not too happy with this contract.

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A Fresh Start

from the Dallas Morning News via the Mercury News,

All you have to know about the new NHL is that Chris Pronger could have been an unrestricted free agent next summer and instead decided to sign a five-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton! While it took almost 15 months to change the financial landscape of the NHL, it took only five days to change the picture on the ice. Norris Trophy winner Scott Niedermayer went from New Jersey to Anaheim. Hart Trophy winner Peter Forsberg went from Colorado to Philadelphia. Norris and Hart Trophy winner Pronger went from St. Louis to Edmonton. Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin went from Tampa Bay to Chicago.

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B’s and Flyers Co-Favorites

from the Boston Herald,

After a wild week of player acquisitions by both teams, the Bruins are co-favorites with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference - as far as one veteran scout is concerned. ``Everybody is talking about what Edmonton did and what Philly has done,'' the scout said. ``But I think Boston has to be put right in with those teams as far as what they've done to help themselves have a run at a good season and a run at the (Stanley) Cup. They certainly have committed to spending money.''

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NHL Fantasy League

from USA TODAY,

Welcome to the NHL fantasy league. That's what this dumping and signing frenzy resembles. Teams with loads of cap room are totally remaking their rosters with other teams' overly expensive castoffs. It's exciting and fun. Who said the new WHA is dead? And who's ready for a Columbus-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup final? Anyway, without further ado, some thoughts on the recent goings-on in the NHL:

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Colorado Signs Brunette

The Colorado Avalanche has signed forward Andrew Brunette to a two-year contract.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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