Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Oilers Sign Pair

from TSN,

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms on contracts with goaltender Jussi Markkanen and defenceman Igor Ulanov. Markkanen has agreed to a two-year contract with the Oilers, while Ulanov has come to terms on a one-year deal.

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New Goalie in Chicago

The Blackhawks have signed feee agent goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a 4-year deal.

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Jack Johnson Staying at Michigan

from the An Arbor News via Mlive,

Jack Johnson called last week's NHL Entry Draft a great experience, but he's ready to move on to his University of Michigan experience. Johnson became the highest Wolverine drafted when he went third overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. Going that early in last Saturday's draft in Ottawa led to immediate discussion, including by two of the three commentators on Canada's national television coverage, that Johnson would never play hockey for Michigan. He would turn pro immediately instead. While announcing the signing Thursday of goalie Billy Sauer to replace the departed Al Montoya, Michigan coach Red Berenson said he never worried that Johnson would waver about playing for the Wolverines.

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Morrison Re-signs with Canucks

Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice-President and General Manager Dave Nonis announced today that the Canucks have re-signed centre Brendan Morrison to three-year contract. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Sean Burke Leaning Towards Pittsburgh

from azcentral,

Free-agent goalie Sean Burke, 38, is leaning toward accepting a two-year offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins. "If Phoenix was willing to make an offer that was fair, then I would definitely be interested and considering it," Burke said. "That hasn't happened."
update 10:20am, Related article via TSN, The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to make a final decision on goaltender Curtis Joseph, possibly as early as Friday.

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No Pity

from the Calgary Sun via Slam,

Detractors complain that fans in Toronto, Colorado, Detroit and other big cities frozen out of the free-agent pool this week deserve better for supporting their clubs so well. Well, for years people in the prairies, Pittsburgh and Columbus -- not to mention Winnipeg and Quebec City -- have stood on the sidelines watching the big teams buy up all their stars. Meanwhile, fans in cities where team operated on lean, responsible budgets continued to support their teams despite having little chance to chase the Cup. All that's changed now and just because the party isn't heating up for the Leafs or other irresponsible clubs doesn't mean the system won't work.

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Same Old for Sabres

from the Buffalo News,

Well, that didn't take long, did it? Had Darcy Regier even hung up the phone before Miroslav Satan came to terms with the New York Islanders, receiving more than the Sabres were willing to pay him, casting doubt on whether Buffalo's front office has a handle on the NHL's newfangled marketplace? The Sabres miscalculated, and they miscalculated badly. They should have signed Satan to the qualifying offer of $3.8 million and then, if they were so inclined, dangled him as trade bait. They should have realized that the value of players who can skate and shoot had expanded, or at least held fast, now that the league is welcoming back the days when the Yvan Cournoyers sizzled up and down the wing unimpeded. Which overlaps with Regier's playing days, by the way.

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Russia Still Playing Hardball

from Mosnews,

Russia has refused to ratify an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and National Hockey League (NHL). NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has met with the leadership of Russia’s Professional Hockey League and clubs of the upper league but he was unable to convince them to ratify the agreement.

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NHL On Its Last Breath

from the Ledger,

Now that the NHL hoopla has died down, it's time for the painful truth. Hockey is still on its last breath as anything other than an Olympic sport. Sorry to break the bad news. Believe me, it's not the type of thing I'd want to hear either. But the fact is that without a national television deal, the NHL might not last past the next season. There's a few rumblings that ESPN is willing to carry some NHL games next season, but the network will only do a revenuesharing agreement or pay an extremely small rights fee for the product -- all the while continuing to reduce its NHL schedule in favor of college basketball and the NBA. In the end, it's doubtful this will happen because the NHL's administrators will be insulted by the offer and overplay their hand again, much like they did when they expected the public to go into hockey withdrawals.

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Goodbye Colorado

via the Vail Daily,

Goodbye, Adam Foote. Goodbye, Peter Forsberg. Goodbye to elite status in the NHL, Colorado Avalanche. The new $39-million salary cap creamed the players and it's blasted the Avs, an added bonus. Yes, oh faithful Avs fan - is there such a thing; we'll find out this year - you say you still have Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay. It doesn't matter. Foote was the most underrated cog in the Avs' machine and Forsberg, well, there's a reason he's Peter the Great. The bottom line is that the Avs are going to be lucky to finish third in the Northwest Division and could well be watching the playoffs on TV come April.

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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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