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Hold on, news is on the way

Tuesday, 06.15.2010 / 9:35 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

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Hold on, news is on the way
Enjoy the break, says Paul Kukla, because before you know it, hockey news will be back in full force with NHL Awards, the Entry Draft and free-agent season.
Two days after Patrick Kane ended the Stanley Cup Final with his overtime goal, I realized the amount of hockey news we were so used to during the season had come to a standstill.

Instead of getting hit with updates 24 hours a day, these days the hockey stories are trickling in. But, that will end very soon.

With the NHL Awards being handed out in Las Vegas next Wednesday, June 23, then the Entry Draft on June 25 and 26, followed by the unrestricted free agency signing period starting on July 1, well, we will soon be deep into the hockey stories.

 
Just the way I want it too. I cover hockey news every day, every night for almost 365 days a year and without the news, those days and nights just seem to go a little slower than normal. If you are like me, and I imagine quite a few of you are, we need our daily dose of hockey news on a regular basis. Without it, the day just doesn't seem to be the same.

A first for me -- I will be heading to Las Vegas to cover the NHL Awards Show and also get a little rest and relaxation in the sunny, high 90 degree weather with a slight breeze blowing by me as I lounge by the pool.

I don't know what to expect as I prepare for my Vegas trip. Will I run into players and if I do, should I pull out my camera and snap a picture as many fans would, or do I put on my "press" hat, introduce myself to them and strike up a conversation? This is a tough decision for me, after all, the players are not performing on the ice, they do deserve some down time too, but they will be in Las Vegas for a sanctioned NHL event, so they must expect some media interruptions.

Right after the Awards Show, I imagine many of the media will travel to Los Angeles for the Entry Draft. Then after 2-3 days in LA, the real madness begins when the UFA signing period kicks-off on the 1st of July.

What a time that is. Rumors, both good and bad will be scrutinized and broken down by every hockey fan. Phone lines will be active, tweets, texts and blog posts will continue non-stop. We will be deprived of sleep, afraid to move away from our computer, in fear we just may miss a big signing.

Even though July 1 is a national holiday in Canada (Canada Day) and the States follow up with Independence Day on July 4, we are not thinking picnics, camping or any of that relaxation stuff which is associated with holidays like this. Instead, we are thinking of ways to improve our team.

So and so signed with them (your team's most hated rival), oh no, that's not good. Come on Mr. GM of our team, sign him (the player who is still available that you know will make your team into a Cup contender). These scenarios will be played out in the minds of hockey fans worldwide, over and over again.

It is that time of year where we can forget about the season that just ended and look forward to the upcoming season. Moves can be made which could improve many a team and on the flip side, decisions to allow players to sign with another team can also influence how your team will perform for the 2010-11 NHL season.

The fun times are about to begin and as fans, we can only sit back and watch it all play out. It starts in Las Vegas, where either prosperity or bad luck can be witnessed, followed by a visit to Los Angeles, where it is hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy, and it closes with the UFA period, where surprises happen, dreams can become real or nightmares are started.

Get ready, the hockey news is just around the corner and this season (or next season) never ends or (begins).

Questions, comments or just want to talk hockey? Email me at pk@kuklaskorner.com or follow me on Twitter and don't forget to stop by Kukla's Korner.


Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp