Kukla's Korner

USA Needs To Get Desperate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

The men's hockey team resembled a bad architectural hybrid, elegant Victorian on the first floor, a Frank Lloyd Wright knockoff on the second. Simply put, there were has-beens, wannabes and not much in between. Where is the new generation of outstanding American hockey players, the fresh-faced Chelios, Keith Tkachuk or Mike Modano? Perhaps on the roster of the 2004 junior team, which won the world championship. If any of them were on this Olympic team, they clearly hadn't reached full bloom.
more

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Sweden vs. Czech Republic

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Does tomorrow's semifinal game between Sweden and the Czech's count in the NHL standings? Maybe a 1/2 point will be granted to the Wings (five players representing Sweden) or the Rangers (six Czechs).

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The ‘Forces’ Meet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

The irresistible force meets the immovable object in the Olympic hockey semifinals as hard-charging Russia takes on undefeated Finland in what should be a doozey. "We will go forward, we will not stop," Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk said. "It is a big battle for us. Now, every game is a big win. We have only one goal -- to win gold."
more

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Nabokov Hot

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Contra Costa Times,

Evgeni Nabokov picked one heck of a time to get hot. After struggling through the first half of the NHL season with the Sharks, Nabokov is suddenly the best goaltender in the world's most high-profile hockey tournament. And you know what that means? When he comes back to San Jose, he may be wearing a gold medal.
read on

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Vokoun ‘Resting’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tennessean,

Tomas Vokoun is finally getting some rest, though it's probably not the kind he had in mind. The Predators' netminder sat on the bench during yesterday's Olympic quarterfinal, watching his native Czech Republic advance with a 3-1 win over Slovakia. "I'm a little surprised, but you do go through things like that,'' Coach Barry Trotz said. "Everything's a little different over there — even the way he got thrust into the number one job with no security blanket because of Hasek. There was probably a lot of pressure on him because there were high expectations for the Czechs going in.''

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Tortorella Happy Goalie Returning Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Peterburg Times,

Lightning coach John Tortorella is American. Born in Boston, he played college hockey in New England. He is a product of USA Hockey and even has coached Americans in international competitions. So what was his reaction when the Americans were eliminated from the Olympics on Wednesday? "I'm happy," Tortorella said. "We're getting our goalie back."
continued

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More On Datsyuk’s Broken Finger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Thanks to Peter Gower for this translation from Sport Express-

Only later they became known to detail. "Detroit" forward has broken phalanx of little finger, moreover this injury it obtained in NHL, in one of the last games before the Olympiad! But he said nothing in order not to miss the games, neither coaches nor players, not even his agent which learned about the broken finger from the same statement by Krikunov. Considering all this Datsyuk showed during the group tournament remarkable game, drove in goal and made seven successful assists!

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The European Final Four

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Reuters,

With Canada and the United States eliminated, the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament heads into the semi-finals as a European battleground. "We don't care who is not in the tournament any more. We are focussed on our team, our play. We always thought we could get to the gold medal game, that we had the talent and team strength to do so," said Swedish captain Mats Sundin.
read on

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Malkin Suspended & Salo Has Dislocated Shoulder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the IIHF,

The tournament directorate suspended Russian forward Evgeni Malkin for one game (semifinal vs Finland) after Malkin's kicking attempt on Canada's Vincent Lecavalier in the Russia - Canada game. There are also reports that Sami Salo, also of the Vancouver Canucks, has a dislocated shoulder. His status for Finland's semi-final encounter with Russia is in question.
update 10:27am, Video of the kick (will open wmp video).

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Team USA Lacks Superstars

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Where are the great American-born superstars, such as a Sidney Crosby? Where are the great American-born goalies? Where are the superstar athletes who should have been the direct products of Lake Placid, and why aren't they skating toward gold-medal contention in Italy? The trouble is that USA Hockey is linked to the National Hockey League, and the NHL is a gang that can't shoot straight. If hockey in the U.S. takes one step forward, as it did with that silver medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Gary Bettman and his NHL gang take 20 steps back with a popularity-killing lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.
more

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