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Americans Need Another ‘Miracle’

from the LA Times,

The United States is facing Russia in a hockey game, and the buildup is about as loud as a snowflake landing. You could say that's a statement about international relations. Sadly, it's also a reflection on the state of American hockey. The "Miracle on Ice" effect has passed. The generation that was inspired to grab a stick and head for the ice after the 1980 team's gold medal now makes up the older demographic of the NHL. Today's kids need their own inspirational moment. But until that happens, what's supposed to draw kids to hockey and feed the national program when the NHL keeps sliding off the sports landscape?
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Playing At A Higher Level

from the Toronto Star,

"There's a big difference between playing against a Finnish player in the National Hockey League and playing against a Finnish player who's got his flag on the front of his sweater," Ken Hitchcock, an assistant coach on Team Canada, was explaining yesterday. "There are players, you never see them play like this in North America. You see them play like this when they play for their country. The Olympics is at a whole other level."
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Will Canadian Dinosaurs Rule

from the IIHF,

The crackdown on obstruction has changed the game, perhaps forever, and closed Jurassic Park. International hockey has never been so exciting as here in the Olympic Preliminary Round. There is no more time or room for the slower defensemen to rest or breathe. They can't hook and hold the forechecking forwards. The game is now so fast that you have to move your feet every second of every shift in every game. A Petteri Nummelin can have the same impact on the result of a game as a Chris Pronger. Most of all, Team Canada needs better, faster, smarter play from their defensemen. Someone needs to step up like a new Bobby Orr or a new Paul Coffey.
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The NHL Is Better

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

The NHL is better than the Olympics. No one would argue with that now, not after watching the first half of this NHL season and the first half of this Olympic tournament. There is more talent per roster spot at the Olympics. There is more at stake, too, at least theoretically. But the NHL was better under the old rules and it is far, far superior under the new rules. The cry came up, from Nagano and Salt Lake City, from people (for the most part) who don't even like hockey in the first place. The cry came up, that this Olympic version was the best. It ignored the history ingrained in the NHL game. It ignored the certainty that nothing - not even the gold-medal game in this tournament - can touch the brutal, primal, 2-month drama of Stanley Cup playoff hockey.
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Bettman Must Come Down Hard

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Now that the media lynch mob has scattered for the Olympic break, the National Hockey League should use the time to figure out how to emerge from the gambling cesspool smelling like a rose. The best way is not for commissioner Gary Bettman to wade in with a fistful of suspensions and fines. What he needs to do is take the lead among the major North American professional sports leagues and associations and establish a clear-cut policy on gambling.
continued

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No Fear For The Swiss

from Reuters,

The Swiss came into the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament with only the modest goal of qualifying for the quarter-finals. But after claiming the gold medal scalps of Canada and the Czech Republic, the Swiss are ahead of schedule. A tie with Germany on Sunday made them the third team to qualify for the quarter-finals ahead of superpowers such as Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic and the United States. Ralph Krueger, the Canadian-born coach who has been heading the Swiss team since 1997, said the NHL dispute is behind the success. "When those NHL players came to play in Switzerland last season (during the lockout), we saw how talented they are. But we also saw what it is like to play with them on a regular basis. We lost the fear factor of playing against NHLers," he said.
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He’s Back

from the NY Times,

He bounded down the nine steps leading from the dressing room to the rink Monday as if he were wearing sneakers instead of skates. Teemu Selanne was the last player on the ice for Finland's practice at Torino Esposizioni, but that was not why he was hot-footing it. My biggest motivation to come back was I knew when I'm healthy what I can do," said Selanne, a wing who has six goals in four games for unbeaten and untied Finland (4-0), which will face Germany on Tuesday in the last game of round-robin play.
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What Is It

from Reuters via Yahoo, "I don't know," said Chiara. "It looks funny." "Is it a Fiat?" asked Giancarlo. It is a Zamboni, a plodding machine used to resurface the ice at Olympic venues that has inspired a cult-like following in Canada but remains an odd curiosity for Italians watching these Winter Games despite the fact it is an invention that has its roots deep in the Piedmont region. In fact, the Turin Winter Games represent a homecoming of sorts for the Zamboni; Don Zamboni, grandson of Frank Zamboni who invented the machine, returned to Turin to watch his machines in Olympic action. more

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Matter Of Weeks For Pens

from KDKA,

The National Hockey League is putting pressure on the Penguins and local officials regarding the future of the franchise. The league says that the team has to decide whether it's going to stay in Pittsburgh or move within a matter of weeks. Tempers have flared in recent weeks over the arena battle and now the NHL is getting involved. The league says the situation needs to be resolved soon or the team will need to find a new city.
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Some Games Matter Tomorrow

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

It was a given that the Canadians and the Czechs would be playing for something big at this Olympic hockey tournament. Few, however, believed the high-level stakes up for grabs would be for the fourth seed in Group A of the preliminary round. For that is exactly what the loser of Tuesday's game between these two countries will receive — the most undesirable game, against the Group B winner — in Wednesday's quarterfinal crossover games. The winner, meanwhile, will likely finish third, unless Switzerland loses its game Tuesday against winless Italy.
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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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