Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Here's a look at NHL.com's top 11 players from the 2016 tournament (listed alphabetically):
Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Detroit Red Wings: The 6-1, 190-pound left wing had four goals, five points, a plus-1 rating and 17 shots on goal in four games for the runner-up. He enjoys playing physical and getting in the face of his opponent, but has vowed to become a more all-around player and showed flashes of that in the tournament.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Columbus Blue Jackets: The No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft came as advertised. He showed great speed, strength and refused to be pushed around. Dubois (6-2, 207) had one goal, five points, a plus-4 rating and six shots to help the Blue Jackets take third place.
Luke Johnson, C, Chicago Blackhawks: The right-shot center, chosen in the fifth round (No. 134) of the 2013 draft, had 11 goals and 21 points for the NCAA national champion University of North Dakota. He had one goal and 11 shots in four games. Johnson (5-11, 198) had five power-play goals, and led North Dakota in faceoff percentage (54.9 percent), faceoff wins (394) and faceoff attempts (718).
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Jarome Iginla enters his 20th NHL season — third with the Avalanche — still looking like a prizefighter in his prime. The right winger’s only body fat is of the essential kind, and his appearance offsets his age, 39, as well as the status of his contract, which expires after this season and could be his last.
At Joe Sakic’s celebrity golf tournament earlier this month, Iginla repeatedly said that his ability to play physical at this stage of his career will lead him to success — this season and perhaps beyond.
“I want to be better than I was last year,” said Iginla, whose 22 goals in 2015-16 were second on the team but fewest since his rookie season in 1996-97. “I had a good start last year, a tough middle and a good last quarter — as far as my play. At times I got away from being gritty or aggressive enough. I’d like to get back to that. I’m not trying to save myself for anything. I want to come back and be physical, a net-front presence and I still enjoy playing a lot. I still feel good. I feel strong. I want to be apart of, first of all, the playoffs, and I feel that we can do that. And once you get there, you never know, but with this group it’s getting better and better.”
from Susan Krashinsky of the Globe and Mail,
TV viewers of the games have been seeing a virtual overlay on the boards that allows a single brand at a time to take over all of the boards in the Air Canada Centre.
The digitally enhanced boards are the result of a two-year process involving the NHL, its broadcasters, and London-based Supponor, which provides hardware that uses infrared signals to replace the on-site boards with digital ad images during the broadcasts. It’s the first time the NHL has experimented with this kind of technology, which has already been used by La Liga in Spain for ads alongside soccer pitches.
“We saw it as a huge opportunity for us,” said Keith Wachtel, the NHL’s executive vice-president of global partnerships.
That’s because regular rink boards cannot compensate for the fact that TV audiences are spread out. The NHL has different marketing partnerships by region, not all of which are relevant to all TV viewers. Where most Canadian viewers have been seeing a string of ads from brands such as Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and Bank of Nova Scotia around the rink, viewers on TVA have seen French-language boards; U.S. viewers tuning in through ESPN have seen ads for brands such as Geico and DraftKings; and global feeds have carried advertising targeted to audiences outside North America.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Americans, meanwhile, are 0-2 and out – the memories of their 1996 victory in this tournament growing ever faint.
It was considered something of a coup when ESPN, the U.S. cable and satellite giant, secured the rights to the World Cup, outbidding NBC, the NHL’s American national television partner. ESPN isn’t just the worldwide leader in sports; it is also the worldwide leader in promoting its own television product – and up until this point, it had shown little interest in hockey since losing the NHL contract.
This event was considered a significant opportunity – for the network and for the league – to showcase the changes and improvements in the NHL product, since ESPN last broadcast hockey.
Instead, you can comfortably predict how the American pratfall will diminish ratings for an event that still has up to 12 days to run.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Lombardi will accept some of the blame because he understands this is a results-oriented business. It's fair to question whether Tortorella was the right coach because he couldn't seem to pull the highest performance level out of this team. The Americans can play better than they showed against Team Europe and Canada.
After everyone sorts through whether it was the management's, coaches' or players' fault, there will be changes moving forward because a group of young, skilled players, led by Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel, will dramatically change the look of this team at the next Olympics or World Cup.
But in the rush to blame someone for the team’s failure, what might be overlooked is that this generation of American players might not have been dominant enough to win a major tournament. Compare the best players from every country, and see where the USA falls.
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
After only two games at the shiny new 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Team USA has no hope of advancing beyond the three-game preliminary round.
Now there's a notion that resonates in the aftermath of its soul-sucking 4-2 loss to host Canada on Tuesday night. Two straight uninspired losses have opened up the team and the process by which it was selected to widespread ridicule.
"I don't worry about that stuff," U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter, near tears, said after the loss. "I worry about the guys in the room. I think we're all disappointed. I feel like we let our country down. We let ourselves down. It's just disappointing. You come into this not knowing how many more chances you're going to get, and to be out after two games is extremely disappointing."
Team USA didn't come to Toronto as a favorite in this tournament, but did anyone expect it would exit so meekly?
from Chris Jones of ESPN,
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
This was about dominance.
This wasn’t about John Tortorella’s decision-making or standing for national anthems or the fact he was the wrong choice to coach Team USA or the strange roster determinations made by a behind-the-times American management staff.
This was about dominance of hockey. Dominance of style. Dominance of puck. Dominance of depth. Dominance of system. Dominance in goal. Dominance on the aggressive forecheck.
Sheer hockey dominance by the unbeaten, the undaunted and maybe the unbeatable Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.
This was the kind of hockey that is unquestioned and is absolute and far different from the clinical, transcendent, almost unemotional game we saw Canada play in Sochi. In an NHL-sized rink the Canadians played closer to an NHL style of game, less about puck control on the outside and more about puck aggression, a little more fun, a little more dangerous, a little more interesting.
In a one-sided, kind of interesting way.
Home Team in Caps
TEAM SWEDEN 2, Team Finland 0
Team Canada 4, TEAM USA 2
TEAM CANADA ELIMINATES TEAM USA, ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS . . .
Down 1-0 early in the first period, Team Canada scored four consecutive goals – including a pair in 14 seconds – to eliminate Team USA and clinch a spot in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
* Matt Duchene potted two goals, including what stood as the winner. Duchene, who collected one assist in the club’s tournament opener, has totaled 11-14—25 in his last 22 international appearances for Canada: also 4-8—12 in the 2015 World Championship (10 GP) and 5-5—10 in the 2016 World Championship (10 GP), both of which resulted in gold medals.
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVAS.
Comments are always welome.
via Craig Custance of ESPN,
The Florida Panthers aren't taking any risks with franchise defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Ekblad, 20, is headed back to Florida and will miss the remainder of the World Cup of Hockey for Team North America, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by the Miami Herald.
Ekblad took a big hit during North America's win over Finland on Sunday and sat out Monday's game against Russia. North America is calling it an upper-body injury, but an NHL source said he was following league protocol by sitting out Monday's game with symptoms consistent with a mild concussion.
Ekblad will be re-evaluated by doctors in Florida.
added 7:34pm, Statement from Team North America is below...
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.
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