Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League saw itself as the oil-rich rival to the NHL, offering a tempting, if less prestigious, alternative to playing in North America.
As the league planned to expand as far as Britain, the money on offer even attracted Russian stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov, who walked out on lucrative NHL deals to return home.
Then came the crash of the ruble this week.
The financial crisis has threatened the plans of players like former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Curtis Sanford, who came to Russia to save for his retirement.
"It's just really happened all of a sudden," the 35-year-old Sanford told The Associated Press. "These are some things that you don't expect when you sign a contract. Right now, you just have to ride the rolls of how it's going and hopefully it stabilizes and gets better."
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
MOSCOW – One of international hockey’s most successful coaches of all time, Viktor Tikhonov, died this morning in a hospital in Moscow after long illness. He was 84. The funeral will take place in Moscow on Thursday.
With Tikhonov the international hockey family lost its most decorated coach ever. During his era as the head coach of the Soviet Union and Russia, the Moscow-born coach led the national team to three Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship titles between 1979 and 1992 and the 1981 Canada Cup. He also won one Olympic silver medal, one World Championship silver medal and two World Championship bronze medals.
Born in Moscow in 1930, Tikhonov played bandy, football and ice hockey. He started his hockey career at the top level as a defenceman with VVS MVO Moscow and Dynamo Moscow and won four consecutive championships (1951-1953 with VVS, 1954 with Dynamo) but is mostly remembered for his extraordinarily successful coaching career.
added 7:24am, Below, a YouTube user submitted tribute video of Tikhonov....
With the world commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, TSN's Dave Naylor explores the story of hockey's famed Stastny brothers. TSN Original Feature Stastny focuses on Peter and Anton, who defected from Czechoslovakia in dramatic fashion in 1980, and older brother Marian, who joined them a year later, all in search of the opportunity to compete on the North American stage.....
"By defying the Iron Curtain and defecting to North America, the Stastny brothers changed the face of professional hockey forever," said Naylor. "To help people appreciate their story, we take viewers back to the brothers' home city of Bratislava in an Eastern Bloc country with limited freedoms. The circumstances under which the Stastnys escaped, including the torturous choice to leave family behind, mark an important time in both hockey and political history."
read on and watch the video below...
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The parties discussing the revamped World Cup of Hockey are prepared to make some dramatic changes to the tournament format, Sportsnet has learned.
The eight-team event is now expected to include two all-star entries along with the top six hockey nations — Canada, U.S., Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic — when it returns in September 2016, according to multiple sources.
The first all-star team is expected to feature the best players from the remaining European countries: Slovakia, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany and Slovenia, among them.
The makeup of the other mixed squad is still to be determined, although one idea being considered is bringing together all of the top young stars in the sport.
Organizers looked at staging a pre-tournament qualifier to determine the final two spots, but don’t believe there is time to pull everything together. They also like the idea of doing something different than the World Cups and Canada Cups of the past and think that adding all-star teams will make for a more competitive event.
via the Elite Ice Hockey League,
The Cardiff Devils are pleased to confirm the signing of Paul Bissonnette. The NHLer is coming in on a temporary basis while he still looks for opportunities in the NHL, but Devils management are excited to have him for whatever length of time that he will be in Cardiff.
“Paul got in touch with us and explained that he had already had offers from two other teams in the Elite League, but that if he was going to come back to this league he thought he would talk to us,” explained the Devils ManagingDirector Todd Kelman.
In the post previous to this one, I mentioned Sportsnet feature yesterday on The Worlds Greatest Hockey Factory/
Well, here it is...
note- I always try to credit the original source first, but sometimes it is not available, but thanfully for our sake others do supply...
Andrew Calof is currently playing his rookie season with Skellefteå in the Swedish Hockey League and will be providing updates on his experience. Calof, 23, spent four years at Princeton University where he finished as the third highest point getter in school history.
from Andrew Calof at Shnarped,
Starting my first year of professional hockey in Europe has truly been an incredible experience. Living in Skellefteå, Sweden and playing for a team with predominantly Swedish players has had its challenges but has also accelerated my learning of the Swedish language and culture. When I was offered a chance to play for Skellefteå, arguably one of the best hockey organizations in Europe, I jumped at the opportunity.
However, with this opportunity would come a number of potential challenges. I was moving to a new country where I did not speak the language and didn’t know if I’d be able to communicate well with my teammates and coaches. Luckily for me, the majority of the team, coaching staff, and members of the organization are fluent in English. With this language barrier comes some challenges, but there is also an aspect of excitement being immersed in a new culture.
Almost all team activities are in Swedish, whether it’s the practices, video sessions, meetings, etc. Since Skellefteå has had other players from North America that don’t understand Swedish, they were easily prepared to deal with this.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Michael Leighton won’t be returning to Russia for the upcoming Kontinental Hockey League season, but not for the reason you might think.
The former Windsor Spitfires goalie who calls LaSalle home was all set to join the expansion HC Sochi team for his second season of KHL action when illness felled Leighton.
Unable to attend training camp – KHL teams open camp in mid-to-late July leading to the early September start of regular-season play – Leighton and HC Sochi officials mutually agreed to void the contract he’d signed with the team.
“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton, 33, explained. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”...
During the 2013-14 campaign, he suited up for Donbass Donetsk, the only Ukrainian-based franchise in the KHL and a city that currently finds itself in the midst of the armed conflict within that country....
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road.
“It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine.
“When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
There will be no Ukrainian team in the KHL next season as the hockey world begins to wonder about the effects of a long-term conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Donbass Donetsk — Ukraine’s only entry in the KHL — is on sabbatical for one season, a decision reached in June after the team’s arena was sacked, looted and set afire in May.
While most believe hockey will carry on as usual — or at least with blinders on — there is a belief that should tensions worsen, the KHL will suffer in terms of the level of play and from U.S. economic sanctions.
So far there has been no mass migration from the KHL, but it’s worth noting that the league’s signing season occurred largely before the current escalation that includes the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.
“I don’t anticipate that as a cause and effect at this point,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when asked about the possibility players would leave Russia. “I assume if the conflict is prolonged and/or worsens that may change, but I think it’s a fairly remote consideration for most players right now.”
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that forward Vladimir Sobotka has been awarded a one-year contract through arbitration.
Sobotka will play the for Avangard Omsk in the KHL for the 2014-15 season. The terms of his arbitration contract will be enforced when Sobotka returns to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,” said Armstrong. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
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.
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