Kukla's Korner

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Category: European-Hockey

How Muammar Gaddafi Helped A Hockey Team

from Gabriel Luis Manga of The Guardian,

In next year’s NHL draft, the No1 pick won’t be the prototypical teen from Ontario, the Swedish speedster, or pummeling Muscovite. It will be an 18-year-old from Arizona who plays in Switzerland named Auston Matthews. The young phenom has ended up playing in Europe thanks to a combination of outsider hockey status – Phoenix is not exactly a hockeyhot-bed – and the logistics of being born just after the cutoff for last year’s draft.

Europe has long been a haven for North American hockey players. But most players who end up there are looking to continue the dream of making a living playing the sport they love, even if the NHL isn’t calling for them. That’s how Dan Olsen and Bruce Hardy, two Canadians, ended up in Iserlohn, just south of Dortmund in Germany. It was there that, in 1987, their hockey careers would lead them into what amounted to a dystopian version of Slap Shot. Their bankrupt team, ECD Iserlohn, turned to the most unlikely of saviors: Muammar Gaddafi.

European hockey is a strange place: jerseys are a neoliberal dream of sponsorship patches, and top scorers on each team are marked with gold helmets; there’s a lot of gimmick and schtick that goes into making the sport financially viable as it competes with soccer for attention. Heinz Weifenbach, the owner of ECD Iserlohn, was perfect for this world. A gregarious, mustachioed, cigar-smoking bon vivant who made his fortune in real estate development, Weifenbach had poured his wealth into making Iserlohn one of Germany’s top teams.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Playing Hockey And Living In Russia

from Ryan Whitney at the Players' Tribune,

So let me preface the rest of this story by saying that I’m a kid from Boston about to get on a plane and be thrown into a very strange experience on the other side of the world. You may experience some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.

The plane touched down at 4 a.m. I had to fly from Boston to Turkey to Sochi. My head is spinning. Eyes are red. I’m delirious. This guy picks me up at baggage claim with the big sign, just like the movies. He barely speaks English.

Look, I’m not naive. I’ve traveled abroad before. But my first thought at the airport was, Holy shit. Why is the letter H upside down? Everything’s in Russian. Like, everything.

The guy drives me to my apartment. There’s no more exciting and nerve-wracking feeling than landing in a new city and being driven to your new home. So after a while, I start seeing all the Olympic rings everywhere. We drive into this big complex, and there are hundreds of these brand-new apartments. Perfectly paved streets. Rows of street lamps.

And there’s not a single living soul that I can see. No cars. No nothing.

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Welcome Some European Franchises To The NHL

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

Save for a couple of innovative ideas like the Winter Classic – which unfortunately is being milked to death – the NHL is probably the least cutting-edge professional league in the world: Same ice size for 100 years. The same boring TV angles that slow the game down. Dumb all-star game formats. Tight, boring checking systems.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the game and grew up following the NHL as close as any other kid in the neighbourhood, but I don’t buy the myth that the NHL is going through some kind of Renaissance and people around the world are starting to embrace the game like they’ve embraced basketball in places like China and the Philippines.

The big talk in the NHL these days is expansion. The NHL seems bound and determined to expand by at least two more teams, further diluting and already diluted product - all for the sake of greedy owners getting a one-time expansion fee. Never mind that adding two new teams will likely hurt the game long-term when fans realize that the guys on their favourite team playing on the third and fourth lines should be in the AHL. And to expand to a place like Las Vegas is just stupid and short-sighted.

Instead of expanding, why not invite some of the already established and healthy franchises in the Swedish, Swiss, Czech or German leagues to join the NHL? 

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Now This Is What You Call An ‘Own Goal’

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Playing Hockey In Russia

from Evgeny Kuznetov at the Players' Tribune,

How much I do I love hockey? I can’t even describe. In Russia, we don’t really have a Christmas break, but from December 31 to January 3, everything closed. Even hockey school. These were the worst days of my life. Four days with no hockey, I get so depressed. I can’t even sleep. Just sit watching YouTube of Kovalev and wait.

Some people in Canada understand this, I think. In my hometown of Chelyabinsk, hockey is religion. Only one sport. Hockey.

For me, it start when I’m little boy. I tell you one of my very first memories. My dad take me to the rink, and I see this older guy score goal, and he do a really cool celebration. Slide around on his knees, you know? I say to myself, I want to do that. This looks so fun.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeny+kuznetsov

The Look Of The Braehead Clan

 

BarDown has much more on the look.

thanks to a KK member for the pointer

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Guy Boucher Ready For Another Coaching Job In The NHL

from Craig Custance of ESPN,

Things have gone well for Boucher in Switzerland, and now Boucher has emerged as the best available candidate for NHL teams looking to make an in-season change at head coach. There are certainly other notable and worthy candidates, like John Tortorella, Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle, but nobody who offers the mix of youth, intelligence and now international experience that the 44-year-old Boucher provides.

Reached by phone in Switzerland on Monday, Boucher said coaching for Bern has been an incredible opportunity and learning experience for him.

“You see things differently. I look at what Paul Maurice had done going to Europe and coming back. Bob Hartley just won coach of the year and he did the same thing. You ask all those guys and they’ll tell you their experience overseas helped you become better coaches,” Boucher said.

read on (insiders only but well worth the cost)...

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: guy+boucher

Mike Keenan Out As Coach For Metallurg

 

Check out Szemberg's recent Twitter timeline for more on Keenan.

added 8:51am, via Darren Dreger tweets,

Bizarre turn of events in KHL. After losing 2nd straight game, Mike Keenan was fired when he arrived at the arena this morning.

Keenan is unclear as to what his future with the team or league is at this point, but says he's been told his citizenship will be granted.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: khl, mike+keenan

Finnish Hockey Fans, Please Don’t Wear Your Merchandise To Anti-Immigration Protests

from yle,

The Finnish national hockey team has asked people to stop wearing Finland hockey jerseys to anti-immigration demonstrations. Over the weekend hockey shirts were spotted at several protests, but now the hockey federation has asked people to stop wearing its merchandise at protests.

Finland’s national hockey team does not want to be associated with anti-immigration protests. The team’s official Twitter account asked on Wednesday for people attending demonstrations to avoid wearing Finland hockey jerseys.

"Attention fans: Can we agree that hockey jerseys belong in the stands and not on demonstrations," read the tweet.

continued

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Russians May Be Heading To The NHL Again

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

While the KHL was initially perceived as a talent-poaching threat to the NHL when it opened its operations — according to QuantHockey.com, the number of Russians in the NHL dropped from an all-time high of 73 in 2000-01 to just 29 in 2012-13 — the cases of players leaving are becoming few and far between.

KHL teams are folding. Sponsorships are drying up. And because of a ruble that is now worth .65 cents on the U.S. dollar — it has lost 50 per cent of its value since the start of 2014 because of plummeting oil prices and sanctions due to the conflict in Ukraine — players are no longer making the kind of money that they once were. In some cases, they are not even getting paid.

“They were stealing from our families while operating and preparing the club for the upcoming season by signing new players,” Canadian-born goaltender Mark Dekanich, who played for Medvescak Zagreb, said in an email to Postmedia News. “All who did not return to play for Medvescak are in the same situation.”

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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