Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
For all those who spoke Tuesday, all those who painted wondrous picture with words of who Terry Trafford was and why his life was so important, no one could really explain what happened. No one could explain how this young man, so funny, so full of mischief and pranks, so blazingly fast on the ice, so beloved, so full of friends, so loved by many — and always, said Payne, “with a smile ... he could make you laugh in a split second” would then take his own life.
The small room at the funeral home was not surprisingly jam packed. The hall outside the room, where almost as many people could look through the window and hear the words, was equally crowded. A few members of the Saginaw Spirit sat in the front row, wearing their bright blue uniforms. But not all the team was there. And the coach, Greg Gilbert, and the general manager, Jim Paliafito, were stunningly and inexcusably absent.
At the front of the chapel, the autographed jersey beside the casket was not from the Spirit, the team that sent him home and then told him not to come back. It was a Toronto Bulldogs jersey, a summer-league all-star team top, with autographs all over it. A memory of better times.
I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight ...
During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game ... these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].
-Marcin Gortat, NBA player for the Washington Wizards on allowing fighting in the NBA. More from Gortat, but only a little more on fighting, by Kyle Weidie at ESPN.
from Neil Davidson of the CP at Yahoo,
Perched high in the Bolshoy Ice Dome, music director Ray Castoldi is constantly taking the temperature of the fans below.
If they are already on their feet or chanting, he leaves them alone. If the atmosphere needs a jolt, he turns to his organ or sends White Zombie's "Kernkraft 400" or Darude's "Sandstorm" pumping through the PA to get the party started.
It's a skill that has taken the 51-year-old Castoldi from the Super Bowl to the Sochi Olympics.
His day job is music director at Madison Square Garden, where he plays the organ and DJs at Rangers, Knicks and Liberty games. But he has travelled the world with his keyboard and laptop.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
When American T.J. Oshie scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory over Russia in a first-round Olympic hockey game Saturday night, it was a devastating ending for the several dozen fans crowding into the So Leone sports bar in downtown Sochi.
But the group of mostly middle-aged men did not immediately leave. They picked their chins out of their chests, stood slowly from their couches and chairs, and lined up in front of the two Americans sitting meekly in the middle of the room.
Then, one by one, they shook our hands.
Far from the carefully painted faces and organized cheers at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Russian sporting soul was on display in a dark, wood-lined room with two giant televisions, one small dart board, and a lifetime of angst.
The So Leone sports bar was 35 minutes up the Black Sea coast from the game between Russia and the U.S., but it pounded with a cramped and honest pulse of a nation on edge.
"This is our sport, this is our life," said patron Denis Puzyrez, standing at the bar in a rumpled T-shirt and hopeful stare. "Even if we fail in everything else in Olympics, if we win hockey, we win the Olympics."
Some guys get all pursy around the mouth when you suggest this, but figure skating is infinitely harder than ice hockey. Every four years at the Winter Olympics, figure skating fans have to listen to a lot of nonsense about how their sport lacks legitimacy. The puckheads don’t understand that the people in Lycra doing curlicues are actually the better skaters, with the stronger legs, and the superior athletes in a more pressure-packed pursuit.
-Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post where you can continue reading...
In 1987, travelling with the Canadian national team for an event in Moscow called the Izvestia tournament, during the darkest days of Soviet Russia, where you couldn’t even find a restaurant, let alone get a decent restaurant meal, centre Marc Habscheid made a fabulous point: These sorts of experiences were good for professional athletes because once they went back to their regular lives, maybe it wouldn’t be such a tragedy if their restaurant steak came out medium instead of medium-rare.
That’s the challenge they’ll face here, too. It isn’t going to meet the standards they’re used to – and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Maik in Sochi. Read more from Duhatschek.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
My Winter Olympic experiences have gone from telegrams to Twitter, from a small, isolated village in New York's Adirondack Mountains that produced a sports miracle few people knew about as it unfolded to an international resort on Russia's Black Sea where the world can keep up with every development almost immediately by consulting mobile devices that didn't exist even a few years ago.
The Sochi Games will be my 10th straight Winter Olympics and 14th Games, including Summer Olympics. My first was Lake Placid, and we drove up from Long Island, where I worked for Newsday. My boss, the late Dick Sandler, told me I'd cover figure skating and some hockey. When the underdog American hockey team was eliminated, he said, we would ignore it.
Dick was a wonderful sports editor, but he was slightly off on that prediction.
Chatting last week with Bob Suter, a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. "Miracle on Ice" hockey team, reminded me of how much the Winter Olympics have grown and the massive changes that have taken place over a relatively short period.
Gretzky and O'Brien go way back and recall Greatzky's 1989 appearance on Saturday Night Live.
I watched the full interview with Richard Sherman today and he handled the situation very well.
And he brought up hockey too..
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 firstname.lastname@example.org