Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,
“I am now a U.S. Olympian, which gives me thrills,” Burke told Sportsnet.ca on Tuesday. “I wasn’t a good enough player to represent the U.S. in international competition. This is truly a tremendous honour in my opinion.”
Burke was GM of the 1993 U.S. world championship team and helped put together the previous two world championship squads, but this is his first crack at the big show. And it’s not lost on him that 2010 might be it for the world’s very best players.
“When you add to it the potential historical significance, that this well may be the very last Olympics that involves NHL players, then I think it is a very historically important event,” Burke said from his Anaheim office.
Eurohockey.net provides an interview with long-time Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen, whose students (clients?) have included the likes of Niklas Bäckström, Kari Lehtonen and Pasi Nurminen.
Q: You have worked in Finland, America, Switzerland and Russia, which was the best place out of these?
Hockey is hockey, I have enjoyed working in all different countries. They all have pros and cons so it is really tough to say one place is better than the other. I guess I just love hockey and working with goalies.
Q: What are the biggest difference in goalkeeping schools in these countries?
Let’s see, all countries have their own unique characteristics. let me elaborate this a bit more on a country by country basis:
• Finland has the most systematic approach to coaching goalies and most probably more goalie coaches than in any country compared to the number of team and players.
read on for Ropponen’s take on a variety of topics
Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke was named the General Manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team today by USA Hockey. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games are scheduled to take place from February 12-28, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“I’m very grateful and honored to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team,” said Burke, whose previous international experience includes serving as General Manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 1993 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in Munich and Dortmund, Germany. “We hope to put a team together for 2010 that Americans can be proud of.”
“We could not be more pleased than to have Brian as our General Manager,” said Ron DeGregorio, President of USA Hockey. “His record of accomplishment speaks for itself. Brian’s drive and fire for the game rub off on you and it’s that type of passion that will help lead us to our ultimate goal of winning the gold medal.”
A translated report at an online Russian news site:
Wayne Fleming, a Canadian coach offered the job of head coach of Belarus’ flagship ice hockey team Dinamo Minsk, held a news conference in Minsk on Monday.
The coach said that he would make up his mind on the offer on June 4, describing his talks with the club and the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation as fairly constructive.
The 57-year-old Fleming, an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, said that he liked Minsk and expressed certainty that his family would find it comfortable to live in the city. [...]
He is the second Canadian coach to be offered the Dinamo Minsk job. John Paddock turned down the offer earlier this year.
From Dan Barnes at Canwest News via the National Post,
But Medvedev is not Russian hockey, merely a player in it. For now. The fact that he is trying to convince Igor Larionov to put a familiar, moderate face on the CHL as its first commissioner is a signal of his savvy. He is not the NHL’s worst nightmare, just a friendly competitor. For now.
“Mr. Medvedev obviously has a strong interest in hockey and we thought it might make sense to sit down and get a better understanding of his interest and what he is trying to accomplish,” said Daly.
The answer to that question will be different in a year or two than it is today. The assumption that he wants to hurt the NHL is a pretty easy one to make, but he resents it.
“It’s a very stupid assumption,” said Medvedev. “We don’t want to weaken the NHL. We want to enrich European hockey and the NHL.”
From Sergei Balash at Russia Profile.org,
The twists and turns of the final game were reminiscent of what the sport itself had gone through over the past decade and a half. After winning the Olympic hockey tournament in 1992 and capturing the world title in 1993, all of Russia’s major hockey accomplishments came just on the junior level, with the U20 team winning gold thrice from 1999 to 2003. Back then, the decline was evident in all winter sports, historically Russia’s strongest sport.
The long way back
“It’s always easy to ruin something,” said Vyacheslav Fetisov, director of the Federal Agency for Physical Education and Sport. “We were unbeatable in hockey. If someone said back in 1988 or 1989 that we’d win just two World Championships in the next 20 years, nobody would believe it.”
more on the road map Russia has followed to rebuild its hockey (and general sporting) dominance
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
Russian hero Ilya Kovalchuk said it best when he summed up his team’s ability to come back from a two-goal deficit to win the gold medal game of the World Championship against Canada in overtime Sunday afternoon.
“When you’re playing on the big rinks and you’re trailing by two goals, it’s always tough to come back,” Kovalchuk said.
There is a certain contingent of hockey snobs that look down their noses at the NHL product, all the while claiming the international game to be far superior, in large part because the players have so much room to display their creativity.
They are wrong, so wrong.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The Russians threw their gloves and helmets in the air, left their sticks littering the ice and headed to the corner to create a happy pile of players on top of Ilya Kovalchuk,who had tears in his eyes.
Remember when we saw Russians as being so stoic and emotionless?
Remember when we believed Canada had the market cornered on hockey heart?
Well, remember this.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
The hockey landscape has changed — NHL clubs must now look on Russian clubs not as feeder teams whose rosters can be harvested, but as full economic equals. Fortunately for the NHL, it still has the reputation and the quality of life to assure that the Ovechkins and Semins will keep coming to North America, at least for the next few years. But NHL clubs are no longer the only ones with the money. The collapse of the IIHF-NHL player transfer agreement is proof of that.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
The fact that troubled winger Chris Simon and backup netminder John Grahame won’t be returning to the NHL next season likely comes as little surprise, but what’s interesting is that the pair have signed with teams in the newly branded Continental Hockey League (formerly the Russian Super League) this weekend.
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