Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at Sportsnet,
The NHL is working on a plan to move forward with or without the 2018 Olympics.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday afternoon that the league has begun working with teams on two different scheduling scenarios, one that would see NHL players attend the Games in South Korea almost 14 months from now and one that would see them sit out for the first time since 1994.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had previously indicated the need for an Olympic decision by January, though no firm deadline was ever given. An alternative schedule accommodating the Olympics would seem to suggest a softening toward that time frame.
"We’re not the ones imposing any kind of deadline," Daly said. "We’ll see what the IOC and the IIHF’s timetable is; obviously I think the players have flexibility. We won’t be setting the deadline."
Puck scheduled to drop at 3:33pm ET.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Given the sea of empty seats at the Air Canada Centre for Canada’s dominating 5-0 victory over Slovakia, how distressing will attendance figures be when the hosts face off against Latvia on Thursday night?
While the Canadians were out-shooting the Slovaks by a ridiculous 44-6 margin, upper deck corner areas like Section 318 were practically vacant. All in all, the official crowd total Tuesday night was 12,694, meaning about one-third of the arena was empty.
Keeping that in mind, we have to ask: Is it time for the world junior championships to move back to intermediate-sized communities like Halifax, which many fans were suggesting on Twitter?
During a recent 1-on-1 interview with Postmedia, Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said his organization was looking to hold the tournament in communities where the sport would leave the deepest footprint down to the grass roots level. Of course, the bigger the city, the more people there are to be impacted directly. That’s the theory anyway.
Brendan Shanahan looks back on the most infamous moment in International hockey history when Canada and the USSR brawled at the 1987 World Juniors in Piestany, Czechoslovakia.
Watch the 4 1/2 minute TSN segment with Shanahan below...
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The world junior hockey showcase is about to begin. Here’s a team-by-team look at the contenders and what makes them tick:
Last year: Sixth
Overall: 16 gold, eight silver, five bronze
Skinny: Canada last won gold on Canadian soil, in 2015 in Toronto . . . Dylan Strome (Erie Otters) will captain a team that lacks star power but may make up for it with team play. Strome is one of five players returning from last year, along with Mitchell Stephens, Thomas Chabot, Julien Gauthier, Mathew Barzal . . . Taylor Raddysh (Erie) leads all of the CHL in scoring with 61 points in 28 points . . . Every player on the team has been drafted by an NHL team . . . Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) will be counted on as the No. 1 goalie. He was the 2015-16 CHL goalie of the year.
Last year: Bronze
Overall: Three gold, one silver, five bronze
Skinny: This core of this team won gold at the world under-18 championship in 2015 . . . A year after former Leafs coach Ron Wilson led the Americans to a third-place finish, the U.S. returned to the college coaching ranks, naming St. Cloud State University’s Bob Motzko the bench boss . . . The team leans heavily on college players, including Leafs goaltending prospect Joseph Woll (Boston College) . . . U of Wisconsin forward Luke Kunin (Minnesota Wild) was named captain . . . Another Leaf prospect, Kitchener’s Jeremy Bracco, should provide top-line offence along with Erie’s Alex DeBrincat, who has 30 goals in 28 OHL games.
WJC TV schedule if you missed the post from yesterday.
All Team USA games will be broadcast live on the NHL Network in the USA.
via USA Hockey,
Mon., Dec. 26 Latvia 3:30 p.m. Air Canada Centre NHL Network
Wed., Dec. 28 Slovakia 7:30 p.m. Air Canada Centre NHL Network
Thur., Dec. 29 Russia 3:30 p.m. Air Canada Centre NHL Network
Sat., Dec. 31 Canada 3:30 p.m. Air Canada Centre NHL Network
Mon., Jan. 2 Quarterfinals TBD TBD NHL Network
Wed., Jan. 4 Semifinals TBD Bell Centre NHL Network
Thurs., Jan. 5 Bronze Medal Game 3:30 p.m. Bell Centre NHL Network
Gold Medal Game 8:00 p.m. Bell Centre NHL Network
SilverSeven has the full tournament schedule, with most of the games on the TSN Networks.
Here is the IIHF home page for the WJC too.
from Peter Roumeliotis of Sports Illustrated,
Certain sporting spectacles carry with them their own cultures and traditions, and go so far as to become synonymous with their own dates on the calendar.
One of these is the IIHF’s World Junior Hockey Championship, the annual late-December tournament that brings the best under-20 years old hockey players from around the globe together to represent their home country and battle against the best the world has to offer. From Boxing Day until the first week of January, 10 countries select their top under-20 prospects to compete in different host cities around the globe. Canada hosts the 2017 edition, with games being held in Montreal and Toronto for the second time in three years.
Year after year, the tournament features highly-touted prospects who have their eyes on making the jump to elite-level status, with a shot at a high-end draft pick or a spot on an NHL roster. Among the World Juniors alumni are current generation players like Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, John Tavares, Connor McDavid (Canada), Johnny Gaudreau (United States), Erik Karlsson (Sweden) and Patrik Laine (Finland), all of whom had memorable performances for their countries.
For many of these players, the tournament, which started unofficially in 1974 before gaining official status in 1977, has served as a launch pad for professional hockey careers.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Part 1 in a two-part series on hockey in China.
The search for the Yao Ming of hockey began in Beijing, on makeshift rinks tucked in the basement of a shopping mall and on the sectioned-off corners of a speed skating oval. It’s as unlikely an origin story as you will ever hear, with players learning to toe-drag on figure skates while wearing equipment inside out.
AnDong “Misha” Song learned to skate when he was six years old after doctors told him that breathing in cold air would cure his respiratory problems. Rudi Ying discovered hockey on shopping trips with his mom, deciding from an early age that the strange sport was far better than being dragged from store-to-store.
At the time, neither player knew a slew foot from a spin-o-rama. Growing up in Beijing, where 10 years ago there were maybe two actual rinks and no NHL games on TV, they didn’t even know how to put on the strange-looking equipment, often wearing shin pads over their hockey socks because they thought the socks were meant to keep their legs warm.
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Hartley will be the second former NHL coach after Ted Nolan (2011-2014) to lead the Latvian men’s national team. Hartley led the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup win in 2001 and later also coached the Atlanta Thrashers and until last season the Calgary Flames. In 2015 he won the Jack Adams Award as NHL head coach of the year but was fired in May 2016.
The 56-year-old also won championships as a junior coach with the Hawkesbury Hawks (CJHL; 1990, 1991) and Laval Titan (QMJHL; 1993) and later in professional hockey with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears (1997) and most recently in 2012 the Swiss championship with the ZSC Lions Zurich during a one-year stint in Europe where he had Latvian forward Ronalds Kenins among his players.
Hartley’s first assignment will be to watch the U20 national team in Toronto next week at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship to scout potential candidates for the men’s national team. He will travel to Latvia for the first time in February to watch KHL team Dinamo Riga in its last regular-season games.
“I’m excited for the newest challenge in my career as a coach. It will be my first experience working with a national team and I’m grateful to the Latvian Hockey Federation for giving me the opportunity and confidence,” Bob Hartley said.
“I’m looking forward to the moment when the Latvian national team will start its preparation, which will be the foundation of a successful start at the World Championship.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The International Ice Hockey Federation is awaiting for the NHL and NHL Players' Association to resolve the Olympic issue.
IIHF president Rene Fasel has said several times during the past month that he believes he has come up with the money to cover the cost of NHL player contract insurance and travel, which he relayed again last week during a meeting with national hockey federations that included USA Hockey and Hockey Canada.
Now Fasel awaits the decision from the NHL and NHLPA in the next month.
"Last week we met with the 12 participating teams to inform them of the ongoing developments in Korea," Fasel said Tuesday in a statement to ESPN. "As I said before the door is wide open for all players to participate in the Winter Olympics, it was a challenge this year but we did our homework. We will await the league and the PA's decision and hope for a positive result. We do not wish to comment directly on what is now a matter between the NHL and the NHLPA."
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