Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Tom Murray,
A few thoughts in the wake of the gold medal victories in hockey for the men and women of Canada.
First, the men.
We can talk all we want here in the States about our players being as good as the Canadians, and maybe on paper we are, man for man, all the way down the line. But the simple truth is we can’t begin to compete with them in the area that really matters, that mattered most when the semifinal showdown between our two countries took place last week:
It means more to them than it does to us. It’s not just a game up there, it’s a religion, or close to it. And when Canadian teams play for their country, they’re also playing a game that is truly theirs. They take that designation seriously, protect it fiercely and play ferociously. After all, the image of an entire nation is on the line.
Canada’s men’s hockey players are the most different of all our Olympians. They play always in the limelight. They make fortunes of money. They play a sport Canadians originated and have dominated. They expect and are expected to win. In Sochi, they played without arrogance, with no misdirected emotion. They were solidly, forcefully, smartly better than everyone else. Their gold medal win in the last Olympic event was the punchline to the story their Olympic teammates had been writing for 17 days. In Sochi, the men’s hockey team came to embody what we have become.
-Ken Dryden, HHOF goaltender on Team Canada. Read more on them from Dryden at the Globe and Mail.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Pierre LeBrun: Where does this go after Sochi in terms of future NHL Olympic participation? Every single player we've talked to here at the Games wants to remain involved. We all understand it's more complicated than that, but ...
Donald Fehr: It's always an issue to have to shut down a business for a length of time. It's always a greater issue when you're shutting the business at a point in time in which the substitute product, if you will, is not prime time back to the areas that you are. There's always people [who] worry about the additional games and the injury risk and so on.
And the question is a couple things: Is this something that NHL players should do because it's good for the game overall, good for worldwide marketing and approach and all the rest of it? It is a question as to what the players would like and prefer to do.
And then it's the question of negotiating the details and arrangements to make sure we can make it work. People have a tendency, I think, of thinking I'm being cagey or holding my cards close to my vest. But in fact, what we'll do is that after this is over, we'll let it digest for a while; we'll begin to talk to the players; we'll talk to the parents; we'll see what kind of reaction federations had.
And then, I'm sure, at our executive board meeting this summer, we'll have long discussions. And either then or after my meeting with the players in the fall, the players will tell me what they want me to do and then I'll go try and do it. That's basically it.
LeBrun: All 700-plus NHL players are not here in the Olympics. What's always intrigued me is the idea of how rank-and-file players who never get to play in the Olympics really feel about shutting down the game for the Olympics and whether their input is heeded.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A couple of hours before the biggest game of his young career, Nicklas Backstrom made his way to the Bolshoy Ice Dome and began warming up for the gold-medal tilt between his Swedish national team and Canada.
But by the time that game had started, Backstrom had been whisked away to a disciplinary hearing with International Olympic Committee officials over a positive test for a banned substance -- an element in an allergy medication that Backstrom has been taking for seven years, according to Swedish Olympic Committee officials -- and told he could not compete for his country.
It is absolutely mind-boggling that it came to this.
Backstrom provided the urine test in question on Wednesday, after the Swedes' quarterfinal win over Slovenia. He alerted doping officials that he was taking the medication. According to Swedish and International Ice Hockey Federation officials, the normal turnaround for such tests is 48 hours, and yet the general manager of the Swedish national team was informed that Backstrom had exceeded the threshold for an element found in the medication only two hours before the gold-medal game.
Canada 3, Sweden 0
CANADA IS GOLDEN AGAIN
Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his second consecutive shutout and backstop Canada to its ninth gold medal in men’s Olympic hockey, the most of any nation.
* With the win, Canada became the first country to earn back-to-back gold medals since the Soviet Union in 1984 and 1988. It also repeated as the tournament champion for the first time since 1948 and 1952, with Sunday’s victory marking its first gold medal on European ice since 1952 (Oslo, Norway).
SOCHI, RUSSIA (Feb. 23, 2014) – National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding Nicklas Backstrom:
“We understand that Nicklas Backstrom tested positive for a substance banned ‘in competition’ by the International Olympic Committee. It is our further understanding that the positive test was the result of a common allergy medication taken by the player knowingly, with the approval of the team doctor and without the intention of gaining an illegal or improper performance-enhancing benefit. In addition, the specific substance that resulted in the positive test is not currently on the League’s Prohibited Substances List.
“Subject to confirmation of the facts as we understand them, and given the fact that the substance is neither prohibited in the NHL nor was used in an improper manner here, we do not anticipate there being any consequences relative to Nicklas’ eligibility to participate in games for the Washington Capitals.”
added 11:38am, Washington Capitals statement...
ARLINGTON, Va. – Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Team Sweden’s Olympic gold-medal game on Sunday due to the allergy medication he has been taking intermittently for seven years, including this season while playing for the Washington Capitals to combat severe allergies. The medicine was approved by the Swedish national team. It is not anticipated that this will impact his participation in NHL games.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
History is rarely on the minds of players at the precise moment they win something as significant as an Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey. The experience is too fresh, too new, and really just too much fun in the here-and-now to think about its significance or long-term impact.
In a decisive win marked by an immediately jubilant celebration just as most Canadians were sipping their morning coffees, Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team won its third gold medal in the last four Olympics and they did it in their most convincing style yet. In defeating Sweden 3-0 in Sunday’s final, Canada complete an undefeated 6-0 run to the championship, becoming the first team since the Soviet Union in 1984 to do so.
continued with team reaction to the win...
via IIHF tweets,
The Award for the Best Goalkeeper goes to Carey Price (Canada)
The Award for the Best Defenceman goes to Erik Karlsson.
The Award for the Best Forward goes to Phil Kessel (USA).
added 9:46am, via IIHF.com,
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.
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