Kukla's Korner Hockey
That was the hockey world yesterday.
Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk was in his home country of Russia where the highly controversial anti-gay law has been making headlines at least once a day when he was asked about his take on it.
Now from what I have read online no one that is bashing or standing up for Datsyuk was actually there in Russia. I think many, especially the further west in North America we go, were probably still asleep when the question was asked – that didn’t stop anyone from spreading out venom.
At this point every mainstream media, established bloggers and recreational tweeter has expressed their outrage over Datsyuk citing his religion as his answer to a politically driven question.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Four days of Team Canada meetings, fishing outings and golf isn't going to help Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock pick an Olympic team for the Rainbow Olympics in February scheduled for Sochi, Russia, nor is it going to help them win the tournament.
Foster team chemistry? When almost half of the 47 invitees are not going to make the cut when the team is announced? C'mon. Who is one supposed to bond with, exactly?
They can hand out the free stuff - Lord knows NHLers need more free t-shirts, etc. - let players know how one travels from North America to the Black Sea and even show some video and have a chalk talk on how Team Canada intends to navigate the larger international ice surface.
But none of that will help in February.
“He views asking people for information as a strength, not a weakness, and as something that can make him and the country better.”
“You couldn’t get a more loyal guy to work with. He’s very loyal to us [coaches], he’s loyal to the players and he’s very loyal to the country."
-Ken Hitchcock on Team Canada Head Coach Mike Babcock. More on Babcock from Doug Harrison of CBC.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Naturally, with each Olympics the numbers surrounding Canada’s men’s team go north. Except, as we noted, for one.
How many players are locks to make the Canadian team for Sochi in February?
“By my count, I’m at 11,” said Nicholson. “It’s never been that low. The number has always been higher.”
Alas, a number that’s gone south from years past. Even in-house at Hockey Canada, the number of National Hockey League players who are — barring injury — guaranteed spots in Sochi is a matter of some debate.
“I’d say there are probably, conservatively, maybe 10 locks,” said executive director of Team Canada and Tampa GM Steve Yzerman. “We’re taking 25 players. Ten may be a conservative number, sure, but half of this team is available for guys to make. At least half.”
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
I respect that hockey players want to win Olympic gold, but considering the first time that NHLers were allowed to compete for a medal was 1998, most of them grew up in an era where it wasn’t even an option anyway. And as I said before, the World Cup is just as good, but comes without the baggage.
Hockey is an international game and the moves the NHL has made recently, such as hosting games in Europe and translating its website into different languages, are great. Many in the league have come down pretty definitively on the side of gay rights through the You Can Play Project and while I don’t expect Zdeno Chara to bust out a rainbow flag in defiance when he leaves the ice in Sochi, it is awkward to see the Games in Russia so soon after the flood of support for YCP in the NHL.
I don’t think the IOC has ever had the best interests of hockey in mind and if Sochi is the last time the NHL participates, it’s cool with me.
from Sport Express (rough, Google translation),
Clark remembered by our fans during the Super Series 1972 Canada - USSR, when in the sixth game, held in Moscow, Valery Kharlamov inflicted injury and was branded "murderers". After the match Super Series-1976, when CSKA lost only one match for the ocean - "Philadelphia", the Soviet press and pinned him another nickname "Captain bandits with Broad Street."...
For our fans the most memorable was the sixth episode of the 1972 Super Series match between the national teams of the USSR and Canada, which took place in Moscow. Clark, wielding a stick, like a sword, slashed on the ankle of Valery Kharlamov, moving out of the building. "If I did not put opponents sometimes with both hands, I'd still cuckoo in the village of Flin Flon" - a quotation Clark of the moment.
Odds to win 2014 Olympic Ice Hockey - Men’s Gold Medal
Czech Republic 17/2
Odds provided by Bovada.
from Colin Horgan of the Guardian,
This spring, the NHL and its players' union were both excited about something else. In April, both formally partnered with You Can Play, an advocacy group that promotes acceptance of LGBT athletes in sport. Bettman said he was "delighted" that the venture would reaffirm the NHL and NHLPA's policy of "inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands".
It's the last bit of that that is worth thinking on now. The news out of Russia for LGBT people who might fill the ice and certainly the stands in Sochi is pretty bleak these days. And the NHL should have taken a stand on the issue.
To recap recent events: in June, Russia's parliament passed a law that bans gay "propaganda". Included in that bill is a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (around $155) for anyone who disseminates information "directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup" among minors or, reportedly, anything that would lead anyone to understand that gay and heterosexual relationships are socially equivalent. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, claimed at the time that the law was about protecting children.
added 3:26pm, You can read what Patrick Burke has to say on this topic at Buzzfeed.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The large ice surface is different, despite those who will argue endlessly that it is not. The game itself is different.
Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot, perhaps a surprise name among the 47 called to camp, told the Ottawa Citizen Tuesday that he doubts he would have merited consideration had it not been for his play the past couple of years in the world championship.
“I think I turned a lot of heads,” Methot said. “I think a big reason is because of how I played on the big surface. A lot of it is about skating, and having my skating ability mixed in with the defensive game surely helped.”
It is also different for goaltenders, as Canada’s Patrick Roy noted in Nagano. Angles and distance change; the quick shot often becomes the pause, leaving reflex goalies at a shooter’s mercy. Canada has some fine goaltenders, but no Canadian goalie has stolen Olympic matches the way the Czech Republic’s Dominik Hasek did in Nagano.
more Team Canada talk...
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 email@example.com