Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Six years later and almost everything but the result has changed.
The walk into the Air Canada Centre Saturday felt nothing like walk into the Olympic Arena in Vancouver in 2010. The feel in the rink, the feel in the city, the feel in the country. Just not the same.
That old feeling, that same old tension, just wasn’t found. The combination of nerves, fear and excitement wasn’t there. It isn’t something you can necessarily invent. It happens quite naturally, builds on its own, leaves your stomach searching for something to settle it.
The result was the same — Team Canada outplaying, outshooting, outscoring Team Russia in a matchup that is no longer for the ages. The days of Canada-Russia meaning something extraordinary are over. The disparity in talent between the two nations is too wide.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It is on nights like these, fair or not, that superstar players either add to their mystique or ... the complete opposite.
And on this World Cup of Hockey semifinal night, No. 87 rose above everyone else yet again, while No. 8 struggled mightily.
"It's like the five-tool guy vs. the home-run hitter: The five-tool guy finds more ways to win all the time," said a Western Conference head coach not involved in the tourney, via text message after Canada's 5-3 semifinal win Saturday.
"Full-court player vs. half-court player," added an Eastern Conference GM not involved in the World Cup, via text message during the third period.
World juniors, NHL playoffs, men's world championships, Olympics and now World Cup: Crosby owns Ovechkin by any definition.
No question, if you had Crosby and Ovechkin swap uniforms Saturday night, Ovechkin might have had a better chance of scoring with Team Canada boasting a deeper squad.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Team USA’s dead horse has been kicked often enough, but it is fair to say that no one has left, or will leave, this tournament with a more damaged reputation than John Tortorella, who was able to coax nothing at all from a flawed roster constructed with flawed ideology (into which the coach surely had significant input) and whose lineup decisions were inscrutable, even to the bitter end.
The hierarchy requires a complete overhaul, though that might be easier said than done given the political turf protection within USA Hockey. But the leading candidates to take control of the next best-on-best American squad should be New Jersey general manager Ray Shero, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, Pittsburgh assistant GM Billy Guerin and New Jersey assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald.
Coaching candidates would include New Jersey’s John Hynes, Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan, Nashville’s Peter Laviolette and, perhaps most intriguingly so, Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, who holds dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship.
The charismatic North American kids were a revelation, showcasing an elite level of speed, skill and creativity that created an enormous high, which unfortunately came crashing down in the wake of their elimination once everyone realized that brand of hockey would disappear either for forever or until the next time this tournament is held.
THIRD-PERIOD OUTBURST LIFTS TEAM CANADA INTO FINAL
Down 2-1, Team Canada scored four consecutive goals – including three in the third period – to defeat Team Russia and advance to the final of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
* Team Canada improved to 8-3-2 in 13 all-time meetings with Team Russia/USSR in the World Cup of Hockey/Canada Cup. This marked the first time the countries met in an elimination game in such a tournament since 1987, when the Canadians won Game 3 of the Canada Cup final, 6-5, on a goal by Mario Lemieux with 1:26 remaining in regulation (off a pass from Wayne Gretzky).
* The line of Sidney Crosby (1-2—3), Brad Marchand (2-0—2) and Patrice Bergeron(0-2—2) combined for 3-4—7, including the tying and go-ahead goals by Marchand. Overall, that unit has totaled 8-8—16 in four games this tournament (Crosby: 3-4—7, Marchand: 3-2—5, Bergeron: 2-2—4).
* Crosby registered the opening goal for the third time in the Team Canada’s four games (also vs. CZE and EUR). Teams that score first improved to 11-2 thus far during the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- ... In the week before the Leafs opened camp, two hockey men closely associated with Lupul’s career, told me that he was having difficulty dealing with not being wanted. Neither indicated he was physically unable to play.
So here’s what I wonder now, not necessarily buying the Leafs version of events on Lupul failing the physical exam: If he is healthy enough to play, why not go the Players’ Association and challenge the Leafs position on this? And if he isn’t healthy enough to play, why hide and skip the Leafs golf tournament and avoid interviews?
All this doesn’t pass the smell test and likely it’s not the last we’ll hear of it.
- The World Cup sourpuss award goes to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, who didn’t much care for being relegated to also-ran status on Team North America and didn’t seem to be one of those check-your-ego-at-the-door kind of kids.
- There’s Bob Cole. And there’s Danny Gallivan. And then there’s the rest of those who call hockey games. And please don’t tell me Foster Hewitt. He was the first famous hockey announcer, the pioneer of the craft. When you listen now, you realize he was nowhere close to Chris Cuthbert, Doc Emrick, Jim Hughson or Gord Miller.
- I wonder if the people of Ottawa have watched Erik Karlsson in the World Cup. There may be softer players in the tournament, but I haven’t seen one of Karlsson’s level who wasn’t wearing American colours.
more on Lupul plus addtional hockey notes...
Team Russia faces Team Canada in the first semi-final game at the Wolrd Cup of Hockey.
The puck drops just after 7:00pm ET and is on ESPN2, CBC and TVAS.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The World Cup of Hockey is down to the nitty-gritty, with the semifinals this weekend and the best-of-three final series opening Tuesday night. Those who called it nothing but a cash grab have been proven wrong as the hockey and the storylines have been sensational.
Even before the final faces off, there's plenty to look back at and learn from. Here's what's been filling my notebook from group play:
One and done?
After Team North America's unfortunate elimination and Team USA's opening loss to Team Europe, you heard a lot of chatter about the tournament format and how one loss shouldn't be a death knell. One thing that could have been done was advance the two group winners and the best second-place team to the semifinals and then have a one-game playoff for that final semifinal slot.
Under that scenario, Canada, Sweden and Russia would have advanced and Team North America would have met Team Europe in the play-in game for the right to claim the fourth semifinal berth. That would have dramatically cut the impact of tiebreakers deciding stay-or-go-home scenarios.
Team USA essentially lost its chance to advance with its opening loss to Team Europe. Team North America will forever rue the four goals it gave up to the Russians in a six-minute span, because they ultimately proved to undo its other 179 minutes of breathtaking hockey.
continued plus more World Cup topics...
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Hockey Night in Canada.
On home soil.
In front of a raucous red-and-white clad capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre and a national television audience watching at home from coast to coast.
Yes, we know there are cynics out there who feel the 2016 World Cup of Hockey is nothing more than a lucrative cash grab for the National Hockey League and the NHLPA. If you are in line with this way of thinking, you certainly are entitled to your opinion.
Having said that, if you are a hockey fan and can’t get cranked up for the on-ice theatre that is set to take place in downtown Toronto on Saturday when these two long-time foes clash in a one-game, winner-take-all semifinal, well, you don’t have a pulse.
Don’t take our word for it. Just ask Team Canada’s Corey Perry.
By Tim Dolan,
After a thrilling first week of action, the World Cup of Hockey is one step closer to crowning a tournament champion. To date, the tournament games have been intense, highly competitive, and emotional for both sides -- and the excitement should only increase from here on out.
from Darren Dreger of The Dreger Report at TSN,
If you weren't thoroughly entertained by Wednesday's exhibition of speed, skill and the fearless attack Team North America used to topple a powerful Team Sweden, we can't be friends.
Everyone from Wayne Gretzky to the most hardened hockey columnists acknowledged that this team of young guns, initially described as a gimmick, turned the World Cup of Hockey into world-class entertainment.
“Great hockey. The best game I've seen in a long time and one of the few games where the purpose was to put the puck in the other guys’ net,” said Hall of Famer Bob Clarke. “You're not supposed to try and check the other team to death...Who wants to watch that?”
continued plus USA Hockey 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.
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