Kukla's Korner Hockey
After Team USA morning skate.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
A group of Canada’s finest hockey coaches go for a bike ride.
Mike Babcock has urged them into the streets of Ottawa, lining up rentals from a local shop in an effort to give his staff a little breather from their World Cup of Hockey preparations. They end up riding three straight days during training camp, taking a route that winds along the city’s picturesque canal while “competing” for a yellow jacket.
“We saw the whole town,” said Babcock. “Beautiful.”
The group of seven – Babcock, assistants Joel Quenneville, Claude Julien, Barry Trotz and Bill Peters, plus goaltending coach Stephane Waite and video coach Andrew Brewer – later decide to cycle again after travelling to Pittsburgh for Team Canada’s final pre-tournament game.
Julien manages to pick up a yellow bike jersey emblazoned with a large photo of the city’s skyline to playfully denote himself the leader of the Tour de Pittsburgh, but no one in the travelling party has any illusions about who is actually setting the pace out front.
This is Babcock’s show and Babcock’s team.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
What began as Team USA’s “championship game” against Team Canada on Tuesday night has morphed into much more than that. It’s also their worst nightmare.
Thanks to Team Europe’s overtime win over the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon, Tuesday’s showdown against their cross-border neighbour is their entire tournament.
The United States will be eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey on Day 4 of the tournament with anything short of a win against Canada at Air Canada Centre.
This three-game round robin format has created the ultimate put-up-or-shut-up theatre for a proud world hockey power that supposedly constructed its roster based solely on the idea of taking down Canada.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
But you can safely predict how Tuesday night’s game will play out, with the United States trying to set a physical tone, and Kesler leading the charge.
Kesler is a latter-day Claude Lemieux, minus the over-the-top theatrics, and it’s what sets him apart the current generation of players labelled as pests and agitators. Because of their strength and size, guys such as Kesler don’t just dart in and out to raise Cain. They get in the middle of the scrums and stay there.
When the stakes were raised, Lemieux always stepped up his game – he was bull strong, hard to play against and loved to push the rule book to its absolute limit. And maybe push it a little past the limit if the referees’ eyes were averted.
It’s what made their villainy more nuanced, like Heath Ledger as the Joker.
They are not cartoon characters. They do the hard stuff too – win face-offs, block shots, kill penalties. They fully fit the old hockey axiom – love to play with him, hate to play against him.
Home Team in Caps
Team Europe 3, TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC 2 (OT)
Team Russia 4, TEAM NORTH AMERICA 3
TEAM RUSSIA SURVIVES FURIOUS RALLY BY TEAM NORTH AMERICA
Team Russia scored four consecutive goals in the second period and held off a furious rally by Team North America – highlighted by 43 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky – to pick up its first victory of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and narrow the gap in a crowded Group B.
* Bobrovsky, who is making his sixth international appearance, has won four medals in his five prior such outings with Team Russia: gold at the 2014 World Championship, silver at the 2015 World Championship, and bronze at both the 2008 World Juniors and 2016 World Championship.
Russia takes on the youngsters of Team North America tonight at 8:00pm ET and it is on ESPN2, Sportsnet or TVAS.
Feel free to comment on the game.
Late scratch- Ekblad out with upper-body injury, Trouba in.
Should the NHL use it for their games?
We have Team Europe taking on Team Czech Republic at 3:00pm ET on ESPN2, Sportsnet and TVAS.
As always, feel free to comment on the game.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"I think the biggest difference for me right off the hop and kind of knowing coming into this tournament is just the difference in the style of game on the ice sheet in Sochi compared to the NHL sheet here in Toronto," said Team Canada forward Jonathan Toews. "You're going to see way more offense right away. It's almost a very neutral game when you're in Europe when you're on that big Olympic-size sheet. It's tough to create offense, it's tough to shoot from the right areas. It's just a whole different animal."
On the smaller NHL ice on Saturday night, Canada smothered the Czechs in their breakouts attempts, forced turnovers and created puck-possession changes and of course, ultimately, scoring chances.
"It's a completely different game playing on the big ice than it is the smaller ice," said Team Canada defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. "One, I think we're all used to this ice, which makes it a lot better. When you have the size and the speed that we have [among the forwards], put that with the skill and smarts -- these guys know where they're supposed to be at all times. They're some of the most dominant forwards in the league in terms of occupying the offensive zone. It's part of the reason it looked like [the Czechs] were having such a hard time getting the puck out."
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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