Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The parties discussing the revamped World Cup of Hockey are prepared to make some dramatic changes to the tournament format, Sportsnet has learned.
The eight-team event is now expected to include two all-star entries along with the top six hockey nations — Canada, U.S., Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic — when it returns in September 2016, according to multiple sources.
The first all-star team is expected to feature the best players from the remaining European countries: Slovakia, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany and Slovenia, among them.
The makeup of the other mixed squad is still to be determined, although one idea being considered is bringing together all of the top young stars in the sport.
Organizers looked at staging a pre-tournament qualifier to determine the final two spots, but don’t believe there is time to pull everything together. They also like the idea of doing something different than the World Cups and Canada Cups of the past and think that adding all-star teams will make for a more competitive event.
On Monday night, Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake and Mike Modano will enter the Hockey Hall Of Fame as the player class of 2014. Some thoughts from them, on the threshold of their induction, via Eric Duhatschek.
My greatest career moment came ...
“Winning the 1998 Olympic gold medal, this is something I will never forget. After we won, we flew a charter that our president (Vaclav) Havel sent for us. We spent one night in Prague. The cheering, the people’s ovation, at the airport and in the square, this is something we will appreciate for the rest of our lives. We were very focused as a team. After we beat the U.S. in the quarter-finals, we started to believe in our team, that maybe we can do something a little bit more.”
“The World Cup (in 1996) and the Stanley Cup (in 1999) is like 1 and 1A. With the Stanley Cup, you’re representing a city and an organization, what Dallas meant. The U.S., with the World Cup, we were painted into a corner. We didn’t know what to do. We’d lost the first game in Philly so we had to go to the (Montreal) Forum to win two against Gretzky, Messier, Sakic, Lindros. You look at the Canadian lineup, it was probably the best team they ever put together. To win two in a row against those guys, we were just beside ourselves – and (coach) Ron Wilson was the catalyst for that. This’ll be talked about for years, he said, kind of what Herb (Brooks) told the 1980 (Miracle on Ice) team.”
from the CP at TSN,
A senior Canadian ice hockey official believes NHL players will return to the Winter Olympics, and is urging an early decision this time.
The participation of NHL players in the Olympics is contentious because of disruption to the league season and teams' concerns over injury risks.
Bob Nicholson, a vice-president of the International Ice Hockey Federation and former Hockey Canada chief, was asked Friday about the prospect of NHL players competing at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"The players want to go but it's very difficult for the NHL," Nicholson said. "If everyone agrees to take some and leave some on the table, I think we'll see NHL players in the future."
"You never like it to go down to the wire, because everyone loses," he added. "The sooner you decide to go, the better it will be for them and for all of the countries participating."
NHL players have participated in every Winter Olympics since 1998. Doubts have been raised about the league's participation in Pyeongchang because of, among other things, a lack of hockey tradition in Korea.
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korean men’s and women’s national teams will be competing on home ice at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeonChang, following a decision by the IIHF Congress to grant the country automatic entry into the ice hockey events.
“After careful deliberation and discussions with the IOC and the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA), we have decided to grant an automatic qualification to the men’s and women’s national teams for PyeongChang 2018,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
The decision came following meetings held during the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress, where the KIHA presented a comprehensive four-year plan to intensify the development of the men’s and women’s teams. The plan has the backing of the IOC, the Korean government, and national sponsors, who together with the KIHA have pledged to invest over $20 million U.S. into the national team program in the leadup to the Games.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The expectation back in June was that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association would have some kind of World Cup announcement by the end of summer, but that’s going to wait a bit longer.
Both sides have an understanding that they will wait to get more concrete details in order, including being able to commit firmly to a regular interval for the tournament, which hasn’t been held since 2004 when Canada beat Finland in the final at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
In other words, while the NHL and NHLPA could have easily announced by now that the event is returning in September 2016, they want to have much more to give than that.
What we know at this point: The World Cup is scheduled to return in September 2016, primarily anchored in Toronto, but there may also be some games in Montreal. That’s still in discussion.
There likely will be eight countries in the tournament, which is the same as 2004 and 1996. There are six countries fixed: Olympic champion Canada, Russia, the United States, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. The additional two teams and the manner in which they will be selected hasn’t been nailed down yet.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
Anyone who has followed the P.K. Subban saga from the beginning is suffering a little déja voodoo these days.
You know the story: exciting, charismatic, talented young hockey player is deemed a little too cocky by the hockey establishment, which is determined to take him down a peg or two.
The player falls into the category they call “visible minority,” although no one really knows what an “invisible minority” would be. He runs his mouth a little too much for the powers that be. His stock falls well below his talent level in the draft.
Then he isn’t issued an invitation to the world junior training camp by Hockey Canada, the ultimate hockey establishment.
Apart from that last bit, Joshua Ho-Sang’s story is P.K. Subban all over again. Brash young star rubs hockey people the wrong way despite his talent.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Jamaica is planning its own miracle on ice.
While the island of sun-splashed beaches has as many hockey rinks as it does bobsled runs — exactly none — the goal is for Team Jamaica to compete with the world’s hockey powers at a Winter Games in the next eight to 20 years.
“If we can pull this off, you’re looking at an inspiring story and the idea that anything is accomplishable if you put your mind to it,” says head coach Graeme Townshend, 48, the first Jamaican-born player in the NHL.
“If Jamaica can get a team in the world championships or the Olympics, that’s like a miracle. It’s something that’s so outlandish that I think it actually might work.”
from E.M. Swift of Sports Illustrated,
For SI's 60th anniversary, we asked readers to vote on the most iconic cover in the magazine's history. The winner was the March 3, 1980 "Miracle on Ice" cover, which featured the U.S. hockey team's joyous celebration after its improbable victory over the Soviet Union at Lake Placid. Below is the cover story from that issue.
For millions of people, their single, lasting image of the Lake Placid Games will be the infectious joy displayed by the U.S. hockey team following its 4-3 win over the Soviet Union last Friday night. It was an Olympian moment, the kind the creators of the Games must have had in mind, one that said: Here is something that is bigger than any of you. It was bizarre, it was beautiful. Upflung sticks slowly cartwheeled into the rafters. The American players--in pairs rather than in one great glop--hugged and danced and rolled on one another (see cover).
The Soviet players, slightly in awe, it seemed, of the spectacle of their defeat, stood in a huddle near their blue line, arms propped on their sticks, and waited for the ceremonial postgame handshakes with no apparent impatience. There was no head-hanging. This was bigger, even, than the Russians.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
A first glance, the hockey players practicing at Lakewood Ice this week looked like any team anywhere in the world.
Their drills were familiar, and so was their attentive posture when they paused to watch their coach diagram a play on a whiteboard. The difference became clear when the session ended: Players gathered in a semicircle near the boards to tap their sticks and bow to Coach Craig Johnson, a charming gesture of respect that stemmed as much from gratitude as cultural obligation.
They're members of the Korea University men's hockey team and they're in Southern California until Aug. 22 to practice, train and learn from coaches in the Ducks' development program. They hope to accelerate the improvement of their skills before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but it's a tough task for a nation with a talent pool of only about 2,100.
The national team — which will be coached by former King Jim Paek and is expected to draw on the Korea University squad — is ranked 23rd in the world. Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, said this year he'd like to see Korea's team rank 18th or better before he'd consider granting it an automatic Olympic berth because he wants to avoid lopsided results in the Games.
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korea Ice Hockey Association has announced Jim Paek as the new head coach of the men’s national team. Paek was the first Korean-born player to play in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ninth round, 170th overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, Paek was also named as a Program Director of the national team team along with his new head coaching duties. The former defenceman will replace Byoen Sun-Wook, who coached the team for three years but resigned after Korea was relegated at the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.
Paek will be counted on to guide Korea as it looks to gain qualification to the 2018 Winter Olympics, set to be held on home soil in PyeongChang.
“The idea of coaching the National Team in the Olympics is one of my dreams. I've always wanted to help develop Korean hockey. I've returned to Korea many times to run hockey schools and coached Korean teams travelling to Canada. What a great opportunity I have now.”
Update: MLive's Peter J. Wallner confirms:
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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