Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
All season long, Brian Burke has remained steadfast in his support of head coach Ron Wilson – and that’s a good thing.
Few coaches have a fair shot at success – or survival – without the explicit backing of their GM.
Still, some have suggested repeatedly, and snidely, that only Wilson’s position as head coach of the U.S Olympic team, with Burke also his boss there, has protected him from dismissal.
The implied accusation is that Burke is putting the welfare of the American team ahead of the needs of the Leafs.
It certainly has created a peculiar dynamic and Wilson’s overt praise of various U.S. Olympians in recent days has made it even more uncomfortable as the fortunes of the Leafs have plummeted.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Think Canada has a monopoly on player selection controversies? Or is the only country immersed in discussion about who will play where during the men’s 2010 Winter Olympics hockey tournament?
It’s just as bad - and maybe worse - in Russia, which has the added complication of balancing players from its own domestic league (the Continental Hockey League or KHL) as well as its stars in the NHL.
Politics is the stepchild of modern international hockey, and so for the Vancouver Games, the Russians opted for nine players from the KHL, and the rest from the NHL.
If Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov is dropped for injury reasons, the third goalie to play behind Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes and Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks is expected to come from the KHL.
Even though Russian coach Slava Bykov is considered a progressive leader, he adopted one of the principles from the old Soviet days and will play four five-man units.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
Mike Komisarek received some unfortunate news Saturday night that will almost certainly end his hopes of competing in the Vancouver Olympics with Team USA.
The big Leafs defenceman’s injured shoulder will keep him sidelined up to another seven days – a span that will push him past a deadline to prepare for the Games….
Burke, meanwhile, has several choices to replace Komisarek.
Candidates include Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski, Anaheim’s Ryan Whitney, Atlanta’s teenage blueliner Zach Bogosian and Carolina’s Tim Gleason.
The PR folks for Bodog.com passed these on to me…
Odds to Win the 2010 Olympic Ice Hockey Championship
Czech Republic 15/1
from Steve Keating & Clare Fallon of Reuters,
Hockey’s place in Canadian culture is closer to religion than a simple sporting pastime, a unifying force in a country of 33 million people that is often split by politics and language.
The sport is part of the national identity, a rite of passage between fathers and sons and more recently mothers and daughters as the game has evolved beyond its traditional gender boundaries.
Generations of Canadians grew up listening to Hockey Night In Canada on the radio and decades later the Saturday night tradition continues intact on high-definition television.
Canada hopes to win its first gold medal at a home Olympics this time, after failing at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games and the Calgary Winter Games in 1988. To hockey fans, the only really important thing is the men’s gold which will be decided on the final day, February 28.
Mike Babcock was on the Fan590 about 20 minutes ago.
Talked Wings and very frank in his discussion. Then talked Team Canada before talking more Wings, including Osgood.
He also mentioned Williams back tomorrow, Homer back Sunday or the next game and Franzen scheduled to play the last three games before the Olympic break.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at CTVOlympics,
Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux shared a room on the eve of one of the most important games in Canadian hockey history.
There was no five-star resort for Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and there won’t be at the Vancouver Games either.
Instead, the millionaire hockey players will be staying in the Olympic village alongside speedskaters, snowboarders and other athletes competing in Vancouver. The accommodations aren’t exactly spartan but they’re not quite as fancy as the places NHL teams typically call home on the road.
Ex-NHL star Sergey Zubov was outraged by the coaches’ decision to choose him as a substitute player for Russia’s Olympic hockey team, calling the move “a spit in the face”.
“The administrator of the national team has just called me and said that I am included in the list of substitutions for the Olympics. I actually did not know what to say. The situation surprised me a lot,” the 39-year-old told Sport-Express newspaper.
Zubov currently plays for SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL, being the top-scoring defender in the regular championship.
“And earlier I was amazed and even offended by the words of the president of the Russian Hockey Federation, Vladislav Tretyak, and head coach of the national team Vyacheslav Bykov, who uttered in an interview: that in order to get to the national squad one must gnaw the ice, and that they would not take you for your previous merits,” the veteran stressed.
“All these statements have extremely disappointed me. This is humiliation of me as a personality and a sportsman. I do not owe anything to anyone and I have honestly earned my name in ice hockey. I am not 25 years old and have proved my high level with seventeen seasons in NHL. I am not going to prove anything anymore,” he added.
from Jonas Siegel of 640am,
Mike Komisarek’s availability for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics might be in jeopardy.
The 27-year-old defenseman is still sidelined from a mysterious upper-body injury (suspected shoulder) and while he might be ready to return on Saturday, his status for the United States Olympic team in Vancouver isn’t quite clear.
“[Tuesday] is three weeks to our first game,” Ron Wilson said of the American team. “If you take the one week away, he has I’d say a week to feel comfortable. If he’s not we’d have to make other plans for the Olympics.”
“I’m not going to put his career at risk. And we’re not going to risk his future with the Leafs for a two-week Olympic thing either.”
Alexei Kovalev, Alexander Frolov, Sergei Zubov and Nikolai Kulemin are going to the Olympic Games in Vancouver as substitutes for the Russian team.
It is not officially announced yet but according to Russian site infox.ru Kovalev, Frolov, Zubov and Kulemin have received the Olympics equipment as well as other players from the official Team Russia roster. It means they are going to the Olympics in the status of substitute players.
Overall Russia will have 9 substitute players, three from the NHL and six from the KHL.
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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