Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Sanful at IIHF.com,
Russian hockey has a rich history. Since first winning gold at the 1956 Olympics, the hockey program has experienced many glorious moments- including the most successful run in hockey history from 1964 to 1992. During those years, spanning eight Olympic tournaments, they lost only four games en route to seven gold medals and one silver medal.
Russia has also seen lean times, including a disappointing fourth place performance at the 1994 Olympics.
The last great Olympic hockey moment came in 1992 when an old Soviet dinosaur coached a team of talented youngsters to the gold medal.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
NBC analyst Mike Milbury obviously knows that Caps fans regularly accuse him of anti-Ovechkin propaganda. From the Crapitals incident, to calling Ovechkin “a dog,” to the more recent “Hey Ovi, I’m still your daddy right now” comment about Crosby, Milbury is building up quite a resume.
Does this make him second-guess his comments about Ovechkin, keeping everything drab and vanilla, offering generic praise and moving on, staying away from controversy? It does not. During the first intermission of the Canada-Norway game Tuesday evening, NBC ran a little piece about Ovechkin, then came out of it by asking Milbury to whom he compares Ovechkin.
The question was asked in the “history of hockey” sense, or maybe the “compare him to a great athlete in another sport” sense. The gist was that NBC’s analyst should help viewers understand the nature of Ovechkin’s game. Milbury’s answer?
“Well, if I compared him to the other great player in the game it’d be Sidney Crosby,” Milbury replied.
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
You can’t walk a block in downtown Vancouver without seeing five Team Canada jerseys, with three of them bearing Sidney Crosby’s name, even though Crosby plays in Pittsburgh and was born in Nova Scotia, about as far away from Vancouver as a Canadian can get.
Canadian TV constantly runs documentaries on the Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry, and the selection of the Canadian team, and CTV spent an hour the other night analyzing whether Patrice Bergeron should skate next to Crosby.
Team Canada has home ice, the most stars, the most depth, an all-star coaching staff including Jacques Lemaire, and faces the most pressure.
Canadians will be devastated if their team doesn’t win the gold. Polite, understated, yet devastated.
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
In last spring’s World Championships, Backes laid a hit on Sprunger, causing a major neck injury that required surgery.
After Tuesday’s USA-Switzerland game, Sprunger told ESPN.com writer Pierre Lebrun that during the game Backes essentially threatened to do it again.
Backes denied saying that.
“I think I told him to keep his head up when he was running around a little bit,” Backes said. “I always take it as a compliment when other teams come at me. It means you are doing your job.”
via Russia Today,
The reigning world champions thrashed their opponents, 8-2.
Aleksandr Ovechkin and Danis Zaripov each claimed a brace, Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeny Malkin had a goal and an assist each, and Sergey Fedorov came off the rink with two assists under his belt.
The only disappointment this evening was Evgeny Nabokov’s might-have-been shootout.
“It is only the first game, but I am sure it will be different in the second game. We have to play desperate,” Kovalchuk assured after the game.
“A few things we would like to change. But it’s the first game,” said defender Sergey Gonchar, echoing Kovalchuk. “Still, I like what we had,” he added.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
For all the talk from Team USA management and coaching staff that this team was built around a cog like Drury, having him start the Olympic Games as the 13th forward certainly didn’t send the same message. In fact, it only reinforces the belief from some critics that the young T.J. Oshie should have been on this team. Surely, the Blues star could have handled the 13th forward job.
But let me say this: there’s a positive flip side to what coach Ron Wilson decided to do with Drury. When you have a 33-year-old veteran with Drury’s international experience willing to suck it up for the team and accept a diminished role, it sends a message to a youthful squad: no one is bigger than the team.
“Chris has been around for a while,” said young Team USA leader Dustin Brown. “He’s been part of a lot of winning teams and he knows what it takes to win. Everyone has done a really good job of checking their ego at the door and he’s at the top of that list.
Canada takes on Norway at 7:30pm ET. The game can be viewed on CNBC, CTV and RDS.
Regular KK readers know I am not into the live blog thing, but if you’d like to leave a comment while watching the game, which starts at 3:00pm, be my guest.
The game is on USA Network in the States and TSN & RDS in Canada. Also a stream is available at NBC Olympics.
from Allen Barra of the Wall Street Journal,
Team USA faces off with Switzerland today in the first round of the men’s hockey competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. And as sports fans settle in to watch, they’ll undoubtedly recall the “Miracle on Ice” in the 1980 Lake Placid games, when a group of young Americans surprised the world and brought home the gold.
Far fewer will remember the first miracle on ice 20 years earlier. At the 1960 Squaw Valley Games, a group of unknown Americans went undefeated, beating the highly favored Russians and then the Canadians and Czechs to win the gold.
“That team,” says Sports Illustrated’s E.M. Swift, “was underrated the day after they won the gold medal.” Yet theirs was arguably the greatest achievement in U.S. Olympic history.
continued and thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
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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