Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
• In addition to the Maple Leafs, Oilers and Hurricanes, some teams will look at the Olympic break to decide if they are buyers or sellers at the deadline on the first Wednesday in March. One manager told me the magic number is 10. That’s 10 points out of 8th spot. And when you consider that means that a team that is 10 down would probably have to go 15-5 in its last 20 games to have a chance. Do the math, by Valentines Day the list of teams down by double digits might be prove to make the trade deadline day a wild day indeed.
• Interesting to note that replacement players for Olympic teams can only happened based on a list that was given last year to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). The list has to be very extensive, in order to cover any issue. It is so large, I’m told, the Canadian list includes Guy Lafleur. You also have to wonder, with all the public funding that the three levels of government are putting into the Games, why the list isn’t made public… ever!
more hockey notes…
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Are you ready, Chicago? Are you ready, world? Kane appeals to all ages, gossipy old nags that like sniffing the scandal sheets and bright-eyed girls and boys who can relate to a fella that’s part Huckleberry Finn, part Eminem, part Joe Namath, part Denis Savard, and pretty much three-quarters Bobby Hull, except for the hair. All live wire.
Kid Galahad could be the belle of this ball, because he so enjoys scrambling those letters to read KID HAD-A-GAL or simply KID GALA, a rollicking roustabout coming straight to your stage and the wide, wide world of sports (I know, I’m mixing networks) from Al Capone’s rootin’-tootin’ hometown, which is still how much of the world identifies Chicago….
Team USA’s Olympic opener is a 12 p. m. puck drop in Vancouver, so Kane still has time to gather the girl scout troop for a Monday night reprise in the party limo, get John Madden and Kris Versteeg on the laptop webcam, try reverse-role playing and have the gals be the ones that take off their shirts this time round for the paparazzi shoot, roast them a few marshmallows, drown them with Jagermeister shooters for the international spirit, park at Lover’s Leap in Stanley Park for belated Valentine canoodling under the moonlight and hit the hay without the need of a police escort to help him say his evening prayers.
from Charlie Gillis of Macleans,
Q: There’s no denying the stakes, though. If Canada wins gold, you’re a genius. If the team falls anywhere short of gold, it’s considered some sort of failure.
A: That’s certainly the reality of it, and the way it goes in a short tournament. I don’t think that’s necessarily right. Whether somebody is really competent—whether he has a good hockey mind, whether he’s a good person to lead a hockey club—is something determined over a long period of time, not one tournament. If we do well, it’s certainly not because I’m any smarter than anybody else. It’ll be because we have good players and good coaches.
Q: Is that the explanation for your decision to exclude Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, who is currently the NHL’s top-scoring defenceman?
A: Mike Green’s a hell of a hockey player, a tremendous talent. I just think the defence we put together can generate offence almost to the same level as Mike, and yet be stronger in other areas. We just thought the seven that we chose are a better fit for us. I don’t want to go on at length criticizing Mike Green, but there are parts of his game that we’d need to see improved upon before he’s ready to play in the Olympics….
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province via the Times-Colonist,
When last the National Hockey League saw Ziggy Palffy he had two shoulders that were in rough shape.
The rehab basically took him out of commission in 2006, given nobody wanted to sign him after the six months he was on the shelf. And at that point in his career, after being one of the game’s most exciting goal scorers, he didn’t want to play for a paltry $1 million US, saying yesterday: “I can do that in Slovakia.”
So he did. And after playing in the ‘06 world championship he retired from the national team, not so much because of any great hassle with the management or coaching staff, but rather to move out of the way to let the younger players take over.
“But there aren’t any younger guys coming,” he said, worried a little about the state of hockey in his country. “They don’t want to work. They all want to come over here and play junior and I think it’s much better for them to stay home, play in the senior league, play in Russia and in Sweden and get better before they try over here.
“It’s too tough to try to make it over here so young and these guys don’t realize it. I tell them when I can but it doesn’t work out for most of them and we’re not developing younger guys because of that.”
from Mark Whicker of Ducks Blog,
David McNab, the Ducks senior vice president of hockey operations, is a proud American who expects to be even prouder when they hand out the U.S. men’s hockey medals.
“I think the Americans are going to win,” McNab said. “And you can quote me on that.”
McNab points to (A) the capricious nature of the Olympic tournament and (B) his belief that the Americans are underrated.
Are you like me and a bit worried about an injury during the Olympics?
Check out my NHL.com blog today and let me know how you feel.
from Will Harvie of The Press (New Zealand),
Few Kiwis know much about ice hockey. Will Harvie explains what to watch for at the Winter Olympics.
The skill of watching ice hockey on television is knowing where the puck is probably going, not focusing on where it is at any given moment.
For example, there are times in every hockey game when the puck skitters into a corner or behind the net and players on opposing teams converge to dispute possession. Offensive players want to pass the puck to a team-mate so he can take a shot on goal; defensive players want to get the puck out of the danger area.
from the IIHF,
With five days left as of Monday to the opening faceoff of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, the IIHF released the pre-Olympic World Ranking Report.
Russia, which has won two consecutive IIHF World Championship gold medals, tops the men’s pre-Olympic ranking report with 2925 points ahead of Canada (2905 points) and Sweden (2795).
added 8:49am, Also from the IIHF,
It’s one of the most sought-after souvenirs from the Olympic Winter Games – and virtually impossible to get. The official Olympic ice hockey puck.
Weighing in at six ounces, one inch thick and three inches in diameter, this tiny piece of vulcanized rubber is every hockey collector’s fantasy keepsake. Every year it is a challenge to create a puck that incorporates all of the Olympic values, while keeping the puck functional. Too much white, and you have unhappy players, too boring, and you have unhappy fans.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
* Team Canada’s Martin Brodeur of the Devils is just 2-3 the past two weeks, including the loss to Lundqvist’s Rangers on Saturday.
* Prior to leading his Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 shootout win in Boston on Saturday, Canada’s Roberto Luongo was pulled after allowing three first-period goals to the Maple Leafs on Jan. 30, then dropped a 3-2 decision to the Habs in his hometown of Montreal on Feb. 2.
* The third Canadian goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, dropped a pair of games over the weekend. After being yanked in a 5-3 defeat to the Canadiens on Saturday, he was on the losing end of a 5-4 overtime decision to the high-flying Capitals on Sunday.
* Team USA’s Ryan Miller, the backbone of the Buffalo Sabres, is just 2-5 in his past seven appearances and is mired in a three-game losing streak.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
A great believer in leaving no stone unturned in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Mike Babcock has spent the past six months touching base with his various predecessors as coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team.
When Babcock approached Pat Quinn, who was at the helm in both 2002 and 2006, he wondered specifically about scrutiny and expectation. Surprisingly, Quinn told Babcock the most pressure he ever felt coaching internationally came in Ottawa just more than a year ago, when he was behind the bench for the 2009 world junior team in Canada.
To Babcock, the operative words were the last two - in Canada. Coaching a team in Canada will heighten every aspect of the experience, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
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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