Kukla's Korner Hockey
If Canada manages to get there and to win the ultimate prize on home ice, as so many have imagined for so long, it will go down as arguably the greatest triumph in the country’s glorious hockey history, and you can bet that the Olympic party here will not only restart, but reach a true fever pitch - to be echoed all across the country.
-Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics. More on Canada…
from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk at NBC Sports,
...here’s something pure and admirable in the dedication that hockey players have for their chosen sport. After watching the American upset of Canada’s national team, a game for which the players will not receive a dime of salary, we’re now convinced that most if not all of the men who play hockey for money would play the game even if they were being paid nothing.
How many pro football players would do that?
via Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News,
Locally, the coverage of Team USA’s 5-3 victory over Team Canada Sunday night carried on cable’s MSNBC out-drew NBC’s coverage of the Vancouver Olympics coverage that was on Channel 2.
MSNBC never out-rates its bigger brother NBC, which makes this “victory” almost as astonishing as the 42-save performance by Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller for Team USA.
The US victory, which gave Team USA a bye into the quarterfinals and an extra day of rest, attracted a 14.6 rating locally on MSNBC, representing 14.6 percent of area households. Meanwhile, NBC’s coverage of skiing and figure skating averaged a 13.4 rating during the game on Channel 2.
And the hockey audience undoubtedly was even much higher here because it was simulcast by CFTO, the CTV affiliate in Toronto.
from Mike Boone of Habs Inside/Out,
Unless Canada is about to string together four Ws, there are going to be a lot of questions asked about this team’s personnel.
Are Pronger and Scott Niedermayer better than Mike Green?
Are Jarone Iginla and Corey Perry better than Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos?
Is Ryan Getzlaf better than Brad Richards?
Is Joe Thornton the worst money player in the history of hockey?
Qualification Playoffs on Tuesday, February 23:
Switzerland (8) vs. Belarus (9), 3:00 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays USA on Wednesday)
Canada (6) vs. Germany (11), 7:30 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays Russia on Wednesday)
Czech Republic (5) vs. Latvia (12), 10:00 pm ET, UBC Thunderbird Arena (winner plays Sweden on Wednesday)
Slovakia (7) vs. Norway (10), Midnight ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays Sweden on Wednesday)
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
The young Americans are doing it exactly the way Burke anticipated when he built the team. Everybody knows his role, and everyone is filling it perfectly.
Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan are providing energy and have been strong on the penalty kill. Ryan Malone and David Backes are throwing their big bodies around and being a nuisance to opposing goalies. Martin Brodeur was irritated enough to take a swipe at Backes for what he thought was goalie interference, and the Americans scored on a distracted Brodeur a moment later.
At some point, scorers like Paul Stastny and Parise will start producing as well. They’re too good not to.
But now comes the pressure and we’ve learned how that can change everything in this tournament. The Canadians are still dealing with the mountain of expectations that accompanied them to Vancouver. When Jonas Hiller and Switzerland took on mighty Canada and the United States, they were outstanding. Against Norway? Not so outstanding—perhaps because they were expected to win.
via Chip Alexander of Canes Now,
Despite a 3-0 loss to Sweden on Sunday, Finland earned one of the byes into the Olympic tournament quarterfinals in Vancouver. But the Finns will play without defenseman Joni Pitkanen, according to The Associated Press.
The Canes’ Pitkanen was ejected with a game-misconduct penalty late in the second period for checking Patric Hornqvist in the head. The AP reported that International Ice Hockey Federation spokesman Szymon Szemberg said Pitkanen had been suspended and would not play Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Against the U.S., however, Crosby and Brodeur both had games that won’t make it into their home highlight reels, leaving Canada with all kinds of tricky questions heading into the Germany match.
That’s Olympic hockey. Heroes one day, heels the next.
Still, Canada has one ironclad supporter – a surprising one.
“Canada, I personally believe, is the best team, with Russia right behind them,” U.S. head coach Ron Wilson said in his post-game assessment.
What Wilson pointed out, you see, was that Canada “probably out-chanced us two to one” and that it was a classic case of Miller stealing a win that earned the Americans first place in their pool and a very helpful extra day’s rest.
Canadians from coast to coast might be blaming Babcock for his coaching, Brodeur for his goaltending and various Canadian players for their performances, but the fact was that the Americans won a game in the style that Canada used to use repeatedly in international circumstances, riding red-hot goaltending to wins it had no business recording.
more on Team Canada…
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The team that came into this Olympic tournament relishing its role as the underdog has now become the hunted.
The United States, which is threatening to run away with the overall medal count in the Olympics, enters the meat of the hockey tournament as the No. 1 seed, thanks to its 3-0-0 record and the brilliant goaltending of Ryan Miller.
And for that, the Americans have become legitimate contenders for the gold medal. That’s because en route to the final, defending Olympic champion Sweden, defending world champion Russia and pre-tournament favorite Canada all find themselves in the same bracket. The Americans, meanwhile, have only the Czechs and Finland among the world hockey powers on their side.
He’s just a real solid player that does his job. He’s not the guy you talk about.”
-Team Canada Coach Mike Babock on Team USA defenseman Brian Rafalski. More on Rafalski from John Dellapina at NHL.com.
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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