Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The most fascinating thing coming out of Russia’s 2010 Olympic team announcement on Christmas Day, at least to me, was the comment from coach Vyacheslav Bykov, who said he might change players between now and the opener in mid-February if their performance level dropped.
“I wouldn’t guarantee a place on the Olympic team to anyone,” Bykov was quoted as saying. “If my players can’t perform up to the standards playing for their respective clubs, then how can I rely on them in Vancouver?”
That caught many people around the hockey world off guard. It was assumed by most people that only injury replacements were allowed between a country’s roster announcement this week and the Olympic opener. But that is apparently not the case, depending on whom you believe. An International Ice Hockey Federation spokesman told ESPN.com on Saturday that rosters announced this week can be changed by the federations up until they are made official on the eve of the Olympic hockey tournament.
from John Marchesan at CTVOlympics,
Sweden will go with a mostly veteran lineup as it attempts to defend the gold medal it won four years ago in Turin.
Coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson has selected 13 members from the 2006 gold medal winning team led by Niklas Lidstrom who will anchor a veteran-laden defence which includes five first-time Olympians - Tobias Enstrom, Magnus Johansson, Douglas Murray, Johnny Oduya and Henrik Tallinder.
Lidstrom, who will captain the team, is among four players who will be making their fourth Olympic appearance with Sweden. He is joined by fellow defenseman Mattias Ohlund and forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Peter Forsberg.
Forsberg, whose foot and injury problems have been well documented, has been attempting a comeback in Sweden this year. While he has been a member of the last two gold medal winning teams for Sweden, his selection will be seen as a gamble.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Call Steve Yzerman during the day over the last three months and you will likely find him in his car, or a rental car, either driving to or from an airport or a rink.
“He’s been all over the place,” said Bowman, now a senior adviser with the Chicago Blackhawks and an Yzerman confidante during Yzerman’s information-gathering process. “I was in Chicago Friday and he had driven in from Detroit and he was driving back after the game. He has done his homework.”
Yzerman has watched at least portions of more than 100 games and, it seems, talked to almost as many people in culling the information he will need to select the players he will announce as the members of Team Canada Wednesday.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray, whose career path crossed Yzerman’s when Murray was coach and general manager in Detroit in the early 1990s, ran into Yzerman in the airport in Detroit.
“He’s been really diligent. I met him at the airport in Detroit and he asked about players and the team selection process. He really paid attention,” said Murray. “He wants to be good. Guys like that, who want to be good, they will be good.”
from Allen Abel at the Vancouver Sun,
It is 30 years - exactly half my lifetime - since my first visit to Moscow as an innocent, ignorant sportswriter covering one of Alan Eagleson’s Teams Canada for The Globe and Mail. The Canadian entry in the 1979 World Championships was not one of our most successful, though when I look at the roster now, there were some supremely talented men on the squad: Marcel Dionne, Garry Unger, Bobby Smith, Wayne Babych, Ryan Walter, Guy Charron, Jim Rutherford in goal.
Agglomerated a few hours before the tournament started from teams that missed the NHL playoffs, they finished fourth here and were slathered by the Soviets 9-2, in the heyday of the Mikhailov-Kharlamov-Petrov line with Tretiak in nets. These days, I could interview those guys one on one, as long as we talked about fish.
But, back then, the hockey was secondary to the Cold War suspense and surreality. Team Canada was entombed in a hotel a block from Red Square with doughy matrons blockading the corridors and glum prostitutes at every table in the dining hall.
I remember being shunned in shops, doors slammed shut in half-filled restaurants, empty shelves, barren faces, drunken heroes wearing their Great Patriotic War medals on the Metro, menus on which every dish save fleshless chicken Tabaka was crossed out.
Russia’s hockey coach Vyacheslav Bykov has announced his choice for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, with stars like Aleksandr Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk on the list.
And the Russian Coach says the Russians can beat the Canadians…
from Lesley Visser of CBS Sports,
Did you see the pictures of skating at Fenway Park? May your heart be light. It was fantastic, Bobby Orr and Terry O’Reilly gliding past the area Dustin Pedroia usually patrols. And on Jan. 1, when the Bruins play the Flyers at Fenway, the U.S. Olympic Hockey team will be announced.
“We will be young, and Canada, with enormous pressure on Sidney Crosby, will be gunning for the gold,” Mike Eruzione said of the brilliant Canadian center who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
from Jeff Angus of DobberHockey,
Canada’s final roster for the upcoming World Juniors has been released. Upon first glance, the 2010 edition of Team Canada lacks some of the firepower that has been on display in recent years. However, there still is a lot of talent and grit at all positions, and Canada has to be considered a favourite as they look to win a record-setting sixth straight gold medal.
read on for a preview of the Canadian team…
Jeff will have the reviews for all the teams involved in the coming days.
Swiss goalie Martin Gerber, who was hospitalized yesterday with a neck injury, underwent advanced examination Monday morning. Fortunately it didn’t confirm the preliminary diagnosis “compression fracture of the fourth cervical vertebra”. According to the new information Gerber has spinal contusion and recovering will take weeks, not months.
I avoided posting information on Gerber’s injury yesterday, I just had a feeling the early reports were not correct. Glad to hear the injury is not as serious as first thought to be.
from Scott Cullen of TSN at CTVOlympics,
Looking ahead to the 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament, it’s worth checking out which players are performing well in the NHL so far this season. Throughout December, there will be weekly updates on different positions. Last week, we looked at the goaltenders. This week, it’s time to look at the defence.
As expected, Canada is very well-stocked on the blueline, with the top four ranked blueliners in the NHL so far season—Mike Green, Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty. All are fine skaters and productive offensive defencemen, but it could be difficult for all of them to make the squad, considering needs for size and more physical defensive defencemen.
Along those lines, the likes of Chris Pronger, Shea Weber and Brent Seabrook will earn consideration as will the Calgary Flames trio of Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr.
from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,
His prowess on offense - and on the power play in particular - could be a big positive for his chances to make the team. Canada struggled to generate offense at the Turin Olympics in 2006, scoring only 15 goals in six games (including three shutout losses) en route to a national panic-inducing seventh-place finish.
The biggest question about Green seems to center on trust. Can Team Canada, with gold-or-bust expectations, trust Green not to have a defensive lapse or a turnover at a critical point in what could be the most pressure-packed tournament in the history of the sport?
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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