Kukla's Korner Hockey
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?
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
The only debate about who will play in net for USA at the Vancouver Canucks is whether Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has been the NHL’s best or second-best goalie for the first 10 weeks of the NHL season. If Miller isn’t the favorite for the Vezina Trophy at this stage of the season, then he’s at least in the top three.
The battle between Miller and Boston’s Tim Thomas, both of whom are Michigan natives, never materialized because Miller has been sensational since the opening night of the season. The real goaltending battle for the Americans is for the No. 3 goalie, and I believe Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has the edge because he might be USA’s goaltender of the future.
Here’s my read on goaltending battles for other countries:
Sources tell TSN that Hockey Canada will name Mark Messier as its general manager for the 2010 World Hockey Championship.
The 2010 event runs from May 7 to May 23 in Germany.
Messier, who is also the New York Rangers’ special assistant to general manager Glen Sather, is said to be “very excited” about his first international experience as a manager.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There are only 25 days to go until Steve Yzerman unveils the Canadian men’s 2010 Olympic hockey team and a heated national debate begins.
Interestingly, at this relatively late stage of the process, some new candidates have emerged, players who weren’t even at the Calgary orientation camp in August but have performed so well this season that Yzerman and the rest of the Team Canada brain trust have been forced to sit up and take notice.
Steven Stamkos, the 19-year-old Tampa Bay sniper, is obviously one of those players. Stamkos has 17 goals this season, showing the kind of finishing touch Canada could have dearly used in the ‘06 Games in Turin.
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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