Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Category: International-Hockey

An Interview With Team Slovenia Coach and Member of the 1980 US Miracle on Ice Team; John Harrington

Part 1: The 1980 Miracle on Ice

Hi John,

First off, thanks for taking the time to speak with Kuklaskorner.

Following a standout NCAA career as a Right Winger for the University of Minnesota Duluth, you were invited to try out for the 1980 US Olympic Team by legendary coach Herb Brooks. What was training camp like with Brooks?

  The try-out camp was a series of practices and games, with the team being selected at the end of the 12 days.  It was pressure-packed, and no one had any idea where
  they stood in the try-out process.  At the end of the try-out, Brooks invited all 80
  players that had participated in the try-out into a room, told us thanks for coming, and
  then read off the 26 players’ names that he would keep on the team.  

Having made the team, you participated in quite possibly the most famous hockey game ever, the Miracle on Ice, against a dominant Soviet squad, featuring Vladislav Tretiak, Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov and Vladimir Petrov along with youngsters Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov. What was the general mood in the dressing room before the game?

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  Tags: boris+mikhailov, buzz+schneider, herb+brooks, john+harrington, mark+pavelich, mike+eruzione, sergei+makarov, valeri+kharlamov, viacheslav+fetisov, viktor+tikhonov, vladimir+krutov, vladimir+myshkin, vladimir+petrov, vladislav+tretiak

International Hockey Update

Hi Readers,

My students are currently doing mid-term exams, so unfortunately this is just a quick update to let you know what I’m working on for Kuklaskorner.
In the next week or so, I will start posting some interviews I have done with some National Team Head Coaches, regarding the history and current status of their national programs, preparation for the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia, and overall team expectations.
Here is the schedule for the interviews:

John Harrington: Head Coach of Team Slovenia and a member of the 1980 US Miracle on Ice Team.
Glen Hanlon: Head Coach of Team Slovakia and a former NHL goalie and coach.
Uwe Krupp: Head Coach of Team Germany and a former NHL player.
Rick Cornacchia: Head Coach of Team Italy and a former OHL coach.
Dave Henderson: Head Coach of Team France and a former France Division 1 league player.
Olegs Znaroks: Head Coach of Team Latvia and a former Russian league player.

I hope everyone will enjoy these interviews!

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+henderson, glen+hanlon, john+harrington, olegs+znaroks, rick+cornacchia, uwe+krupp

Former NHLer’s in Europe Part II

This week we will continue to look at former NHL players who are now playing in Europe.
 
Jaromir Jagr
Avangard Omsk

Jagr is clearly not the offensive force that he was in his heyday with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he has become quite a mentor to younger KHL players, while recording 14 points in 19 games for sixth place Avangard Omsk. However, Jagr’s most impressive feat this year was leading an undermanned Czech squad to World Championship gold against a heavily favoured Russian squad that featured Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk and Gonchar.
 
Miroslav Satan
HC Slovan Bratislava

Satan is hoping to land another midseason NHL contract as he did with the Boston Bruins last year. In the meantime, Satan registered eight points during a three game contract with Slovan Bratislava of the Slovak league. Satan can still find the back of the net and may yet have another crack at the NHL.
 

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexei+yashin, boston+bruins, cristobal+huet, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, fred+braithwaite, j.s.+aubin, jaromir+jagr, manny+legace, marc+lamothe, mike+modano, miroslav+satan, pavel+datsyuk, pittsburgh+penguins, robert+esche, sergei+gonchar, slava+kozlov

Former NHLer’s in Europe

This week I will take a look at some former NHL players now playing in various European leagues. With the implementation of the salary cap, the average NHL players’ career is now ending when they hit their mid-thirties, as GM’s round out their roster with younger, less expensive options. This recent trend has led to an influx of big name players, such as Pavol Demitra and Evgeni Nabokov, heading overseas for better contracts and a chance to lengthen their career. Do most of these players repeat their NHL success overseas or are they clearly at the twilight of their careers?

Dominik Hasek
Spartak

Hasek was signed last summer after leading HC Pardubice to the Czech Extraliga championship. However, Hasek has struggled this year with a 4-10 record, a 2.80 GAA and a .898 save percentage as Spartak currently sit 18th out of 23 KHL teams.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, dominik+hasek, evgeni+nabokov, glen+metropolit, martin+straka, minnesota+wild, pavol+demitra, sandis+ozolins, stacy+roest

Radulov Sets New Record

Alexander Radulov of Salavat Yulaev entered the record books recently by scoring the fastest goal in Russian hockey history. Radulov scored six seconds into a match against Yugra, after intercepting a pass and doing a nice spin-o-rama move on goaltender Mikhail Biryukov. Radulov beat the twelve year record of seven seconds, set by Andrei Pychelyakov of Severstal in 1998 and later tied by former NHLer Dmitry Yushkevich of Magnitogorsk in 2003. However, Radulov’s goal is not the fastest goal ever recorded in a professional hockey game as that distinction is held by four players who were able to find the back of the net one second faster than Radulov. They are NHLer’s Doug Smail (1981), Bryan Trottier (1984) and fellow Russian Alexander Mogilny (1991), as well as Slovak 2nd division player; Frantisek Zubek of Presov.

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  Tags: alexander+mogilny, alexander+radulov, alexander+semin, alexei+morozov, bryan+trottier, dmitry+yushkevich, evgeni+malkin, maxim+afinogenov, salavat+yulaev

The NHL versus Russia

The NHL’s arrival in Europe last week coincided with two exhibition games between the leagues teams and their Russian rivals; the KHL. First up was an aggressive affair between the Carolina Hurricanes and SKA St. Petersburg. In a role reversal between leagues, SKA came out playing aggressively, so much so, in fact, that Hurricanes coach, Paul Maurice pulled his star players; Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward from the game as it deteriorated into a slugfest which resulted in a 5-3 victory for SKA. The other interleague game featured the Phoenix Coyotes gaining a measure of revenge for the NHL, by defeating Dynamo Riga 3-1. The interleague games were part of a longstanding tradition of play between the NHL and Russia. With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at some of the most famous and infamous matchups between the two rivals.

1. The Montreal Canadiens versus Central Red Army
    December 31st, 1975

This matchup featured the most successful franchises from the NHL and the former Soviet league as the Canadiens played host to the Red Army team. Montreal featured Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey among others against Valeri Kharlamov, Vladislav Tretiak, Vladimir Petrov and Boris Mikhailov. The level of play was as high as the 72’ Summit Series as the star players from each team were entering their prime. Despite outshooting Red Army 38-13, the Canadiens were forced to settle with a 3-3 tie, due to the outstanding play of Tretiak. This game would cement Tretiak’s longstanding relationship withe the city of Montreal, as the team would go on to draft the goaltender 138th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, despite Soviet players not being allowed to compete in the NHL.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: alexei+kasatonov, bob+gainey, bobby+clarke, boris+mikhailov, guy+lafleur, igor+larionov, jari+kurri, ken+dryden, larry+robinson, mario+lemieux, mark+messier, mike+bossy, montreal+canadiens, sergei+makarov, valeri+kharlamov, viacheslav+fetisov, vladimir+krutov, vladimir+petrov, vladislav+tretiak, wayne+gretzky

The State of Hockey in Russia

The Russian National Team has taken great strides towards regaining past international hockey glory in the last few years. Spurred on by back-to-back World Championship victories with two straight wins over Team Canada in 2008 and 2009 (including a win on Canada’s home ice in 2008), Russia had seemed to finally regain their duo-superpower status with their longtime Canadian rivals. That is until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where the Russians were soundly thumped 7-3 by the home side in their quarterfinal matchup. Perhaps, Team Russia goalie; Ilya Bryzgalov, summed up the debacle best by stating that Team Canada played like “gorillas coming out of a cage.”

On the heels of their defeat in Vancouver, many of Russia’s Olympic core squad vowed to gain a measure of revenge at the 2010 World Championships in Germany three months later. Although Russia defeated a relatively undermanned Canadian squad, their efforts, once again, ended in failure with an upset loss to the Czech Republic in the championship final.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexander+radulov, alexander+semin, andrei+markov, denis+grebeshkov, evgeni+malkin, evgeni+nabokov, ilya+bryzgalov, ilya+kovalchuk, khl, maxim+afinogenov, nashville+predators, pavel+datsyuk, slava+bykov, slava+kozlov, vladislav+tretiak

The State of Hockey in Finland

If there was ever a National team program historically greater than the sum of its parts, it would be Team Finland. Despite not having the offensive depth of many of their Elite Seven rivals, the Finnish National Team has repeatedly fared well in recent international best-on-best competition. After enduring many decades of lopsided defeats internationally at the hands of Canada, the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and longtime nemesis Sweden, the Finnish hockey program made great strides in the 1990’s, culminating with a World Championship in 1995. In addition, Finland has won more Olympic Hockey medals (1 silver, 2 bronze), than any other nation, since the introduction of NHL players to the Games in 1998.

Finland’s success can be attributed to a strong emphasis on teamwork and the fact that unlike their European rivals, hockey is indisputably the number one sport in their homeland, which has led to the implementation of adequately funded development programs and a strong domestic league in SM-liiga. More than any other European team, Finland employs a fast skating, tight forechecking, North American style of play, augmented by strong defensive zone coverage and consistently elite goaltending. The rinks in Finland have been adjusted to enhance the tight forechecking style of play, by adopting a size that is halfway between the dimensions of NHL and IIHF standards. Furthermore, in an effort to aid the National Team’s development programs, numerous goaltending schools have been created, and often led, by the country’s top puck stoppers. This has led to the emergence of many elite young goalies in the NHL, such as Tuukka Rask, Pekke Rinne, Antti Niemi and perhaps Kari Lehtonen, if he can find health and consistency in a Dallas Stars uniform.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, dallas+stars, espoo+blues, iihf, jere+lehtinen, kari+lehtonen, mikko+koivu, olli+jokinen, olympic+hockey, pekke+rinne, saku+koivu, sm-liiga, teemu+selanne, tuomo+ruutu, tuukka+rask

The State of Hockey in Slovakia

Despite tempered expectations, Slovakia garnered a fourth place finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In spite of an aging core roster of players, Slovakia was able to retain it’s Elite Seven status, while upsetting the number one ranked team; Russia, and eliminating the number three ranked team and defending Olympic Gold Medalists; Sweden.

Since the split of Czechoslovakia into two distinct nation states in 1993, Slovakia slowly saw their stock on the ice rise, culminating in a IIHF World Championship in 2002. However, since then the Slovaks have found themselves in a similar quandary that Team USA did for the better part of the last decade; the increasing age of their elite players and management’s inability to find suitable replacements for the old guard. However, unlike the States, Slovakia does not have the depth of coaching and player development programs which has spawned a new generation of talent Stateside.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, glen+hanlon, marian+gaborik, marian+hossa, pavol+demitra, richard+panik, tampa+bay+lightning, tomas+tatar, zigmund+palffy

What Would You Like to See Covered in the International Hockey Blog

Well the wife is away for the weekend, so I have my rainy Saturday afternoon viewing selection all cued up and ready to go. Instead of her insisting that we watch “The Notebook” for the umpteenth time, I will be free to check out Canada/Russia 72. Ok, not exactly a slasher flick, although you would be hard pressed to tell that to Valeri Kharlamov after Bobby Clarke tried to saw his ankle off with his stick.

So, I’ve also been wondering what you, the readers, would like to see covered in international hockey? I’ve made a list of some possible topics, but feel free to shout out any requests as I’ve already had a few members suggest the Czech, German and Swedish domestic leagues.
Anyways, here is a list of a few ideas I have:

Continue Reading »

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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