Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Dmitry Chesnokov at PuckDaddy,
First, about his relationship with Hitchcock:
“Actually, Hitchcock gave me a lot. I started playing better defense,” he said. “But if at practice I did something wrong, Ken was ready to immediately stop practice, call the entire team over and explain to me personally where I made a mistake.”
Q. Was it embarrassing?
FILATOV: “This is a normal process. But Hitchcock took it too far sometimes. There was an immediate whistle after something small. Or he would give instructions through the defense coach, you get an individual workout. And when we lost to Detroit (1:9), Hitchcock actually made a schedule. Every player went to him for a 10-15 minute talk.”
Seven National Hockey League referees and six NHL linesmen were named on Thursday to work at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next February.
The referees are Paul Devorski, Mark Joannette, Dennis LaRue, Bill McCreary, Dan O’Halloran, Chris Rooney and Brad Watson. The linesmen include Shane Heyer, Jean Morin, Brian Murphy, Thor Nelson, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
“We had to look at experience and every other element to come up with the numbers we were told we could utilize,” NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson told NHL.com.
Gregson said the selection process involved more than just determining who was doing the best job this season.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh, sure, it’s just a game, and nothing that happens Wednesday night when Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo square off in New Jersey will have much bearing on the Olympic jobs handed out in February.
But just so everyone knows, Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman will indeed be watching the Canucks-Devils game.
“I’m going to TiVo it and watch it later,” Yzerman told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “I’m going to be at another game [Tampa at Boston], but when I saw this game [Canucks-Devils] on the schedule, I wanted to make sure I watched it.”
So there ... it’s not just the media making a big deal out of it, OK?
“To be honest with you, it’s exciting to play against Marty, period,” Luongo told us Tuesday. “Just because we’re from the same hometown and he’s one of the greatest of all time. That’s really the only reason for me. I don’t think one game is going to decide anything with regards to the Olympics.”
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
Last week on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, Bob and I had the chance to talk to Vladislav Tretiak. I have met the great goalie a couple of times over the years when he was the goalie coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, but this was the first time I had talked to him since he had been named head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, and recently the general manager of the Russian Olympic Team.
He has an interesting dilemma when it comes to the Olympics. Does he field a team of NHLers, KHLers or a little bit of both leagues? He told Bob and I that it would be a mix of the two leagues. And frankly from his perspective, it has to be. Even if there were 23 NHL players fit for the ice in Vancouver, Tretiak has no choice but to pick some talent from the Kontinental League. In order to give the Russian-based league any level of credibility throughout Europe, there has to be some of its players on the ice at the soon-to-be-renamed GM Place.
It appears as though Nikita Filatov has started a trend.
According to an online report Phoenix Coyotes’ prospect Viktor Tikhonov has left the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and has returned to Russia to join CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
“My son has been sent to the KHL, he has already landed in Moscow and he’s ready to play for CSKA” - Tikhonov’s father, Vasily Tikhonov, told Sovetsky Sport. “The only problem is that the league is investigating where his rights belong to. He left the NHL playing for Severstal Cherepovets, but that was two years ago”.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA—Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have loaned forward Viktor Tikhonov to KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) for the remainder of the 2009-10 season.
Tikhonov, 21, appeared in 18 games for the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) this season collecting 2-6-8 and 12 penalty minutes (PIM). Last season, the native of Riga, Latvia played in 61 games for the Coyotes as a rookie, registering 8-8-16 and 20 PIM. He ranked T-2nd among Coyotes rookies in goals and 3rd in points.
from the CP via NHL.com,
The Olympic men’s hockey tournament in Vancouver is going to be a different experience for Pavel Bure.
It will be the first time since NHLers started participating in the Games that the Russian Rocket won’t be involved with the national team. Bure played for Russia in 1998 and 2002 and served as the team’s general manager in 2006.
With Vladislav Tretiak now in charge of the Russian squad, Bure’s role in 2010 will be that of a spectator. And just like most hockey fans, he’s already looking forward to the event.
“I think it’s the best tournament,” Bure told The Canadian Press on Thursday. “All of the best superstars can go and participate, that’s why it’s really hard to win this tournament. All the teams are pretty even. You need a little bit (of) luck in this tournament and all the games are really important because you lose one game and you’re out.
“It’s really interesting for fans and it’s a great promotion for hockey in general around the globe.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
You can understand why Mats Naslund might be chewing on his finger nails these days.
Between last Saturday’s brutal knee injury to Niklas Kronwall and the long-term injury to key forward Johan Franzen, the GM of the Swedish Olympic hockey team can bare to watch what will happen next in what has become an NHL season chocked full of injuries.
“We’re maybe beginning to watch more for injuries than who is scoring goals,” Naslund told ESPN.com this week.
“It seems this is the year of the injury, more so than other years,” said Team USA coach Ron Wilson. “There are a lot of star players out with significant injuries.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org