Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Russia Today,
President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to make sure Russia’s Olympic team learns a bitter lesson from Vancouver, where it had one of its worst performances in the history of the winter games.
Medvedev said the Olympic Games revealed flaws in the training system which must be addressed before Sochi 2014.
“Taking into consideration all that happened in Vancouver, we have to change our methods of training drastically. We’ve been living on Soviet resources for a long time, but it’s over now. We do make a huge investment in sport, but money’s not everything. Those responsible for preparing Russian athletes for the Olympics have to make a brave decision and resign. And if they don’t, we’ll help them to do it. But the most important thing now is the preparation for the 2014 Olympics,” Medvedev said.
“Losing a hockey game is like getting kicked in the groin.” - Brian Burke
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun discuss the gold medal game and you can read Scott’s report here.
from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Long after the game was over, the crowd stood cheering. So did a nation. The Canadian men’s hockey team’s sudden-death victory over the United States had truly made these Canada’s Golden Games.
The hockey showdown with the U.S. was the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympics and how beautifully it punctuated maybe the most inspirational two-week period in our nation’s history. Canada may not recover from this for a very long time. It may not want to.
By any measure, these Games were a towering achievement, which included the best performance ever by a team of Canadian Winter Olympians - a team that was bombarded by doubts early on, as it always seems to be, but came on strong and put on a monstrous show under the most extreme pressure imaginable.
And on no one was the burden of success greater than the hockey team.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
Steve Yzerman stayed out of the limelight at the Vancouver Olympics but behind the scenes he played a key role in Team Canada’s road to gold.
During practices or team gatherings, the executive director of the Canadian men’s hockey team would quietly take one of his players aside to offer a bit of advice or a few calming words. He knew some were feeling the weight of expectations — he was carrying a pretty heavy burden himself.
It was a different style than that of Wayne Gretzky eight years ago when Canada won gold in Salt Lake City, but it was equally effective.
“It’s not something I really planned,” Yzerman said Sunday night. “You’re sitting there thinking — you’re watching the game or you’re watching practice and something comes through your mind — you want to pass that on to a guy. Hopefully it helps.
“Amazingly, great athletes and successful guys, they just like to talk a little bit and be reassured.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
In the aftermath of the gold-medal win, when the strategies - good and bad - can be dissected, coach Mike Babcock said the Canadian team had a simple plan for the overtime period of Sunday’s win-or-else game against the United States.
“We talked as a coaching staff when we put our groups together,” said Babcock. “Did we want to be careful, or did we want to play? We decided we want to go for it the best we can. That’s how I like to coach anyway. We thought we’d get the best players out there as much as we could.”
Babcock’s decision - to play for the win, rather than risk deciding the gold medal in a shootout - paid off when Sidney Crosby converted a Jarome Iginla pass for the deciding goal in a 3-2 overtime win.
Canada is always a work in progress as these international tournaments; the key is to come together as a team before the games run out.
It hurts because you care. And maybe you’re already a huge hockey fan, and you understood every nuance of the game. But there are a ton of people out there who are only hurt because they supported their country by tuning in. They just happened to see one of the most exciting hockey games ever. Before Vancouver, maybe they never saw a hockey game. Now, hockey made them care.
Someone made the decision to watch their NHL team’s next game. Some kid just made the choice to play hockey. Someone just learned the names Crosby, Miller, Luongo for the first time. Hockey has some new fans.
People are going to be talking about hockey tomorrow. So while Canada takes home the gold medal — and all due congratulations to them — it’s hockey as a whole that wins.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
Thank you, Sidney Crosby.
Thank you for putting the exclamation point on Canada’s record 14 gold medals won here, unequalled by any nation, host or otherwise, in the history of the Winter Olympics.
Thank you for not taking a shift off, even when you were frustrated at every turn by an American body or stick in your way, all day long. Thank you for following that puck into the corner in overtime after you were sandwiched trying to split the U.S. defence, and thank you for heading for the hole when you left the puck with Jarome Iginla and two American defencemen stuck in the corner.
“He was yelling pretty hard for it, so I just laid it in there, hoping I wasn’t too late,” said Iginla, who was fighting off U.S. defenceman Ryan Suter and falling when he made the pass.
from Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal,
Be happy for Canadians. They wanted this game more than Brett Favre wants to wave another Super Bowl ring at Green Bay. Hockey is a national identity here, and losing may have sent this country into an unfathomable funk. Nobody is supposed to beat Canada in hockey, just like nobody is supposed to beat the U.S. in Kardashians.
This will be one of those games that people will lie about being at for the rest of their lives. However, we have a feeling most of Canada actually was here along with the great Mr. Shatner, who was born in Montreal.
We weren’t among the Maple Leaf plutocrats who plunked down as much as $4,000 for a nosebleed inside Canada’s Hockey Place. We opted for the cozier—and louder—surroundings of the Saskatchewan House—a white tent on the water not far from the arena. Inside was everything a hockey fan needed: a spiffy green carpet, wobbly tables, BBQ bison burgers and $8 plastic cups of Molson Canadian. You could also buy white wine and water, if you didn’t mind being arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
from Scott Cushing of Seattlepi,
Well, I guess I picked a good time to watch my first hockey game. Well, I’ve never watched an entire NHL or Olympic hockey game in my life, but I have been to a Thunderbirds game once and a different minor league game when I was in high school. It goes without saying that I know very little about the sport, but I do know plenty about competition and drama and when a team scores with 24.4 seconds left to tie a game, even the most ignorant fan (me) knows it’s a big deal.
Seriously, what an unbelievable finish, and what a great game to watch, even if it is hard to follow the puck at times (although not as hard as I originally thought that it would be) and even if I have no idea who these guys are, I enjoyed every minute of the game. As a hockey-viewing novice, I can’t really tell who the good players are because I don’t have any clue if what a guy just did was routine or a difficult maneuver. It looks bad to me if a guy misses the puck or makes what looks to be a weird/bad pass to a teammate, but I don’t know how common those kinds of “mistakes” are, so it’s hard for me to pass judgment.
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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