Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• My biggest concern on Steve Yzerman’s Team Canada: The apparent dependence on veterans Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defence. This is Pronger’s fourth Olympics. This should be Niedermayer’s fourth. Neither play at all-star levels anymore. Maybe they have one great tournament left in them. Maybe not.
• Another area of concern: Yzerman has added the entire San Jose line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley. Thornton has 10 NHL seasons with more than a point a game in the regular season, not one in the playoffs. Big games have never been his thing
more hockey talk…
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
• Gionta is being excluded for having missed 21 games with a broken foot from Nov. 14 through Boxing Day, no matter his ice generalship, two-way excellence and dressing-room leadership. And no matter Burke’s Friday claim that, “We tried to pick a team based on the body of work rather than how a (player) is playing now. We tried not to penalize players off to a slow start.”
• Gomez remains at home because Team USA assistant coach John Tortorella, head coach of the Rangers, had little time for the Anchorage native who played 21 games under him in New York last season.
• Burke would choose a Canadien over his dead body simply for his having been nearly booed out of the Bell Centre last June at the NHL entry draft. A Size XL ego who is loved or loathed with no grey area beyond his snowy scalp, Burke immediately claimed that he didn’t take the podium abuse personally. But ...
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
...the best illustration of the American depth can be seen in the team I can put together from players that were not selected for the American team:
1. Craig Anderson (Colorado)
2. Ty Conklin (St. Louis)
3. Jimmy Howard (Detroit)
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Burke didn’t pick the best Americans or go entirely with young guns. He tried to fashion a team that might be able to compete with the big dogs by including some character (Drury, Thomas), some grit (Kesler, Orpik, Ryan Suter), some size (Malone, Erik Johnson) and some pizzazz (Kessel, Kane).
The U.S is in the same pool as Canada and needs to get through the round robin in good enough shape to avoid one of the tournament’s heavyweights in the quarter-finals. Then, if Miller can play like he’s played much of this season, the Americans could pull a stunner.
That’s the game plan.
You look at this American team and see a lack of punch down the middle, nothing even remotely close to Canada’s trio of Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf.
Compared to the Russians, with Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, the U.S doesn’t have anywhere close to the same front-end pop. They also don’t have a goalie with a single minute of Olympic experience.
But they do have Parise, oddly underrated in some ways but a truly terrific player and burgeoning leader.
It is disappointing. This would have been a really fun time, especially in Vancouver. But I understand the process and I understand what they were doing. I guess the hardest part is this pretty much was the last chance to play for (Team USA), but when you get to my age there are going to be things like this that are inevitable.
-Mike Modano’s reaction to not being selected to Team USA. More from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Brian Burke wasn’t kidding.
Burke, Team USA’s General Manager for the 2010 Winter Olympics, had been forthright about his plans for the American roster, saying that it was time Team USA moved to a younger lineup and away from some of the players, now NHL greybeards, who won the 1996 World Cup and the silver medal at the 2002 Games.
Friday, he did just that, unveiling a roster that did not include past Olympians Mike Modano, Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Scott Gomez, Brian Rolston and Doug Weight.
2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team
more at USA Hockey…
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
What’s all this about then?
It sure sounds, looks and tastes like another according-to-Hoyle humiliation for Quebec.
There are just four héros de la nation on Team Canada’s 2010 Gold-Medal Winning Senior Men’s Hockey Team (tm).
Now, that all three goaltenders would hail from Quebec is a given: this place produces élite netminders at almost as frantic a pace as it does mob hits and café bombings.
But one lousy forward?
For shame Canada, ignoring valorous Marty and Vinny (and, while we’re at it, Simon, David, Daniel and - why not - Guillaume).
from Eric Duhatschek at CTVOlympics,
The first thing that you need to know about Mike Babcock’s coaching style is that he’s all about planning and preparation.
Not everyone will fret over having a right-handed centre to take a critical defensive zone face-off late in a game, but Babcock will. It’s what makes him an accomplished NHL coach. The devil is in the details.
It also explains why, once all the big obvious decisions about Canada’s 2010 men’s Olympic team were made - yes Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Martin Brodeur and Scott Niedermayer all cracked the line-up - the final few players were chosen to fill in any possible gaps on the team, small as they may be.
from Rosie DiMannio of the Toronto Star,
“It’s a really nice combination of young players and veterans,” observes Shanahan, a close friend and former teammate of Yzerman, now vice-president of hockey and business development for the NHL.
“In 1998 and 2002, we had a lot of guys who were in the middle to late stages of their career. Now we’ve got players who are youthful, but they’re already superstars. Canada is catching them at just the perfect moment.”
That would certainly describe such polished early 20-somethings as Sidney Crosby, Anaheim teammates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf and barely liquor-carded Jonathan Toews. Conversely, this bunch has no narrow-niche specialist. They’re all, arguably, the “200-feet players” that coach Mike Babcock said he wanted.
“I look at this lineup and see players I’d want on the ice whether we’re one up or one down with a minute to play,” says Shanahan. “In the Olympics, for those two weeks, the only thing any player should ask is, `What do you need from me?’ Then do it.”
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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