Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
“Stevie Y,” you messed up, big time.
-Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic writing about Shane Doan not being selected to Team Canada.
It is not often you get fantasy tips from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, so take advantage of it…
Here’s a little trivia for anyone preparing a fantasy pools list for the upcoming 2010 men’s Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver:
The National Hockey League has had full participation in three previous Olympics; twice, the same pair of players ran 1-2 in the scoring race. They weren’t Czechs, Canadians or Swedes either (the three countries that have won gold during that span.) Rather, it was Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu from Finland, a pair of well-known, highly respected NHL players who have a history of raising their performance levels when they don national colours.
But there’s something else you need to know while researching your Olympic picks—you can get some unexpected scoring heroes mixed in with the familiar ones.
continue reading at CTVOlympics…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have sent a letter to the International Ice Hockey Federation, ESPN.com has learned, underlining their expressed concern with Russia’s stated intention to potentially change its Olympic hockey roster regardless of injury.
The NHL and the players’ union, sources told ESPN.com, reiterated in the letter to the IIHF that according to the agreement reached by all parties, Jan. 1 is indeed a final roster deadline for the Olympics and any changes could only be made in case of bonafide injuries….
The IIHF, when reached by ESPN.com last Saturday, also backed Russia’s claim.
“It’s a provisional roster and it can be changed prior to the final roster on Feb. 15,” Szymon Szemberg of the IIHF said in an e-mail to ESPN.com Saturday. “The only provision is that all players must be on the WADA list for anti-doping purposes.”
from Eric Duatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Here’s the thing that always perplexes me about the men’s Olympic hockey selection process, revealed earlier today:
The attention, the questions and whatever second-guessing may occur always focuses on the bottom end of the roster.
Question: How will Canada win a gold medal, if it wins, when the 2010 Games come to Vancouver?
Answer: The same way as it did in Salt Lake City; provided their stars come through when it matters.
The IIHF has the Olympic Team Rosters, all in place which makes it a good reference point.
All teams have been announced except Team Canada (today at noon ET. on NHL Network) and Team USA (this Friday).
from Ian Johnson of the Wall Street Journal,
The host nation this year is under intense pressure to win gold. Canada invented the modern game of ice hockey, and people there feel they ought to win. Check out a Canadian newspaper or Web site these days, and it’s almost impossible to miss the discussion, or the immense pressure on Mr. Yzerman, the executive director of Team Canada. The media regularly track the players who are up and down this season, speculating whether it will influence Mr. Yzerman. Web sites have offered votes on who should be the starting goaltender, and podcasts are devoted to hashing and rehashing the possibilities.
“I don’t know if it’s pressure,” says Mr. Yzerman. “But a lot of people have a lot of opinions.”
The 44-year-old Mr. Yzerman retired in 2006 after 19 seasons as captain of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, helping to turn the club into a model of success. He was also a top scorer on Canada’s Olympic club in 2002, helping lead his country to its first gold medal in 50 years.
In such a talent-rich nation, Mr. Yzerman and his deputies have choices—almost too many. Does he go for the highest scoring players in hopes of outgunning opponents? Or does he take advantage of the fact that the series will be played in smaller North American rinks (as opposed to larger international-standard rinks) to fill his team with brawny players who can grind down opponents?
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Andreas Lilja doesn’t blame Mikael Samuelsson, his best friend and former teammate, for ripping Swedish Olympic officials for excluding him from the team.
Samuelsson told Vancouver reporters: “Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they (Team Sweden officials) can go (expletive) themselves.’‘
Lilja liked his reaction.
“I think it’s kind of nice when someone says what they really think instead of saying, ‘OK, it was their decision, nothing I can do about it,’ ‘’ Lilja said. “Nice that people show emotions because he’s (ticked off). I don’t blame him.’’
Canadian hockey cheerleaders like to say this country is so overflowing with talent that it could send two teams to the Olympic tournament. That’s true, but would either win? Canada’s 12th forward may be superior to Russia’s 12th, but I’ll take Russia’s core ahead of Canada’s. We’ll see.
-William Houston of Truth & Rumours. More on the Olympics from Mr. Houston.
from Rachel Brady at CTVOlympics,
In the summer of 2001, Mike Babcock—then coach of the AHL’s Cincinnati Ducks—called Hockey Canada to ask if he could come watch the men’s Olympic hockey camp in Calgary prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He wanted to learn from the best coaches and players and take a few notes.
He had already acted as coach of Canada’s World Junior team, so Hockey Canada was happy to let the coach attend. A young coach trying to make it to the NHL, he was doing anything he could to gain an edge in the hockey world.
Fast-forward to 2009, and Babcock is now one of the game’s most accomplished coaches. The Detroit Red Wings coach will soon take the bench behind Canada’s 2010 Olympic team. Yet the Stanley Cup winning coach still calls himself a life-long learner. He has rarely missed an opportunity to benefit from his encounters with people, in hockey or otherwise.
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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