Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The two least disciplined teams I’ve seen this hockey season: Brian Burke’s current team and Burke’s previous team.
• Love the people who assume there is a trade market for Vesa Toskala. There isn’t. The only chance of moving him before the NHL trade deadline would be for the Leafs to waive him, send him to the minors and bring him back on re-entry waivers. And even that is a longshot unless Toskala starts stopping the occasional puck.
• Statistically, the top two goaltenders in the NHL are Americans, Ryan Miller of Buffalo and Craig Anderson of Colorado, which bodes well for Burke’s Team USA at the Winter Olympics. And what does Burke do if Anderson stays hot right through February? Bench Tim Thomas?
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTV Olympics,
He was standing in the visiting coaches office in the Pengrowth Saddledome, putting forward a unique theory about the 2010 men’s Winter Olympics hockey tournament and what Canada can expect from the opposition.
This was Ken Hitchcock, the thoughtful Columbus Blue Jackets coach, who doesn’t mind tilting against occasional windmills - or conventional thought.
“I see this as being very much a North American style of game - NHL players playing on NHL surfaces with international rules,” said Hitchcock, one of Canada’s three assistants for 2010 Games in Vancouver. “Size will matter. There will be more shots on goal - lots more. There is going to be more physical play. There is going to be more dump-and-chase.
“You can’t stand back in the neutral zone in a small rink because the rink is tighter, so it’s easier to chip the puck in and then go in and get it again. You can’t do that stuff.”
via Jamie’s Hockey Blog at About.com,
From the days of the outdoor game, to the British upset of 1936, the last triumph of the Soviet dynasty, the first women’s champs, up to the NHL’s Olympic era, here’s a few classic images of Olympic ice hockey.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
The latest stop on Steve Yzerman’s pre-Olympic tour brought him to Philadelphia on Sunday for the Flyers-Sharks game, where he got to take a first-hand look at a number of players who might fill roster spots on Canada’s entry in the Vancouver 2010 Games.
Philadelphia’s Chris Pronger, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter attended the summer orientation camp in Calgary, as did San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle….
While Yzerman wouldn’t discuss individual players, he did say there were players not invited to the Calgary camp in the running for an Olympic berth. He also said that while he’d like an experienced team, the player’s talents will be the biggest factor in them earning a roster spot.
“I think there’s a lot of importance in having guys that are experienced veteran players that have played in the Olympics, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs a lot,” said Yzerman. “There’s a lot of importance in that. We look to have some veteran players on the team and there will be some veteran players. I’m not going to not take a guy because he’s young. But I do place value in experience.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Colorado Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson is trying his best to put himself on the radar for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. A guy in Russia is hoping to do the same.
Robert Esche is off to a flying start with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, sporting an 8-3-2 record with a .932 save percentage and 1.62 goals-against average, gaudy numbers to say the least.
“I’ve been healthy the last three years here in Russia, which I wasn’t my last few years in the NHL,” Esche told ESPN.com on Tuesday from Moscow, where the team plays Wednesday. “I am hoping I can go to the Olympics, that’s my goal to make that team. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world.
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN sit down with some USA Hockey players and discuss numerous, related topics.
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Returning to hockey after a one-year “retirement,” Hasek is currently ranked seventh among Czech League goaltenders with a .916 save percentage. He boasted eight wins through 12 games and a 2.52 goals-against average. But statistics aside, perhaps his most important asset is intimidation.
Hasek’s gold medal performance at the Nagano Olympics was so transcendental, an opera was created in the Czech Republic to celebrate he and his teammates’ stunning victory. A 2-1 shootout win over Canada in the semifinal was followed by a 1-0 shutout of old nemesis Russia to clinch gold – and both efforts have given Hasek a lot of cred with his peers.
“I heard he’s playing pretty well back in the Czech League,” said Colorado’s Milan Hejduk, a teammate of Hasek’s on that 1998 gold medal squad. “He’s always been an excellent goaltender. Maybe it’s going to be a big (Olympic) comeback. Even at his age, he’s still kicking it.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTV Olympics,
A projection of how the Canadian men’s 2010 Olympic hockey team could line up:
Eric Staal-Sidney Crosby-Jarome Iginla
Rick Nash-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Dany Heatley-Joe Thornton-Jeff Carter
Brenden Morrow-Mike Richards-Shane Doan
Scott Niedermayer-Shea Weber
Chris Pronger-Dan Boyle
Jay Bouwmeester-Robyn Regehr
read on for reasons why…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Sidney Crosby isn’t saying this for the record but those around him will tell you he’s pleased that he won’t be named captain for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics. He’d rather be just another player in Vancouver. The betting here is Scott Niedermayer will be named the captain.
• One reason to avoid Versus this year: The very capable Christine Simpson, sister of Craig and Dave, has been dropped by the network.
• Reasons to wonder about the Florida Panthers: Bryan McCabe has been named team captain and apparently he was the only choice.
• Mike Babcock is coaching Team Canada. Steve Yzerman is the general manager. But quietly, the Red Wings will tell you they hope that Nicklas Lidstrom will decide to not play in the Olympics in February. They’d really like their captain to take the two weeks off.
more NHL talk…
Sorry to see Chris Simpson will not be back with Versus. Who at that station makes the hockey decisions? Talk about not have their finger on the pulse of the NHL fans!
from Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal,
Brian Burke, the general manager of the U.S. Olympic hockey program, has a new plan to win gold in Vancouver. Forget the graceful, athletic style of play that dominates on Olympic ice. He’s planning to conquer the world the old-fashioned way: by hitting people….
With his shock of gray-white hair, red face and brash New England accent, Mr. Burke more resembles a dockworker on Boston Harbor than someone who makes his living in the NHL’s executive suites. Every four years, he says, hockey fans stop him in the streets after the Olympics to proclaim their love for the international style and convey their hopes that the NHL will switch to a larger rink. Mr. Burke has no use for them.
“I tell them to go watch a game in the Czech league, where every shot comes from 12, 14 feet away from the net and no one checks anyone the whole damn game,” he said. “It drives me absolutely nuts.”
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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