Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Neil Campbell of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Generations tend to mix and meld in international hockey these days and the proof comes Tuesday when the United States opens the men’s Olympic hockey tournament against Switzerland, with a top line that features Paul Stastny playing between Zach Parise and Patrick Kane.
And if the first two surnames sound familiar, well, there is an explanation for that. Parise’s father, J.P., played for Canada in the seminal 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Stastny’s father, Peter, played for Czechoslovakia during the 1980 Olympics on the team that lost early to the Americans during their magical Miracle on Ice run.
That two players - one of Slovak heritage, one of Canadian - now play for the Americans is an indication how bloodlines matter more in hockey than in almost any other sport. It also points to an explosive growth in the game below the 49th parallel, to the point where the American team, despite its loud insistences to the contrary, could pose a significant threat in the 2010 Olympic competition.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
San Jose coach Todd McLellan didn’t want to simplify it too much, but he did anyway. Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have chemistry because, as McLellan told NHL.com, “Jumbo (Thornton) is a passer, Patty is a skater and Dany is a shooter.”
That’s why you’ll likely see that trio together in Canada’s opener Tuesday against Norway at Canada Hockey Place.
“It maybe is a little bit unfair to simplify their games the way I just did,” McLellan added. “Their tool box is full, each of them, and that allows them to play a speed game, a grinding game, a finesse or a passing game because each has those tools. If you want to simplify the line, you have a passer, a skater and a shooter. That’s why it works.”
from Lucas Aykroyd at IIHF.com,
It is, of course, unfair to label 2010 the “Ovechkin versus Crosby Olympics”, because hockey is a team sport. But these are both players that have the ability, not just to make a play that changes a game, but to go ahead and impose their will on the game.
However, the captain of the Washington Capitals and his Pittsburgh Penguins counterpart achieve their goals in such different ways.
It’s hard to pin down intangible qualities that make a star what he is. But if I had to try, I’d say that Ovechkin’s success stemly mostly from passion, whereas Crosby’s mostly reflects his drive. (Their skill sets both go without saying, and they have both diversified their games to the point where the old “Ovechkin shoots, Crosby makes plays” label is no longer adequate.)
One dictionary defines passion as “a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger”. And that’s what you see every time Ovechkin steps on the ice. He’s blowing kisses and throwing himself into the boards when he scores goals. He gets angry when his team falls behind and spurs himself to play better. A classic example occurred in Washington’s come-from-behind 5-4 OT victory over Pittsburgh on February 7, where Ovechkin led the way with a hat trick.
The same dictionary defines drive as “the trait of being highly motivated”. To that, you might add “focused” in Crosby’s case.
via a Bob McKenzie tweet,
Jeff Carter has been told his services are not required. Getzlaf on the team
The mens preliminary round starts tomorrow with three games being played Tuesday through Sunday (game times are consistent all week, 3pm, 7:30pm & 11:55pm ET).
See the complete preliminary schedule below or if you have trouble locating USA Network, CNBC and MSNBC on your TV, click here and the channel number will be displayed for your location.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
• Really, really curious to watch Ryan Miller. Aside from last year, his late-season numbers aren’t great. Is he starting to burn out from carrying the Sabres on his back, again?
• Thought Marc Crawford made a really interesting point about the team with the most fluid skaters being in best position to win. His theory: as the players get exhausted in the later rounds, those who expend less energy while striding will have an advantage. He pointed out two Canadians in particular: Scott Niedermayer and Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s really amazing to me when people talk about all the pressure the hockey team has.
“I’m watching skiing (and) they fall, and that’s it. All that hard work for a 30-second race.
“Hockey is talked about more, and it’s a sport so many Canadians have a passion for, but I think it’s safe to say that every Olympic athlete has to deal with pressure.
“We’re in Canada, we’ve got the whole country behind us. That’s a pretty great opportunity.”
-Sidney Crosby of Team Canada. More on Crosby from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
The 2010 Winter Olympics has the ingredients to be the best international hockey tournament ever.
“We have the best environment possible in our 100 years,” said Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, the organizing body for the tournament. “If it will be the best tournament, I don’t know. But it is our most important tournament for sure.”
The players and teams involved in playing the 30 games of this tournament will determine if it is the best of the four Olympics that have involved NHL players since the experiment started in Nagano in 1998. But, it is impossible to imagine it not being the case.
Why? Because the best players in the world have all congregated in this city to wage a pitched battle for gold. It should be unforgettable theater.
“We’re getting screwed on the schedule because we’re in Canada. I mean, it makes sense. They want Canada in the prime-time slot.
“Magically, when we play them, we’re in the 4:30 (PT) slot. How did that happen?”
Team USA General Manager Brian Burke. More from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics.
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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