Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from CTV Olympics,
“If it’s my choice, of course I would play,” said Daniel Alfredsson who won gold with Sweden in 2006 in Turin. “I don’t know if I would go as far as saying I would play regardless but I think there’s a lot of factors that come into it. The NHL pays our salaries, they’re a big part of it.”
“Obviously for every hockey player the Olympics is a dream, especially if it’s held in your country.”
“I don’t know,” said Jason Blake, a member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team. “Obviously that’s their decision at the end of the day. Obviously I got to go and I enjoyed it but at the end of the day, it’s the NHL’s decision.”
The 2010 Olympics have stirred up much national pride. (Ron) Wilson believes a few Canadian players in the NHL would opt to leave their team and play for their country in Vancouver if the NHL were not part of the Games.
“If the NHL said,‘this year no NHL player involvement’, then there would have been a few NHL players who would decide to play in the Olympics.”
from Tony Care of CBC Sports,
CBCSports.ca: The competition for the No. 1 goaltender spot will no doubt be the toughest decision for Babcock and his staff. With Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur expected to battle for the lead position, will strong play in the months leading up to the Games be the determining factor?
Yzerman: I’ll obviously have some input, but at the end of the day, the coaches will decide who starts in goal for us. I think for that position it’s very important that we have guys coming in tournament that are on top of their game. The position doesn’t allow a player to find time to get his game in shape. Our depth is outstanding. [Carolina goaltender] Cam Ward won a [world championship] gold medal and a Stanley Cup. In the last two years, [Pittsburgh netminder] Marc-André Fleury has gone to the finals and won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
via Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN Rob Niedermayer is in negotiations with the KHL’s (CSKA) Moscow Red Army and failing an NHL team surfacing with a suitable offer within the next few days, the veteran forward will sign a one year contract to play in Russia.
Sources say Niedermayer has received some interest from NHL teams, but none of the offers have been considered financially worthy.
Now Peter Adler at the Edmonton Journal reports…
According to an early August RDS.ca report, Zherdev was expected to sign with Salavat Yulayev Ufa, a team that also employs former NHL players such as Alexander Perezhogin and Alexander Radulov.
While Ufa is at the moment considered one of the richest, if not the richest, teams in the KHL, Zherdev went to Atlant, instead. According to team spokesman Gennadi Nabatov, Zherdev will be the best-paid player on the team.
How much would that be precisely? Or in the neighbourhood of what amount? Anywhere near the amount Zherdev wanted from the Rangers?
“None of your business, actually,” said Nabatov, obviously upset his statement had led to this line of questioning in the first place.
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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