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Category: International-Hockey

The State of Hockey in Russia

The Russian National Team has taken great strides towards regaining past international hockey glory in the last few years. Spurred on by back-to-back World Championship victories with two straight wins over Team Canada in 2008 and 2009 (including a win on Canada’s home ice in 2008), Russia had seemed to finally regain their duo-superpower status with their longtime Canadian rivals. That is until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where the Russians were soundly thumped 7-3 by the home side in their quarterfinal matchup. Perhaps, Team Russia goalie; Ilya Bryzgalov, summed up the debacle best by stating that Team Canada played like “gorillas coming out of a cage.”

On the heels of their defeat in Vancouver, many of Russia’s Olympic core squad vowed to gain a measure of revenge at the 2010 World Championships in Germany three months later. Although Russia defeated a relatively undermanned Canadian squad, their efforts, once again, ended in failure with an upset loss to the Czech Republic in the championship final.

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexander+radulov, alexander+semin, andrei+markov, denis+grebeshkov, evgeni+malkin, evgeni+nabokov, ilya+bryzgalov, ilya+kovalchuk, khl, maxim+afinogenov, nashville+predators, pavel+datsyuk, slava+bykov, slava+kozlov, vladislav+tretiak

The State of Hockey in Finland

If there was ever a National team program historically greater than the sum of its parts, it would be Team Finland. Despite not having the offensive depth of many of their Elite Seven rivals, the Finnish National Team has repeatedly fared well in recent international best-on-best competition. After enduring many decades of lopsided defeats internationally at the hands of Canada, the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and longtime nemesis Sweden, the Finnish hockey program made great strides in the 1990’s, culminating with a World Championship in 1995. In addition, Finland has won more Olympic Hockey medals (1 silver, 2 bronze), than any other nation, since the introduction of NHL players to the Games in 1998.

Finland’s success can be attributed to a strong emphasis on teamwork and the fact that unlike their European rivals, hockey is indisputably the number one sport in their homeland, which has led to the implementation of adequately funded development programs and a strong domestic league in SM-liiga. More than any other European team, Finland employs a fast skating, tight forechecking, North American style of play, augmented by strong defensive zone coverage and consistently elite goaltending. The rinks in Finland have been adjusted to enhance the tight forechecking style of play, by adopting a size that is halfway between the dimensions of NHL and IIHF standards. Furthermore, in an effort to aid the National Team’s development programs, numerous goaltending schools have been created, and often led, by the country’s top puck stoppers. This has led to the emergence of many elite young goalies in the NHL, such as Tuukka Rask, Pekke Rinne, Antti Niemi and perhaps Kari Lehtonen, if he can find health and consistency in a Dallas Stars uniform.

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, dallas+stars, espoo+blues, iihf, jere+lehtinen, kari+lehtonen, mikko+koivu, olli+jokinen, olympic+hockey, pekke+rinne, saku+koivu, sm-liiga, teemu+selanne, tuomo+ruutu, tuukka+rask

The State of Hockey in Slovakia

Despite tempered expectations, Slovakia garnered a fourth place finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In spite of an aging core roster of players, Slovakia was able to retain it’s Elite Seven status, while upsetting the number one ranked team; Russia, and eliminating the number three ranked team and defending Olympic Gold Medalists; Sweden.

Since the split of Czechoslovakia into two distinct nation states in 1993, Slovakia slowly saw their stock on the ice rise, culminating in a IIHF World Championship in 2002. However, since then the Slovaks have found themselves in a similar quandary that Team USA did for the better part of the last decade; the increasing age of their elite players and management’s inability to find suitable replacements for the old guard. However, unlike the States, Slovakia does not have the depth of coaching and player development programs which has spawned a new generation of talent Stateside.

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, glen+hanlon, marian+gaborik, marian+hossa, pavol+demitra, richard+panik, tampa+bay+lightning, tomas+tatar, zigmund+palffy

What Would You Like to See Covered in the International Hockey Blog

Well the wife is away for the weekend, so I have my rainy Saturday afternoon viewing selection all cued up and ready to go. Instead of her insisting that we watch “The Notebook” for the umpteenth time, I will be free to check out Canada/Russia 72. Ok, not exactly a slasher flick, although you would be hard pressed to tell that to Valeri Kharlamov after Bobby Clarke tried to saw his ankle off with his stick.

So, I’ve also been wondering what you, the readers, would like to see covered in international hockey? I’ve made a list of some possible topics, but feel free to shout out any requests as I’ve already had a few members suggest the Czech, German and Swedish domestic leagues.
Anyways, here is a list of a few ideas I have:

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line

“We used to beat the Canadians more than we beat Czechoslovakia. And I can say that it was a lot harder to play against our Eastern European neighbors. They were extremely talented and still are. And they were always coming up with new ways of trying to beat us. We always had to think when we played them, while with Canada, we knew if we could match them physically – we would win,”

-Vyacheslav Fetisov via RussiaToday.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Turn Attention To The World Cup Of Hockey

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

Bettman isn’t keen on Sochi given its remoteness, time of the games and the fact the NHL has absolutely no say or control of the event. The NHL and its owners stand to gain nothing financially with the five-ring circus despite taking all the risks by shutting down mid-season and providing the talent.

It makes far more sense for all stakeholders — including the fans — for the best players on the planet to focus on the World Cup of Hockey, formerly the Canada Cup.

The owners will get their piece of the action, the players will get theirs, North American fans can see every game in primetime, and all the host cities will generate tremendous buzz and money for every game. People will watch.

An even bigger bonus will be the timing of the event. While the players and the owners are at odds over when the event should run, common sense suggests the owners will win and it will once again be staged in the fall, when every player is healthy and available.

Could there be a better way to grab the sports world’s attention than by opening your season with a marquee event?

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Compensate The NHL For Olympic Participation

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,

Brace yourself, Bridget, but Usual Suspects is about to agree with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Unless it gets a share of the profits and more influence on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the NHL shouldn’t go to Russia.

The Olympic TV impact is negligible in most of the American burgs where Bettman has hawked franchises, the elite players are exhausted by the travel and it punishes the NHL regional broadcasters who must go on hiatus at a time when hockey has the stage almost alone to itself in February.

Plus, the NHL gets bupkis in return. As it stands now, the panjandrums of the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation are telling the league to butt out, they’ll be the ones to collect the cash. They’ll also tell you what uniforms teams can wear, how often you’ll play and probably how much luggage you’re entitled to bring.

It’s a one-sided deal, one not reflecting the NHL’s leverage: the world’s best hockey players.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+oiympics

NHL Has To Say Yes To The Olympics

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Yes, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch had to wait in line outside GM Place at the Vancouver Olympics.

And the NHL couldn’t get its own network accredited to cover the games.

And the league couldn’t use any highlights from the Games on its website even though its own players were playing in the tournament.

And NHL GMs have had trouble gaining access and information about their players during the Olympics.

And the 2014 Sochi Games may not be on in prime time.

There are challenges to playing in the Olympics. Many, perhaps. But what a shining chance for the NHL to preserve something great and unique; what a shining chance to pay back the players and fans and the league itself by not giving in to the impulse to walk away from the Olympics because it’s inconvenient.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+oiympics

Think Rationally About The Olympics

So says Brian Burke.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke, winter+olympics

Hockey Fans, How Do You Feel?

Gary Bettman made a statement today at the World Hockey Summit in regards to how hockey fans feel about NHL participation in the Olympics.

via Scott Burnside tweet,

Bettman says fans’ response to NHL participation in Olympics is a “mixed bag”. Not sure we buy that.

What are your thoughts and thanks to many of you who already responded to the same question on Twitter.

added 2:41pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

To the surprise of practically everyone in the room, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wasn’t quite the wet blanket that delegates to Wednesday’s session of the World Hockey Summit might have imagined.

Instead, Bettman was quite playful during his 30-minute cameo appearance, teasing questioners, poking fun at IIHF president Rene Fasel, but most importantly, clarifying the NHL’s position with regard to Olympic participation, which was the day’s primary point of discussion.

Bettman stressed that he is not anti-Olympics and contrary to the general perception, the NHL hasn’t said no to appearing in Sochi, Russia, where the 2014 Games will be played.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman, winter+olympics

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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