Kukla's Korner Hockey
“This American team is coming in on a real high. They’ve got speed, they’ve got a lot of confidence. They’ve got a little bit of a thick skin that they built up,. They want redemption, they want a chance to be able to get a lead on Canada this time and shut it down.
“This is going to be very interesting,” says McKenzie. “Because Canada is kind of wobbling into the gold medal game, and the Americans are flying.”
-Bob McKenzie of TSN on the WJC Gold Medal game tomorrow. More on the game at TSN.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Brian Burke and his managerial staff for Team USA don’t believe their club is short on leaders despite the fact this happens to be the youngest group of Americans headed to the Winter Olympics since NHL players were introduced to the Games.
In fact, Burke, who in the fall of 2008 began evaluating the Americans he would ultimately choose to represent his squad in Vancouver, felt leadership was something he and his staff spent plenty of time debating.
“When you assemble a team, especially for a short-term tournament, leadership is critical,” Burke told the media during a conference call Monday. “We spent a lot of time on this. We discussed the type of player; what role he might have, is he a Type A or Type B personality. Is he wearing a letter now? Has he worn a letter on the US Team before? These are all things we talked about in great, great detail and at great length.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
Critiquing TSN’s coverage of the world junior hockey championship seems almost like nit-picking, unless you’re one of those disgruntled hockey fans who’ve set up a Facebook page devoted to getting Pierre McGuire fired.
Admittedly, there are times when hoots of “roof daddy” and “stampeding elephants” might create the urge to sign on but McGuire and TSN have once again done a solid job of turning this tournament into a national must-watch event.
That said, and here comes the “but,” TSN might want to look at a few upgrades before Tuesday’s final.
For one, TSN might want to make sure it remembers there are two teams on the ice and tell viewers a bit more about those not wearing the maple leaf on their chests.
We also have the semi-finals of the WJC.
Canada vs. Switzerland at 5:00pm ET and Sweden vs. United States at 9:00pm ET. Both games are on the NHL Network in the USA and TSN/TSN2 will cover the games in Canada.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• My biggest concern on Steve Yzerman’s Team Canada: The apparent dependence on veterans Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defence. This is Pronger’s fourth Olympics. This should be Niedermayer’s fourth. Neither play at all-star levels anymore. Maybe they have one great tournament left in them. Maybe not.
• Another area of concern: Yzerman has added the entire San Jose line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley. Thornton has 10 NHL seasons with more than a point a game in the regular season, not one in the playoffs. Big games have never been his thing
more hockey talk…
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
• Gionta is being excluded for having missed 21 games with a broken foot from Nov. 14 through Boxing Day, no matter his ice generalship, two-way excellence and dressing-room leadership. And no matter Burke’s Friday claim that, “We tried to pick a team based on the body of work rather than how a (player) is playing now. We tried not to penalize players off to a slow start.”
• Gomez remains at home because Team USA assistant coach John Tortorella, head coach of the Rangers, had little time for the Anchorage native who played 21 games under him in New York last season.
• Burke would choose a Canadien over his dead body simply for his having been nearly booed out of the Bell Centre last June at the NHL entry draft. A Size XL ego who is loved or loathed with no grey area beyond his snowy scalp, Burke immediately claimed that he didn’t take the podium abuse personally. But ...
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
...the best illustration of the American depth can be seen in the team I can put together from players that were not selected for the American team:
1. Craig Anderson (Colorado)
2. Ty Conklin (St. Louis)
3. Jimmy Howard (Detroit)
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Burke didn’t pick the best Americans or go entirely with young guns. He tried to fashion a team that might be able to compete with the big dogs by including some character (Drury, Thomas), some grit (Kesler, Orpik, Ryan Suter), some size (Malone, Erik Johnson) and some pizzazz (Kessel, Kane).
The U.S is in the same pool as Canada and needs to get through the round robin in good enough shape to avoid one of the tournament’s heavyweights in the quarter-finals. Then, if Miller can play like he’s played much of this season, the Americans could pull a stunner.
That’s the game plan.
You look at this American team and see a lack of punch down the middle, nothing even remotely close to Canada’s trio of Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf.
Compared to the Russians, with Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, the U.S doesn’t have anywhere close to the same front-end pop. They also don’t have a goalie with a single minute of Olympic experience.
But they do have Parise, oddly underrated in some ways but a truly terrific player and burgeoning leader.
It is disappointing. This would have been a really fun time, especially in Vancouver. But I understand the process and I understand what they were doing. I guess the hardest part is this pretty much was the last chance to play for (Team USA), but when you get to my age there are going to be things like this that are inevitable.
-Mike Modano’s reaction to not being selected to Team USA. More from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Brian Burke wasn’t kidding.
Burke, Team USA’s General Manager for the 2010 Winter Olympics, had been forthright about his plans for the American roster, saying that it was time Team USA moved to a younger lineup and away from some of the players, now NHL greybeards, who won the 1996 World Cup and the silver medal at the 2002 Games.
Friday, he did just that, unveiling a roster that did not include past Olympians Mike Modano, Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Scott Gomez, Brian Rolston and Doug Weight.
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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