Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Completely unprovoked, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau spent Tuesday morning lobbying for defenseman Mike Green to make the Canadian Olympic team.
“If I’m Stevie Yzerman, I’m looking at him as one of your top pair,” Boudreau said.
According to people that follow the Capitals closely, it’s the first time Boudreau has publicly made a pitch on Green’s behalf. It’s also an about face from last spring, when after the playoffs were over Boudreau admitted his disappointment in Green’s overall effort through 14 postseason games.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com,
At the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Team Canada trainers were draining his aching right knee of fluid and shooting the leg full of painkiller so he could get his skates on, never mind race up and down the ice. He wanted to play, so he did, but it was agony, at times, after his knee was scoped three weeks before the tournament.
“I played two pre-tournament games in Montreal and Minnesota and had no swelling. I told Wayne (Gretzky, Olympic team boss)I was fine, then the first tournament game it got sore against Sweden. Then, against Germany, the knee became really painful and it just progressed,” said Yzerman.
“I don’t know if I willed myself to play, but I said, ‘Oh, boy, I’ve made this commitment. I can’t bail out now. I knew I had to work through it as best I could.”
read on plus Dave Gross of Camwest News Service takes a look at Stevie too…
from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times,
Russian news outlets reported on Tuesday that Peter Forsberg, the 36-year-old Swedish superstar, was on the verge of signing with the K.H.L. champions Ak Bars Kazan, adding to the intrigue over which club in which country Forsberg would land as he continues his comeback from chronic foot and ankle problems.
And Forsberg’s own comments on Tuesday, in which he dodged questions on where he would resume his pro career, added fuel to speculation that he would not be returning to the N.H.L., as had been widely speculated in North America.
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.”
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.
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