Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
IIHF president Rene Fasel stood firm during an IIHF council meeting Tuesday in Zurich that the Dec. 31 Olympic roster deadline would not be altered, a source told ESPN.com.
Top European countries such as Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic have been pushing to change the rule to allow only a partial roster to be named by Dec. 31 and the rest of the players to be named closer to the Olympics.
I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve heard of this, but Fasel indicated to all the countries in Tuesday’s meeting that the rule won’t be changed. The IIHF meeting continues Wednesday, so perhaps this isn’t quite over yet.
The United States was given an exception to announce their roster at the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
continue for other hockey topics including some trade talk...
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Minutes before zipping off for an Olympic conference call with USA Hockey officials, Brian Burke weighed in on the Canadian goaltending debate with a surprising stance.
“As of this week, I’d start Cam Ward,” said the Flames director of hockey operations, who doubles as the American Olympic team’s director of player personnel.
“He’s out of his mind right now — you can’t beat him,” Burke continued. “Everybody’s worried about Canada’s goalies right now, but I’m not. I think they have three guys who could play. You just have to figure out who’s on at that moment.”
As part of a wide-ranging chat with a quaint group of KidSport Calgary supporters Monday, Burke says that while he saw the Canadians as the pre-tourney favourites to win in Sochi “the team that scares the living hell out of me is Russia.”
“Because it’s their home soil, it’s going to be crazy there, and we hear rumours of huge bonuses for players if they win gold.”
Armed with a strong, colourful opinions on everything Burke raised plenty of eyebrows and prompted several laughs with frank answers to some of the biggest questions in hockey.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
"But for some single seats, the Winter Classic is completely sold out," (Tom) Wilson said. "We're looking forward to 107,000-plus people up there in Ann Arbor."
For the preliminary Winter Festival events at Comerica Park from Dec. 27-31, nearly 120,000 of 180,000 available tickets are already spoken for.
Wilson indicated that they'd sold a combined 42,000 tickets for the Dec. 27-28 NCAA Great Lakes Invitational tournament.
Approximately 30,000 tickets have been purchased for the Dec. 29 OHL doubleheader featuring the Windsor Spitfires vs. the Saginaw Spirit and Plymouth Whalers against the London Knights. Nearly 30,000 more ducats have been grabbed up for the Dec. 31 Leafs-Red Wings alumni twinbill.
Capacity for the Comerica Park hockey games is 38,000.
"We'll have big turnouts for literally everything, so we're feeling pretty good about being able to deliver exactly what we talked about when this idea first came across, which is setting a record for the best attended hockey event ever," Wilson said.
Wilson also indicated that of those nearly 200,000 tickets, some 35,000 were purchased by Canadians.
Courtesy of Bovada,
Men’s Gold Medal
Czech Republic 9/1
from Harvey Fialkov of the SunSentinel,
Thomas was the backup to starting U.S. Olympic goalie Ryan Miller in 2010 when America reached the gold-medal game only to lose 3-2 in overtime to Canada. Although Thomas only played briefly against Finland, he said Monday that returning to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia this February was one of the main reasons he decided to end his one-year hiatus.
"Absolutely, absolutely,'' Thomas said emphatically when asked about his Olympics hopes. "Yeah, it's one of the major factors. I only got to play [part of one period] against Finland. But the whole experience was awesome. It doesn't matter if you're playing or not in the Olympics you want to be a part of it, and I'd love to be a part of it again.''
Predators General Manager David Piole, who's also the GM of the U.S. Naional team, told the Sun Sentinel last month in Nashville that although Thomas wasn't invited to the tryouts last summer because he was still retired, he's in the picture.
"We have a lot of good options,'' Poile said. "We didn't know Timmy's situation then but he's in the program and if he's one of the best three goalies, he's going to Sochi.''
Miller is 4-11 and in the midst of a dreadful season in Buffalo, and other potential U.S. goalies such as Ottawa's Craig Anderson (5-6-2 with a 3.26 goals-against-average) and Detroit's Jimmy Howard (5-5-6 with a 2.68 GAA) are struggling.
from Joe Pelletier of Greatest Hockey Legends,
Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not necessarily the greatest player.
I will list 91-100, you can read on for the rest...
Scott Niedermayer (D) - Hockey's Winningest Man
Pavel Datsyuk (C) - Dats Incredible!
Aurel Joliat (LW) - The Little Giant
Earl Siebert (D) - Rearguard Roughian
Al MacInnis (D) - Big Shot
Bob Gainey (LW) - Admired By Russians
Sid Abel (C) - Enabling The Production Line
Johnny Bower (G) - The China Wall
Yvan Cournoyer (RW) - The Roadrunner
Billy Smith (G) - Playoff Battler
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Again on Monday, eyebrows were raised with this tweet, with the head of Russian hockey, the legendary Vladislav Tretiak, apparently suggesting the IIHF will allow for partial rosters to be announced by Jan. 1 and the rest to be added closer to the Sochi Games.
I reached out to my colleague Slava Malamud, a Russian sports writer based in Washington, D.C., who said top Russian and KHL hockey officials have been quoted over the past little while in Russia saying they were hoping for a compromise with the IIHF to relax the roster deadline and allow for more flexibility.
However, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Monday in no uncertain terms that there has been "no change" as far as having to name the full, 25-man roster by Jan. 1, and that the IIHF has told the NHL that Russia will comply.
Clearly, what we have is the IIHF and its president, Rene Fasel, caught in a tight squeeze between the NHL and Russia/KHL -- not a comfortable position to be in. Should be interesting to monitor.
read on for some Kris Versteeg talk...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
... Now, he’s gone, with 14 goals (riding a six-game scoring streak), with 23 points–a guy who figured in44 percent of his team’s goals. Tampa talked a good game about other guys stepping up, but Marty St. Louis, bless his soul, is 38. He is more of a passer than a shooter. Val Filppula, who played in Pavel Datsyuk’s shadow in Detroit, is now the default No. 1 centre there. Little Ryan Johnson moves up to No. 2. Good players but Stamkos is a great player, a great player who was hurt on a back-checking mission against Boston defenceman Dougie Hamilton–an awful visual on YouTube.
Stamkos’s injury likely opens the doors wide-open for Olympic team berths. Canada has a couple of natural RWs in St. Louis and Corey Perry who will probably be in Sochi but that’s it. Centres were moving over. Maybe centre/winger Claude Giroux in Philly pops back into the Olympic picture now, same with the versatile Patrick Sharp, who’s always under the radar. Some guys who didn’t get summer orientation invites like Patty Marleau and Jamie Benn and Joffrey Lupul might now get a longer look.
There’s only one Stamkos though and today he’s sitting in a hospital bed with a plate or a rod and screws in his broken leg. It’s a crying shame, for him, and all hockey fans.
Tom Murray will be writing a feature column on a regular basis for Kukla's Korner this season.
I do hope you enjoy his submissions and to find out more about Tom, click on his name.
By Tom Murray,
It finally hits me late last week, after the final cuts have been made and we’re driving home, talking about possible line combinations and the team’s first scrimmage next weekend.
This is going to be Tommy’s last season.
He’s a senior in high school now, just a few months shy of his 18th birthday, a shade under six feet tall but still growing, shoots right but not nearly enough, invariably preferring to make a pass and then heading for the front of the net to pick up a rebound or a deflection. The classic power forward—selfless, fearless and dependable.
And sometime next spring it’ll all be over.
It’s not like he’s never going to play again. He loves it too much. But he knows as well as I that this phase of the game and his life, our lives, is coming to a close. So for me anyway this fall is a time of sweet reflection and of memories I’ll always hold dear.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
No sooner had the 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame class been inducted than the focus turned to the 2014 class.
There are new names eligible this year to go with ones overlooked and still sitting around with fingers crossed.
Here’s a look at some names sure to be bandied about.
Mike Modano: Quite possibly the greatest American hockey player ever. . . . A first overall pick of the Minnesota North Stars (1989). . . . Final career numbers: 561 goals, 1,374 career points, both good for 23rd most in NHL history. . . . Also led the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1998-99 with 23 points in 23 games.
Dominik Hasek: Might have been in the Hall sooner but kept coming out of retirement to play in Europe. (Players must be retired three years to be eligible.) A 16-year veteran: 735 games played. . . . 11th on all-time list with 389 wins, 2.20 GAA, .922 save percentage. . . . Six-time Vezina winner. . . . Three-time William Jennings winner. . . . Two-time Hart Trophy winner. . . . Two-time Ted Lindsay award winner. . . . Won Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002. . . . Won Olympic gold (1998).
Peter Forsberg: Injury-riddled career means he’s not a slam-dunk. . . . His 885 points put him 104th on the all-time list, in the same neighbourhood as others on the bubble (Gary Roberts, 96th; Eric Lindros, 113th). . . . But Forsberg won the Cup twice in Colorado and Olympic gold twice with Sweden (1994, 2006). . . . Won the Art Ross and Hart Memorial trophies in 2002-03 with 106 points in 75 games.
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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