Kukla's Korner Hockey
As a linesman with the IIHF, Andriy Kicha had the best view in the house of the 2011 World Juniors in Buffalo. But big international tournaments aren’t exactly new to the Ukraine native - he also worked as a linesman at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
From hearing him speak, with a heavy Ukranian accent but a good handle on the English language, you can tell that he loves what he does.
We discussed the World Juniors, the media circus involving the Russian team, and one great aspect of working games with U20 players, during our conversation on Thursday as he was preparing to leave Buffalo for the long journey home.
From The Buffalo News:
They were thrown off a flight because of unruly behavior, can be seen on a video celebrating with what for all the world appears to be beer bottles in their hands, and several witnesses reported that their behavior had all the earmarks of intoxication.
But as members of the gold medal-winning Russian junior hockey team continued to cool their heels — and maybe treat their headaches? — no one associated with the under-20 players Thursday would acknowledge that there might have been a bit too much celebrating after their thrilling come-from-behind victory the night before over Canada in HSBC Arena.
“I don’t speak English,” one player said Thursday afternoon.
“False,” the team’s media officer said.
“I don’t know what happened,” their coach said.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
It’s been billed as the greatest collapse in the history of the WJC and that about sums it up. If there’s been one worse than that, I don’t recall it. It might just be, as the kids like to say these days, the greatest “epic fail” in Canadian international hockey. Ever.
How would you like to throw that on your resume?
All that said, it’s not as if blowing a three-goal lead in the third period never happens in hockey.
In the NHL, since the lockout, it has happened, on average, at least once a season. Eight times in 1,226 regular season games since 2005-06, if you are looking to be precise.
But there weren’t four or five million Canadians watching those collapses, it wasn’t the World Junior Championship and the team falling apart in the third period didn’t have a Maple Leaf on their chest. Well, at least not a red one.
from Robert J. McCarthy of the Buffalo News,
Oh, what a party it must have been for the Russian hockey team after their big win over Canada on Wednesday.
But it apparently caught up with the World Junior Hockey champions. They were kicked off a flight from Buffalo Niagara International Airport early this morning after sources said disruptive behavior after a night of celebration posed a safety threat.
“The crew of a flight from Buffalo to Atlanta denied boarding to 30 passengers as a result of unruly behavior,” said Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott. “This was an effort to ensure safe operation of the flight. They will be rebooked on a future flight.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
When we win, as in the Vancouver Winter Games (both men and women), we swagger. When we lose, we wallow.
It’s just part of the weird national character that is Canadian.
What happened last night? Well, on the scoresheet sitting before me, Canada takes a 3-0 lead into the third period and somehow loses 5-3. I would say by any imaginable definition that is a “collapse.” It might not be a “national tragedy,” as some have been saying. It might or might not be a “choke,” as all the media was whispering last night but few, if any, dared to say out loud or print. But it as sure as hell a monumental collapse.
So be it. How many times do we have to write “stuff happens” in hockey - it is, truly, as much an essence of the game as pucks and skates and sticks. Stuff happens, though I am tempted here to use the proper hockey word for “stuff.”
My goodness. The biggest collapse in Canadian national junior history. Stunning to watch it all unfold. 5-3 Russia.
-Damien Cox on Twitter.
Buffalo is getting some undue criticism for the low turnout of USA fans at the World Juniors tournament and particularly at the semifinal snoozer Monday night at HSBC Arena, which Canada won easily 4-1 in front of an overwhelmingly Canadian crowd.
It was the main topic on sports talk radio here yesterday, with even some local fans labeling the city as a Sabres town as opposed to a hockey town.
And in a humorous and ironic display of naivety, ESPN.com writer and hockey antagonist “The Sports Guy” Bill Simmons not only hopped aboard the Buffalo Bashwagon, but also for good measure even decided to throw Detroit and a portion of the Western frontier under the bus.
From his twitter account:
This junior hockey game is further proof that we just need to sell Buffalo to Canada. Get it over with already.
What about a blockbuster in which we get Vancouver and Canada gets Buffalo + other goodies? I’m hitting the Trade Machine.
OK, here’s my final offer: Buffalo, Detroit, 50% of Montana, three No. 1 picks + $3 million for Vancouver + Steve Nash.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: 1996+world+juniors, 2011+world+juniors, andrew+podneiks, bill+simmons, buffalo, new+york+times, team+canada, the+sports+guy
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Bragin let them practise what they enjoy most: varying rushes to the net and shots that keep goalkeeper Dmitri Shikin hot, who has become Russia’s number-one netminder after the opening game, a 6-3 defeat to Canada.
In between, the players were kidding around with their teammates and cheering each other after each penalty shot. Of course Bragin let them practise the shootout, essential work given that it was needed in the semi-finals game against Sweden.
“The good atmosphere is easy to explain,” Bragin said. “We reached the final after two hard games and for the first time in several years. The players really enjoy it. They could also recover a bit after two games in two days. The main goal before each tournament is to reach the gold medal game, so now we put pressure away for us and in the final it’s a 50-50 chance for each team.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Backed by a loud sellout crowd that was almost all Canadian, the Americans found themselves under siege on their own turf and surrendered that all-important first goal two minutes and 38 seconds into the game, which paved the way to a 4-1 win for Canada and a spot in Wednesday’s gold-medal game against Russia. It is the first time in the nine years since the tournament adopted this format that two quarter-finalists, rather than a team with a bye to the semi-final, made the championship game.
The importance of that first goal cannot be under-emphasized. Throughout the tournament, Canadian head coach Dave Cameron was questioned about how to combat his team’s habit of starting slowly and having to fight back from an early deficit. Part of that was the goaltending, which was average at best, and the defence, which looked increasingly slow and mistake-prone against quick teams like Sweden.
“Our starts haven’t been the best,” said Canadian forward Ryan Johansen, who was a force on a line with fellow bruisers Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno. “We wanted to make sure we came out playing our game and not get fancy.”
Later today, I’ll give my updated thoughts on the Lightning’s suddenly crowded crease after the addition of Dwayne Roloson. It’s also a subject I’m positive that we’ll discuss at length during the first edition of The Bolts Beat for 2011 this afternoon.
Until then, though, it’s time for our weekly peek at the AHL results for the top affiliates of all five Southeast Division clubs.
Click for individual box scores
Tuesday, 12/28/10: Chicago Wolves 5, Hamilton Bulldogs 3
Chicago goal-scorers: Spencer Machacek (14), Angelo Esposito (3), Michael Davies (5), Paul Postma (5), Mike Siklenka (3)
Chicago goaltenders (saves/shots): Peter Mannino (23/26)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Dustin Boyd, HAM; 2 – Michael Davies, CHI; 3 – Paul Postma, CHI
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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