Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Cullen of TSN at CTVOlympics,
Looking ahead to the 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament, it’s worth checking out which players are performing well in the NHL so far this season. Throughout December, there will be weekly updates on different positions. Last week, we looked at the goaltenders. This week, it’s time to look at the defence.
As expected, Canada is very well-stocked on the blueline, with the top four ranked blueliners in the NHL so far season—Mike Green, Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty. All are fine skaters and productive offensive defencemen, but it could be difficult for all of them to make the squad, considering needs for size and more physical defensive defencemen.
Along those lines, the likes of Chris Pronger, Shea Weber and Brent Seabrook will earn consideration as will the Calgary Flames trio of Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr.
from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,
His prowess on offense - and on the power play in particular - could be a big positive for his chances to make the team. Canada struggled to generate offense at the Turin Olympics in 2006, scoring only 15 goals in six games (including three shutout losses) en route to a national panic-inducing seventh-place finish.
The biggest question about Green seems to center on trust. Can Team Canada, with gold-or-bust expectations, trust Green not to have a defensive lapse or a turnover at a critical point in what could be the most pressure-packed tournament in the history of the sport?
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
The only debate about who will play in net for USA at the Vancouver Canucks is whether Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has been the NHL’s best or second-best goalie for the first 10 weeks of the NHL season. If Miller isn’t the favorite for the Vezina Trophy at this stage of the season, then he’s at least in the top three.
The battle between Miller and Boston’s Tim Thomas, both of whom are Michigan natives, never materialized because Miller has been sensational since the opening night of the season. The real goaltending battle for the Americans is for the No. 3 goalie, and I believe Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has the edge because he might be USA’s goaltender of the future.
Here’s my read on goaltending battles for other countries:
from Justin Bourne at The Hockey News,
So the mesmerizing mini-Malkin moves up the minor levels quick. He starts playing with older kids and he’s still good. Simple as that. He can’t explain it. But he ends up playing at the highest level a kid of his age and size is allowed.
He starts to get the free gear, the praise and the type of coaching that comes with the best teams. And he gets even better.
At some point, he starts to actually believe he’s the second coming of Sidney Crosby and he gets to turn off the rest of the real world and enjoy the ride that is his blessed little life. Bantam draft, selected, boom. Junior hockey, recruited, boom. And maybe, if he’s extra special, he gets to miss a class or two that other kids have to attend.
Before he knows it, his name is included in the NHL draft…not as high as he’d like, though. He played against one guy who was drafted in the first round and that guy was brutal. Pfft. What a joke.
And just like that, management’s little nightmare is born.
Sources tell TSN that Hockey Canada will name Mark Messier as its general manager for the 2010 World Hockey Championship.
The 2010 event runs from May 7 to May 23 in Germany.
Messier, who is also the New York Rangers’ special assistant to general manager Glen Sather, is said to be “very excited” about his first international experience as a manager.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There are only 25 days to go until Steve Yzerman unveils the Canadian men’s 2010 Olympic hockey team and a heated national debate begins.
Interestingly, at this relatively late stage of the process, some new candidates have emerged, players who weren’t even at the Calgary orientation camp in August but have performed so well this season that Yzerman and the rest of the Team Canada brain trust have been forced to sit up and take notice.
Steven Stamkos, the 19-year-old Tampa Bay sniper, is obviously one of those players. Stamkos has 17 goals this season, showing the kind of finishing touch Canada could have dearly used in the ‘06 Games in Turin.
from Dmitry Chesnokov at PuckDaddy,
First, about his relationship with Hitchcock:
“Actually, Hitchcock gave me a lot. I started playing better defense,” he said. “But if at practice I did something wrong, Ken was ready to immediately stop practice, call the entire team over and explain to me personally where I made a mistake.”
Q. Was it embarrassing?
FILATOV: “This is a normal process. But Hitchcock took it too far sometimes. There was an immediate whistle after something small. Or he would give instructions through the defense coach, you get an individual workout. And when we lost to Detroit (1:9), Hitchcock actually made a schedule. Every player went to him for a 10-15 minute talk.”
Seven National Hockey League referees and six NHL linesmen were named on Thursday to work at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next February.
The referees are Paul Devorski, Mark Joannette, Dennis LaRue, Bill McCreary, Dan O’Halloran, Chris Rooney and Brad Watson. The linesmen include Shane Heyer, Jean Morin, Brian Murphy, Thor Nelson, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
“We had to look at experience and every other element to come up with the numbers we were told we could utilize,” NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson told NHL.com.
Gregson said the selection process involved more than just determining who was doing the best job this season.
Former NHL defenceman Sergei Zubov, currently playing for SKA St. Petersburgh of the KHL, answered to fans’ questions on Russian site sportbox.ru.
Are practices in the KHL any different to practices in the NHL?
Not really, I don’t see many differences. I have to give our coach Barry Smith his due. His practices are very productive, he doesn’t lose time. After his practices I feel like I played a real game.
Is hockey level in the NHL really that much better than in the KHL?
No, the level is almost the same. Players in the KHL are as good as the NHL players. There are very skilled players in every Russian team. And our juniors are better than the Americans. However, also there are Canadiens, but I think that our players aren’t worse.
Why then Russian youngsters want to play in the NHL?
Well, despite everything, NHL is the best league in the world right now. And every player who thinks he is talented enough wants to try his luck there.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh, sure, it’s just a game, and nothing that happens Wednesday night when Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo square off in New Jersey will have much bearing on the Olympic jobs handed out in February.
But just so everyone knows, Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman will indeed be watching the Canucks-Devils game.
“I’m going to TiVo it and watch it later,” Yzerman told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “I’m going to be at another game [Tampa at Boston], but when I saw this game [Canucks-Devils] on the schedule, I wanted to make sure I watched it.”
So there ... it’s not just the media making a big deal out of it, OK?
“To be honest with you, it’s exciting to play against Marty, period,” Luongo told us Tuesday. “Just because we’re from the same hometown and he’s one of the greatest of all time. That’s really the only reason for me. I don’t think one game is going to decide anything with regards to the Olympics.”
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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