Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek is facing the possibility of having his season come to a premature end, with his immediate future hinging on another meeting with medical personnel Wednesday.
The 28-year-old has been sidelined since Jan. 2 with an undisclosed upper-body injury, which has been widely reported as a shoulder. His spot on the U.S. Olympic team is also hanging in the balance.
“I’ve tried not to think too much about it,” Komisarek said Tuesday. “If you dwell too much on something like that, you sort of lose track of the focus and what you need to be doing. I’ve been working hard with the strength coach and been talking with the doctors a lot, doing exactly what I need to do to get back.”
He acknowledged the possibility of having to end his season.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
All season long, Brian Burke has remained steadfast in his support of head coach Ron Wilson – and that’s a good thing.
Few coaches have a fair shot at success – or survival – without the explicit backing of their GM.
Still, some have suggested repeatedly, and snidely, that only Wilson’s position as head coach of the U.S Olympic team, with Burke also his boss there, has protected him from dismissal.
The implied accusation is that Burke is putting the welfare of the American team ahead of the needs of the Leafs.
It certainly has created a peculiar dynamic and Wilson’s overt praise of various U.S. Olympians in recent days has made it even more uncomfortable as the fortunes of the Leafs have plummeted.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Think Canada has a monopoly on player selection controversies? Or is the only country immersed in discussion about who will play where during the men’s 2010 Winter Olympics hockey tournament?
It’s just as bad - and maybe worse - in Russia, which has the added complication of balancing players from its own domestic league (the Continental Hockey League or KHL) as well as its stars in the NHL.
Politics is the stepchild of modern international hockey, and so for the Vancouver Games, the Russians opted for nine players from the KHL, and the rest from the NHL.
If Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov is dropped for injury reasons, the third goalie to play behind Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes and Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks is expected to come from the KHL.
Even though Russian coach Slava Bykov is considered a progressive leader, he adopted one of the principles from the old Soviet days and will play four five-man units.
Great Inside Hockey Segment by Elliotte Friedman last night. Enjoy.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
Mike Komisarek received some unfortunate news Saturday night that will almost certainly end his hopes of competing in the Vancouver Olympics with Team USA.
The big Leafs defenceman’s injured shoulder will keep him sidelined up to another seven days – a span that will push him past a deadline to prepare for the Games….
Burke, meanwhile, has several choices to replace Komisarek.
Candidates include Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski, Anaheim’s Ryan Whitney, Atlanta’s teenage blueliner Zach Bogosian and Carolina’s Tim Gleason.
“I’m not here for the NHL, I don’t work for them, but I think we all have the same common goal to make the game of hockey bigger and better worldwide. I think the NHL knows and understands that. I hope that when they (the KHL, the IIHF and the NHL) meet in Vancouver (during the Olympics), they can all come to an understanding that will make both leagues happy.”
-Wayne Gretzky at the KHL All-Star Game. More by Risto Pakarinen at The Hockey News.
from Dmitry Chesnokov at PuckDaddy,
I caught up with Robert Esche after a recent KHL game between SKA and Dinamo Minsk to get his take on playing in the KHL. Esche was riding a bike in an NHL-like equipped training room inside the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg after his team dropped the decision to Dinamo Minsk.
Q. Do you think it is still an option for you being three years out of the NHL to come back to North America?
ESCHE: I don’t know. Right now I am a free agent over here. Obviously, I love St. Petersburg, and I love playing over here. If it works in the NHL, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I have kind of taken on a different role in my life, as opposed to when I was in Philly. I just went into a different direction. You just learn a lot about yourself when you’re over here. I think this was something I was lacking in the NHL. I guess time will tell what happens.
The PR folks for Bodog.com passed these on to me…
Odds to Win the 2010 Olympic Ice Hockey Championship
Czech Republic 15/1
Wattch It. Play It. Live It.
Hockey Weekend Across America has been a big success as a national platform to celebrate the game and in 2010, the event will have a stronger focus on growing the game,
All the information about HWAA can be found here
from Steve Keating & Clare Fallon of Reuters,
Hockey’s place in Canadian culture is closer to religion than a simple sporting pastime, a unifying force in a country of 33 million people that is often split by politics and language.
The sport is part of the national identity, a rite of passage between fathers and sons and more recently mothers and daughters as the game has evolved beyond its traditional gender boundaries.
Generations of Canadians grew up listening to Hockey Night In Canada on the radio and decades later the Saturday night tradition continues intact on high-definition television.
Canada hopes to win its first gold medal at a home Olympics this time, after failing at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games and the Calgary Winter Games in 1988. To hockey fans, the only really important thing is the men’s gold which will be decided on the final day, February 28.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org