Kukla's Korner Hockey
Despite tempered expectations, Slovakia garnered a fourth place finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In spite of an aging core roster of players, Slovakia was able to retain it’s Elite Seven status, while upsetting the number one ranked team; Russia, and eliminating the number three ranked team and defending Olympic Gold Medalists; Sweden.
Since the split of Czechoslovakia into two distinct nation states in 1993, Slovakia slowly saw their stock on the ice rise, culminating in a IIHF World Championship in 2002. However, since then the Slovaks have found themselves in a similar quandary that Team USA did for the better part of the last decade; the increasing age of their elite players and management’s inability to find suitable replacements for the old guard. However, unlike the States, Slovakia does not have the depth of coaching and player development programs which has spawned a new generation of talent Stateside.
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from John Chidley-Hill of the Globe and Mail,
The Ontario Hockey League has decided to pull the plug on its annual all-star game in an effort to reduce player workload and injuries.
Commissioner David Branch announced the scheduling change Tuesday during a media conference call previewing the 2010-11 season, which kicks off Thursday.
Fatigue was the main concern, Branch said.
“It was the number one factor as to why we chose to not have an all-star game moving forward,” said Branch. “I think that while the players loved it, it just gets to a point where we’re taxing some of those key players far too much.”
from Doug Harrison of CBC,
Brad May didn’t get through 18 National Hockey League seasons and 1,041 regular-season games by taking many nights off.
He’ll take the same approach again this season in his new hockey venture with CBC Sports as its American Hockey League analyst.
“Mediocrity, for me, is not an option. I want to jump in with two feet and I want to become the best I possibly can be,” May, who will also work as co-host for Hockey Night In Canada Radio and Online, said on the phone from his Toronto home.
Well the wife is away for the weekend, so I have my rainy Saturday afternoon viewing selection all cued up and ready to go. Instead of her insisting that we watch “The Notebook” for the umpteenth time, I will be free to check out Canada/Russia 72. Ok, not exactly a slasher flick, although you would be hard pressed to tell that to Valeri Kharlamov after Bobby Clarke tried to saw his ankle off with his stick.
So, I’ve also been wondering what you, the readers, would like to see covered in international hockey? I’ve made a list of some possible topics, but feel free to shout out any requests as I’ve already had a few members suggest the Czech, German and Swedish domestic leagues.
Anyways, here is a list of a few ideas I have:
Penn State has added both men’s and women’s Division I ice hockey to their school’s athletics programs. Both teams will be ready to go for the 2012-13 season. This has been made possible by an $88 million donation to build an ice arena.
Recession? What recession?
All jokes aside, I always think it’s good news when a hockey program or team is dropped into a market that will embrace it. Considering the state of Pennsylvania is home to two teams that have represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals for three straight years, I’d say Penn State will do well with their teams.
You can read more here.
The hockey season is here again!
Free agent signings are almost complete, as NHL teams finalize their rosters for training camp. The rookie training camps are currently underway, with players such as Taylor Hall and Nazem Khadri lighting it up for their respective teams, curious fans and diligent poolies who are looking for a jump on their competition. Hockey is also in full swing in Europe, where Germany’s DEL league team; Eisbaren Berlin, upset some rival powerhouse European clubs to win the inaugural European Trophy Championship. Previously called the Nordic Trophy (featuring teams from Sweden and Finland only), the eighteen team tournament has been expanded to include other European domestic leagues, with Russia’s KHL being the notable exception. The breakdown of teams by country is as follows:
from Justin Bourne at PuckDaddy,
When players show up at training camp after a summer of lifting, as they will this weekend in the NHL, they’re as jacked-up as they can possible get. Hell, even I usually felt pretty good about my situation. So it rarely ever crossed my mind that anybody may have used performance-enhancers in the off-season. It was possible that a guy or two worked a little harder than me.
Then I walked into a teammate’s bedroom one day and saw his “medical kit.” It didn’t blow my mind, but it definitely caught me off-guard. It would be the first and last time I ever saw steroid paraphernalia, but it was just the beginning of my awareness that the occasional player in professional hockey cheats.
That blind pursuit of a better opportunity or better contract was something I came to understand and grudgingly accept. But I stopped being so understanding when guys like him started climbing up our organization’s depth chart.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
From their earliest stick-and-puck beginnings, Stuart Hyman’s sons have played on hockey teams owned and operated by their dad.
When the two oldest reached the junior level, they suited up for the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, another Hyman-owned club.
Now, with the two senior brothers in their late teens, their father has purchased a scouting company that ranks prospective draftees for a client base of general managers, coaches and scouts.
It’s a cradle-to-National-Hockey-League development strategy unheard of in the hockey world.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Talk about hockey lineage.
When the Shattuck-St. Mary’s School girls’ high school prep hockey team opens its season this weekend, there will be a Lemieux and a Crosby on the ice—Stephanie Lemieux, the 15-year-old daughter of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, and Taylor Crosby, the 14-year-old sister of Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.
“They’re just regular teenage girls. They’re hard working and dedicated,” Shattuck coach Dan Koch said Wednesday. “They just go about their business like any other kids here. They’re very focused in both hockey and academics.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
No matter the kaleidoscopic jersey, Metropolit is having a blast in Switzerland on his 16th professional team, having signed on for two years.
He’s earning probably half the face value of last season’s $1-million Canadiens salary, but consider: not a euro of his pay is going into escrow, two of his three children are enrolled without cost in a prestigious English-language international school, he and his wife, Michlyn, are driving new BMWs provided for free, parking them in the driveway of a comfortable rent-free condo, and he pays no taxes.
“What a decision I made, coming here. I’m glad I didn’t stick around in North America and wait,” Metropolit said. “It’s the best choice I’ve probably made in my life.
“It’s caught me by surprise, what guys are signing for over there,” he added, watching from afar as the NHL’s dwindling pool of free agents agrees to salary-cap-squeezed contracts.
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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