Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allen Barra of the Wall Street Journal,
Team USA faces off with Switzerland today in the first round of the men’s hockey competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. And as sports fans settle in to watch, they’ll undoubtedly recall the “Miracle on Ice” in the 1980 Lake Placid games, when a group of young Americans surprised the world and brought home the gold.
Far fewer will remember the first miracle on ice 20 years earlier. At the 1960 Squaw Valley Games, a group of unknown Americans went undefeated, beating the highly favored Russians and then the Canadians and Czechs to win the gold.
“That team,” says Sports Illustrated’s E.M. Swift, “was underrated the day after they won the gold medal.” Yet theirs was arguably the greatest achievement in U.S. Olympic history.
continued and thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
Scroll to the 2 minute mark to hear Bredan’s views…
Here is where you can find the Olympic hockey tournament games on Feb. 16.
3-5:30 pm ET—U.S. vs. Swiss men, TSN & RDS
5:30-8 pm ET—U.S vs. Russia women, APTN,
7:30-10 pm ET,—Canada vs. Norway men, CTV
8:30-11 pm ET— Canada vs. Norway men, RDS
11 pm-1 am ET— Finland vs. China women, RDS
12-2:30 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, CTV
1-3 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, RDS
3-6 pm ET—U.S. vs. Swiss men, USA
5:30—8 pm ET—U.S. vs. Russia women, MSNBC
8-10 pm ET—Canada vs. Norway men, CNBC
10 pm-12:30 am ET—Finland vs. China women, CNBC
12:30-2:30 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, CNBC
added 11:17am, My NHL.com blog today, basically on watching the Olympics. Enjoy and someone knock my socks off with a beverage or a unique food item to bring to my home.
from Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News,
Twelve years later, the man who coached one of the most disappointing, ill-behaved hockey teams in history is back coaching Team USA again.
It is hard to believe Ron Wilson gets this second chance Tuesday, when the Americans begin the Olympic tournament against Switzerland, but maybe not so difficult to understand when you consider most Americans involved never really confessed they had done much of anything wrong back at Nagano in 1998. They had some bad luck, they lost to Canada, Sweden and the Czechs, and then just had a goodbye dorm party that got a little bit crazy.
Of the players on that roster, only captain Chris Chelios really manned up, apologized and wrote a check for $3,000. The players involved never quite admitted to anything. Nobody would rat out anybody. Even now, Wilson will acknowledge no responsibility for supervising players who trashed their rooms and hurled furniture from the window of the Olympic Village.
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
Team Canada’s brain trust has likely been pleased to see how the red-hot scoring pace of Swedish Sedin twins Henrik and Daniel has cooled dramatically the last couple of weeks.
It’s certainly been a mystery to Vancouver Canucks fans, and the sudden dry spell most certainly cost Henrik the NHL scoring lead he owned for a month since early January, as Alex Ovechkin came roaring by.
Some were suggesting the opposition had finally figured out how to stop the Swedish forwards — although those Xs and Os were available and clearly not effective since October.
But Henrik acknowledged on Monday after Team Sweden’s first Olympic practice that his back has been bothering him for about 10 days.
from John Keating of FoxSports Detroit,
Vancouver is the fourth Olympiad that has held a hockey tournament of NHL players. It should be the last.
What are we proving here? This is a league that has determined that the only fair, or really possible way, to determine a championship is to play a seven-game series and that each of those games will go to overtime, if needed.
Yet, what we have here is “The Hot Goalie Open.” A one-and-done collection of All-Star Games. For the right to determine the best on the planet, we allot the teams a grand total of one practice together and then it’s game-on.
The Miracle on Ice team of Herb Brooks was a once in a lifetime fluke. But they played together for seven months. Their opponents were likely together for longer than that. But how novel that a team competition was actually played by, ya know, teams.
from Lucas Aykroyd at IIHF.com,
A few years ago, this criticism was perfectly legitimate. At the annual World Championship, Russian blueliners would pinch at inopportune times, giving up odd-man rushes on a regular basis. In their own zone, they would attempt feeble pokechecks instead of taking the body, and woe betide the Russian netminder who failed to smother a rebound, as opposing forwards on elite teams would happily rush to the net and bang in loose pucks.
No wonder Russia suffered some mighty collapses in international hockey. The most notable instance was the embarrassing 11th-place finish on home ice at the 2000 IIHF World Championship in St. Petersburg. But the 10th-place outing in 2004, marked by legendary coach Viktor Tikhonov’s ill-fated comeback at age 73, wasn’t far behind in terms of lowlights.
However, this is 2010. The Russians have tightened up significantly on defence going back to 2005, when they captured bronze at the Worlds in Austria. The improvement has been particularly evident under coach Slava Bykov, who took over the reins for the 2007 Worlds in Moscow.
from John Dellapina at NHL.com,
As if Slovakia didn’t have enough on its Olympic plate what with assignment to the toughest Group and a bracing opening game against arch-rival Czech Republic on Wednesday, it now appears as if goal-scoring machine Marian Gaborik won’t suit up until the Saturday’s round-robin finale against Latvia.
According to Slovakian team doctor Dalimir Jancovic, Gaborik still has significant weakness in his right leg and difficulty fully flexing his knee one week after a collision in practice with New York Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist left him with a deep skate gash to his lower thigh.
“I think he needs without training three days still,” Jancovic told NHL.com.
from Russia Today,
• Russia’s ice hockey captain Aleksey Morozov says the food at the Olympic village has been so bad he has been forced to eat at McDonalds.
• Despite being 11 time zones from Russia, the players will have a few home comforts, with the players’ wives, girlfriends and children also in Vancouver, though they will not be staying with the players in the athletes’ village.
“It’s support and gives our guys extra motivation. So I don’t partially see anything wrong with this. Sport and the family are one. Our players are professionals and know why they are here and we will hope it will give us extra motivation and strength to achieve a miracle,” Russia’s coach added.
Apparently, ‘Miller Time’ and ‘Support Our Troops’ are not words the International Olympic Committee wants to see on goalie masks.
Read the AP story via NBC 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.
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