Kukla's Korner Hockey
The NHL’s arrival in Europe last week coincided with two exhibition games between the leagues teams and their Russian rivals; the KHL. First up was an aggressive affair between the Carolina Hurricanes and SKA St. Petersburg. In a role reversal between leagues, SKA came out playing aggressively, so much so, in fact, that Hurricanes coach, Paul Maurice pulled his star players; Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward from the game as it deteriorated into a slugfest which resulted in a 5-3 victory for SKA. The other interleague game featured the Phoenix Coyotes gaining a measure of revenge for the NHL, by defeating Dynamo Riga 3-1. The interleague games were part of a longstanding tradition of play between the NHL and Russia. With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at some of the most famous and infamous matchups between the two rivals.
1. The Montreal Canadiens versus Central Red Army
December 31st, 1975
This matchup featured the most successful franchises from the NHL and the former Soviet league as the Canadiens played host to the Red Army team. Montreal featured Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey among others against Valeri Kharlamov, Vladislav Tretiak, Vladimir Petrov and Boris Mikhailov. The level of play was as high as the 72’ Summit Series as the star players from each team were entering their prime. Despite outshooting Red Army 38-13, the Canadiens were forced to settle with a 3-3 tie, due to the outstanding play of Tretiak. This game would cement Tretiak’s longstanding relationship withe the city of Montreal, as the team would go on to draft the goaltender 138th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, despite Soviet players not being allowed to compete in the NHL.
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via Elliotte Friedman tweet,
Several reports indicate Sheldon Souray going to AHL Hershey, Washington’s farm team
from Bill Ballou of the Telegram & Gazette,
Jonathan Cheechoo, with 170 NHL goals on his résumé, is expected to join the Sharks today.
That’s the AHL Sharks — the ones who play their home games at the DCU Center.
Cheechoo, a 30-year-old right wing, will be signed to a pro tryout by Worcester, returning to the organization with which he began his pro career.
The Russian National Team has taken great strides towards regaining past international hockey glory in the last few years. Spurred on by back-to-back World Championship victories with two straight wins over Team Canada in 2008 and 2009 (including a win on Canada’s home ice in 2008), Russia had seemed to finally regain their duo-superpower status with their longtime Canadian rivals. That is until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where the Russians were soundly thumped 7-3 by the home side in their quarterfinal matchup. Perhaps, Team Russia goalie; Ilya Bryzgalov, summed up the debacle best by stating that Team Canada played like “gorillas coming out of a cage.”
On the heels of their defeat in Vancouver, many of Russia’s Olympic core squad vowed to gain a measure of revenge at the 2010 World Championships in Germany three months later. Although Russia defeated a relatively undermanned Canadian squad, their efforts, once again, ended in failure with an upset loss to the Czech Republic in the championship final.
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Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexander+radulov, alexander+semin, andrei+markov, denis+grebeshkov, evgeni+malkin, evgeni+nabokov, ilya+bryzgalov, ilya+kovalchuk, khl, maxim+afinogenov, nashville+predators, pavel+datsyuk, slava+bykov, slava+kozlov, vladislav+tretiak
from Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle,
On Monday, the 38-year-old Nylander was skating in a Rochester Americans practice sweater at Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial….
“My goal is to get back to the NHL,” he said.
So that’s why the Stockholm native agreed to join the Amerks (well, that and his $3 million contract, of which about $2.9 million will be paid by the Capitals).
The Capitals don’t want him any more, nor did they want him to take away playing time from their prospects with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
“They didn’t think I was a good fit for the team,” Nylander said of his NHL roster spot.
“I just want to play hockey.” That’s why he was out on the ice early on Monday.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
This is not a story about (Tim) Brent, who appears to have shed the label of journeyman AHLer by emerging from anonymity to stand on the cusp of making the Maple Leafs after a stellar training camp. Nor is it a story about Nazem Kadri, the Leafs highly touted prospect, who appears to have failed to make the team out of camp. Kadri has all the tools teams crave — speed, skill, creativity and confidence. He just needs more time to develop that talent.
This is a story about what scouts are looking for when they try to project what a 17-year-old will do in the NHL. Maybe at 19, maybe at 20, or maybe, in Brent’s case, 26. He made it because of his character, the kind of person he is, the student of the game in him who wanted to get better every shift, every game, every season. He didn’t quit. He continued to develop his skills. That’s what Ferguson saw when he first noticed him and had urged the St. Mike’s Majors to take him in the midget draft.
“I’m just looking for the kid who just seems to want it more than anybody else,” says (Jack) Ferguson. “Tim Brent is my idea of a hockey player, a guy that comes to play every shift, doesn’t play dirty but plays hard.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Last season, there were only 229 European-born and/or -trained players in the NHL, the lowest number in a decade and a number that represented just 23.8 percent of NHL players.
There are a number of factors that help explain the dwindling number of European players on NHL rosters. Tops would be the formation of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, now in its third year of existence. The KHL has provided a viable alternative to pro players of all nationalities, including European players, but especially Russian players, who can make good money playing good hockey without leaving home….
One of the reasons for this drop-off is connected to the change of rules in drafting of European players. Before the lockout, if an NHL team drafted a European player, the NHL club owned that player’s rights indefinitely. That player could develop more slowly in Europe without any pressure on NHL teams to rush into a contract or, conversely, walk away from the player. But since the lockout, European draftees are subject to the same rules as North American selections—they must be signed within two years or the team loses control of the player.
NHL clubs, always trying to protect themselves long-term, have increasingly turned to college players who remain their property while they are in school, possibly buying extra time before committing to a player.
As Paul has already mentioned, Michael Nylander has been loaned to the Rochester Americans, the top affiliate of the Florida Panthers. I won’t go into details about the deal because that’s been covered already and that kind of talk bores me to tears.
I wanted to talk about what I noticed last year when Nylander played for the Griffins. I was at a game between the Griffins and Aeros and was pretty excited to see what Nylander could do against minor league opponents. He was great. No one on Houston could touch him. On one power play, he got the puck along the boards and had two defenders try to trap him. He never lost control of the puck, but the Griffins never even came close to scoring.
Because no one moved around to get open. The two remaining Houston defenders cut off the passing lanes and the other four Grand Rapids players stood in place watching Nylander. I’m all for having former NHL caliber players in the minors if they still want to play (though Nylander isn’t exactly there by choice), but when the rest of the team just stops playing hockey because they expect him to win games for them, it hurts everyone. That kind of “effort” won’t fly at the NHL level, either.
Rochester had a good team last year. Not a great team, but a good team. I’m going to keep a close eye on them to see if adding a former NHL star player will help or hurt them. Predictions?
from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant,
So you weren’t surprised by being waived? Not at all, he said.
“Statistically or whatever, I wasn’t doing what a lot of people thought I should have,” Redden said. “I always try to play the same game. Sometimes it doesn’t fit into what teams are looking for. I guess I have to accept that and just move on. It didn’t work out, especially with the salary cap. I wasn’t in their plans. I have to live with that.
“Anything can happen, but certainly [a return to the Rangers] is down on the list of expectations. To be honest, it didn’t go well there. I’ve got to come here and play as well as I can. Obviously, I want to get back to the NHL, but I can’t look down the road. This is the first step. I’m coming here with a fresh slate.”
via Alessandro Seren Rosso of Russian Hockey Fans,
Vyacheslav Kozlo was officially signed today to a 1 year contract by CSKA Moscow.
The former component of the famous Russian Five joined the Red Army a couple of days ago and will depart with the team for their upcoming away trip. Kozlov will wear the #72 jersey.
Vyacheslav Kozlov was Stanley Cup Champion in 1997 and 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. Kozlov played a total of 1182 NHL games, with 853 points.
It was reported that also Spartak Moscow offered Kozlov a contract, but Slava preferred the Red Army, with whom he played in 1991-92 and 1994-95.
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