Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
The Wings said yesterday that Franzen’s target date for a return is next Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, putting his rehab time at the minimum of four months and potentially giving him three games before the Olympic break. Then he can put his feet up on the coffee table and do whatever it is a guy nicknamed the Mule does to relax for a few weeks, having been left off the Team Sweden Olympic roster.
That snub didn’t exactly sit well with Franzen. In speaking with Swedish newspaper Expressen (article hilariously translated here, including the phrase “it feels a little sandbox on the whole”), Franzen said Team Sweden officials “made a mistake and they want to hide it” after keeping him off the roster.
According to the admittedly rough translation, the paper previously reported that Swedish head coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson hadn’t spoken to Franzen since November and that the team didn’t consult Detroit doctors about his injury rehab.
from Adam Mertz of the Wisconsin State Journal,
The unique event — which includes a visit by the Stanley Cup, the legendary NHL championship trophy, and numerous memorabilia and interactive exhibits from the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame — carries a $600,000 operational budget, including upwards of $20,000 for snow removal by a team of shovelers, and required an additional $225,000 in scheduled winterization maintenance at the 1918 venue. Those costs are offset by a title sponsorship by the fast-food chain Culver’s and expected attendance of about 50,000 fans, many of whom paid the full $25 face value for a ticket.
That’s well below the stated goal of eclipsing the world record crowd for hockey of 74,544, set in a 2001 contest between Michigan State and Michigan at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.
But it likely will stand as the fourth-largest event of its kind in North America. And for UW senior associate athletic director Sean Frazier, who is overseeing the event — the intangibles are immeasurable.
from Bill Beacon of the CP at CTVOlympics,
When Mike Babcock landed his first full-time job as a hockey coach, what he was really looking for was a free trip to the Calgary Stampede.
It started in 1988 when then 25-year-old Babcock returned home to Saskatoon for the summer after a season as player-coach of the Whitley Warriors in England.
“I wanted to go to the Calgary Stampede and a free way (to get) there was to apply for a job coaching at Red Deer College, so that’s what I did,’’ he said during a recent interview. “I went to the Stampede and then I had my interview at Red Deer and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to get the job.’
“That’s what happened, and it went from there.’‘
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.
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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