Kukla's Korner Hockey
It is not often you get fantasy tips from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, so take advantage of it…
Here’s a little trivia for anyone preparing a fantasy pools list for the upcoming 2010 men’s Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver:
The National Hockey League has had full participation in three previous Olympics; twice, the same pair of players ran 1-2 in the scoring race. They weren’t Czechs, Canadians or Swedes either (the three countries that have won gold during that span.) Rather, it was Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu from Finland, a pair of well-known, highly respected NHL players who have a history of raising their performance levels when they don national colours.
But there’s something else you need to know while researching your Olympic picks—you can get some unexpected scoring heroes mixed in with the familiar ones.
continue reading at CTVOlympics…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have sent a letter to the International Ice Hockey Federation, ESPN.com has learned, underlining their expressed concern with Russia’s stated intention to potentially change its Olympic hockey roster regardless of injury.
The NHL and the players’ union, sources told ESPN.com, reiterated in the letter to the IIHF that according to the agreement reached by all parties, Jan. 1 is indeed a final roster deadline for the Olympics and any changes could only be made in case of bonafide injuries….
The IIHF, when reached by ESPN.com last Saturday, also backed Russia’s claim.
“It’s a provisional roster and it can be changed prior to the final roster on Feb. 15,” Szymon Szemberg of the IIHF said in an e-mail to ESPN.com Saturday. “The only provision is that all players must be on the WADA list for anti-doping purposes.”
A 25-year old linesman is reportedly in critical condition after his neck was cut by a skate while he was trying to break up a fight on Tuesday.
Kevin Brown, 25, was cut during a Junior C game in Woodstock, Ontario between the New Hamburg Firebirds and the Woodstock Renegades. According to London, Ontario radio station AM980, Brown is listed in critical condition in hospital.
continued and earlier in the day, I tweeted about this and the report was he was in stable condition. Hope all works out for the best.
from Eric Duatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Here’s the thing that always perplexes me about the men’s Olympic hockey selection process, revealed earlier today:
The attention, the questions and whatever second-guessing may occur always focuses on the bottom end of the roster.
Question: How will Canada win a gold medal, if it wins, when the 2010 Games come to Vancouver?
Answer: The same way as it did in Salt Lake City; provided their stars come through when it matters.
The IIHF has the Olympic Team Rosters, all in place which makes it a good reference point.
All teams have been announced except Team Canada (today at noon ET. on NHL Network) and Team USA (this Friday).
from Ian Johnson of the Wall Street Journal,
The host nation this year is under intense pressure to win gold. Canada invented the modern game of ice hockey, and people there feel they ought to win. Check out a Canadian newspaper or Web site these days, and it’s almost impossible to miss the discussion, or the immense pressure on Mr. Yzerman, the executive director of Team Canada. The media regularly track the players who are up and down this season, speculating whether it will influence Mr. Yzerman. Web sites have offered votes on who should be the starting goaltender, and podcasts are devoted to hashing and rehashing the possibilities.
“I don’t know if it’s pressure,” says Mr. Yzerman. “But a lot of people have a lot of opinions.”
The 44-year-old Mr. Yzerman retired in 2006 after 19 seasons as captain of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, helping to turn the club into a model of success. He was also a top scorer on Canada’s Olympic club in 2002, helping lead his country to its first gold medal in 50 years.
In such a talent-rich nation, Mr. Yzerman and his deputies have choices—almost too many. Does he go for the highest scoring players in hopes of outgunning opponents? Or does he take advantage of the fact that the series will be played in smaller North American rinks (as opposed to larger international-standard rinks) to fill his team with brawny players who can grind down opponents?
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Andreas Lilja doesn’t blame Mikael Samuelsson, his best friend and former teammate, for ripping Swedish Olympic officials for excluding him from the team.
Samuelsson told Vancouver reporters: “Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they (Team Sweden officials) can go (expletive) themselves.’‘
Lilja liked his reaction.
“I think it’s kind of nice when someone says what they really think instead of saying, ‘OK, it was their decision, nothing I can do about it,’ ‘’ Lilja said. “Nice that people show emotions because he’s (ticked off). I don’t blame him.’’
Former NHL players Sergei Zubov, Robert Esche, Oleg Saprykin and Kevin Dallman took part in a massive brawl in a Sunday game between KHL’s Barys Astana and SKA St. Petersburg.
Canadian hockey cheerleaders like to say this country is so overflowing with talent that it could send two teams to the Olympic tournament. That’s true, but would either win? Canada’s 12th forward may be superior to Russia’s 12th, but I’ll take Russia’s core ahead of Canada’s. We’ll see.
-William Houston of Truth & Rumours. More on the Olympics from Mr. Houston.
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