Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Russia Today,
After winning it’s second consecutive World Championship beating Canada in the final, Russia took over first position in the IIHF World Ranking. But does this really mean the beginning of the new Red Machine era?
It’s the first time since its establishment in 2004 that Russia tops the World Ranking. Consequently, runner-up Canada falls down to second, Sweden remains in third position, Finland in fourth.
Though it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of Sunday’s victory, the Russian team management makes no secret that their main goal is Vancouver 2010 gold.
Before the Winter Olympics 2010 “it was important for us to show that we are stronger than Canada,” Russia’s head coach Vyacheslav Bykov told Itar-Tass after the game.
“This victory is crucial before Vancouver. We showed that we are a team that can win,” Bykov said before adding: “We deliberately gave away the initiative to Canada in the second and third periods. We were sure about the success of our defensive ice hockey,” the Russian head coach said.
Team Russia beat Canada 2-1 on Sunday to win the gold medal at the World Hockey Championship for the second year in a row. Alexander Radulov scored a spectacular goal in the second period that stood up as the eventual game-winner, and Ilya Bryzgalov stood up to a flood of Canadian chances in the third period to keep Russia ahead.
The win marked Russia’s first back-to-back world titles since they won in consecutive years in 1989 and 1990.
from Alan Adams of CBC,
The International Ice Hockey Federation is investigating allegations of IIHF president Rene Fasel accepting kickbacks involving the IIHF’s marketing partner and Fasel’s childhood friend.
The Zurich daily SonntagsZeitung reported Sunday that Fasel benefited financially from marketing contracts awarded to Infront, which handles the television and marketing rights to the world hockey championship until 2017.
The newspaper alleged that Infront paid 400,000 Swiss francs ($412,000 Cdn.) in fees to company run by a childhood friend of Fasel identified as “Y.S.”
The newspaper quoted “Y.S.” as saying the only reason his company was successful was because of his relationship with Fasel.
If you are in the USA, you can watch the streaming action of the gold medal game between Russia and Canada. Game time is 2:30pm ET.
via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres acquired Mikael Tellqvist at the trade deadline as a short-term insurance policy. Turns out that’s exactly what he was.
The goaltender’s career in Buffalo lasted just six games, as the pending unrestricted free agent has signed to play with Ak Bars of Russia’s KHL. A report out of Sweden said Tellqvist signed for about $1.3 million, up from this season’s NHL salary of $800,000.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
...The rest of the story is how Quenneville, five years ago at this time, had just been fired from his first NHL head-coaching job and had been chosen to coach Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Prague.
The trip began with an exhibition game in Budapest, Hungary, where he called the Czech Republic “Czechoslovakia” and made a few other minor international hockey gaffes at a press conference where he clearly did not look comfortable.
In a mixed zone with myself and two other Canadian scribes in Prague he was very upset before excusing himself after about two minutes. He ended up in hospital that night where he stayed for two days before being sent home after having suffered a mental breakdown, leaving assistant coach Mike Babcock to take over and coach the team to a gold medal.
It was explained that he’d never been to Europe before, couldn’t sleep and combined with coaching Canada on the big ice in a foreign environment, was overwhelmed by the stress.
“It was stress, but it was job-to-job stress,” he said in a one-on-one interview with Sun Media, agreeing to speak to a subject he’s avoided speaking to before.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Ron Wilson took the blame for all the San Jose playoff collapses of the past. So who gets blamed now? And Wilson didn’t have Dan Boyle and Rob Blake on his defence.
• Nobody mentions Randy Carlyle among the better coaches in hockey, but they should. He might be the best bench coach in the game.
• The starting Olympic goaltenders should be: Roberto Luongo, Canada; Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden; Evgeni Nabokov, Russia; Niklas Backstrom or Miikka Kiprusoff, Finland; Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller or Rick DiPietro, USA, Tomas Vokoun, Czech Republic: Can’t wait for Vancouver.
• I worry about Jaromir Jagr. He says if he doesn’t play in Russia next season, he wants to play in Edmonton. I think he is badly in need of a travel agent or a therapist.
more hockey notes plus a look at Kyle Wellwood…
from Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail,
There’s a party going on outside the Windsor Spitfires’ crisp new arena, with music and beer and chants of “Go Spits Go.”
The celebration carries on inside. The Spitfires are in the Ontario Hockey League final, on a roll that has them favoured to reach the Memorial Cup for the first time in 21 years, and for three periods of hockey at least, life is good in Windsor.
Afterward, not so much.
“People have a lot on their minds right now,” says Rick Young, whose son Harry is the Spitfires’ captain, a rugged defenceman playing major junior in his hometown. “People are worried about their jobs, about their pensions. You go to a Spitfires game or you talk about hockey, and it’s a relief.”
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Richard Zednik will not play for the Florida Panthers or any other NHL team next season.
Zednik, 33, has signed a two-year contract with Russian Superleague team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the team reported on its Web Site on Thursday. An NHL source confirmed the report.
from Alan Adams of CBC,
Canada’s Scottie Upshall now knows first-hand that Europe and the NHL deal differently with hits to the head.
Upshall was handed a five-minute major and match penalty in the second period of Sunday’s game against Hungary at the world championship when he collided at centre ice with Andras Beck, who broke his collarbone on the play.
The referee ruled that Upshall’s actions constituted a hit to the head and assessed the match penalty, which includes an automatic one-game suspension. Upshall could have faced further discipline but international officials reviewed the incident and were satisfied with the one-game suspension
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