Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
It’s up to Jaromir Jagr and the unheralded Czechs to try and derail the Russian Express.
The host Germans came awfully close on a dramatic semi-final Saturday, but Pavel Datsyuk scored with less than two minutes left in regulation to give Russia a 2-1 victory — the country’s 27th straight at this tournament.
They’ll be going for a third consecutive world championship gold Sunday against a Czech team that is in the middle of a good run of its own.
In the semifinal against Sweden, Czech defenceman Karel Rachunek tied the game with eight seconds to play before Lukas Kaspar and Jan Marek scored in the shootout to secure a 3-2 victory.
added 3:19pm, Watch the Datsyuk game-winner below…
from Andy Potts of The Moscow News,
Commentators in North America, where the Stanley Cup play-offs are nearing their conclusion, were sniffy about the outcome.
In the Toronto Sun a columnist claimed “nobody out of Europe cares” about a contest which “ranks lower than cricket” and suggested Russia’s excitement over this men-against-boys win might be almost as embarrassing as their Olympic loss.
But, as Bykov put it after the game, a clash between Russia and Canada is never meaningless.
“The Olympics is still incomparable with the World Championships, but in any event this tournament deserves respect and every team wants to win here,” he said.
“Any game between us is an event - if we see Sergei Fedorov fighting on the ice for only the second time in his life, that says it all.”
from Russia Today,
Team Russia has thrashed Canada in the Ice Hockey World Championships quarterfinals to increase their winning streak at world champs to 26 consecutive victories.
Evgeny Malkin made a brace, while Pavel Datsyuk, Maksim Afinogenov and Sergey Fedorov each added a goal for the Russians, who ultimately beat Canada 5-2. Canada trailed 4-0 in the third period but good indivudual efforts by John Tavares and Matt Duchene sugared coat for Canada.
Going into the game captain of the Russian team Ilya Kovalchuk stressed that win over Canada would be “a matter of principle” for the Russian players.
from Peter O’Neil at the National Post,
Hockey Canada formally complained to the International Ice Hockey Federation on Thursday over an IIHF official denigrating players such as Sidney Crosby for not playing at the IIHF world hockey championship.
Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson appeared to be in damage-control mode after speaking earlier in the day to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
But Nicholson dodged a question on whether he is concerned the IIHF’s attack on no-shows could jeopardize Hockey Canada’s ability to recruit players for future international competitions and championships.
“Gary was upset, there was no question he was upset that there was no appreciation for the National Hockey League owners allowing their players to come here,” Nicholson told reporters before the Canada-Russia quarter-final match.
“We have a lot of players who would like to play, but they can’t play without the support of the ownership.”
added 3:32pm, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
U.S. general manager Brian Burke believes the International Ice Hockey Federation should abandon holding a world championship in Olympic years.
“It’s nothing short of based on greed in my opinion. The IIHF doesn’t want to acknowledge that,” Burke told ESPN.com on Thursday morning.
Burke said the IIHF makes about $20 million from the tournament, and therefore have a vested interest in getting top players to take part. But national teams traditionally have struggled to attract top players in Olympic years.
from Mark Seidel at CBC,
As I travel across the country in airports, arenas, coffee shops and anywhere else, I’m always asked some common questions, so I thought it may be enlightening to the readers to list the questions and their answers here to give a glimpse into the life as a professional hockey scout and some of my experiences.
1. How many games do you go to in a year?
It’s a tough question to answer because the preparation for the various major junior drafts means I frequently attend tournaments where you can see parts of 20 games in a day, which skews the answer. By using the phenomenal scouting software, RinkNet, I have the ability to go back and look at how many games I went to last season and the breakdown was as follows:
* Major junior/import draft preparation – Parts of 154 games.
* NHL draft preparation – 98 games.
* AHL/ECHL/NHL games – 19 games.
from the CP at TSN,
Hockey Canada has come out in defence of Sidney Crosby after the International Ice Hockey Federation included him in a swipe at players who declined invitations to attend the world hockey championship.
The IIHF posted a story titled “Saying No to Your Country” on its website Wednesday, claiming that players who chose not to participate were turning “their backs not only on the team and its fans but also to the system which developed them and made them rich and famous.” The story, written by IIHF communications director Szymon Szemberg, names Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom, among others.
“How can a player who is 22 or 25 or 27, and who was just eliminated from the playoffs be tired?” Szemberg wrote. “Tired is a miner who works in a damp pit in Miktivka, in the Donetz Plateau in Ukraine, who never sees daylight and who provides living for a family of five in a modest two-room apartment. That is tired.
“Tired is a divorced mother with two young kids who double shifts as a nurse assistant and cleaning lady to make ends meet.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
...At the world championships, currently being held in Germany, Ovechkin is back to being silent. Apparently, the Russian paparazzi took videos of some players smoking cigarettes. And in response, Ovechkin and the rest of the team has decided the boycott all Russian reporters.
Even if this is a team policy, it is inexcusable.
We like Ovechkin. We really do. We think he is one of the most talented players to have ever played in the NHL. And the fact that he decided to represent Russia after being eliminated in the first-round of the playoffs shows his dedication to the sport.
But the NHL needs him to be more than just a goal-scorer. They need him to entertain. They need him to be available to the media after every win or loss. They need him to wear silly hats and sing silly jingles.
But, most importantly, they need him to talk.
from Alan Adams at CBC,
Daniel Bellissimo was never drafted by an NHL team. But the Toronto-born goalie who plays for Italy showed how he could handle NHL shooters on Tuesday, at least those from the United States.
Bellissimo held Italy in the game for as long as he could but he slumped over in his crease with fatigue and disappointment when TJ Oshie scored in a sudden-death shootout to give the United States a 3-2 win.
It was last relegation round game for both teams and the odds of the United States being demoted to the world B pool were not good. The Americans had to lose by eight goals to be pushed out of international hockey’s elite division.
As things turned out, the U.S. finished first in the relegation round standings and wound up in 13th place in the 16-team tournament. France was second for 14th place, while Italy and Kazakhstan are headed back to the B pool.
from the CP at the Hamilton Spectator,
Mark Messier says it’s time for Team Canada to show some heart at the world championship.
The team’s GM brought a group of young players here, hoping they’d be hungry for success. Instead, they have showed little emotion in lacklustre losses to Switzerland and Sweden.
The latest defeat prompted a number of blunt assessments from the Canadian camp ahead of tonight’s round-robin finale against the Czech Republic (TSN, 10:15 a.m. ET).
“I think that through this tournament we’re getting a good reality check,” Messier said yesterday. “The same things win hockey games at any level and at any tournament. You have to play with heart and passion and you have to execute. If you don’t do those things, there’s a good chance you’re going to get beaten no matter who you’re playing.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• Is there a more patriotic country than Russia? I don’t think so. You don’t see any of their players turning down chances to play in the world championship, no matter how tired or disappointed they were after their NHL seasons ended. If they don’t win a third straight world title, it’ll be a shock.
• We heard all season that the Oilers had too many smurfs, that they got pushed around too much, but, obviously, it has to be the right small guys. Nothing wrong with Mike Cammalleri or Brian Gionta last time I looked. And Kyle Wellwood was one of the Canucks’ best playoff performers.
a few more quick hitters…
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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