Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
A modest prediction now that the 2010 Winter Olympic men’s hockey tournament is in the books: Four years from now, in Sochi, the NHL will be back with full participation - even if commissioner Gary Bettman is publicly dragging his heels over making a commitment now.
It isn’t just because the NHL got its preferred final either. Canada against the United States for the gold medal guaranteed fabulous television ratings and garnered interest in the sport across North America. (NBC even televised it live on the West Coast. That’s progress.)
Remember, Bettman is two things primarily: a lawyer and a skilled negotiator. It was his ability to craft deals that ultimately got him the job in the first place.
As a negotiator, Bettman is not about to give anything away he could potentially use as a chip - not with new collective bargaining agreement talks coming in 2012.
added 6:14am on 3/2/10, A few comments about a misleading headline and I agree, sorry for the confusion. I changed the headline to stop the confusion.
“It was a great day for hockey,” blared the headline across the top of Monday morning’s Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune, and we couldn’t agree more.
The passion so evident in the players and fans at Canada Hockey Place spilled onto the front pages of newspapers across the continent Monday.
“Has your heart stopped pounding?” asked Bucky Gleason in the Buffalo News. “The hockey gods were kind enough to bless the gold medal game with overtime, bonus action in a classic matchup between the two superpowers. It merely added more drama, more intensity and more passion to what could go into the books as the most entertaining game in Olympic history. Or hockey history. Where does this one rank? Up there. Way up there.”
“I swear there was an anxious moment Sunday, during one of the greatest hockey games ever played, when hearts in both countries beat as one, at about 125 nervous thumps per minute,” Mark Kiszla wrote in the Denver Post.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
...Nabokov, as usual, wasn’t ducking questions. He took responsibility — but didn’t want to let himself be defined by one game and at one point noted he was in the nets when Russia won the 2008 World Championships.
Here’s the transcript of our one-on-one conversation:
Q: Do you feel added pressure to show people that’s not who you are as a goalie?
“I don’t think one game makes you this or that – whatever it is, a loss or a win. Your whole career makes you who you are. You always want to prove that you’re playing well, but games like that happen. What is different this game from what happened to us against Chicago, you know what I mean?
via a John Buccigross tweet,
NBC earned a 17.6 overnight Nielsen rating for Sunday’s Canada-U.S. Gold Medal men’s hockey game.
via Russia Today,
President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to make sure Russia’s Olympic team learns a bitter lesson from Vancouver, where it had one of its worst performances in the history of the winter games.
Medvedev said the Olympic Games revealed flaws in the training system which must be addressed before Sochi 2014.
“Taking into consideration all that happened in Vancouver, we have to change our methods of training drastically. We’ve been living on Soviet resources for a long time, but it’s over now. We do make a huge investment in sport, but money’s not everything. Those responsible for preparing Russian athletes for the Olympics have to make a brave decision and resign. And if they don’t, we’ll help them to do it. But the most important thing now is the preparation for the 2014 Olympics,” Medvedev said.
“Losing a hockey game is like getting kicked in the groin.” - Brian Burke
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun discuss the gold medal game and you can read Scott’s report here.
from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Long after the game was over, the crowd stood cheering. So did a nation. The Canadian men’s hockey team’s sudden-death victory over the United States had truly made these Canada’s Golden Games.
The hockey showdown with the U.S. was the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympics and how beautifully it punctuated maybe the most inspirational two-week period in our nation’s history. Canada may not recover from this for a very long time. It may not want to.
By any measure, these Games were a towering achievement, which included the best performance ever by a team of Canadian Winter Olympians - a team that was bombarded by doubts early on, as it always seems to be, but came on strong and put on a monstrous show under the most extreme pressure imaginable.
And on no one was the burden of success greater than the hockey team.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
Steve Yzerman stayed out of the limelight at the Vancouver Olympics but behind the scenes he played a key role in Team Canada’s road to gold.
During practices or team gatherings, the executive director of the Canadian men’s hockey team would quietly take one of his players aside to offer a bit of advice or a few calming words. He knew some were feeling the weight of expectations — he was carrying a pretty heavy burden himself.
It was a different style than that of Wayne Gretzky eight years ago when Canada won gold in Salt Lake City, but it was equally effective.
“It’s not something I really planned,” Yzerman said Sunday night. “You’re sitting there thinking — you’re watching the game or you’re watching practice and something comes through your mind — you want to pass that on to a guy. Hopefully it helps.
“Amazingly, great athletes and successful guys, they just like to talk a little bit and be reassured.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
In the aftermath of the gold-medal win, when the strategies - good and bad - can be dissected, coach Mike Babcock said the Canadian team had a simple plan for the overtime period of Sunday’s win-or-else game against the United States.
“We talked as a coaching staff when we put our groups together,” said Babcock. “Did we want to be careful, or did we want to play? We decided we want to go for it the best we can. That’s how I like to coach anyway. We thought we’d get the best players out there as much as we could.”
Babcock’s decision - to play for the win, rather than risk deciding the gold medal in a shootout - paid off when Sidney Crosby converted a Jarome Iginla pass for the deciding goal in a 3-2 overtime win.
Canada is always a work in progress as these international tournaments; the key is to come together as a team before the games run out.
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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