Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
Miller is blue-collar. He’s workmanlike. He’s all the other words one uses to describe a player whose style of play wins more games than makes highlight reels.
Miller is also reserved. He’s introspective. He’s the last guy who’d ask for the attention that comes with being the best goalie in the Olympic tournament thus far; yet he talks to the media and fans everyday on every issue, ranging from pucks hitting him in the chest (“I’m really weak through the ‘S’,” he joked) to his romantic life.
“Yeah, despite my best attempt to not have that happen,” he said.
But Miller gets it. He understands that, in many ways, the Olympic experience isn’t contained to Vancouver; that he and his team are brining hockey to the casual fan back home.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Here are 11 players who have enjoyed eye-catching performances in Vancouver.
Pavol Demitra, Vancouver Canucks—Injuries have made Demitra a forgotten man for the Canucks, having appeared in just 11 games this season. But the Olympics have seen him return to the ice and be a very effective player for Slovakia. In five games, Demitra has 2 goals and 5 assists….
Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues—Team USA veteran Chris Drury told NHL.com that the young defenseman’s looks are deceiving.
“My wife, we get in the elevator at the hotel and she sees them and they leave the elevators and she says, ‘That kid is not on your team, he looks like he is 9.’ He’s on my team and he is one of the best players in the world.”...
Will it be a Canada/USA final?
A note to NBC affiliates across the USA. Please don’t cut away to local programming right after the final horn sounds of the Finland/USA game. Hockey fans enjoy watching the post-game and I am sure would appreciate your station staying with the broadcast.
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
All it took was one whirlwind stretch Wednesday, and the entire Olympic hockey tournament was flipped right back to where it started: Canada is the heavy gold-medal favorite.
Down went Russia, pummeled by the suddenly rejuvenated Canadians.
Down went Sweden, the 2006 champion, outhustled by the upstart Slovaks.
Just like that, the best offensive and best defensive teams, respectively, were out of Canada’s path, the only two that could challenge or exceed Canada in either facet. And all that is left of the field will play out on the dual semifinal stage today at Canada Hockey Place:
Is it a done deal?
Not so long as three other teams still can dream of that gold.
from Wayne Coffey of the NY Daily News,
He’s bald and small and the oldest player on his team. He has a crooked smile and the flamboyance of an accountant. Brian Rafalski doesn’t do much of anything to command attention, except trying to do whatever is required to win.
“Whatever they put me out there for that’s what I’ll play,” Rafalski said after practice Thursday….
“It took me 60 games to get four (goals) in the NHL. I don’t know what’s going on,” Rafalski said. His Red Wing teammate, Valteri Filppula, is a Finnish forward.
“He’s a really, really good player,” Filppula said. “Plays well and definitely he looks like a young guy out there.”
from Lucas Aykroyd at IIHF.com,
Best goals-against average for a 2010 semi-final starting goalie: Ryan Miller (USA), 1.25
Best save percentage for a 2010 semi-final starting goalie: Miikka Kiprusoff (Finland), 94.6
Number of previous Olympic semi-final appearances for Slovakia: 0 (does not include 1992 appearance under flag of Czechoslovakia)
Most goals by one player in an Olympic semi-final: 5 Russia’s Pavel Bure vs. Finland, final score 7-4 Russia
from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Americans play at noon local time Friday, which will mark the fourth time they will play the lunchtime special at these Olympics.
Obviously, it requires that players prepare differently than for normal NHL games in the evening or even midafternoon tilts.
“You wake up, you eat breakfast and play. It doesn’t give you a lot of time to think about the game, which can be good. You don’t sit around all day. You just get up and play. I don’t mind it at all. I thought I wouldn’t like it at all, but I do,” American forward Zach Parise said.
One of the other differences has been dressing in rooms that have no clock ticking down to the start of the game. In NHL dressing rooms, there are clocks that allow players—especially those who hold to a firm pattern or ritual of pregame readiness—to know exactly how much time they have before having to take the ice.
Those clocks do not exist here, or at least the clocks in the room have been difficult to follow.
Chris Drury joked that there some players who follow the ritual so closely that he doesn’t think they could survive this tournament.
continue for Team USA and Canada notes…
from the CP at CTVOlympics,
Hockey Canada apologized Thursday for an impromptu party the Olympic women’s hockey team threw for itself on the Canada Hockey Place ice after winning the gold medal.
Canadian players, still wearing their uniforms and with gold medals draped around their necks, celebrated their victory by drinking champagne and beer at centre ice following a 2-0 win over the United States.
The International Olympic Committee said it will investigate the celebration, which included drinking by one of Canada’s underage players.
added 8L17am, Empty Netters has some photos of the on-ice celebration.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
“I can hardly wait until we get at the U.S.,” he said in an interview. “I can hardly wait.”
Cherry said U.S. players made a mistake when they slagged the Canadians after defeating them 5-3 last Sunday.
Cherry, the Hockey Night In Canada commentator and radio show personality, appeared on the Jim Rome show this week during which U.S. commentators ragged him about Canada’s loss to the Americans.
“They were giving it to us (Canadians) pretty good,” he said. It was, ‘This is your game. How goes it feel? And you’re going to lose again.’ They were kidding, but they weren’t kidding, if you know what I mean.”
“I said we are going to win the gold. This was before the game against Russia. I said, we’re going to meet your guys in the final and we’re going to kick your ass.”
from Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker,
As one who has lived among them for most of his life—even in New York, still connected by family and in-laws—I can assure you that Canadians are not nice. They are just socially graceful, which gives them the appearance of niceness while actually covering over considerable reserves of disgust and disapproval, particularly at those who lack the sensitivity Canadians possess by national training. The tone of the best Canadian literature is rather snappish and sardonic, even vinegary—think of Robertson Davies—and that is the tone Canadians assume again in private after you have left the party and they have seen you off warmly at the door. Inside that Canadian woman, smiling nicely as she fends off drunken confidences and heads off one more obvious American social faux pas at the pass, is the soul of a Canadian defenseman, imagining knocking you senseless in retaliation. (I once heard the great Alice Munro, being feted in New York, respond to a series of sincere but Americanly overdone complimentary toasts with a simple, deflating, body-crushing “Well…!” Chris Pronger couldn’t have hit harder.)
read on for a look at the Canada/Russia game and other purely Canadian notes…
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
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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