Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
As the race to the 2009 Entry Draft in June approaches the halfway point, one thing has become clear, there are two runners leading the pack, with everyone else fighting for third.
London Knights center John Tavares and Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman top the North American and European skater rankings, respectively, in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings, released Monday.
Central Scouting ranked the top 210 North American skaters, the top 30 North American goaltenders, the 148 top European skaters and the 12 best European goalies.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
A bizarre power struggle continues to unfold in the KHL between Omsk management and head coach Wayne Fleming.
Fleming, who was (according to russiatoday.com) reportedly fired in-game this week, met with Omsk general manager Anatoli Bardin on Saturday and was told he hadn’t been fired even though Bardin asked Fleming not to coach the third period of game on Thursday night.
“I guess they didn’t fire me,” Fleming said. “But I told him at the time, if I’m not coaching the third period obviously I’m fired.”
Fleming says he didn’t return for the final period, changed his clothes and left the arena under the assumption his KHL days were over.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
As Jaromir Jagr got ready for the latest unique experience in a season already full of them, he said he has no regrets about leaving the N.H.L. to play in Russia, despite watching a teammate die on the bench, having his coach quit in the middle of a game and playing in a league whose financial situation is said to be faltering.
“You could write a book about it,” Jagr said of his season during a telephone interview from Moscow. “But I’m fine. I’m doing good. I’m happy.”
On Friday, Jagr was getting ready to take center stage for the Continental Hockey League, or K.H.L., All-Star game on Saturday at an outdoor rink in Red Square. There, Jagr is the all-star of all stars, the biggest name in a league marketing itself around him.
added 5:33pm, from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Jaromir Jagr said he has no designs on returning to the NHL in the short term, but if he ever did return he would be happy to go back to the Pittsburgh Penguins to play for his former idol, Mario Lemieux.
“I was thinking about it and if Mario would call me and say, ‘I’d like you to play for our team,’ I would think about it a lot,” Jagr said in a telephone interview from Moscow where the Kontinental League will hold its inaugural All-Star Game outdoors at Red Square Saturday. “I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am…besides my parents.”
from Brian McNair of the News Durham Region,
Emotions were running high as the Oshawa Generals parted ways with John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto during a Friday press conference at the General Motors Centre.
Del Zotto, a surprise addition to the blockbuster deal with the London Knights completed the night before, was particularly outward in his emotions, with tears visible in his eyes from the outset and spilling over at one point.
Tavares, long rumoured to be headed west, was better able to contain his feelings, but looked as though he had little sleep and was much more subdued than usual.
from Russia Today,
The coach of Avangard Omsk hockey team didn’t return to the bench for the third period of his team’s home game against Vityaz Podolsk. Canadian specialist Wayne Fleming couldn’t do so as he’d been fired during the break.
After the second period Avangard were losing 1-0 to lowly Vityaz and the club’s bosses had just had enough of the team’s poor performance in the current KHL season.
from Kevin Lagoie of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder,
McCourt now found himself laid out on the ice. Throop also suffered a stick blow to the head in the brawl that ensued. The referee, Thomas Quinn, tried to get the players to stop, but they had tuned him out. Finally, he shouted “Look at the man on the ice,” and that was enough to bring the brawl to a halt. Quinn then helped McCourt to the dressing room, at which time he noticed the player had two cuts on the left side of his head.
McCourt was sitting with his head in his hands, and complaining of having a headache and being dizzy. Despite the pain, McCourt insisted on returning to the game.
At first, he seemed to be all right.
The pain for McCourt was finally too much to handle. Saying he was “all in,” McCourt headed for the dressing room.
Those would be his last words
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Well, the 2009 World Junior Championship has come to an end. For my first WJC, I’ll have nothing but positive memories. The volunteers who helped put the event on were tremendous, even the one who told me the media bus was waiting when it had already left. I can forgive her.
Congratulations to the Canada players. They played a great game—probably their best of the tournament—to be a good Sweden team. I think Canada’s fast start won the game for them, because Sweden had the better of the play in the second period.
continued and watch video highlights of the Canada/Sweden game below…
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
There is a movement afoot to have the World Junior Championship in Canada permanently and you might be surprised by who is in favor and who is against it happening.
On the side in favor is International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel, who reasons that Canadian crowds generate enormous revenues and make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On the other side is Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson, who is clearly wary of killing a golden goose by giving Canada too much of a good thing.
“I think there is a good chance (of moving the WJC to Canada permanently),” Fasel said. “Bob is not an easy guy to negotiate with, but if he wants to have the tournament here every year then we have to find a way to make it work for the other federations.”
from Patrick King of Sportsnet,
John Tavares will soon be a member of the London Knights, sources tell Sportsnet.ca
There has been speculation that Tavares would be traded before the Jan. 10 trade deadline and sources say the deal is done to send the Oshawa Generals forward to London.
from Gare Joyce at Sportsnet,
A lot of casual hockey fans presume that NHL executives and scouts congregate at the WJC in search of talents, with the hope of finding as-yet-undiscovered talent. I’m sure it’s happen at some point, just not at any of the ten tournaments I’ve worked.
It’s really about checking the progress of well-known entities, watching them under the stiffest tests and greatest pressure. Fact is, most players here have been on the radar for at least a couple of seasons. Most of the best here are already drafted, e.g. Sweden’s first-line centre Oscar Moller is L.A.‘s property, Cody Hodgson Vancouver’s. NHL scouting directors already have thick files on John Tavares, Victor Hedman and others who are eligible for the first time in June are already. They’re not be discovered, just measured.
continued & don’t forget, the WJC Finals are tonight and can be viewed on the NHL Network in the USA and TSN in Canada. Pre-game starts at 7:00pm ET.
added 1:39pm, from the CP via NHL.com,
Steve Yzerman knew how Canada’s junior hockey team felt heading into the gold-medal game against Sweden at the world junior hockey championship Monday.
Yzerman, the executive director of the Canadian men’s Olympic team for 2010, has played in and won Stanley Cup finals and Olympic finals. The 43-year-old visited the junior team’s dressing room after their pre-game skate Monday.
“I told them to keep cool, but I don’t know exactly how you do that though,” Yzerman said. “The big games, the key is to figure out a way to be calm and relaxed. The more times you go through it, the more ways you figure it out.
“It’s not an easy thing to do.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org