Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Sun,
It was 108 in the shade Monday — and the Wranglers were getting ready to play another hockey game.
One hundred eight degrees. Hockey.
That had to be the strangest convergence of diametric entities since Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett.
Human Torch, meet Mr. Freeze.
“The Flight of the Phoenix,” meet “Ice Station Zebra.”
Habanero pepper, meet Chunky Monkey.
From Sergei Balash at Russia Profile.org,
The twists and turns of the final game were reminiscent of what the sport itself had gone through over the past decade and a half. After winning the Olympic hockey tournament in 1992 and capturing the world title in 1993, all of Russia’s major hockey accomplishments came just on the junior level, with the U20 team winning gold thrice from 1999 to 2003. Back then, the decline was evident in all winter sports, historically Russia’s strongest sport.
The long way back
“It’s always easy to ruin something,” said Vyacheslav Fetisov, director of the Federal Agency for Physical Education and Sport. “We were unbeatable in hockey. If someone said back in 1988 or 1989 that we’d win just two World Championships in the next 20 years, nobody would believe it.”
more on the road map Russia has followed to rebuild its hockey (and general sporting) dominance
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
Russian hero Ilya Kovalchuk said it best when he summed up his team’s ability to come back from a two-goal deficit to win the gold medal game of the World Championship against Canada in overtime Sunday afternoon.
“When you’re playing on the big rinks and you’re trailing by two goals, it’s always tough to come back,” Kovalchuk said.
There is a certain contingent of hockey snobs that look down their noses at the NHL product, all the while claiming the international game to be far superior, in large part because the players have so much room to display their creativity.
They are wrong, so wrong.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The Russians threw their gloves and helmets in the air, left their sticks littering the ice and headed to the corner to create a happy pile of players on top of Ilya Kovalchuk,who had tears in his eyes.
Remember when we saw Russians as being so stoic and emotionless?
Remember when we believed Canada had the market cornered on hockey heart?
Well, remember this.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
The hockey landscape has changed — NHL clubs must now look on Russian clubs not as feeder teams whose rosters can be harvested, but as full economic equals. Fortunately for the NHL, it still has the reputation and the quality of life to assure that the Ovechkins and Semins will keep coming to North America, at least for the next few years. But NHL clubs are no longer the only ones with the money. The collapse of the IIHF-NHL player transfer agreement is proof of that.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
The fact that troubled winger Chris Simon and backup netminder John Grahame won’t be returning to the NHL next season likely comes as little surprise, but what’s interesting is that the pair have signed with teams in the newly branded Continental Hockey League (formerly the Russian Super League) this weekend.
“We’ve got good players on the horizon and we all know the Olympics are the measuring stick,” Hitchcock said. “If you’re talking about world power and you’re talking about supremacy in hockey, you talk about the Olympics. They’re missing players for this tournament – there’s a player playing in Detroit (Pavel Datsyuk) who’s not bad - and we’re missing players in this tournament. When you get it together at the Olympics and everybody is there, that’s the measuring stick. We all know that.”
more on the WC from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News…
from the CP via the Ottawa Sun,
Speaking shortly after Rick Nash’s delay of game penalty led to Ilya Kovalchuk’s overtime winner in Canada’s 5-4 loss to Russia in the gold-medal game Sunday, Cherry ranted that the rule was ruining games….
“The National Hockey League, the reason they put this in, this goofy stupid rule, is because they said players were tired and they were shooting it in the stands,” an emotional Cherry said during his Coach’s Corner segment on the CBC. “If the guy knows he’s getting a penalty, would he shoot it in the stands? Some fool in the National Hockey League had nothing to do (but) come up with that stupid rule and it’s cost series.”
added 6:20pm, You can watch today’s Coach’s Corner segment here at CBC....
Fans of a certain age may take a moment to look back in wonder on Sunday afternoon when Canada and Russia take to the ice for the gold medal game at the world hockey championship in Quebec City (1 p.m., ET).
Has it really been 36 years since the 1972 series pitting the NHL stars of Canada against the pros of the Soviet Union in the most famous series ever?
While everyone’s wondering where the time went, give a little thought to where that type of game has gone.
Update 3:58pm ET (alanah): Russia wins in OT on a goal by Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Championship title is the first for Russia since winning the Gold in Germany in 1993. Despite the losing effort, Canada’s Dany Heatley was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Canada appeared to be headed to their second consecutive Championship as they led 4-2 after two periods, however Russia stormed back to even the score at four apiece thanks to third period goals by Alexei Tereschenko and Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk snapped his first goal of the tournament past a screened Cam Ward with just over five minutes remaining in the third period to send this one to the extra period.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
These Sunbelt kids are part of a new wave, rising up from the bottom left corner of the continental United States, and infiltrating major junior hockey west of Ontario. They are taking a traditionally Canadian route to the NHL, skating beside tractor-strong Prairie boys and riding buses through the B.C. Interior.
The number of U.S. players in the WHL has doubled over the past five years, and the Sunbelt kids are behind that spike. They cut their teeth in Wayne Gretzky’s haunts, amid retired hockey professionals, with elite travelling clubs modelled after the Detroit-area youth programs founded by NHL owners such as Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings and Peter Karmanos of the Carolina Hurricanes.
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.
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