Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
A Russian tycoon with a lifelong love for hockey has hired former NHL Players’ Association head Bob Goodenow to help start a new pro league in Europe that would compete for players with the NHL….
The likelihood of a new European league has increased in recent years as hockey federations in Russia and elsewhere in Europe have grown disenchanted with the NHL over its recruitment of their best players.
At the same time, Medvedev has ample dollars to start a competitor to the venerable NHL. In an interview from Russia, Medvedev confirmed that former Russian NHL star Igor Larionov and Goodenow are members of a so-called “working group” that’s starting the league. Goodenow travelled to Moscow this week to discuss the prospective league, Larionov said.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Looking at how players are performing this season and projecting where they will be in 2009-10, the highly likely Olympians at forward would appear to be Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche), Zach Parise and Brian Gionta (New Jersey Devils), Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings), Chris Drury (New York Rangers), Erik Cole (Carolina Hurricanes), Chris Higgins (Montreal Canadiens) and Kane.
Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild) will be 36 in 2010, but my hunch is he will be on the team playing the role of the smart, skilled veteran who can handle a variety of roles.
The International Ice Hockey Federation announced Thursday that its member associations and leagues will exercise the option to re-open the player transfer agreement with the National Hockey League.
According to a statement released by the Federation, representatives from the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland made the decision unanimous.
The NHL informed the IIHF on Tuesday that the league decided to exercise the same right. Sources tell TSN a meeting has been scheduled in New York for Jan. 16 with the IIHF and its members. NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Paul Kelly will also be in attendance.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
“All the stories I heard about (Russia) weren’t true,” Smith told NHL.com. “I guess back 10 to 15 years ago I remember some of the guys that played on those Canada Cup teams were saying the food was no good, this and that. Even the interpreter that was with us was saying if you were in Russia three years ago you would not believe it was the same place. The people couldn’t believe how much it had changed.
“I went there and was like, ‘Holy Geez, why did everyone lie to me?’ ”
Like the country itself, the game played in Red Square on Dec. 9, 2006 was a must-see-it-to-believe-it spectacle.
Conceived by former CSKA Moscow and Soviet national team stars Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov, the outdoor game—the first of its kind in Russia’s most spectacular setting—was put on to benefit for former Russian players who have fallen on hard times.
more reflections from Billy Smith and Scotty Bowman
from Slap Shot at the New York Times,
Here are more excerpts from the interview SKA St. Petersburg coach Barry Smith gave the Russian TV network Sportelekanal.
Q: If we recognize that the Superliga lags considerably behind the NHL, then is it right to say that your coming to Russia is a step backward?
A: No. If this was true, then I never would have come. Russia is a test, an adventure. Before coming to SKA I worked in Phoenix with Wayne Gretzky. And I will not say that it was the best time in my career. We didn’t have a good roster of players, and the organization was not at the proper level. And it was time-consuming just getting everything with the club into synch.
more from Barry…
From Ken Campbell at THN,
European federations have no problem losing their best young players to the NHL; they’ve grown to accept that as a fact of life. But what they’re finally fed up with is losing top young players and seeing them play in the American Leauge. This season, for example, 64 European players signed their first NHL contracts, but only seven of them are playing in the NHL.
That’s why the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation recently reported it is likely going to pull out of the IIHF’s agreement with the NHL and the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation will probably follow suit. Under the terms of the four-year agreement reached last spring, individual European federations have the right to terminate their portions of the agreement prior to Dec. 31 of this year.
Should the Swedes and Finns pull out of the agreement, it will leave it in shambles. The Russian federation has already opted out of the deal and losing two more federations would make it worthless.
An assistant coach has been suspended three years for his involvement in a bench-clearing hockey brawl between two teams of eight-year-old players.
Randy Brant of the Niagara Falls Thunder will not be allowed to coach or be involved in minor hockey in any way after leaving the bench during the melee in a tournament in Guelph, Ont., on Nov. 23.
The suspension was handed down by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association over the weekend.
One of many complaints that casual sports fans have about hockey is that there are too many “foreigners” in our league. Which, by the way, is utter bunk because they support the NBA’s European and Asian outreach, and the Major Leagues are now making Hispanic players the norm.
But, they do have a point. The NFL, a league with 99.9999999% Americans in it, is the man in the United States right now. The NHL needs some new and talented red, white and blue blood.
...the team selects Max Gerlach…
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Sweden’s hockey federation voted last night to formally sever ties to the IIHF agreement. Finnish Ice Hockey Federation managing director Heikki Hietanen says a similar discussion will take place Wednesday in Helsinki. Hietanen says Finnish teams are similarly vexed over losing young players to North American junior teams. He says Finnish teams also aren’t pleased the agreement sees them receive U.S. dollars as compensation. Euros would be a more appropriate currency, Hietanen says.
It’s troubling news for the NHL because free agency in countries like Russia, particularly, could prove elusive.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see every young NHL-calibre player basically forced to sign a long-term contract and never win the right to free agency,” says one NHL player agent with several Russian clients.
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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