Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Risto Pakarinen at Hockey.com,
I’m sure you’ve heard about all the great plans for a super league that would challenge the NHL in Europe. Well, let me just say that the NHL already as several great challengers in Europe. There’s the Swedish league, the Finnish league, the Russian league, the Swiss league, the German league ... you get the point.
It all depends on how you define the challenge, I suppose.
However, while thousands of Finns, Swedes, and Czechs begin their days by checking the NHL scores from the night before, the local leagues are also doing better than ever.
But the dream of “NHL Europe” lives on.
From this week’s “Friday Faceoff” with Damien Cox and Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Scott: Hello, Damian. Everywhere I look, I’m reading discussions and debates about the Vancouver Olympics, which are just under two years away. I see you wrote on it earlier this week. I did as well. What’s the deal? Why are people so pumped about an event that’s some 730 days away?
Damien: Well, I can’t speak for the United States of America and how much interest there is there as of yet. But here in Canada, this will be, of course, the first Olympics held in our country since the Calgary Games in 1988.
more, and worth the read. At one point Cox even remarks to Burnside, “I think you’re just not very bright.”
I think these two are gradually morphing into a bitter, married couple.
From the Detroit Hockey Association,
The annual Hockey in the Hood tournament breaks down stereotypes and brings diverse inner-city hockey teams together for a tournament that is capped off by the presentation of the Willie O’Ree championship trophy, the Willie O’Cup.
This 4th annual event will run from February 15-17th. For some biographical information on black players around the NHL, past and present, there’s also MisZGoalie’s NHL Connect blog.
Note: For other events happening around the United States for “Hockey Weekend in America”, links can be found at this KK post, put up yesterday.
Japers’ Rink found a report today stating Glen Hanlon will be coaching in Finland next season.
from the South Bend Tribune,
The Canadians are coming.
Thanks to a ruling at the NCAA convention last month, college hockey may see its next big expansion movement come north of the border.
NCAA officials voted overwhelmingly to allow Canadian schools to apply for NCAA membership in all sports. Canadian schools could begin play in the NCAA as early as next season, with Division II as the predetermined landing spot.
But since hockey doesn’t have a Division II, Canadian universities could jump right into Division I in that sport.
from the AP via Yahoo,
The Sea Wolves, who joined the ECHL in 1996, stayed afloat thanks to local ownership that was committed to Biloxi. But on Aug. 29, 2005, only weeks after the Sea Wolves offered former ECHL player Steffon Walby his first head coaching job, Katrina obliterated Mississippi’s coastline.
Water inside the coliseum swamped the first five rows of seats, destroying two Zamboni ice surfacing machines and the scoreboard, which had been lowered to the floor out of fear that it might fall if 140 mph winds tore away the building’s walls or roof.
Few could have blamed the franchise for folding or selling to owners from elsewhere who might have moved the team to a Northern city where hockey is embedded in local culture.
It wasn’t even clear how many fans would be around if the team would come back.
from the Buffalo News,
Kevin Quick merely needed to keep his head on straight and enjoy the ride, which wasn’t asking too much. He had been selected in the third round of the NHL draft. He had a scholarship to the University of Michigan. He was a freshman getting a regular shift on the second-ranked hockey team in the nation. Now?
The 19-year-old is home in Tonawanda, trying to put his career back together after getting kicked off the Michigan team for what coach Red Berenson called “a total violation of our team trust and rules.” Sources said the defenseman stole a credit card, used it as a personal piggy bank and spent thousands of dollars….
Tampa Bay selected Quick with the 78th pick overall in the 2006 draft. He signed a professional tryout contract with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk on Saturday. He’ll start his professional career at a fraction of what he could have pocketed in a couple years with far more experience and leverage.
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail,
Fetisov, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, was quoted on the Russiatoday website endorsing what will be called the Continental Hockey League and include teams outside of Russia.
“At the moment, the top players will continue playing in the NHL because they believe it’s the best league in the word,” Fetisov said. “But if our league gains the same status as our North American counterparts, the new Ovechkins, Kovalchuks and Datsyuks will stay here because they’ll be playing in a very competitive and financially competitive league.”
Fetisov said the new league will also stage a draft like the NHL.
“If we’re able to draft players from the various European leagues, Canadians added to our talent in Russia, we’ll definitely be a serious contender to the NHL.
Formerly a pro hockey player overseas, Kerry “Gouche” Goulet writes a short series on his tour of Moscow:
You would think Day two could not exceed day one, but it just got better! Yes it did. After enjoying a typical Russian breakfast we were whisked off to the Kremlin by limousines, where the Professor (Igor Larionov) had organized a personal tour of the Kremlin and the Russian Palace (a separate story to follow). Outstanding! It’s a tour only for dignitaries and Capazoo and the Gouche were there.
Now, the real big deal. Hockey equipment packed up and placed on the bus. The final destination, Red Square. You got it, the Red Square; Cold War, espionage, tanks, missiles etc. But we were only armed with Canadian and American hockey players, hockey equipment and hockey sticks battling only Russian hockey players and of course the cold on an outdoor rink!
A great interview this morning with Darren McCarty, now playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Our thanks to Hockey This Morning on NHL Home Ice XM 204 for the providing the audio for KK readers.
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