Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
A first glance, the hockey players practicing at Lakewood Ice this week looked like any team anywhere in the world.
Their drills were familiar, and so was their attentive posture when they paused to watch their coach diagram a play on a whiteboard. The difference became clear when the session ended: Players gathered in a semicircle near the boards to tap their sticks and bow to Coach Craig Johnson, a charming gesture of respect that stemmed as much from gratitude as cultural obligation.
They're members of the Korea University men's hockey team and they're in Southern California until Aug. 22 to practice, train and learn from coaches in the Ducks' development program. They hope to accelerate the improvement of their skills before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but it's a tough task for a nation with a talent pool of only about 2,100.
The national team — which will be coached by former King Jim Paek and is expected to draw on the Korea University squad — is ranked 23rd in the world. Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, said this year he'd like to see Korea's team rank 18th or better before he'd consider granting it an automatic Olympic berth because he wants to avoid lopsided results in the Games.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Michael Leighton won’t be returning to Russia for the upcoming Kontinental Hockey League season, but not for the reason you might think.
The former Windsor Spitfires goalie who calls LaSalle home was all set to join the expansion HC Sochi team for his second season of KHL action when illness felled Leighton.
Unable to attend training camp – KHL teams open camp in mid-to-late July leading to the early September start of regular-season play – Leighton and HC Sochi officials mutually agreed to void the contract he’d signed with the team.
“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton, 33, explained. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”...
During the 2013-14 campaign, he suited up for Donbass Donetsk, the only Ukrainian-based franchise in the KHL and a city that currently finds itself in the midst of the armed conflict within that country....
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road.
“It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine.
“When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
Canada's largest private-sector union, which is trying to organize major junior hockey players across the country, is scheduled to meet on Monday with Ontario's minister of labour to discuss the working conditions faced in the Canadian Hockey League by its 1,700 mostly teenaged players.
Jerry Dias, Unifor's president, said he plans to ask Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to establish a task force charged with scrutinizing the business of junior hockey.
Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queen's Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the game's profits.
Flynn's spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment.
Wynne's spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias.
"Discussions covered a wide range of topics," she said. "Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour."
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
There will be no Ukrainian team in the KHL next season as the hockey world begins to wonder about the effects of a long-term conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Donbass Donetsk — Ukraine’s only entry in the KHL — is on sabbatical for one season, a decision reached in June after the team’s arena was sacked, looted and set afire in May.
While most believe hockey will carry on as usual — or at least with blinders on — there is a belief that should tensions worsen, the KHL will suffer in terms of the level of play and from U.S. economic sanctions.
So far there has been no mass migration from the KHL, but it’s worth noting that the league’s signing season occurred largely before the current escalation that includes the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.
“I don’t anticipate that as a cause and effect at this point,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when asked about the possibility players would leave Russia. “I assume if the conflict is prolonged and/or worsens that may change, but I think it’s a fairly remote consideration for most players right now.”
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korea Ice Hockey Association has announced Jim Paek as the new head coach of the men’s national team. Paek was the first Korean-born player to play in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ninth round, 170th overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, Paek was also named as a Program Director of the national team team along with his new head coaching duties. The former defenceman will replace Byoen Sun-Wook, who coached the team for three years but resigned after Korea was relegated at the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.
Paek will be counted on to guide Korea as it looks to gain qualification to the 2018 Winter Olympics, set to be held on home soil in PyeongChang.
“The idea of coaching the National Team in the Olympics is one of my dreams. I've always wanted to help develop Korean hockey. I've returned to Korea many times to run hockey schools and coached Korean teams travelling to Canada. What a great opportunity I have now.”
Update: MLive's Peter J. Wallner confirms:
from Greg Johnson of NCAA.com,
• Goals may be reviewed to determine if they are scored before a penalty occurred.
• If an offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is missed and a goal is scored, the play may be reviewed if the puck remains in the offensive zone after the missed infraction. If the puck leaves the attacking zone, the offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is no longer reviewable.This replaces the previous wording that only allowed a review if the missed play directly led to a goal.
• It was clarified that the video used for replays may come from any source that is available to the game officials. Previously, the video used was required to come from a television broadcast.
Other proposals approved by the panel include:
Major penalty for interference: To assist officials in properly penalizing significant contact – particularly blindside hits – that is not to the head or neck area, the panel approved the addition of a major penalty for interference.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that forward Vladimir Sobotka has been awarded a one-year contract through arbitration.
Sobotka will play the for Avangard Omsk in the KHL for the 2014-15 season. The terms of his arbitration contract will be enforced when Sobotka returns to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,” said Armstrong. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
from Dan Marrazza of Sports Illustrated,
SI: How did you end up in Poland?
Danton: The team had been interested [in me] the last couple of years. One agent who deals with that league approached me and asked if I would be interested. I jumped at the opportunity because I had to get out of Kazakhstan.
SI: Your criminal background is pretty well documented. How familiar are European fans and players with it? Do they try to antagonize you based on your past?
Danton: They know. I’ve had to put up with the same stupid jokes for the last four or five years. Anything about jail or being gay. During one game [in Tychy, Poland] a guy filled a cup with urine and threw it on me as I was going through the tunnel. They said it was just beer, and that’s what the local beer smells and tastes like. But I know what piss smells like, and it was definitely not beer. It was just very classless. That’s too far. I’m obviously doing my job because I’m really pissing them off.
SI: How do you respond when things like this happen?
Danton: I just wave and blow kisses at them. Or I wink at their girlfriends. Ask for their phone numbers. And that pisses them off even more. I’ve got an answer for everything. But I’ve heard these things so many times, so it doesn’t even faze me. I just laugh.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at TSN,
Tom Renney is a hockey man, not a businessman. He once ran a clothing store in Trail, B.C., along with his wife but since then his life has been immersed in coaching.
So when Hockey Canada was searching for a new president and CEO and Renney emerged as serious candidate, the 59-year-old didn't put on a masquerade.
"(Business is) not where his passion lies," Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "And it's not where his expertise lies. One thing about Tom: He knows what he is and he knows what he's not."
Renney above all else is a respected hockey man, and his decades of experience at the amateur, international and professional levels ultimately made him Hockey Canada's choice to replace Bob Nicholson.
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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