Kukla's Korner Hockey
Puck drops at 7:00am ET and can be viewed on NBCSN and TSN.
Winner will advance to the gold medal game on Sunday, 7:00am ET to face the winner of the USA/Canada game which starts at 12:00pm ET today.
Feel free to discuss the game and again, enjoy.
Gary Bettman was on with the NBC Sports Group today and did an interview with Al Michaels.
I am not sure if all these quotes are from the interview but that really doesn't matter, what he says does.
via a press release from NBC,
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the men’s hockey tournament: “It’s been a terrific tournament so far, the hockey has been good, it’s been fun, it’s been entertaining and I think we have two great semifinal matchups.”
Bettman on whether he was surprised by the outcome of Russia v. Finland yesterday: “Not shocked. There’s a reason we play the games, you never know what’s going to happen. You could feel the air come out of the [hockey arena], actually you could feel the air come out of the whole area here. I know that it’s terribly disappointing for the Russian players and for the entire country because they take great pride in the history that Russian hockey has.”
Bettman on whether a lack of coordination between the players, who have not had much time playing together, is to blame for Russia’s loss: “The remaining four teams don’t seem to be relying on that excuse. In the days of amateur hockey people tend to forget that the Russian team was completely professional. That’s what made the ‘Miracle on Ice’ such a miracle because you had a bunch of college kids who came together to defeat a professional team.”
SOCHI, Russia – Feb. 20, 2014 – Thursday’s women’s hockey Olympic gold medal game between Team USA and Canada is now the most-streamed event in the history of NBC Sports Digital, excluding Super Bowl XLVI.
The stream of the game, in which Canada defeated the U.S., 3-2, in overtime, was watched by 1.2 million unique users and generated 34.9 million minutes of consumption.
The game, which was streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, surpasses yesterday’s men’s ice hockey quarterfinal between Team USA and the Czech Republic in uniques (798,337) and the 2012 London Olympics women’s soccer final between Team USA and Japan in minutes consumed (29.7 million). The uniques and consumption outpace every sport and event NBC Sports Digital has ever streamed, excluding Super Bowl XLVI.
The game starts at 12:00pm ET on NBC and CBC.
I will be watching and it is always exciting hockey when these teams meet.
Feel free to discuss the game in the comment section.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post at Canada.com,
“Canada is always the favourite going into the tournament, whether it’s world junior or world championships or Olympics, they’re the favourites,” said American captain Zach Parise. “Now, in the last 10 or 15 years, you can for the most part throw us in as a team that has a chance to win every tournament. You’ve seen some unbelievable world junior games between the U.S. and Canada. We have the Olympics. That’s only made the rivalry [greater].”
When you are an American kid who loves hockey — or for that matter, a Russian or a Slovak or a Swede or a Finn — Canada is the standard. They can be had, no question, but Canada is who you have to beat. Americans have been chasing Canada for so long, to subdue the giant next door. As Backes said, “In Minnesota we had the same sort of winters, where you’re out on the frozen pond, or you’re out on the outdoor rink, having fun with your buddies, and knowing that there was a group of kids just north of the border doing the same thing.”
The Americans have been trying to cross that border and belong forever. They have won the world juniors twice since Canada last won them, and they are getting closer at the Olympics, ever closer. Friday, the chance comes again.
from Melissa Isaacson of ESPN,
... former Olympian Jenny Potter, who played on four of those medal-winning U.S. teams ('98, '02, '06 and '10), said she can't wait for another encore.
"The last game Canada and the USA played was so great and a lot of people don't understand or even realize it's that competitive and that skilled," Potter said. "I think a lot of people who do watch for the first time are going to be shocked the level is so [high] and it's that exciting and are going to be on the edge of their seats."
Potter and Brad Frost, coach of the two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota women's hockey team and former assistant coach of the U.S. women's national team, offered five keys to the game:
1. The power play
Potter: "That's the biggest thing. It's a game-changer, and both teams have great power plays. Team USA has great players who can rip the puck from the point with players like Hilary Knight, and others have great hand-eye coordination and can tip the puck in the air."
Frost: "Unfortunately, the reffing has been so inconsistent throughout the whole tournament, every game has been a little different. Staying disciplined is going to be a factor in not taking unnecessary penalties. When two teams have so much on the line, the last thing you want to do is give the opposition an advantage on the power play. And when you have an opportunity on the power play,
This was their golden moment with true superstars on their team to win. Ovechkin will never get another opportunity in his lifetime to write his Olympic legacy on home ice. For Pavel Datsyuk this may ne his last Olympics altogether. By the time the 2018 games roll around, Ovechkin will be 32, Malkin will be 31, Kovalchuk will be 34, and Pavel Datsyuk will be 39.
The time was now. In Sochi. That’s why there is no reaction. From anyone. And there won’t be for days or even weeks. It hurts so much that it numbs.
The Olympic flame is still burning over Sochi. But it was put out in the hearts of all Russian fans.
-Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo where you can read more about Team Russia.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province at Canada.com,
In a tournament that includes the powerhouses from Canada, Sweden, the U.S., and, until recently, the star-crossed host team, Finland doesn’t measure up anywhere except on the ice. But on Friday, they meet their blood rivals from Sweden in the semifinal round of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament where, again, they’ll be the underdogs and, again, they’ll savour that role.
“Every time we go into tournaments like this we’re disrespected,” said forward Olli Jokinen, one of the many players who seems to grow a foot when they put on the Suomi jersey. “But the good thing for our country is no matter what names are on the back, Finland’s going to play the same way no matter who we have here. We could have 20 different guys here and the results would be the same. Finland’s going to play Finland’s way.”...
““I don’t think we are the favorites, honestly,” said Teemu Selanne, the aforementioned 43-year-old national icon who led the way against Russia with a goal and an assist. “We have four of our best centers out in this tournament (Mikko and Saku Koivu, Valterri Filpulla and Alex Barkov) , and usually we don’t have the kind of depth that some other teams have. But we believe and we work.
“Let’s see what happens.”
The Sweden-Finland rivalry doesn’t carry the same cachet as, say, U.S.-Canada or Russia-Canada but Scandanavia will stop for Friday’s encounter between the two old foes. Loosely stated, the Finns regard the Swedes as pompous, arrogant egotists who believe they’ve evolved from a higher order of being than their neighbours to the East. That, at least, is culturally and the hockey rivalry, which reached its zenith in Sweden’s 3-2 win gold-medal over Finland in Torino eight years ago, is a reflection of the friction between the two countries.
“Every year it’s the biggest game for us,” said forward Jori Lehtera, one of the eight KHL players on Finland. “It doesn’t matter where you play, if you play against Sweden you’re always pumped up.”
I am starting to feel the last two back to back 3:00am ET games right about now.
So time to catch up on some sleep, recharge and get back at it tomorrow.
Regarding the tweet below, you have to imagine the flight is going to feel a lot longer for those aboard tomorrow.
On the way to Sochi, I am sure there was much anticipation bot tomorrow it will a group of players who have been eliminated from the competition and probably some injured players too.
Safe travels for those returning home and best of luck for those still participating.
We will be watching.
MATCHUPS SET FOR SEMI-FINAL PLAYOFF GAMES
The following Semi-Final Playoff games will be played on Friday.
Sweden vs Finland, 7:00 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN
Canada vs USA, 12:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC
GREAT RIVALRIES HEADLINE SEMI-FINALS
With a trip to the Gold Medal game at stake, two of the biggest rivalries in international hockey will be on display in the Semi-Finals of the Men’s Olympic hockey tournament. Canada defeated the USA in the 2002 and 2010 Gold Medal games while Sweden knocked off Finland in the Final of the 2006 Olympic tournament. The four remaining countries have a total of 86 NHL players still alive vying for a Gold Medal.
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.
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