Kukla's Korner Hockey
(Originally published by the Daily News on Saturday, Feb. 23, 1980; written by Lawrie Mifflin)
Lake Placid - Not since Jesse Owens ran for gold in Hitler's Germany in 1936 has an athletic triumph stirred such an outpouring of patriotic pride among Americans as the young U.S. Olympic hockey team's stunning 4-3 triumph over the Soviet Union did yesterday.
Because Finland and Sweden tied (3-3) in the second game last night, the U.S. is in a position to assure itself a gold medal with a victory over Finland tomorrow.
By pulling out a game virtually nobody but themselves thought they could win, the plucky U.S. amateurs touched off a near-riot of celebration in this tiny village, as fans who had overflowed the 8,500-seat Olympic Fieldhouse flooded into the streets after the game, chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A," hugging each other, waving flags and even singing the National Anthem. They joined thousands more across the street on Mirror Lake, where the daily Olympic medal ceremony is held, and the celebration spread across the lake like a forest fire - while the ceremony's fireworks boomed and cascaded across the sky.
Watch the last minute of play below and the "it's over" from Ken Dryden who was the analyst with play-by-play man Al Michaels.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Over the years, Ken Morrow has had literally thousands of people come up to him and tell him where they were, what they were doing and what it meant when the 1980 U.S. Olympic team won an improbable hockey game against the mighty Russians en route to an equally unlikely gold medal.
And that's part of the magic, no? That people aren't so much interested in having Morrow retell the story of that seminal hockey game -- people know it by heart -- as they are in sharing how the moment was made magical for them.
On Saturday night, Morrow and the surviving members of that Miracle on Ice team will reunite in the very building where history was made 35 years ago.
Jerseys with the players' names emblazoned on the back of the familiar red, white and blue are hung in the same dressing room in the arena that housed the players on the night they would defeat the Russians by a 4-3 count, prompting the hallmark question posed by broadcaster Al Michaels: "Do you believe in miracles?"
The answer, of course, is yes.
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
Ann Arbor — The boys are back in town, having returned a few days earlier from Russia and the Czech Republic, where they played on two United States teams in international tournaments.
And now they are back after school, at Pioneer High.
About 40 of the best 16- to 18-year-old hockey players in the country bound through the doors at the United States National Team Development Program, operated by the organizing body for the sport, USA Hockey, at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor.
They worked hard throughout their young lives to be accepted in the program.
As more and more Americans have reached the highest echelons of the NHL, the program, for 18 years, has been training some of America's best hockey players about a mile from Michigan Stadium.
In the world of hockey, this is a special place.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
NHL teams are not looking for Moses to lead them out of the wilderness as much as they are simply trying to determine whether he can part an NHL defence.
His name is Steve Moses. He is a 25-year-old, 5-foot-9, 170-pound winger from Leominster, Mass., and he's attracting NHL interest this season because he's leading the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in goals, with 35 in 56 games for Jokerit (Finland). He also has 56 points in 56 games, sixth best in the KHL.
"He's the top (unrestricted) free agent in the KHL, that's for sure," one NHL management person said.
"Really small but really fast," said another.
Some teams think he's worth a shot. Others aren't so sure. In any case, what's certain is the diminutive University of New Hampshire alum – he played four seasons there between 2008 and 2012 – won't be leaving Jokerit (where he's in his third season), or the KHL, unless he has a one-way NHL contract tucked in his back pocket.
via Scott Lewis of Sportsnet,
Kingston Frontenacs forward Lawson Crouse is one of the top prospects heading into the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, but he might have to take a seat for a few games as the Ontario Hockey League season winds down.
The Eastern Conference leading Oshawa Generals handed the Frontenacs a 7-1 beating on Friday night and things turned ugly in the third period. Crouse picked up a two-minute penalty for a vicious two-handed slash on Generals captain Josh Brown early in the frame, which led to several fights and ejections.
A suspension for Crouse could be in order.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"Future Olympic participation is something we will need to focus on at an appropriate time, both with the IOC and with the Players' Association,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Wednesday. "There continues to be a lot of moving pieces, including the recently announced World Cup of Hockey scheduled for September of 2016. That tournament and its success may not be determinative with respect to the decision we ultimately make on the Olympics, but it certainly will play a part in the overall discussion."
Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it seems like all the comments that have been generated of late from the deputy commissioner and the big man himself, Gary Bettman, open the door just a crack to the possibility of no Olympic participation, that perhaps the World Cup is the replacement vehicle for best on best hockey.
Then again, it’s also wise for the NHL to send out that type of message to the IOC, so they understand they need to step up if they want to keep NHLers in the fold.
Me, I want the players to go. I don't care about the time difference (+14 hours ET), the lack of hockey in South Korea or anything else.
If the players want to go, then all hands on deck.
from Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated,
To: Division I Hockey Prospect
From: Unauthorized Arizona State Recruiting Coordinator
I hope you are enjoying another lovely winter in Saskatchewan. I see the temperature has risen to –20º Celsius and the latest blizzard only dropped a foot of snow. Congratulations. It sounds like you may get to see the sun by Easter.
I understand you are receiving loads of letters like this from all the major college hockey programs in the U.S. You have probably visited their enchanting campuses in Grand Forks, N.D.; Mankato, Minn.; and Lowell, Mass. I’ve been meaning to take the family to Lowell for vacation.
Recruiters from the established powers will try to sell you on their rich traditions. All we have to offer, they claim, are these tiresome 75º February days and tedious spring-break-style pool parties. But before you sign up for four years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, let me kick off my flip-flops and tell you a little about Arizona State hockey. I’ll keep this short. I know you’re going ice fishing today—catch that walleye!—and I have a tee time beckoning at TPC Scottsdale.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
At Tufts, the hockey team is using an iPad and GoPro camera as tools to help its goalies. The devices are part of a package developed by Double Blue Sports Analytics, launched by Dan Kerluke, a former University of Maine player and assistant coach. Users place the camera on the glass, preferably above the goalie. The camera captures every sequence that is critical to a goalie’s analysis of the game, such as shots, saves, screens, passes, entries off the rush.
Either during or after the game, a goaltending coach tags the events on an iPad. If an opponent takes a shot from inside the blue line along the wall, the coach will drop a pin on the approximate location. The coach will note if a goal is scored off an extended cycle. A tap on the screen will tag where the puck beat the goalie — high glove, low blocker, five-hole. During video sessions, the goalie can study every save made and missed. Even if a goalie’s coach is elsewhere, Double Blue’s iPad application allows for remote instruction. Once a goalie’s game is captured and tagged, the video is uploaded to a cloud server. The coach downloads the clips and makes notes and corrections via voiceover, telestration, and annotation. The coach pushes the video back to the goalie for review.
“If he’s given up eight high-glove goals, you can click on the shot chart and see all the videos attached to those eight goals,” Kerluke said. “Instantly for a goalie coach, you can go through those high-glove goals and find out what the deficiency is, then work on something in practice to make that improvement. As a goalie coach, to aggregate 10 games’ worth of goals against can be 30 or 40 hours of work. This technology extracts that simply and gives it meaning.”
more plus other hockey topics...
from Pat Pickens of the New York Times,
Like most sports, the N.H.L. has its own language — but it is clear to those who play the game, whether they are from Moose Jaw or Minneapolis, Moscow or Malmo.
Yet because so much of the sport is rooted in Canada, hockey talk tends to come off a little differently to those with an untrained ear.
It’s a game sometimes played in “barns” by “boys” wearing “sweaters.” An on-target shot might be “marked” or “labeled.” Members of a team’s top-two forward lines are skilled players who “pot” goals. Those with a ferocious shot are often called snipers. Others may set up goals by “dangling” — or skillfully maneuvering — around defensemen.
Forwards on third or fourth lines were once called enforcers or goons. Today, those players are more likely to be called checkers, muckers or grinders. They play with “jam.”
Jam has long been part of the hockey lexicon, but it reached the mainstream because Peter Laviolette used the term on HBO’s “24/7” leading up to the 2012 Winter Classic.
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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