Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
After only two games at the shiny new 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Team USA has no hope of advancing beyond the three-game preliminary round.
Now there's a notion that resonates in the aftermath of its soul-sucking 4-2 loss to host Canada on Tuesday night. Two straight uninspired losses have opened up the team and the process by which it was selected to widespread ridicule.
"I don't worry about that stuff," U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter, near tears, said after the loss. "I worry about the guys in the room. I think we're all disappointed. I feel like we let our country down. We let ourselves down. It's just disappointing. You come into this not knowing how many more chances you're going to get, and to be out after two games is extremely disappointing."
Team USA didn't come to Toronto as a favorite in this tournament, but did anyone expect it would exit so meekly?
from Chris Jones of ESPN,
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
This was about dominance.
This wasn’t about John Tortorella’s decision-making or standing for national anthems or the fact he was the wrong choice to coach Team USA or the strange roster determinations made by a behind-the-times American management staff.
This was about dominance of hockey. Dominance of style. Dominance of puck. Dominance of depth. Dominance of system. Dominance in goal. Dominance on the aggressive forecheck.
Sheer hockey dominance by the unbeaten, the undaunted and maybe the unbeatable Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.
This was the kind of hockey that is unquestioned and is absolute and far different from the clinical, transcendent, almost unemotional game we saw Canada play in Sochi. In an NHL-sized rink the Canadians played closer to an NHL style of game, less about puck control on the outside and more about puck aggression, a little more fun, a little more dangerous, a little more interesting.
In a one-sided, kind of interesting way.
Home Team in Caps
TEAM SWEDEN 2, Team Finland 0
Team Canada 4, TEAM USA 2
TEAM CANADA ELIMINATES TEAM USA, ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS . . .
Down 1-0 early in the first period, Team Canada scored four consecutive goals – including a pair in 14 seconds – to eliminate Team USA and clinch a spot in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
* Matt Duchene potted two goals, including what stood as the winner. Duchene, who collected one assist in the club’s tournament opener, has totaled 11-14—25 in his last 22 international appearances for Canada: also 4-8—12 in the 2015 World Championship (10 GP) and 5-5—10 in the 2016 World Championship (10 GP), both of which resulted in gold medals.
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVAS.
Comments are always welome.
via Craig Custance of ESPN,
The Florida Panthers aren't taking any risks with franchise defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Ekblad, 20, is headed back to Florida and will miss the remainder of the World Cup of Hockey for Team North America, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by the Miami Herald.
Ekblad took a big hit during North America's win over Finland on Sunday and sat out Monday's game against Russia. North America is calling it an upper-body injury, but an NHL source said he was following league protocol by sitting out Monday's game with symptoms consistent with a mild concussion.
Ekblad will be re-evaluated by doctors in Florida.
added 7:34pm, Statement from Team North America is below...
After Team USA morning skate.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
A group of Canada’s finest hockey coaches go for a bike ride.
Mike Babcock has urged them into the streets of Ottawa, lining up rentals from a local shop in an effort to give his staff a little breather from their World Cup of Hockey preparations. They end up riding three straight days during training camp, taking a route that winds along the city’s picturesque canal while “competing” for a yellow jacket.
“We saw the whole town,” said Babcock. “Beautiful.”
The group of seven – Babcock, assistants Joel Quenneville, Claude Julien, Barry Trotz and Bill Peters, plus goaltending coach Stephane Waite and video coach Andrew Brewer – later decide to cycle again after travelling to Pittsburgh for Team Canada’s final pre-tournament game.
Julien manages to pick up a yellow bike jersey emblazoned with a large photo of the city’s skyline to playfully denote himself the leader of the Tour de Pittsburgh, but no one in the travelling party has any illusions about who is actually setting the pace out front.
This is Babcock’s show and Babcock’s team.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
What began as Team USA’s “championship game” against Team Canada on Tuesday night has morphed into much more than that. It’s also their worst nightmare.
Thanks to Team Europe’s overtime win over the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon, Tuesday’s showdown against their cross-border neighbour is their entire tournament.
The United States will be eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey on Day 4 of the tournament with anything short of a win against Canada at Air Canada Centre.
This three-game round robin format has created the ultimate put-up-or-shut-up theatre for a proud world hockey power that supposedly constructed its roster based solely on the idea of taking down Canada.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
But you can safely predict how Tuesday night’s game will play out, with the United States trying to set a physical tone, and Kesler leading the charge.
Kesler is a latter-day Claude Lemieux, minus the over-the-top theatrics, and it’s what sets him apart the current generation of players labelled as pests and agitators. Because of their strength and size, guys such as Kesler don’t just dart in and out to raise Cain. They get in the middle of the scrums and stay there.
When the stakes were raised, Lemieux always stepped up his game – he was bull strong, hard to play against and loved to push the rule book to its absolute limit. And maybe push it a little past the limit if the referees’ eyes were averted.
It’s what made their villainy more nuanced, like Heath Ledger as the Joker.
They are not cartoon characters. They do the hard stuff too – win face-offs, block shots, kill penalties. They fully fit the old hockey axiom – love to play with him, hate to play against him.
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