Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/27/13 at 07:35 AM ET
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The angles are different. There’s less emphasis on pounding the net with shots. It’s easier for forwards given more room to manoeuvre to simply wander into traffic-free areas where they aren’t very effective.
But you can’t talk your way into understanding the big ice, although bringing in Ralph Krueger to provide some helpful tips is worth a try.
You’ve got to play your way into understanding it. Many of the players in the Canadian camp have limited experience and have even had some success overseas, either with club teams or while playing for Canada.
Rick Nash, for instance, had 26 goals in 44 games for Davos back in the 2004-05 lockout. Jonathan Toews and Price were the heroes of that memorable shootout at the 2007 world juniors in Leksand.
There’s little know-how left over from the punchless ’06 Turin team. Luongo is back. Jay Bouwmeester and Dan Boyle are defencemen back to compete for a spot on the Sochi roster while Marty St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Eric Staal and Nash are veterans from that flaccid Italian campaign who may be in Russia.
That should be a bigger concern than goaltending. How do you pull players off an NHL-sized rink in the middle of the season, plunk them on to the big ice with only a couple of practices and hope they can navigate the rink as well or better than Europeans who have skated on it their whole lives?
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