Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: 2014 winter olympics
Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean spoke with Sportsnet's Luke Fox regarding five "hot topics":
On what the Phil Kessel trade means to Pittsburgh: “It’s great for Sidney Crosby. The challenge with Sid, thinking back to the Vancouver Olympics, is figuring out who to play with him. Finally after about three games, coach Mike Babcock said, ‘Sid, who do you think?’ And he said Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla. I see Kessel as maybe that triggerman that Sidney needs.
On 2015′s biggest free agent, Mike Babcock, moving to Toronto:“Mike Babcock is a big believer in ghost rosters. He doesn’t want too many of the same players. I’m not sure the Leafs had too many other Kessels, to be honest. Toronto will assemble a team in Mike Babcock’s version of teams.
“Mike didn’t want Marty St. Louis, who was the leading scorer in the National Hockey League [in 2013] to go to the Sochi Olympics because he had set out a roster of what he had in mind. He told Steve [Yzerman]: ‘You can pick him, but I won’t be able to play him.’ And Yzerman drafted according to Mike both at Sochi and Vancouver.
“In Vancouver at six in the morning, Yzerman called him and said, ‘Are you up?’ Mike said, ‘I’m a coach. I’m always up.’ And he let him make the final selection on forwards. Mike took Jonathan Toews and put him on the checking line with Rick Nash and Mike Richards—very unconventional. That’s what’s happening in Toronto: Mike’s doing the ghost roster as he sees fit.”
from the IIHF,
(Lucas) Aykroyd, who has covered every Winter Olympics and IIHF World Championship since 2000, is offering another long-range forecast for the 2014 Winter Games. History, current trends, available talent, and a little bit of intuition are all factored in. Just like last time, these predictions are solely the writer’s and do not reflect any official views of the IIHF.
Wednesday, February 12
Game 1: SWE 3, CZE 2: Zetterberg paces Tre Kronor with three points, Czechs limited to six shots in third
Game 2: SUI 4, LAT 1: Hollenstein scores twice, Ozolins earns first Olympic point since 2006
Analysis: Remarkably, the well-organized Swedes haven’t lost an Olympic opener since 1964 (3-1 to Canada), and that streak should continue here, with Tre Kronor taking the edge over the Czechs in goal and on defence. Switzerland, coming off a historic silver medal performance at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, should handle the Latvians with relative ease in their first-ever Olympic meeting. Latvia has lost six out of its last eight World Championship games with the Swiss, dating back to 1999.
read on including the All-Star team...
Odds to win 2014 Olympic Ice Hockey - Men’s Gold Medal
Czech Republic 17/2
Odds provided by Bovada.
from Colin Horgan of the Guardian,
This spring, the NHL and its players' union were both excited about something else. In April, both formally partnered with You Can Play, an advocacy group that promotes acceptance of LGBT athletes in sport. Bettman said he was "delighted" that the venture would reaffirm the NHL and NHLPA's policy of "inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands".
It's the last bit of that that is worth thinking on now. The news out of Russia for LGBT people who might fill the ice and certainly the stands in Sochi is pretty bleak these days. And the NHL should have taken a stand on the issue.
To recap recent events: in June, Russia's parliament passed a law that bans gay "propaganda". Included in that bill is a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (around $155) for anyone who disseminates information "directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup" among minors or, reportedly, anything that would lead anyone to understand that gay and heterosexual relationships are socially equivalent. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, claimed at the time that the law was about protecting children.
added 3:26pm, You can read what Patrick Burke has to say on this topic at Buzzfeed.
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
But if Canada is of the belief it’s got Olympic problems — and the impending National Goaltending Crisis is no small thing — it should be comforting to know that the overseers of the Sochi Games have a far more daunting set of challenges in their view. Sochi’s woes go well beyond the hard-to-fathom fact that Russia’s first crack at hosting a Winter Games is being planned for a subtropical seaside locale that makes balmy Vancouver look like Siberia. To tackle that problem, organizers have reportedly stored a winter’s worth of snow should none fall in February.
As for the ever-expanding raft of other issues — well, the solutions might not be as cold and soft.
Less than seven months from the opening ceremony, the 2014 Olympics are already promising to be one of the most controversial in history — and that’s just among the folks in the accounting department. Various reports suggest that the costs of the Games have careered out of control. The price to run Sochi, initially budgeted at $12 billion, is said to have reached $50 billion according to a recent article in The Economist. (The Vancouver Olympics, by contrast, billed out at about $9 billion.) There are accusations that widespread corruption is gobbling up large chunks of this cash. Critics of Vladimir Putin are already suggesting that the Russian president’s most famous act of sporting larceny is no longer the petty pocketing of Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring.
Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader, has called Sochi “an unprecedented thieves’ caper.”
As Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess master turned politician, tweeted in the wake of The Economist report: “I never doubted (Putin) and his cronies would ‘take the gold’!”
Today the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC met in NYC...
added 4:29pm, Watch below as Bettmand and IIHF President Rene Fasel discuss today's meeting.
Bob McKenzie when asked by James Duthie if the NHL will be going to Sochi...
It's highly likely, just short of a forgone conclusion, that the National Hockey League will be shutting down for 16 days in the middle of next season...
What could stop the NHL from allowing the players to participate... Watch TSN's Insider Training show to find out.
Joining Duthie and McKenzie are Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun.
TSN witth the story on Sochi, including will Babcock coach Team Canada and will Brian Burke run Team USA.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr talked throughout the lockout about growing the game internationally as key to growing HRR. The NHL owners have often gazed across the Atlantic as an underexposed market for the North American version of the game. Under the circumstances of an Olympics nine time zones away, can the NHL game be helped by attendance in Sochi? Is it worth postponing the NHL schedule for two weeks to grow the game with little or no input to the process?
Something has to change to make it worth everyone's while. The talk will begin shortly and a resolution has to come quickly, because in terms of the Olympics, it’s not that far away.
-John Shannon of Sportsnet where you can read more on the Olympics/NHL debate.
from Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star,
This might have gotten lost in the endless blather about the NHL player lockout, but there’s a chance the participation of NHL players at the 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament also could be a casualty of the current idiocy.
Whether the boys go to Sochi, Russia — thankfully the women have no such squabbles to settle — was supposed to be a negotiated portion of the agreement that eludes both sides.
The players want to go and the Russians among those in thrall to Don Fehr and the union these days will go completely bananas if NHL participation is a casualty of the disharmony. So it should be case closed, one would think.
Yet how could the owners, allegedly still 100 per cent behind their snarling commissioner, be thinking of inserting another three-week shutdown into their business 14 months from now? Think about it. Are they really going to settle up this time with a 48-game season, or something similar, and then agree to shoehorning in another full slate next season around another three-week stretch of darkened arenas?
from the AFP at Yahoo,
The chief of a top contractor building infrastructure for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the Russian city of Sochi has been fired in a corruption scandal, its holding company announced Monday.
Ivan Kuznetsov, CEO of the Transstroi corporation, which belongs to the Basic Element holding company of leading Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, was dismissed for stealing shareholders’ money, Basic Element said.
A statement from the holding company gave no further details on the nature of the alleged violations but said the funds involved amounted to tens of millions of dollars.
“Funds misappropriated from shareholders amount to hundreds of millions of rubles ($1 is 30.6 rubles),” the holding said in a statement.
from Jeff Lee of the Vancouver Sun,
There are also serious security threats to the Games. In Guatemala, Putin pledged the Sochi Olympics would be “safe, enjoyable and memorable.” But many, even inside government, are no longer sure of that. Sochi is near the predominantly Muslim Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, and rebel groups such as Caucasus Emirate continue to fight to create an Islamic caliphate. Last month Alexander Bortnikov, the chief of Russia’s federal security bureau, said he was aware of credible Islamist terrorist threats to attack the Sochi Games.
To add to the pressure, there are also growing concerns about the environmental impact of the construction, both on Olympic venues and an ambitious combined road/rail connector being built between Adler, a southern suburb of Sochi, and the mountain venues at Krasnaya Polyana.
In January the United Nations Environment Programme noted that Russian promises to strengthen environmental protections, enlarge the nearby Sochi National Park and set up new protected areas for sensitive wetlands were not being carried out.
from Mihira Lakshman of CBC,
The Hotstove segment began with an archived clip of Bettman, just prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, saying it doesn’t matter who plays in the gold-medal game — and that the result would have no bearing on future participation in the Games.
The Canada-U.S. matchup this year was a ratings bonanza for U.S. television. Last Sunday’s gold-medal matchup in Vancouver drew record audiences on both sides of the border and was the most-watched hockey game in the U.S. since 1980.
But the NHL is having trouble capitalizing on all the positive marketing scenarios. For example, the IOC rules didn’t allow enough time to adequately promote the players on each team, Healy said.
Broadcast restrictions are another major issue.
“I’d like to see the Crosby goal [again]. But there are so many regulations about showing that goal. The NHL can’t even bring [Crosby] into New York and show the goal while they do an interview with him. The IOC [is] not about fairness, and it’s time for them to buck up.”