Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: team canada
The NHL announced that Martin St. Louis is one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player today, but the Hockey News's Ken Campbell summarizes at least the Twitter-using media's reaction to said news:
Martin St-Louis did not get my vote for the Lady Byng, basically because he didn’t deserve it. St-Louis may have had only 10 penalty minutes this season, but he did anything but prove he was worth of the award that goes, “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t believe that a player who sulks and whines and demands a trade out of town because he wasn’t originally selected for the Canadian Olympic team “exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.” In most corners of the world, we would call a guy who does something like that a big baby.
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Does he want a chance at a threepeat as Canada's head coach?
"That's a real good question that you can ask me again in three years," the 50-year-old head coach of the Detroit Red Wings said. "I don't have a clue at this point. I still perceive myself as a young guy. I plan on coaching for a while yet. We'll see what happens.
"There are great, great coaches in Canada. If someone else deserves the opportunity, they should get it. If I'm still in the running at that time, we'll see. Only time will tell."
more from Babcock on different topics and other hockey notes too...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons returned to North America from Sochi, Russia in a contemplative mood, and he's focusing on one particular topic in a Saturday night/Sunday morning column--suggesting that Jonathan Toews has succeeded Sidney Crosby as hockey's most valuable all-round player:
One player to choose to start a franchise? You can have Sidney Crosby.
I’m taking Jonathan Toews.
I’m taking the 25-year-old who already has two Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic gold medals, a player who intrinsically seems to comprehend what it takes to win and with a willingness to do whatever it means to get there.
For the second Olympic Games in succession, Toews was Canada’s best forward: His line with Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau, was Team Canada’s strongest line throughout the Olympic hockey tournament.
He’s not fancy like his teammate, Patrick Kane, or as offensively gifted or driven as Crosby, or with a rocket shot like Steven Stamkos, or even with Phil Kessel’s speed: He is just complete. As absolute and certain as there is in today’s world of hockey.
Simmons continues, addressing numerous topics...
According to NHL.com, here is the schedule for tonight...
NBCSN – Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET
CBC – Feb. 27 at 8 p.m.
Plus more about tonight's show.
A sneek peak...
The video is about 5 1/2 minutes long.
Very nice presentation as always in Montreal.
Canada’s men’s hockey players are the most different of all our Olympians. They play always in the limelight. They make fortunes of money. They play a sport Canadians originated and have dominated. They expect and are expected to win. In Sochi, they played without arrogance, with no misdirected emotion. They were solidly, forcefully, smartly better than everyone else. Their gold medal win in the last Olympic event was the punchline to the story their Olympic teammates had been writing for 17 days. In Sochi, the men’s hockey team came to embody what we have become.
-Ken Dryden, HHOF goaltender on Team Canada. Read more on them from Dryden at the Globe and Mail.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
History is rarely on the minds of players at the precise moment they win something as significant as an Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey. The experience is too fresh, too new, and really just too much fun in the here-and-now to think about its significance or long-term impact.
In a decisive win marked by an immediately jubilant celebration just as most Canadians were sipping their morning coffees, Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team won its third gold medal in the last four Olympics and they did it in their most convincing style yet. In defeating Sweden 3-0 in Sunday’s final, Canada complete an undefeated 6-0 run to the championship, becoming the first team since the Soviet Union in 1984 to do so.
continued with team reaction to the win...
Congratulations to Team Canada for winning the gold medal in men's hockey.
Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 by dominating the Swedes on both ends of the ice.
Hopefully we see the NHL players participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and I am on the side of the players. If they want to play, the NHL should stand behind their decision.
After all, it's not Olympic hockey without the best players in the world.
The puck drops at 7:00am ET and is on NBC in the US and CBC in Canada.
Feel free to comment on the game and also anything related to the hockey tournament.
Personally, I have enjoyed the games, although those 3:00am ET starts were killers.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Both Sweden and Canada put the majority of their game plan emphasis on defending. It's why they're both in the gold-medal game.
This isn't the NHL over here.
"It's a different sport," Sedin said. "You can't even compare them. Everyone thinks because it's a bigger ice, it should be more open. I think teams are playing more defensive than ever."
As such, expect a low-scoring game Sunday. Which should not be confused with boring.
I think we're in for the best hockey game of the year, on either side of the ocean.
And for Team Canada, a chance to make it three gold medals in five NHL Olympics.
"It's about hockey supremacy," Babcock said Saturday. "We like to brag that it's our game? If you think it's your game, you better show it's your game."
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The team’s inability to win gold and beat Canada in a knockout showdown cannot be blamed on the omission of any single individual from the final roster. This Canada 1, USA 0 day is not a result of Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson or Keith Yandle having been left at home.
The US needs to apologize to no one. The US just somehow needs to get a little bit better … or perhaps to add a killer instinct against Canada.
There was ’96 in the World Cup. That’s it. That’s the sum and substance of United States best-on-best hockey victories over Canada with it all on the line. There was ’96 and still only ’96 after a day on which the lads could not score against Canada that came a day after the lassies could not protect a 2-0 lead against Canada.
Big brothers to the north. Big sisters, too.
And time to wait until the Americans get their next shot at overturning the natural order.
Perhaps we, as a nation, should be reassured. We don’t always win. We lose the world juniors now; we could still lose the Olympics. But nobody produces players the way we do that are willing to be this sort of team. It’s been written before, and it’s true: Canada is the red army now, rolling over Russia in wave after wave. One more to go.
-Bruce Arthur of the National Post on Team Canada. More on yesterday's game at Canada.com.
The video is just short of 22 minutes.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So everybody finally got the game they wanted, in all of its open-ice glory - Canada and the United States, in the men’s Olympic hockey semi-finals, and it lived up to all the hope and the hype. The pace was supercharged, the skill on display breathtaking. More than anything, it was a fearless brand of hockey, two teams confident in their respective abilities, and willing to test the limits of their opponents.
There weren’t a lot of goals, but scoring chances abounded. The respective goaltenders, Jonathan Quick for the United States and Carey Price for Canada, were in the zone.
Aesthetically, it surpassed the U.S.-Russia game earlier in the tournament and probably ranked right up there with the gold medal game, played between the same two teams four years ago in Vancouver.
In short, it was hockey, played the right way, and the only downside was, somebody had to lose and go home.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Has everyone regained their breath yet? As thrilling as Team USA's shootout win over host Russia was in the preliminary round, that game was a step behind the pace of Friday's sensational semifinal 1-0 victory by Team Canada over its North American rival. Quite the 24 hours for Canada over the U.S., eh? Ouch. What a game, though, at Bolshoy Ice Dome. You wish these two teams could play a best-of-seven.
Five things to know about the game:
1. The pace was outstanding. I mean, if this was the NHL every single night, I would do my job for free. It was breathtaking to see two great, evenly matched powerhouse teams go at each other like that, back and forth with so much speed and precision. For the most part, though, Canada dictated that pace and spent more time in the U.S. zone with an effective cycle and forecheck. It's clear that Canada was thrilled to be getting a chance to play some north-south, North American hockey after playing the likes of Latvia and Finland beforehand, both of those teams sitting back and forming a defensive shell around their goalie. This was Canada's kind of game and it showed in the comfort of its execution. The passes were crisper, the transition game more fluid, the decision-making more natural.
The puck drops at 12:00pm ET today and can be viewed on NBCSN and CBC.
The winner will advance to the gold medal game on Sunday at 7:00am ET and face Team Sweden.
I invite you to join in on the discussion.
A late scratch for Team USA is defenseman Paul Martin, who according to USA Hockey is ill. Other reports say he was seen with a wrap/cast on his hand.
Justin Faulk will replace Martin.
The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla has always offered a...unique...perspective on sporting events, and his criticism of the U.S. women's performance in dropping a 3-2 decision to Team Canada at the Olymipcs on Thursday is...blunt:
The losers choked, and then these strong American women choked back tears that went splat on the ice of a hockey rink. Their pain was as impossible to stop as the cruel fate conspiring against the U.S. team as the Olympic gold medal slipped away during a 3-2 overtime loss to Canada.
After her players blew four years of hard work and a two-goal lead in the final four agonizing minutes of the third period, U.S. coach Katey Stone looked me directly in the eye and said: "I do not think the moment was too big for us."
Stone loves her team too much to say what was painfully obvious: America choked. There's no shame in choking when the reason is you care too much.
In the Olympics, the one place where we want sports to be pure and noble, it is hard to admit something as raw and ugly and human as cracking under pressure can happen. But it did.
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,
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
For two-plus periods, Canada pressed and pushed and otherwise ran up an impressive shot total against a Latvia goaltender you’ve probably never heard of - Kristers Gudlevskis - and managed to get just the one goal past him.
It was 1-1 with time winding down in the third period and they were maybe starting to believe in miracles in Riga.
Alas for the plucky Latvians, it didn’t happen.
Shea Weber’s power-play goal with about seven minutes to go in the third gave Canada a heart-stopping, gut-checking 2-1 win and a berth in the semi-finals against the United States.
Canada is trying to win its first Olympic championship outside of North America in 62 years and the 11th seeded Latvians, who’d lost their first three games in the men’s Olympic hockey tournament, seemed like an unlikely stumbling block. But they hung on with relentlessly determined defence, often having five forwards within arm’s length of Gudlevskis and closing off shooting lanes left, right and centre.
First semifinal game will be Finland vs. Sweden at 7:00am ET and can be viewed on NBCSN in the US and TSN in Canada.
The second game is USA against Canada at 12:00pm ET on NBCSN and CBC.
The Canadians squeaked out a 2-1 win over Latvia in the Olympic Quarterfinals, setting up a Friday semifinal against the U.S., but they'll be playing without a key contributor going forward:
Here's what the hit looked like:
Puck will drop on Thursday at 12:00pm ET on NBC and CBC.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Team Canada is breaking out the big-boy line Wednesday in its quarterfinal clash against the Switzerland-Latvia winner.
At practice Tuesday, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was placed on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, an absolute beast of a unit that has the potential to wreak havoc in the offensive zone.
There's some serious beef and talent in this trio:
• Perry, 6-foot-3, 212 pounds
• Getzlaf, 6-foot-4, 221 pounds
• Benn, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
"I had a chance to play with them a couple of years ago at the world championships," Benn said Tuesday after practice. "They're obviously skilled players, big guys who like to control the puck, control the play and use their big bodies down low. Hopefully we can find some chemistry."
continue for more on Team Canada after practice today...
from Jack Todd at Canada.com,
1) Why was P.K. Subban not out there?
2) And why, given the way both performed through the first two games of this tournament, was Chris Kunitz dressed while Martin St. Louis was not?
Babcock seems to fly by his pre-conceived notions. From the beginning, we’ve had the sense he didn’t want Subban on this team and nothing that has happened in Sochi has changed that perception.
But if Babcock doesn’t learn a little flexibility, he’s going to sink this ship. Babcock will go down with his jaw thrust out, motivational clichés dripping off him like rain from a leaky roof, his D-men locked into lefty-righty, players restricted to 34-second shifts — and Subban and St. Louis watching in street clothes.
One of Babcock’s preconceptions is that Pernell Karl is too high-risk. Another is that St. Louis is — well, we can’t imagine what he has against St. Louis, but if Babcock can point out any way in which Kunitz is a better player than the diminutive leader of the Lightning, we’d like to know what it is.
We all make mistakes. I didn’t think Jeff Carter belonged on this team. I could not have been more wrong. Carter has the wheels to go with his size and the play he made Sunday, flying up the middle to set up Doughty for the winner, was absolutely world-class. Thing is, my mistakes won’t affect Team Canada. Babcock’s will.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post at Canada.com,
If you were ever lucky enough to make Team Canada as a winger, and wanted to tell your kids you got to play in the Olympics with Sidney Crosby, you would have a pretty good chance. At the Olympics, everyone gets to play with Sidney Crosby, or near enough. Here in Sochi, in three games, Crosby has already played with Chris Kunitz, Jeff Carter, Martin St. Louis and, against Finland, Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn. Five more, and he collects the whole set.
It’s Vancouver redux, where Crosby played with six different combinations featuring six different players, ending with Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal. So why is playing with Canada’s greatest player so hard?
“I think he’s a tough guy to keep up with,” says Rick Nash, who was tried with three separate Crosby combinations in Vancouver. “He’s so fast. The way he thinks about the game seems like it’s far beyond everyone else’s process. It’s the same thing in the last Olympics, keep shuffling around until you found something that fit.”
“Whoever gets that chance shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves,” said Jonathan Toews, who also, a little oddly, played a few shifts with Crosby in Vancouver. “Just go play hockey. When you have the puck, look for whoever’s open; it doesn’t mean you have to get it to Sidney. I think he would tell you the same thing.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Team Canada received a bye to the Olympic quarterfinals, so they won't play again until Wednesday, but coach Mike Babcock feels that he shouldn't have tip his hat as to his personnel decisions early simply because the media wants him to:
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at Yahoo,
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock understood that beating Finland in regulation would have meant a favourable quarter-final matchup against either Slovenia or Austria, and he didn't take too kindly to being asked if he would have preferred that.
Not long after needing overtime to beat Finland 2-1 Sunday night at Bolshoy Ice Dome, Babcock leaned into the microphone and sharpened his tone.
"Do you think we didn't try to do that?" he said. "They tried to win, we tried to win."
Babcock looked over at Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund and asked: "You were trying to win, weren't you?"
Westerlund replied simply: "Yes. Congratulations."
continued and you can watch the press conference with both coaches below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Veteran winger Martin St. Louis will be a healthy scratch as Carey Price gets the start in goal as Team Canada faces Finland on Sunday night in its preliminary-round finale.
Price gets the nod over Roberto Luongo and it appears he's now been given the keys to the tournament as long as he delivers....
The decision to scratch St. Louis, who last game played on the top line with Sidney Crosby, was not an easy one. Babcock said it's been difficult every time he's told his scratches, including sitting Patrick Sharp and Dan Hamhuis last game, Matt Duchene in the opener, and now P.K. Subban twice.
"I told Sharpy he wasn't going, I told Subban, I told Duchene, these are great players, great people that are committed to us winning a medal," Babock said when asked about telling St. Louis he was out. "It's all about the medal. Don't get me wrong, it's personal, when you tell a guy [he's not playing], it's personal. But it's not about that, it's about Canada. What I do know about this tournament, when you win at the end you made the right decisions, if you don't, you get second-guessed."
Meanwhile, Babcock took out the blender for his forward lines, most notably splitting up Penguins linemates Chris Kunitz and Crosby.
Crosby skated between Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron at the pregame skate, while Kunitz was down on the fourth line with John Tavares, Rick Nash and Sharp on the rotating four-man unit.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Canadian Olympic team coach Mike Babcock intends to use his day off Saturday to do a lot of thinking about how his roster will look for the rest of the tournament. He certainly wasn’t tipping his hand at his news conference, but seemed to enjoy the cat and mouse game with reporters.
Which brings us to Chris Kunitz. Babcock faces a vexing question with respect to Kunitz, who has been almost invisible in Canada’s first two games, despite drawing significant minutes on the top line with his Pittsburgh Penguins running mate Sidney Crosby. Kunitz has looked overmatched and out of place against the two weakest opponents Canada is going to face in this tournament and there have to be concerns about how he responds to the tougher competition, which begins Sunday when Canada closes out its preliminary round against Finland.
If I’m Babcock, I need more out of my top nine forwards than I’m getting. Crosby has been actually quite good and has created a lot of opportunities and managed to draw an assist on one of Jeff Carter’s three goals against Austria. But having Kunitz on that line, for whatever reason, has been a bad fit and it’s something Babcock must address.
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock engaged in a fine jousting effort with the Canadian scribes trying to divine Babcock's lineup plans ahead of tomorrow's game against Finland (12 PM EST, CBC/USA Network), as the Winnipeg Free Press's Gary Lawless noted:
On what lineup changes he’ll make:
"I’ve got lots of plans, but the day is young. I haven’t been to curling yet. I haven’t been to the Russian game. We’ll see what happens. To me, we want to have the best team so the stats on any one player don’t matter to me and I don’t think they matter that much to the players. If you ask me enough questions and we stay here until nine o’clock you might get something from me. We’re talking about lineup tomorrow."
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
There was some history, but not the kind the U.S. women’s hockey team had in mind at Shayba Arena on Wednesday afternoon. When Hilary Knight tipped a shot behind Charline Labonte it was the first time Canada had trailed at an Olympics through 1,075 minutes 34 seconds of game play.
But that didn’t keep Canada from extending its win streak at this event to 18 games – dating all the way back to the 1998 final in Nagano – thanks to a disputed Hailey Wickenheiser goal in the third period. Consider it another layer to the hottest rivalry in women’s hockey.
Wickenheiser had already found Meghan Agosta-Marciano with a gorgeous pass to tie things up early in the third period when her shot trickled past American goaltender Jessie Vetter just 93 seconds later. The only problem was that referee Anna Eskola had clearly blown the whistle before it crossed the goal-line.
However, the goal survived a video review – much to the dismay of U.S. coach Katey Stone – and helped lift Canada to a 3-2 victory in its final round robin game.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brandon Sun,
Team Canada will split goaltending duties for the first two games of the Olympics, as Carey Price will start the opener against Norway and Roberto Luongo will play against Austria.
Coach Mike Babcock delivered the news to the goaltenders on Wednesday, roughly 36 hours before puck drop of the Norway game. Babcock had one plan all along but didn't give a rationale for why he chose this order.
"I was going to play one of them in (each of) the first two games," Babcock said. "If I had put Luongo in, you'd be asking me the same question."
from Jordan Bowman and Wyatt Arndt of the Vancouver Province,
...the roster is comprised of some NHL players who, as Canucks fans, we are used to hating (a Boston Bruin is on the team!). So, in the spirit of national unity, here is how we talk about each player during the season, and how we will talk about him during the Olympic tournament.
During the season: Not a biggame player at all. He played more than 700 games before making it to the playoffs. What a loser.
During the Olympics: Playoffs take such a physical toll on a player's body, so it's great to have Bouwmeester. He's 30, but has the body of an 18-year-old.
During the season: Captain Serious? More like Captain Overrated.
During the Olympics: We respect how Toews is embracing the sombre stereotype of the host country, Russia!
We said in August at the U.S. orientation camp that this group could take the next step in the Olympic evolution -- and there's no reason to back off that belief. Gold medal.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN in his breakdown of Team USA.
I still harbor questions about Canada's ability to feel comfortable on big ice no matter how much preparation it made. But given Sweden's injury issues and the incredible pressure on host Russia, there's certainly a strong chance for gold here.
-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN in his breakdown of Team Canada.
Christine Simpson of Sportsnet had a short chat with Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock discussing the remarks from Ed Snider.
Mike Babcock joined Sportnet's Hockey Central at Noon and talked Team Canada.
He also mentioned Datsyuk returning to the Wings on Thursday around the 13:50 mark.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
If he can’t go for the Lightning in a game before heading to Russia, he shouldn’t go.
I’d rather break his heart than have him break something else, even in the name of Canada....
It’s just three weeks until hockey begins in Sochi.
The Lightning appear playoff bound.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman can’t listen to Stamkos’ heart.
It’s complicated, since Yzerman is also GM for Team Canada. By the way, Y needs to drop one of those gigs after these Games. We’ve seen from the Marty St. Louis Olympic snub that Yzerman is in an awkward position. Now it’s stranger still with Stamkos’ situation.
I think Yzerman, with the doctors, will make the right call.
Stamkos’ heart can’t be the tiebreaker.
"Well, I don't think you can stand here and say there's not concerns at all [about Sochi security. You don't like seeing what's going on but there's no doubt that what's happened lately is certainly -- they're trying to obviously shake us and probably in a lot of cases they are succeeding. But that is the thing that we have to do: We have to try and fight through that.
"At the same time, you have to hope that the people in charge are doing the best they can. There's never any guarantees in this life and you'd like to make it as safe as possible. That's basically all I can say, because my job is to go there and help coach a team and hope that the people in charge of that are going to do the best job they can and make it a successful Olympics."
-Claude Julien, head coach of the Boston Bruins and assistant coach for Team Canada. More from Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston plus a video report regarding security at Sochi from ESPN.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Mike Babcock likes to say that gold-medal preparation yields gold-medal results. The players who were with him at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics can claim that they have their gold medals in part because of that very philosophy.
Canada won gold four years ago and will try to defend it next month with Babcock behind the bench at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"Everything was laid out there for us when we got to the Olympics," Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith told NHL.com. "We were very well-prepared in what we wanted to accomplish on the ice as far as our systems and the way we wanted to play as a team. It was also communicated to us very clearly about what the other team's tendencies were, how they played their systems and the players on their team. That was one thing that stood out for me was how well prepared we were as players."
That preparation has players like Keith and the 10 others who played for Canada in Vancouver trusting that Babcock again is the ideal coach for them in a short tournament.
While his success in the NHL is well known -- Babcock is a Stanley Cup champion (2008), a three-time Cup Finalist (2003, 2008, 2009) and the third-fastest coach in history to reach 400 wins, behind Scotty Bowman and Glen Sather -- he has had great success in international tournaments.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
While there are many positives to be said about the naming of the men’s Olympic hockey team, the best thing about the event may be it puts an end to everyone within reach of a microphone or a keyboard playing general manager Lego with the 40-or-so names under consideration for the 25 jobs.
Only in Canada could you fill the stands of a hockey arena to watch middle-aged men in dark suits take turns reading from a list of names. If it looked at times like good church wardens moving up to read the gospel, so be it. The faithful were all ears and, in the end, cheers.
“Our goal,” Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut said. “Easy. Finish No. 1.”
No pressure here.
So seriously do Canadians take this team that they once watched live, coast to coast, as a press conference was held to announce the third goaltender for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, a player who would never play a game and not even dress for most.
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
This is the second time Yzerman has snubbed St. Louis from an Olympic spot. In 2010, St. Louis was boiling mad at Yzerman and Yzerman had yet to join the Lightning. Imagine how St. Louis feels today.
Be warned, Lightning fans: this could get ugly.
It's going to be a problem for Yzerman. It's going to be a problem for the Lightning.
St. Louis is angry and he has every right to be.
He was just told by Yzerman that his services aren't needed to win a gold medal, and now Yzerman is going to ask him to go out and lead the Lightning to a Stanley Cup.
Yeah, good luck with that.
St. Louis is a proud man. He desperately wanted to play for Canada in next month's Olympics. Now you have to wonder just how badly he wants to play for the Lightning.
FYI, St. Louis did not talk about Team Canada post-game except to say he is "extremely disappointed".
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
And now comes the fun part.
In the wake of today’s announcement of Team Canada’s roster for Sochi (and the Frenglish filibuster that proceeded it), a hockey-crazed nation and some interested outsiders have descended into second-guessing, name-calling, despair and recrimination over the players who did, or didn’t, make the cut.
But allow me to offer a bit of advice.
Steve Yzerman didn’t make a single mistake in naming his team today. Not one. That opinion, of course, is subject to change if O Canada isn’t the final anthem played in Sochi, but, now, at this moment, this squad looks fully capable of defending the gold medal an Yzerman-built team won in Vancouver four years ago.
So what if your favorite guy didn’t make the cut? Let it go. This isn’t about favorites. None of these players were the sentimental choices of one man. The best hockey minds in the country (the protestations of Oilers’ fans are duly noted here) spent months vetting these players and with upwards of 60 legitimate options, and just 25 roster spots, there were bound to be a few choices that raised the ire of a nation of armchair GMs.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
As the man most responsible for assembling Canada’s Olympic team, Steve Yzerman faces more pressure than any hockey executive in the world. And unless and until Canada wins a gold medal in Sochi, his selections for the team will be questioned and parsed and debated. It comes with the territory.
But it’s crystal clear by his choices that the one thing you cannot question about Steve Yzerman is his integrity. Yzerman and his management team picked the 25 players they believe give Canada its best chance to win a gold medal and that group did not include his own player, Martin St-Louis.
Talk about courage. It would have been very easy for Yzerman to overrule his management group and take St-Louis for the team. He could have easily justified it, saying that it was all about duos. After all, the team has Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo, who patrol the blueline together in St. Louis. It has Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. He could have easily pointed to the tandem of St-Louis and Steven Stamkos, who is expected to be ready to play for Canada.