Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: winter oiympics
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
Brace yourself, Bridget, but Usual Suspects is about to agree with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Unless it gets a share of the profits and more influence on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the NHL shouldn’t go to Russia.
The Olympic TV impact is negligible in most of the American burgs where Bettman has hawked franchises, the elite players are exhausted by the travel and it punishes the NHL regional broadcasters who must go on hiatus at a time when hockey has the stage almost alone to itself in February.
Plus, the NHL gets bupkis in return. As it stands now, the panjandrums of the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation are telling the league to butt out, they’ll be the ones to collect the cash. They’ll also tell you what uniforms teams can wear, how often you’ll play and probably how much luggage you’re entitled to bring.
It’s a one-sided deal, one not reflecting the NHL’s leverage: the world’s best hockey players.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Yes, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch had to wait in line outside GM Place at the Vancouver Olympics.
And the NHL couldn’t get its own network accredited to cover the games.
And the league couldn’t use any highlights from the Games on its website even though its own players were playing in the tournament.
And NHL GMs have had trouble gaining access and information about their players during the Olympics.
And the 2014 Sochi Games may not be on in prime time.
There are challenges to playing in the Olympics. Many, perhaps. But what a shining chance for the NHL to preserve something great and unique; what a shining chance to pay back the players and fans and the league itself by not giving in to the impulse to walk away from the Olympics because it’s inconvenient.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
A modest prediction now that the 2010 Winter Olympic men’s hockey tournament is in the books: Four years from now, in Sochi, the NHL will be back with full participation - even if commissioner Gary Bettman is publicly dragging his heels over making a commitment now.
It isn’t just because the NHL got its preferred final either. Canada against the United States for the gold medal guaranteed fabulous television ratings and garnered interest in the sport across North America. (NBC even televised it live on the West Coast. That’s progress.)
Remember, Bettman is two things primarily: a lawyer and a skilled negotiator. It was his ability to craft deals that ultimately got him the job in the first place.
As a negotiator, Bettman is not about to give anything away he could potentially use as a chip - not with new collective bargaining agreement talks coming in 2012.
added 6:14am on 3/2/10, A few comments about a misleading headline and I agree, sorry for the confusion. I changed the headline to stop the confusion.
The Media All-Star Team, selected by members of the accredited media at Canada Hockey Place, was announced at the end of the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold medal game on Sunday.
Goaltender: Ryan MILLER (USA)
Defenceman: Brian RAFALSKI (USA)
Defenceman: Shea WEBER (CAN)
Forward: Pavol DEMITRA (SVK)
Forward: Jonathan TOEWS (CAN)
Forward: Zach PARISE (USA)
Most valuable player: Ryan MILLER (USA)
Tournament Directorate Best Player Awards
Goaltender: Ryan MILLER (USA)
Defenceman: Brian RAFALSKI (USA)
Forward: Jonathan TOEWS (CAN)
Robson Square in Vancouver may be the place to keep an eye on after the Gold Medal Game.
Watch the live stream below and thanks to Miss604 (make sure to visit the site for a local flavor of the Games) for the pointer.
from the Wall Street Journal,
If several NHL owners are nervously watching the Olympic hockey semifinals Friday, it’s with good reason. More than $300 million worth of hockey players are still participating in the tournament, risking injury for the sake of national pride.
Not surprisingly, Team Canada leads the way with a combined “payroll” of nearly $128 million. The Canadians, a team made up entirely of NHL stars, earn more money than the combined price of the entire Slovakian and Finnish teams, two other remaining squads in the tournament. (Note: For the five Finns and nine Slovaks who aren’t currently playing in the NHL, we used their most-recent NHL salary.)
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Here are 11 players who have enjoyed eye-catching performances in Vancouver.
Pavol Demitra, Vancouver Canucks—Injuries have made Demitra a forgotten man for the Canucks, having appeared in just 11 games this season. But the Olympics have seen him return to the ice and be a very effective player for Slovakia. In five games, Demitra has 2 goals and 5 assists….
Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues—Team USA veteran Chris Drury told NHL.com that the young defenseman’s looks are deceiving.
“My wife, we get in the elevator at the hotel and she sees them and they leave the elevators and she says, ‘That kid is not on your team, he looks like he is 9.’ He’s on my team and he is one of the best players in the world.”...
Will it be a Canada/USA final?
A note to NBC affiliates across the USA. Please don’t cut away to local programming right after the final horn sounds of the Finland/USA game. Hockey fans enjoy watching the post-game and I am sure would appreciate your station staying with the broadcast.
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
All it took was one whirlwind stretch Wednesday, and the entire Olympic hockey tournament was flipped right back to where it started: Canada is the heavy gold-medal favorite.
Down went Russia, pummeled by the suddenly rejuvenated Canadians.
Down went Sweden, the 2006 champion, outhustled by the upstart Slovaks.
Just like that, the best offensive and best defensive teams, respectively, were out of Canada’s path, the only two that could challenge or exceed Canada in either facet. And all that is left of the field will play out on the dual semifinal stage today at Canada Hockey Place:
Is it a done deal?
Not so long as three other teams still can dream of that gold.
from Lucas Aykroyd at IIHF.com,
Best goals-against average for a 2010 semi-final starting goalie: Ryan Miller (USA), 1.25
Best save percentage for a 2010 semi-final starting goalie: Miikka Kiprusoff (Finland), 94.6
Number of previous Olympic semi-final appearances for Slovakia: 0 (does not include 1992 appearance under flag of Czechoslovakia)
Most goals by one player in an Olympic semi-final: 5 Russia’s Pavel Bure vs. Finland, final score 7-4 Russia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has cancelled his visit to Vancouver to attend the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on Sunday evening, CBC News has learned….
No official reason for the cancellation was given, but Olympic protocol does not require the president of the next host country to attend the closing ceremonies.
Instead, it is the mayor of the host city that is expected to receive the Olympic flag at the end of the Games.
But the news follows the defeat of the Russian men’s hockey team 7-3 by Canada on Wednesday night. It was the first time in history the Russians exited the Olympic tournament without playing for a medal.
from Michael Rosenberg at Sports Illustrated,
The NHL is supposedly thinking about skipping the 2014 Olympics. Now, this is a brilliant idea. On Wednesday night, as I watched Canada’s Dan Boyle thread a gorgeous backhanded pass to Ryan Getzlaf for a goal, kick-starting a 7-3 victory over Russia and making Viagra unnecessary in Canada, I thought, “Dammit, I should be watching Predators-Blue Jackets right now.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cannot be serious about this. These Olympics are the best show hockey has put on in years. Why would he want to stop that?
The NHL should not just commit to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia—Bettman should offer to grab two hockey sticks and paddle his way across the Atlantic.
This is a no-brainer. And to really understand why, you have to understand the internal squabble in this sport for the last few decades between two groups: purists and marketers.
from Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated,
The National Hockey League is dubious about whether the Olympics really do promote the league, so, come 2014, why truck all the way to some arena in Russia just to help the IOC sell tickets? Look, if the Olympics want hockey, well, let the mountain come to Mohammed, let the NHL boys play for their gold medal in Montreal, Toronto and Madison Square Garden. This business of jamming everything into one place just because the Greeks kept things in Olympia seems so outdated today.
Whatever, these next few nights are probably the swan song for NBC’s winter bacchanalia. ESPN, with all its cable riches, will undoubtedly win the contract for Sochi and Rio, too, for the summer of ‘16.
more on the Olympics…
Christine Simpson is your host.
Otherwise known as four teams get eliminated.
NHL.com has also set up a bracket view of the tournament.
Behind the scenes at the Bud Club in Vancouver.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
If Canada can’t get past Russia later this week, the consortium can say goodbye to a potential ratings bonanza. Sunday’s game against the United States, a loss that raised blood pressure across the land, was the most-watched sports program in Canadian history.
According to BBM Canada overnight ratings, the game was seen by an average of 10.6 million, more than the 10.3 million who watched the gold medal final on CBC at Salt Lake City in 2002. Sunday’s audience may be dwarfed by the number tuning in for Wednesday’s quarterfinal against Russia, assuming Canada gets past Germany on Tuesday.
Sunday’s average was 2.4 million more than what MSNBC averaged in the U.S. NBC took some heat from the U.S. press for not airing hockey on its main channel. Considering how good the game it was, they’re right.
more TV talk…
So says Bodog.com.
As of today…
Czech Republic 12/1
Odds before the start of Olympic Hockey…
Qualification Playoffs on Tuesday, February 23:
Switzerland (8) vs. Belarus (9), 3:00 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays USA on Wednesday)
Canada (6) vs. Germany (11), 7:30 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays Russia on Wednesday)
Czech Republic (5) vs. Latvia (12), 10:00 pm ET, UBC Thunderbird Arena (winner plays Sweden on Wednesday)
Slovakia (7) vs. Norway (10), Midnight ET, Canada Hockey Place (winner plays Sweden on Wednesday)
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The team that came into this Olympic tournament relishing its role as the underdog has now become the hunted.
The United States, which is threatening to run away with the overall medal count in the Olympics, enters the meat of the hockey tournament as the No. 1 seed, thanks to its 3-0-0 record and the brilliant goaltending of Ryan Miller.
And for that, the Americans have become legitimate contenders for the gold medal. That’s because en route to the final, defending Olympic champion Sweden, defending world champion Russia and pre-tournament favorite Canada all find themselves in the same bracket. The Americans, meanwhile, have only the Czechs and Finland among the world hockey powers on their side.
from Andrew Podnieks at IIHF.com,
Of course, it won’t be until later tonight we can definitely answer this question, but it might be that today is the single greatest day in Olympic hockey history (to this point). Three games. Three rivalries. Six teams that all want to win. Olympic hockey does not get better than this.
Credit must be given first and foremost to this new tournament format to create the first of three “super days” in a row. A quick summary shows the strengths of the new format. Three groups of four teams each play a round robin within each group. This is nothing new. But then all teams are placed in one standings of 12 teams. The top four receive byes directly to the quarter-finals, while teams seeded fifth through twelfth must face off against each other for the other four spots in the quarters.
This is the key element to the structure. Of course, the three top teams in each group will all get byes, but that fourth team could come from any group. The cynic might say the format is weak because no team is eliminated in the preliminary round. BUT, winning every game in this round is critical, and the format demands every team try to win every game by as many goals as possible, which is ideal.
continued plus a look at the games today…
from John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
How can Olympic hockey not be more compelling than the mercenary version peddled by the NHL, a league that consistently ranks last among the four major sports in television ratings? Anyone who watched Canada’s thrilling shoot-out win over Switzerland could sense the obvious urgency and pressure.
That’s how it goes in the Olympics - the game feels more intense. When Chris Pronger (who is suiting up for the Canadians) was asked what might happen if he has a chance to unleash a punishing check on Flyers teammate Kimmo Timonen (who is playing for the glory of his fellow Finns), he didn’t hesitate. “Sucks to be him,” Pronger told The Inquirer.
The Olympics are like a hockey civil war - brother fighting brother in the name of emancipating our (or at least your) puck-loving souls. Then, when the last drop of blood is shed and the final biscuit has been fired into the basket, they will reunite for the good of the union.
Tell the truth: You’re a little verklempt, aren’t you?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
On Saturday night, Czech fans held a mini-parade after Jagr and Friends had knocked off tiny Latvia. Several miles away on Davie St. in the west end, a tiny clutch of Finns carrying their national flag chanted, “Suomi, Suomi” as they began the long trek to Canada Hockey Place to see their heroes take on Germany.
Saturday afternoon, Norway and Switzerland staged a marvellously entertaining round-robin game that included a penalty shot in the opening minute, with the Swiss ultimately eking out a 5-4 overtime victory. The Norwegians, without a win so far, were understandably distressed, but that didn’t stop them from raising their gloved hands to applaud the fans as they departed the ice surface….
That is why, you see, Gary Bettman would be wise to tone down his we-may-not-want-to-do-this-anymore rhetoric a wee bit.
This is a hockey street party at which you don’t want to be seen as the guy who won’t move his car. If you don’t like this, you don’t like hockey, which is fine, of course, but hardly the stance one of the sport’s leading statesmen wants to be perceived as taking.
What is making this tourney soar — and an unforgettable conclusion will still be necessary to make it truly historic — is that there is flavour to this beyond the NHL, beyond what the colourless World Cup produces or even, for that matter, the occasionally exotic world championship.
This is the best of everything the game can offer from pretty much every nook and cranny of the known hockey universe. This is the pinnacle.
It would be a shame, in four years’ time, if there were no NHL players at the Winter Games in Sochi - no superstars to appear on television across the globe - because they were being kept safely wrapped up for North America to enjoy. Everyone should know who Sidney Crosby is. Everyone should know the game he’s playing.
-Ollie Williams at his BBC blog. Read more on this topic…
from Jeff Z. Klein and Charles McGrath of the New York Times,
Sunday’s Olympic men’s hockey matchup between Canada and the United States is not the end of the world — not quite.
The loser will not be eliminated but will have to play an extra game to get to the quarterfinals. As this tournament has demonstrated, the more games a team plays, the more chances that something unexpected will happen.
Then there are the sociopolitical implications of the Canada-United States game.
“This is going to be unbelievable,” United States Coach Ron Wilson said. “It’s going to be on every TV in Canada and a good number in America. Anyone who is a hockey fan will be watching.
“It’s going to be a great day for hockey.”
from Edward Fraser of The Hockey News,
So with the Olympics in full swing, it’s the perfect time to rank the 13 countries taking part in hockey. Although this is my blog, I thought it best to employ the same method we used for our league rankings. A panel of THN staffers and interns debated the pros and cons of each outfit and if a deadlock was reached, it was put to a vote….
I’ve been a proponent of the use of the coat of arms up to this point, but for our unlucky No. 13, its addition would have best been a subtraction. Lions and angry birds symbolize power and, vis-a-vis, victory. Grain, flower, ribbon and sunshine? Not so much. The font and sleeve striping also leave a lot to be desired.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
On Sunday, three of the world’s best rivalries will be played in a hockey tripleheader expected to be as intense as anything in these Olympic Games. Canada plays the United States, Russia plays the Czech Republic and Finland plays Sweden.
All three are huge rivalries, and they’re also rematches of the past three Winter Olympic gold medal games.
“What’s the odds of that? I think maybe someone had something to do with that,” Sweden forward Henrik Zetterberg said with a smile. “It’s good for the fans, and it’s good for us, too. We enjoy playing against each other.”
In what was touted as the best hockey tournament ever assembled—and the tight, exciting games so far have lived up to that hype—Sunday could be the pinnacle. Or at least as big as the gold medal game.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
The one-game philosophy sure makes it interesting, even in 2010 where logic tells you Team Canada has more than enough goods to win this thing. Or the Russians, with their strong goaltending and potent offense.
“If you were to put us against Canada in 82 games, I don’t like our chances,” Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson said. “But to play them one game, we definitely can beat them.”
“I don’t think it’s a given that Canada’s going to win. Not at all,” American forward Ryan Malone told reporters. “I mean, I can understand why people here feel that way. There’s a lot of pride. Canadians learn to play hockey before they go to church. But I look around at the players I’ve seen here today, and I see not just two or three teams that can win this. I see a lot of them.”
“That’s the biggest thing of all,” Malone said. “It’s just one game. Anything can happen.”
Here is a daily look at what’s being said about the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament.
• A statistical note after Day 1: Individual ice time figures are far below what we would see in a typical NHL game. According to stats at the IIHF website, only one Russian player hit 17 minutes (Konstantin Korneyev, 17:00), leading U.S. player was Erik Johnson (19:23), the leading Canadian player was Dan Boyle (20:12). There are 129 players averaging 20:12 or more in the NHL this season.
• Iginla on the standings tie-breaker: “It came up before the game. It came up between periods, because the goal differential may be a big part of this. We tried to stay focused as the game went on, for every line to keep pushing. Get a power play. We need those goals.”
Scroll to the 2 minute mark to hear Bredan’s views…
Here is where you can find the Olympic hockey tournament games on Feb. 16.
3-5:30 pm ET—U.S. vs. Swiss men, TSN & RDS
5:30-8 pm ET—U.S vs. Russia women, APTN,
7:30-10 pm ET,—Canada vs. Norway men, CTV
8:30-11 pm ET— Canada vs. Norway men, RDS
11 pm-1 am ET— Finland vs. China women, RDS
12-2:30 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, CTV
1-3 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, RDS
3-6 pm ET—U.S. vs. Swiss men, USA
5:30—8 pm ET—U.S. vs. Russia women, MSNBC
8-10 pm ET—Canada vs. Norway men, CNBC
10 pm-12:30 am ET—Finland vs. China women, CNBC
12:30-2:30 am ET (Wed)—Russia vs. Latvia men, CNBC
added 11:17am, My NHL.com blog today, basically on watching the Olympics. Enjoy and someone knock my socks off with a beverage or a unique food item to bring to my home.
from John Keating of FoxSports Detroit,
Vancouver is the fourth Olympiad that has held a hockey tournament of NHL players. It should be the last.
What are we proving here? This is a league that has determined that the only fair, or really possible way, to determine a championship is to play a seven-game series and that each of those games will go to overtime, if needed.
Yet, what we have here is “The Hot Goalie Open.” A one-and-done collection of All-Star Games. For the right to determine the best on the planet, we allot the teams a grand total of one practice together and then it’s game-on.
The Miracle on Ice team of Herb Brooks was a once in a lifetime fluke. But they played together for seven months. Their opponents were likely together for longer than that. But how novel that a team competition was actually played by, ya know, teams.
The mens preliminary round starts tomorrow with three games being played Tuesday through Sunday (game times are consistent all week, 3pm, 7:30pm & 11:55pm ET).
See the complete preliminary schedule below or if you have trouble locating USA Network, CNBC and MSNBC on your TV, click here and the channel number will be displayed for your location.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
The 2010 Winter Olympics has the ingredients to be the best international hockey tournament ever.
“We have the best environment possible in our 100 years,” said Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, the organizing body for the tournament. “If it will be the best tournament, I don’t know. But it is our most important tournament for sure.”
The players and teams involved in playing the 30 games of this tournament will determine if it is the best of the four Olympics that have involved NHL players since the experiment started in Nagano in 1998. But, it is impossible to imagine it not being the case.
Why? Because the best players in the world have all congregated in this city to wage a pitched battle for gold. It should be unforgettable theater.
from the CP at CTVOlympics,
Canada opened its Vancouver Games account with an 18-0 thumping of Slovakia on Saturday. On Sunday, questions about the lopsided score were raised at the daily IOC-VANOC joint briefing.
IOC director of communications Mark Adams said the issue was not raised between the two organizations
“Clearly if you’re on the losing side of a hiding, it’s never much fun,’’ said the Briton, who watched the game. “But I’m sure they had a great experience and I’m sure they’re thankful to be Olympians.
“You know these things happen in all sports, at all levels. They’re a good team but clearly yesterday Canada were the better team - by a long way.’‘
Asked about a possible mercy rule, Adams said: “It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure it would have been good last night. I enjoyed watching the game.’‘