Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 02/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET
The IIHF is producing “giggity”-inducing moments, thanks to their ridiculous insistence on advocating for the “good of the game” while simply promoting their own dues-paying European partners’ bottom lines, on a daily basis. Last night, they essentially posted an infomercial praising Rene “the Dentist” Fasel as a sort of hockey saint instead of a creepy, self-serving shill who makes Gary Bettman seem warm and fuzzy by comparison, and now Lukas Aykroyd attended the AHL’s All-Star Game to watch its seven European participants, salivate over the suggestion that the AHL may play an All-Star Game against European or KHL opponents, and offer the following lament:
In the meantime, big questions remain for this year’s European AHL All-Stars. Will Swedish forward Linus Klasen fulfill his NHL dreams by starring with Nashville? Or will he bide his time with the Milwaukee Admirals, unable to showcase his skills like his role models, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexei Kovalev? Will his countryman Johan Harju graduate to the Tampa Bay Lightning, or wonder whether he’d be better off contending for his second straight IIHF World Championship medal with Tre Kronor instead of grinding it out with the Norfolk Admirals? And where does undrafted college blueliner Erik Gustafsson fit into Philadelphia’s big picture? Are young Russian AHLers Sergei Shirokov and Vyacheslav Voinov destined to shine with Vancouver and Los Angeles? Or was the KHL really a better fit for them at this time?
“It’s a bit of a concern for the Finnish league that they’re losing the top players,” admitted Ilari Filppula, last year’s SM-Liiga playoff MVP, who’s joined the Grand Rapids Griffins in hopes of making it to Detroit to play with his brother Valtteri. “It’s something to think about.”
Only time will tell which individual Europeans pan out as top performers and which ones become journeymen. But history shows that generally the best way for Europeans to enjoy the sweet taste of hockey success is to get strong on a home-cooked training diet before sinking their teeth into the NHL.
In case you missed it, last week, Aykroyd suggested that the NHL ought to, again, “for the good of the game,” play an All-Star game against an IIHF (i.e. European) All-Star Team, if not hold the All-Star Game in Europe, or, as the IIIHF’s been dreaming forever, pit the Stanley Cup champion against the Champions Hockey League’s Victoria Cup winner for a “real” trophy representing world hockey supremacy.
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