Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: olympics
Over the past couple of months, the debate as to whether the NHL should participate in Olympic hockey has included enthusiastic support from players, the NHL's most conservative (and powerful) owners insisting that Olympic participation is a, Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Thing, and of course Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Donald Fehr and Rene Fasel playing all sorts of verbal chess.
This morning, the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa suggests that neither the players, owners, commissioner, the NHLPA or the IIHF will end up deciding whether we'll see NHL'ers playing in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. Instead, Shinzawa (writing his weekly notebok) suggests that the resident American Olympic broadcaster--and the NHL's current U.S. broadcasting partner--may make the decision for the parties involved:
The New York Post's Larry Brooks ponders the fates of Ryan Callahan, Thomas Vanek and Marian Gaborik in his weekly notebook, but the part that caught my attention involves an issue regarding which Sweden's starting goaltender at Sochi Olympics and Team Canada's coach are in complete agreement:
Team Sweden’s security blanket that goes by the name of Henrik Lundqvist has concerns over security in Sochi, but that’s not the only reason the royal family won’t be accompanying the King to the Olympics.
“It is a few different things,” Lundqvist told Slap Shots on Friday night. “Security is one of them, but I don’t know how things are going to be set up for families over there. So I’m not going to have anyone there with me. I think it is better that way.”
The NHLPA has not issued any broad-based advisories to its membership, and there is no unanimity on the matter, but several agents and players have said the union, citing a lack of suitable hotels and accommodations outside of the Olympic compound where the players will be housed, is recommending families don’t make the trip.
When Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke with our local NBC affiliate regarding bringing his family to Sochi versus bringing his family to Vancouver, he cited the distance, language, culture and the difficulties in coordinating familial activities half a world away.
Brooks continues, and I'm guessing that Lundqvist and Babcock aren't alone in choosing to ask their families to cheer from home...
From Andrew Podnieks at the New York Times’ Slapshot:
In truth, comparing the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Olympics tournament is like comparing apples and oranges, but it’s worth a shot anyway.
Time. The playoffs are two months of hell. Vancouver or Boston could play 25 games in the postseason before it wins the Cup, and this after 82 regular-season games and more in the preseason. These are the most intense, physical games a player can subject himself to. The Olympics lasts about two weeks and features, at most, seven games these days. Indeed, this is one of the defining differences between the events.
Skill. Let’s face it: the Olympics blows the Cup out of the water for quality of content. Any chance Aaron Rome, Tanner Glass or Johnny Boychuk will be in Sochi? Sorry, boys, but no. To get to the Olympics, you have to be one of the 20 best players in your country, and that is a quality that takes 20 years of training to accomplish. You can win a Cup simply by being a trade deadline acquisition, a summer free agent signing or a postseason call-up from the minors.
read on for more comparisons
P.S. More on this topic from Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy today, as well
So says Sergei Zubov who talked with Elliotte Friedman during the Inside Hockey segment on the HNIC pre-game show.
USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean will be the guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour with Gary Bettman. From NHL.com:
Ogrean will discuss the second annual Hockey Weekend Across America, which begins Friday, Feb. 13 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 15. Hockey Weekend Across America celebrates hockey and those involved in the game at all levels and also seeks to expose the game to additional audiences to attract more players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans to the sport.
Ogrean’s booking on the NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman also coincides with the one-year countdown to the start of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. The Games represent the 30th anniversary of the U.S. ‘Miracle On Ice’ at Lake Placid and the 50th anniversary of the U.S. capturing the Olympic gold at Squaw Valley.
The show is on from 4-5 p.m. ET on XM Satellite Radio (204) and Sirius (208). You can also listen live online at the NHL Network Online once the show starts.
* While on the air, listeners can call into the show at 1-877-645-6696, or send questions/comments to this email address: email@example.com
**Archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.
From Mark Herrmann at Newsday.com:
When everyone looks back on it, this Islanders season might not seem a total loss after all. Aside from possibly helping them ace the draft lottery, 2008-09 looks from here as if it will be remembered as the season Kyle Okposo really earned his NHL sweater, and a USA Olympic jersey.
It is not too early to think about Okposo’s future, which looks brighter by the day. It definitely is not too early to think about next February and the Vancouver Winter Games.
The 2010 Olympics qualification games are underway in Europe, and Germany has now locked up a spot in next year’s big hockey fest in Vancouver. From the IIHF:
Despite the fact that there is still one day left in the Group E qualification tournament, Germany sealed its spot after winning its first two games and earning six points. Austria, Slovenia and Japan all have two points heading into the last day and cannot catch the Germans in the standings.
Germany also found itself in the hockey news recently on another front: they’re seeking to set a world record for attendance at a single hockey game.
The current record is 74,554 fans who attended a college match between Michigan and Michigan State on October 6, 2001, in the American Football stadium of East Lansing, Michigan.
German organizers expect to break that record with the the opening game of the 2010 world hockey championships, with 75,976 tickets available to the public. The tickets finally went on sale a couple days ago, and reports from Germany (thanks to a KK reader) are that they’ve already sold 35,000 seats—and the game is still 15 months away!
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,
“I am now a U.S. Olympian, which gives me thrills,” Burke told Sportsnet.ca on Tuesday. “I wasn’t a good enough player to represent the U.S. in international competition. This is truly a tremendous honour in my opinion.”
Burke was GM of the 1993 U.S. world championship team and helped put together the previous two world championship squads, but this is his first crack at the big show. And it’s not lost on him that 2010 might be it for the world’s very best players.
“When you add to it the potential historical significance, that this well may be the very last Olympics that involves NHL players, then I think it is a very historically important event,” Burke said from his Anaheim office.
Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca gets a 19-month jump plotting his Team Canada Olympic lineup for the 2010 games:
There’s still an NHL season and a half to play out, but as we sit here in May 2008, here’s who I would dress for the February 2010 Games.
Up front, these are my nine offensive guys at forward, in no particular order: Crosby, Eric Staal, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Toews. Don’t be surprised by the last name, he’s a stud and 19 months from now you won’t question Toews on the Olympic team.
And in other international hockey news…
Geraldine Heaney, Angela James and Cammie Granato made women’s hockey history on Thursday. The trio of pioneers became the first women players inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, along with former superstar Mario Lemieux, Russian great Igor Larionov and the first French player ever to skate in the NHL, Philippe Bozon.
more here with video
Update 11:10am ET: A conversation with Larionov on the occasion of his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame, discussing everything from the NHL to the state of Russian hockey.
From this week’s “Friday Faceoff” with Damien Cox and Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Scott: Hello, Damian. Everywhere I look, I’m reading discussions and debates about the Vancouver Olympics, which are just under two years away. I see you wrote on it earlier this week. I did as well. What’s the deal? Why are people so pumped about an event that’s some 730 days away?
Damien: Well, I can’t speak for the United States of America and how much interest there is there as of yet. But here in Canada, this will be, of course, the first Olympics held in our country since the Calgary Games in 1988.
more, and worth the read. At one point Cox even remarks to Burnside, “I think you’re just not very bright.”
I think these two are gradually morphing into a bitter, married couple.
From Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
And he would like nothing better than to be part of the Canadian contingent that is seeking to repeat the championship effort turned in by Joe Sakic and company back in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
“It actually crossed my mind when I was watching Team Canada at the 2006 Games in Turin,” Ruff said yesterday. “I just thought to myself that it would be nice to be involved. It’s a tremendous honour just to be considered in any capacity.”
Ruff’s name already has been discussed by Hockey Canada officials, joining a list of candidates that includes New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter, St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray, the Detroit Red Wings’ Mike Babcock, Stanley Cup-winning coach Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes’ Wayne Gretzky.
From Frank Deford at SI,
...the National Hockey League and the ice hockey federations of the United States and Canada should advise the IOC that after the 2010 Games in Vancouver, the U.S. and Canada will no longer compete in hockey in the Winter Olympics. It is perfectly ridiculous for major-league team sports to kowtow to the Olympics. [...]
What basketball and hockey ought to do is set up joint international tournaments for exactly this time of year—just as the NBA and NHL seasons begin. These world championships would be held every four years, in an odd-numbered year, like this one. I think 2011 would be a good start.
From Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
Sitting neatly on a bookshelf in the library of Steve Yzerman’s suburban home are a number of his favourite shiny shinny keepsakes from on and off the ice.
Sprinkled between some of his daughters’ soccer trophies are several sparkling baubles that would make the eyes of any rabid hockey fan bulge.
Three Stanley Cup trophies. A 2002 Olympic gold medal. Another gold medal, this one from the 2007 World Championship in Moscow. Of course, there always is room for more. Yzerman will make room if need be.
Especially if the prize is Olympic gold from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.