Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 10 mins ago
TORONTO – Before Game 1 of their best-of-three World Cup of Hockey final, Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger offered a mission statement for his players.
“We want to make it difficult for Canada to win the World Cup. We’d like to get in the way of that,” he said.
Mission almost accomplished. Team Europe, made up of non-North American players who didn’t have national teams in the World Cup, gave the Canadians their most difficult game of the tournament and biggest scare, before the host nation settled down for a 3-1 win on Tuesday night in Toronto.
Canada takes a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 of the series is on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre.
Once again, it was Canada’s dominant top line of Brad Marchand (1 goal, 1 assist), Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 1 assist), and Sidney Crosby (2 assists) that led the way.
Marchand continued to make the World Cup his bar mitzvah as an offensive star, notching his fourth goal of the tournament just 12 seconds after his minor penalty for cross-checking expired. Smartly trailing the play as Boston Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron skated, Marchand lifted the puck over goalie Jaroslav Halak (35 saves) for the 1-0 lead at 2:33 of the first.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 hrs ago
TORONTO – As the 2016 World Cup of Hockey enters its final games, attention turns to that other big hockey tournament coming up in PyeongChang, South Korea.
But the chances that the NHL is going to bring its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics are dwindling by the day, according to the League.
“I think time is very short to make a decision, and I’m not sure there’s been a lot of progress made in the past six months, and I’m not sure there’s any prospect for progress to be made,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “So on the basis of that, I’d say that I’m more negative today than I was two weeks ago.”
The NHL received an update from the International Ice Hockey Federation during the World Cup, and the IIHF said there’s still much work to be done in securing the financial backing the NHL is seeking from the International Olympic Committee.
Among the issues: Travel costs, player insurance costs, better accommodations for the athletes and their guests, as well as considerations about “the physical layout of the Olympic Games, and whether the location of the Olympic Games makes that run smoothly,” said Daly.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 7 hrs ago
TORONTO – Wayne Gretzky has always been a special kind of sports legend. Not just that he’s considered the greatest hockey player of all-time, but because he’s also an unabashed hockey fanboy. His passions for the game’s history are as considerable as his talent playing it.
But when you’re Wayne Gretzky, getting a chance to indulge in that history at a place like the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto can be difficult because, well, you’re WAYNE GRETZKY. Everyone there knows you and, if they don’t, will know you when they see you standing next to a photo of Wayne Gretzky breaking Gordie Howe’s scoring records, and being like, “Hey, that’s Wayne Gretzky!”
So one day, Wayne Gretzky decided to go to the Hall of Fame as a regular guest, and somewhat incognito.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 8 hrs ago
Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin won the Calder Trophy last season and helped Patrick Kane to his Hart Trophy with outstanding play on their top line. He’s entering the last year of his entry-level contract, and he’s looking to get paid.
Which, if you know your recent Blackhawks history, is sort of a problem.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Panarin is seeking a six-year deal with in excess of $6 million per season. From the Tribune:
Panarin’s agent, Tom Lynn, said last week that the sides were in discussions on a new deal for the winger, who will be a restricted free agent following the 2016-17 season.
Obviously, when it comes to the Blackhawks and new contracts, your thoughts go to all the players that have had to leave Chicago due to their deals or demands for new ones. Brandon Saad, a pretty damn talented young forward, is a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets for that very reason.
You’d expect he gets the money. And then, after that, we’ll see what other dominoes have to fall. Because they always do when Stan Bowman signs one of his key players.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 10 hrs ago
TORONTO – Usually, it’s a welcome sight when a team’s fourth line hits the ice against yours. It might be a high-energy, low-talent group that’ll make you hustle, or maybe an ill-fitting group of spare parts that exists to give the other nine players a breather once every few shifts.
But when Canada’s fourth line hits the ice at the World Cup of Hockey? You’re staring at Joe Thornton, a point-per-game player for the San Jose Sharks last season who has 1,341 points in his career. You’re starting at Matt Duchene, who scored 30 goals for the Colorado Avalanche last season. You’re staring at Ryan O’Reilly, considered one of the finest two-way forwards in the NHL who had 60 points for the Buffalo Sabres last season.
Oh, and if you happen to draw Canada’s third defensive pairing? Then you’re facing Alex Pietrangelo, the St. Louis Blues’ top defenseman, and Brent Burns, who had 75 points last season and was a Norris Trophy finalist.
So … good luck.
What makes it even more special is that fact that this collection of NHL all-stars check their egos, forget about their ice time and buy into the national team concept without a second thought.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 12 hrs ago
TORONTO – There are similarities between Ralph Krueger and Mike Babcock. Their international success as hockey coaches. Their cerebral, psychological approach to the game. Their wry humor in postgame press conferences.
And also water skiing.
“We’re both fanatic water skiers, so we compare our best water ski results on a regular basis, and that’s all we’ve talked about when we run into each other here,” said Krueger, head coach of Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey.
“He loves water skiing. I love water skiing. His daughter’s one of the best in the world, so I follow her,” said Babcock, head coach of Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.
Babcock and Krueger are meeting in the World Cup of Hockey final, a best of three series beginning on Tuesday night between the tournament host – a juggernaut that’s trailed 89 seconds in its four wins – and an underdog European team that was created for wayward players that didn’t have their nations represented in the tournament.
And now, for his last trick, Krueger has a chance to score what would be one of the biggest upsets in sports history: Taking out Canada, which might not be completely implausible for Krueger.
TORONTO – It takes an average of 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text message. It takes 90 seconds to watch a typical advertisement during the Super Bowl. It takes 90 seconds to make a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice.
Canada has trailed in the World Cup of Hockey for 89 seconds. Canada has faced four teams, and has trailed for less time than it takes to text a friend, watch a commercial or make microwave rice.
Don’t they wish they were challenged even a little bit before reaching the final against Team Europe?
“Not at all!” laughed general manager Doug Armstrong. “I like it just the way it’s going.”
So they have a convincing win over the team they’re facing in the Final. They’ve hardly trailed in the tournament. How does a team stay motivated and avoid complacency?
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TORONTO – One of Team Europe’s top offensive weapons won’t be available for the World Cup of Hockey final against Canada.
Marian Gaborik will miss the best-of-three series with a foot injury, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet. The injury will also have him out for the beginning of the regular season for the Los Angeles Kings, as Kings GM Dean Lombardi said that Gaborik will miss “eight weeks” with the foot injury.
Gaborik has two goals in four World Cup games for Europe, including the opening goal in their semifinal upset win against Sweden. He played 17:58 in the overtime victory on Sunday.
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In this edition of Marek Vs. Wyshynski, the boys are talking about:
– The World Cup of Hockey in all its glory.
– The mysteries of Team Europe.
– The epic fail from Team USA.
– What we can expect from Team Canada in Final.
– Legacy of Team North America.
– The Jacob Trouba controversy in Winnipeg.
– Reader mail
– News and notes from around the NHL.
The Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast is hosted by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports, breaking down the NHL on a (somewhat) daily basis with their particular brand of whimsy and with guest voices from around the hockey world. MvsW streams live while its being recorded: LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn’t work, try here.]
When an NHL team introduces a new mascot, it’s truly a glorious occasion.
While many go on to become beloved facets of the franchise – giving out free hugs at the arena and helping to sell thousands of plush effigies to young fans – others end up on the ever-growing pile of bad ideas this League has produced. Like, for example, the Columbus Blue Jackets attempt to phase out an adorable googly-eyed bug in favor of a Civil War cannon that looked like a penis.
So into which category will the Edmonton Oilers’ new mascot Hunter fall?
The Oilers introduced Hunter on Monday, with the following explanation:
The Edmonton Oilers revealed the newest member of the Oilers family, introducing their official mascot, “Hunter” the Canadian Lynx. The mascot is named Hunter as a tribute to “Wild Bill” Hunter, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers who founded the team in 1972. As such, Hunter will also don #72 on his Oilers jersey.
So, in essence, one might say “Edmonton Oilers playoff appearances” are the Canadian Lynx of playoff appearances.