- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy48 mins ago
TORONTO – The World Cup of Hockey semifinal between Team Europe and Team Sweden features two defensively strong teams.
Throughout the tournament, both groups have prided themselves on their ability to shut down their opponent. Sweden’s only hiccup came against Team North America– the most exciting team in the tournament. Europe’s lone defensive struggle game came against Team Canada, a group that has so far dominated this event.
“I see a one-goal game today. I believe it’s going to be extremely tight. It’s going to come down to the team that really wants it more and can dig down deep,” Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said. “I think it’s a very evenly matched game and I expect it’s going to come down to the little things. We’re as well prepared as we can be. We want to have fun with this day no matter what, but expect a really, really exciting match. “
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy50 mins ago
TORONTO – Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger says when he walks into their locker room, “I don’t see any flags.” Just members of several different nations, playing together in an international hockey tournament for a common goal.
This is, of course, in stark contrast with their opponents in the World Cup of Hockey semifinals on Sunday afternoon, whose locker room is adorned with a large Swedish flag and whose players proudly wear the Tre Kronor, even as they strive for the same goal.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
TORONTO – I’ve still never forgiven Evgeni Nabokov.
Six years before their showdown at the World Cup of Hockey on Saturday night in Toronto, Russia and Canada had a more critical one in Vancouver, at the 2010 Winter Olympics. And, by comparison, the hype for that game made the anticipation for this one tantamount to that for a new Adam Sandler film on Netflix.
For context: Russia had eliminated Canada in the previous Olympics in 2006, in the quarterfinals. They had gotten the better of them at worlds, including an overtime win in Quebec City for the gold medal in 2008. In its quest to win gold on its home ice, Canada also had a chance to vanquish its greatest foe for the first time in the Olympics since 1960 – back when it was the Soviet Union.
So the world was watching. Canada vs. Russia. Crosby vs. Ovechkin. The hosts vs. the uninvited guests. It was going to be awesome.
And then Evgeni Nabokov [expletived] the bed.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
TORONTO – Brad Marchand might not be “Brad Marchand” anymore.
There was a time his name carried an undeniable connotation. He was a pest. He was a injurious sneak. The President of the United States called him a “little ball of hate.” Not so much now, after 37 goals last season with the Boston Bruins and a starring role on Team Canada’s top line at the World Cup of Hockey.
“I think the pest role, the agitator role, has been pushed by the media more than anything,” Marchand said. “If you talk to my coaches, and the way I view it, is trying to be a player more than being that. It’s been that way for a while now. The pest role was what got me in the league, got me here, and now it’s about improving and being a better player.”
Marchand, a left wing, has three goals and two assists in the World Cup of Hockey, scoring twice in Canada’s 5-3 semifinal win over Russia that propelled them to the best-of-three championship round next week. His linemates are Patrice Bergeron, with whom he plays in Boston, and Sidney Crosby, who is leading the tournament with seven points in four games and the best player in the world at this moment.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
TORONTO – Before Team Canada’s World Cup training camp, defenseman Shea Weber said he didn’t know who would be his defense partner
At the Sochi Olympics, Weber was paired with Duncan Keith, who pulled out of this tournament to rehab a knee injury. So Weber went into camp unsure of where he stood and who would play his left side.
The Team Canada coaching staff opted for Marc-Edouard Vlasic – the steady defender with the San Jose Sharks – and the two have turned into a shutdown duo for the powerful Canadians.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO – After they eliminated his Russian team on Saturday night, Alex Ovechkin was asked how any team in the World Cup of Hockey could hope to defeat the juggernaut that is Team Canada.
“Don’t be afraid to play against them,” he said, “play smart and don’t make mistakes.”
Ovechkin and Team Russia fulfilled that first obligation: They tried going toe-to-toe with Canada, despite their opponents controlling play to the tune of 75 shot attempts in their 5-3 win. The Russians used their speed and skill to hang with Canada, and even gave the host team a scare with two second-period goals for a 2-1 lead.
A brief 2-1 lead: Just like Canada trailed the U.S. for only 89 seconds in their preliminary round win, it only trailed Russia for 72 seconds in their semifinal win on Saturday night. Brad Marchand’s first goal of the game tied the scored at 2-2 with less than three minutes left in the period.
This is where Russia failed that second obligation, according to Ovechkin. After Sidney Crosby forced a turnover by Dmitry Kulikov on Canada’s opening goal, Evgeny Kutznetsov’s inability to clear the zone led to Marchand’s tally for their second.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
TORONTO – For two periods, Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky single-handedly kept his team in the hunt for the World Cup.
But in the third period, Canada skated out and decided — to paraphrase another great Russian athlete — ‘We Must Break You.’
Using an overwhelming offensive barrage, Canada advanced to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey final with a 5-3 victory over Russia on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, setting up both of linemate Brad Marchand’s two goals.
In total, Canada had 47 shots on goal and 75 shot attempts. Their goalie Carey Price, meanwhile, made 31 saves.
Crosby got the Canadians on the board by absolutely embarrassing Russian defenseman Dmitry Kulikov:
ref cam view of the goal pic.twitter.com/htS8t5hHdU
— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 24, 2016
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
Restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba will not attend Winnipeg Jets training camp and has requested a trade from the team.
Trouba’s agent Kurt Overhardt released a statement published by Sportsnet saying that this decision was about more than money and that Trouba needs a fresh start elsewhere.
Here is the statement:
“Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.
There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy18 hrs ago
TORONTO – Contrary to perceptions, Canada occasionally loses international hockey tournaments. Like the 2008 IIHF world championships in Quebec City, when Alex Ovechkin and Russia defeated Jonathan Toews’s Team Canada in overtime.
“Yeah, I remember the celebration. That was not fun to watch. Especially on home ice,” said Toews. “At the same time, it was a good learning experience. I think the guys that were a part of that team were definitely ready for the opportunity in [the Vancouver Olympics]. We came out flying in that tournament. But yeah, you can’t win them all I guess.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
TORONTO – Anze Kopitar hasn’t won over Team Europe’s players as captain with any ‘rah-rah’ type speeches. That’s simply not the way he operates.
Ultimately the big Slovenian has helped the players gel with a hard work ethic and a low-key and humorous ‘no worries’ attitude that has permeated throughout the room. This has provided somewhat of a window into what his leadership style will be like when he returns to the Los Angeles Kings after this tournament where he will assume the role of captain for the first time in his NHL career.