- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
TORONTO – Of all the potential storylines for the World Cup of Hockey’s best-of-three final round, revisiting the epic Jaroslav Halak vs. Carey Price goaltending controversy didn’t seem to be a likely one.
Not with Halak’s Team Europe starting at a 33-to-1 longshot before the tournament. And yet, here we are, with Canada and Europe set to battle for the Cup beginning on Tuesday, after Halak led his team to a semifinal win over Sweden and Price led his over Russia.
So let’s revisit it, shall we?
Before Price became an MVP, a Vezina winner and Team Canada’s gold-medal winning goaltender, he was embroiled in one of the NHL’s most contentious goaltending controversies in recent memory.
In Montreal, in 2010, you were either “Team Price” or “Team Halak.”
To reset the scene: Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak shared the crease in Montreal. Halak was a ninth-round pick from Slovakia in 2003, the 25th goalie taken in that draft. Price was selected fifth overall from British Columbia in 2005. Price was the golden boy, seen as the next heir to the throne previously occupied by the likes of Dryden and Roy. Halak got fewer starts but was effective in them.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
TORONTO – At various international tournaments playing with Team Denmark, Frans Nielsen never had a chance to win.
He had been to a quarterfinal of the World Championships, but his team just didn’t have the firepower of the big hockey playing countries.
With the Slovenian national team, Anze Kopitar’s biggest achievement was helping his country to the quarterfinals of the 2014 Olympics.
Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello never made it past the quarterfinals of the World Championships.
The list of Team Europe’s players who couldn’t compete for a championship on the international stage goes on and on. It’s why their win over Team Sweden in the World Cup semifinal was important to them and why this event has been such an enjoyable ride. This team finally gives some smaller hockey nations an opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the world’s best.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO – Mindset has been a key factor in the World Cup of Hockey.
We’ve seen a Canadian team trail for less than three minutes in the tournament, with the confidence they’re better than seven other teams. We’ve seen an under-23 team dazzle the hockey world by putting the pedal down offensively without recourse or repercussions. We’ve seen an American team overlook a seemingly beatable opponent in Team Europe, and then exhibit a defeatist attitude when things went south against the Canadians (before losing a meaningless game to the Czechs).
Sweden entered its semifinal game against Europe on Sunday afternoon in Toronto with one thing on its mind: Don’t screw up.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
TORONTO – Team Europe’s players said they relished the opportunity to go further in an international tournament than they’ve ever gone before.
All are made of up of countries that never have played deep in a ‘best-on-best’ event, which made their World Cup semifinal game against Sweden a new experience for them.
They made the most of it in a 3-2 overtime win over the favored Swedes.
Team Europe, which is made up of players not from Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic or Russia have come together quickly in this tournament. This teamwork showed Sunday against the structured Swedes.
“This group hasn’t needed any magic,” coach Ralph Krueger said the day before the game. “There’s a lot of magic just happening naturally.”
Tomas Tatar scored the overtime winner 3:43 into the overtime after the took a feed from Mats Zuccarello in front of Henrik Lundqvist and put the puck past the Swedish netminder. After Tatar scored, the European players mobbed him int he corner and jumped up and down with one another.
They will now face Team Canada in the World Cup best-of-three final series, which starts Tuesday.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
Even during training camp, things can get heated as bubble players compete for a roster shot.
At Ottawa Senators camp, defenseman Patrick Sieloff – who was acquired in the offseason for Alex Chiasson – made contact with the head of Clarke MacArthur in a play along the boards.
MacArthur immediately went to the ice clutching his head.
Bobby Ryan, who is not known for being much of a fighter, went directly after Sieloff. The officials struggled to break the two of them up. Minutes later, Chris Neil came over to exchange words with Sieloff.
MacArthur was able to make if off the ice with the help of teammates.
Clarke MacArthur needing help off the ice after a big hit from Patrick Sieloff. pic.twitter.com/O3R4UsZYRu
— Brent Wallace (@tsn_wally) September 25, 2016
Senators GM Pierre Dorian addressed the media at the end of practice.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy18 hrs ago
Last Season: 48-28-6 (102 points), 2nd in the Pacific, 5th in the West
The Kings started out their season with three straight losses, being outscored 12-2, which made some wonder if 2015-16 would be a further fall from their 2014 Stanley Cup. They quickly got back on track with seven straight wins and were the class of the Pacific Division for most of the year.
General manager Dean Lombardi got to work with a few moves after the New Year. He dealt for center Vincent Lecavalier, which stabilized their lower lines, and added defenseman Luke Schenn in the same trade. The biggest move the Kings made was locking up franchise center Anze Kopitar to an eight-year, $80 million contract on Jan. 16.
Lombardi acquired forward Milan Lucic before the season, and the hulking winger fit perfectly with 20 goals and 55 points.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy19 hrs 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 Daddy19 hrs 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 Daddy21 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 Daddy1 day 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.