Monday, August 31, 2009

ANATOLI TARASOV - THE FATHER OF SOVIET HOCKEY


"He (Tarasov) squeezed every ounce of energy and performance out of his players. Even the slightest hint of self-importance was dealt with mmediately.
According to Tarasov, egoism on the ice was the gravest of all sins."

The Hockey Hall Of Fame

Time is running, years are rushing out with no mercy to anyone even if you are the famous ever hockey coach... The my yesterday question right answer is ANATOLI VLADIMIROVICH TARASOV, the first Soviet championship best scorer, the "father of Soviet hockey", the person who devoted all his life till the last days to the game named HOCKEY. Here are his photos through the years...



TARASOV. DECEMBER 1946


TARASOV. DECEMBER 1946


TARASOV. END 50s - EARLY 60s


TARASOV. 60s


TARASOV. 70s


TARASOV. 1991

Sunday, August 30, 2009

MOSCOW. DECEMBER 1946. ANOTHER QUESTION...




Look at another photo of 1946-47 Soviet championship. This is a very famous person of Soviet hockey, one of the best forwards of the USSR early hockey years.

HIS NAME IS...Sorry, you are to answer - ...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SERGEI KABANOV - IT IS A PITY WE GOT TRAPPED BY SPARTAK PROVOCATION

SPORT-EXPRESS. August 28, 2009

The father of the scandalous Kirill Kabanov and his representative Sergey Kabanov talked to Sport Express about the situation with his son.


KIRILL KABANOV

The scandal around the denial of one of the most talented juniors in Russia to perform for Salavat Yulaev is nearing its culmination.

In July the former club of Kabanov Spartak gave all the rights on the player to Ufa but the player never appeared in the camp of Salavat Yulaev.

And the KHL president Alexandr Medvedev said that the most probable verdict of the League would be suspension of the player.

"The contract of my son with Spartak was signed when we yet had Superleague," said Sergey Kabanov.

"There was a clause that the club would immediately let the player to NHL if there are offers and moreover without a compensation."

"When they were creating KHL many young players, including Kirill, were asked whether they wanted to confirm this agreement and register it in the League or not."

"Some of the young hockey players panicked and refused to confirm their agreements but in Spartak they persuaded us not to do this."

"They said that Kirill is a face of Sparak’s ice hockey school, a rising star. And we agreed on it only because in the Moscow club they accepted all our stipulations – including these two clauses about move to NHL."

"And the League registered this contract. And Salavat did not give us a contract with such clauses. As a result we signed no agreement with Ufa."

"And we think that we have no acting agreement with Salavat. Kirill has not even seen the order of dismissal from Spartak. Nobody asked for our consent."

"It is known that Salavat bought our all rights on Kabanov together with an acting contract but without clauses about NHL we think the agreement with Spartak invalid."

"These are our main differences from views of Salavat and the League. I hope that Alexandr Medvedev will study this case in detail."

"Relationships with employers in our country are governed by Constitution and the Labour Code. Just imagine a situation when your management refuses to fulfill one of your contract’s stipulations – pay bonuses that are inserted into the contract."

"The entire document becomes invalid because of this. After I spoke to lawyers I understood that our stand has a strong legal basis."

"These two clauses were annulled while registered in the League. But nobody told us this and Kirill never signed any documents concerning these things."


SERGEI KABANOV, KIRILL'S FATHER AND AGENT

"We realized that KHL is against moves of young players to NHL and we did not try to fight with the whole system."

"Our case is illustrative and can discourage somebody to travel across the Atlantic. But other juniors with their parents can draw different conclusions and won’t bind oneself with the club for long five years."

"And then young talents will leave the country much earlier than now – in 13-14 years."

"Actually at the moment I fear suspension. And you know the door to the national teams in closing gradually now. And Kirill played maximum number of different tournaments for Russia often bringing the title of the best forward."

"The situation with the son is wormwood to me. Just because I yielded to Spartak’s provocations and persuaded Kirill and the entire family to resign the contract."

"This clause with NHL is very important because Kirill grew up and progressed in the times when everybody praised NHL. It became a big dream that cannot be easily shaken off."

THE CORRECT ANSWER IS...


David and Arthur, yes you are right. I was pretty sure you are able to answer this question. I wanted to get suggestions from our "non USSR born" friends.

So, correct answer is - THIS WAS A PENALTY BOX OF SOVIET HOCKEY EARLY DAYS.

MOSCOW. DECEMBER 1946




Look at this photo from my archive. This is Dynamo Moscow vs Red Army game played on December 1946 during the very first Soviet "Canadian" hockey championship.

I would like to present you my trivia question - What was this nice fenced bench for?

The correct answer I'll publish tomorrow. Meanwhile feel free to leave your comment. Go ahead!

Friday, August 28, 2009

NHL IS WAITING FOR PETER THE GREAT



PETER FORSBERG. MODO. SWEDEN 2008 - 2009

Peter Forsberg's latest stop on his long road back to the NHL began last night in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. The Swedish star suited up in a pre-season game for Modo and played on the first line during his team's 2-1 win over Geneva.
Wearing No. 7 instead of his usual No. 21, Forsberg was held off the scoresheet but was on the ice when Modo scored their first goal.

"The real feeling with the puck is not there," Forsberg told reporters in Switzerland. "You need a couple of games to get into it. It felt really good, no problems at all"

On Friday, The 36-year old was included on Sweden's initial 69-man list of players who will be considered for the 2010 Olympics. The former NHL MVP last appeared in the NHL in 2007-08, when he counted 14 points in nine games for the Colorado Avalanche. Persistent foot problems have plagued Forsberg over the last few years.

THE PETER FORSBERG SHOW



PETER FORSBERG. SOME FACTS
by Answers.com

Peter Forsberg is the son of Kent Forsberg, who was the former coach for Modo Hockey and the Swedish national team. Peter Forsberg has been coached by his father for a significant part of his career: the two teamed up from 1991 to 1994 in Modo Hockey, later for the national team in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, then for the 1998 Olympic ice hockey tournament, and for the 1998 World Championship, which Sweden won. They also own a Swedish development company named Forspro Company. The company co-funded the Modo Hockey team's new Swedbank Arena in Örnsköldsvik.

Independently of his father, Peter Forsberg also owns a company—Pforce AB—that imports and markets Crocs shoes in his native Sweden since 2005. Forsberg is also interested in harness racing, and owns or has owned a few racing horses during the years, including Tsar d' Inverne and Adrian Chip. He has also invested money in a golf course named Veckefjärdens Golf Club in his native Örnsköldsvik.

Forsberg and fellow Swede Markus Näslund founded Icebreakers, an organization that brings together professional ice hockey players for exhibition games to raise money for charities.

Forsberg's idol while growing up was Håkan Loob

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NAGANO 98. ULF SAMUELSSON IS NOT A ...SWEDE


Reporter's scoop reveals that Samuelsson is not a Swede in Nagano-98
Nagano, Japan. February 15-17, 1998

Picture it: The 1998 Olympics in Nagano with full NHL-players participation for the first time and a huge media following. After one of Team Sweden’s practices a big media scrum is waiting in the mix zone for the players to appear from their dressing room for interviews. As rugged Swedish defenseman Ulf Samuelsson passes by the reporters, Sport Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber cracks a joke to Janne Bengtsson, a Swedish reporter standing next to him: “Why would we give a dirty player like that U.S. citizenship?”


Ulf Samuelsson (right) in his last ever game with Tre Kronor in Nagano, Japan, against Belarus. PHOTO: Europhoto/Jukka Rautio

The innocent comment initiated one of the biggest journalistic scoops in hockey history, triggered chaotic development over the following 24 hours that ended in the highest sports court and finally resulted in Samuelsson having to leave his team and the Olympic village.

Farber knew that Ulf Samuelsson, who played for the New York Rangers and at that time had already lived 13 years in the States, had applied for U.S. citizenship. For Farber that was nothing strange. The sports world is full of athletes who carry dual citizenship. But his innocent comment ignited Janne Bengtsson’s journalistic instincts. The reporter for Svenska Dagbladet was distantly aware about a Swedish law that said that Swedish citizenship is annulled when a person acquires a foreign passport. So while the passport that Samuelsson submitted to the tournament directorate prior to opening game was indeed Swedish, it was no longer valid.

Realising that he could be onto something big, Bengtsson immediately started researching. He was sure to confirm the Swedish law that - at that time - didn’t allow dual citizenship and also the IIHF eligibility regulation that stated that in order to represent a country one must indeed be a citizen of his team’s country. It took some time, but on February 16, the same day as Sweden played against Belarus, Bengtsson had all the facts.

During the first intermission, Bengtsson approached Rickard Fagerlund, the president of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and also member of the IIHF Council. “Do you know that Samuelsson is a U.S. citizen and, as such, not eligible to represent Sweden?”

When Fagerlund overcame his initial shock, he called to team manager Bo Tovland, who was on the team bench, and told him to ask Samuelsson if it was correct that he was a U.S. citizen. Midway through the game, with Sweden up 3-1, Samuelsson confirmed that he held an American passport.

Sweden won the game 5-2, but no one on the Swedish team really cared. Samuelsson was told by Tovland and Fagerlund that his U.S. citizenship nullified his Swedish passport. The player was stunned. He cannot believe that he, born and bred in central Sweden, is considered a Swede no more.

Now the circus began and it lasted through the next 24 hours, finishing at five the next morning as the sun was rising in Nagano. There was no question that Samuelsson must be disqualified and that he must leave the team and the Olympics. Just like in a doping case, the IIHF tournament directorate ruled that the player was out, but the team suffered no consequences and kept its standings points.

But things were not so easy. The Czech Republic disagreed with the decision and wanted the directorate to deprive Sweden of all their points. The reason was simple: If the Swedes lost all their points from the games with Samuelsson’s participation, the Czechs would face Belarus in the quarterfinal and not the U.S. – a huge difference.

The Czechs filed a protest against the directorate’s decision and the case went to CAS, the Court of Arbitration in Sport that is always at the Olympic venue. But time was running out. It was February 17 and the quarterfinals were scheduled for the 18th. CAS dealt with the affair quickly and supported the position of the tournament directorate. Samuelsson was out of the Olympics, Sweden retained its points and played Finland in the quarters. The Czechs had to face the Americans.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Olympic Committee held a press-conference with the entire hockey team. Samuelsson, one of the toughest and meanest players in the NHL, broke down in tears. He assured the media that he was not aware of the rule that said he couldn’t be a dual citizen. The players said goodbye to Samuelsson as they had to prepare for the quarterfinal. The team never re-covered and Sweden lost to archrival Finland, 2-1. The Czechs? They easily defeated USA 4-1 and went on to win the country’s first Olympic hockey gold.

Samuelsson never saw the Swede’s game against the Finns. The city he arrived in one week earlier as a celebrated Swede, he left as a disgraced American. After having played close to 100 games for different Swedish national team, he would never again suit up in the Tre Kronor-jersey.

It wasn’t easy for reporter Janne Bengtsson either. Back in Sweden, his family needed police protection as they received more than 400 threatening phone calls, many of them with death threats. Many fans accused him of high treason. What they never understood was that he was doing his job. He was a reporter, not a supporter. And his scoop led to one of biggest stories in the history of international hockey.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ALEXANDER OVECHKIN RESTS IN RUSSIA - NON-STOP ENTERTAINING CONTINUES

by Sovietsky Sport and Slapshot



In an interview with Sovietsky Sport, Alexander Ovechkin talks about the Russian soul and the vastness of Siberia in relating an anecdote about his recent visit to Capitals teammate Alexander Semin's hometown, Krasnoyarsk, 4,400 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

"We stopped at this small village to go to the local store," Ovechkin says. "There was this woman behind the counter cutting some fish. I came in and asked for water, chocolates and sandwiches. And she looked at me kind of strange and asked me, 'Is it you or not?' I reply, 'Of course it's me.' She says, 'Give me a smile.'" -- to check if it was Ovechkin by seeing his missing tooth.

"Can you imagine that?" he continues. "It was in the middle of nowhere! Washington is on the other side of the globe, Moscow is really far away. And people knew me there. I played a lot for the national team and know what patriotism is. The gold medal from Quebec is my most treasured trophy. But I couldn't catch my breath there [in that store]. I just felt what Russia is about, how dear and big it is and how we -- hockey players and the national team -- are loved here. When you think of people like those you want to win the Olympics twice as much."

DUSTING THE BOOK SHELF - USA WINS ITS FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP


USA wins its first and so far only Worlds in 1933 (not counting 1960 Olympics), denying Canada for the first time
Prague, Czechoslovakia, February 26, 1933


HOME ON THE RANGE: The Massachusetts Rangers won the 1933 World Championship representing the United States, denying Canada for the first time. PHOTO: IIHF Archives.

In the early days of international hockey, Canada was all but invincible. It won the first four Olympic tournaments (1920, ‘24, ‘28, ‘32) and the first two World Championships (1930 and ‘31) without losing a single game. But when looking closely at the scores, one could see that Canada was occasionally vulnerable. The Canadians needed overtime in both games against the USA in the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics to secure the gold medal, and, in the 1931 World Championship, Sweden skated away with a 0-0 tie against the eventual champions.

In the 1933 world tournament in Prague, Czechoslovakia, USA and Canada once again faced each other in the gold medal game on February 26 at the beautiful Zimni Stadion at Stvanice. Both teams had coaches who later became high-profile men in the professional leagues back in North America. The Canadian entry, the Toronto National Sea Fleas, was led by Harold Ballard, later known as the controversial owner of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The Americans, represented in Prague by the Massachusetts Rangers, had Walter Brown as their coach. Brown, the president of the NHL’s Boston Bruins and owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, became the president of the IIHF in 1954 and an inductee to both the Hockey Hall of Fame as well as to the IIHF Hall of Fame later in the 20th century.

The gold-medal game in ‘33 was tied 1-1 at the end of 45 minutes of regulation time. Sherman Forbes scored for the U.S. while Tim Kerr had the Canadian equalizer. Six minutes into the 10-minute “non sudden-death” overtime, defenseman John Garrison scored on a beautiful solo effort, beating Canadian goalie Ron Geddes. Gerry Cosby, the American goalie who would later open his famous hockey store at the Madison Square Garden in New York, stoned Canada for the rest of the overtime period and his team held on for the historic 2-1-win.

For Garrison and star forward Winthrop Palmer it was the sweetest revenge. Both players were part of the 1932 Lake Placid team that lost the Olympic gold medal by the narrowest of margins.

Amazingly, as big as the USA success was back in 1933, no American men’s team has been able to repeat the World Championship gold in the next 75 years. In fact, they have won only four silver medals since, the most recent coming in 1956 at the Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

'PROFESSOR' LARIONOV's QUOTES ON KHL




Yesterday I was asked by my friend and hockey expert Arthur Childovski (http://www.chidlovski.com/) the following question:

Alex, is there any info on how Larionov reacts to the KHL? It seems that Igor was one of the biggest free-thinkers in the history of soviet russian hockey as a hockey player and personality. I am curious if he allows stints like this to be played using his name...

This is my answer:

Arthur,
I think you hit the"ZERO". I tried to find some Larionov interviews or quotes on KHL. The result is close to NOTHING (and nothing at all for 2009!), only technical staff about EuroLeague etc. This kind of silence says a lot to every ex-Soviet, right?
I was able to find one-year old interview that I published here (the last one). All his comments on KHL he did for NA press are completely different comparing with Russia press (Zubov, Fedorov, Ovechkin etc)

Here we are:

By Paul Hunter, Toronto Star. November 2008

During a stellar hockey career, Igor Larionov was known for his tremendous on-ice vision. It should be no surprise that the deep-thinking centre possesses visionary qualities off the ice as well.
So as the great Russian trailblazer held court with the media on the morning of his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame – honoured for great careers on both sides of the Atlantic – he shared his dream for the upstart Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the new pro loop in his home country for which he sits on the board of the directors.
Although he concedes that the quality of play between the KHL and NHL is currently "not even close," he said he foresees a day when the champion of each league will play off for a world pro title.
Larionov also said that, in the spring, the Russian league will consider potential expansion into untapped hockey markets such as China, Japan and Korea and the KHL hopes to help establish a Russian junior league, as a feeder system, by September. This despite the fact some of the league's teams are struggling financially during the current global economic downturn.
The 47-year-old also called for the NHL and KHL to work together to grow the game internationally.
He also conceded that he is an optimist.
"We don't need a cold war right now in hockey," he said. "The KHL is starting to make its first steps toward recognition. We should be working together (with the NHL) to make the game globally recognized and to find new markets."
So far the relationship between the two leagues is so cold you could skate on it. There is no agreement between the NHL and the Russian hockey federation when it comes to player transfers so any movement between the two hockey powers is often viewed with suspicion, anger and resentment.
When Alexander Radulov jumped from Nashville to Russian club Salavat Ufa, for a three-year contract reportedly worth $13 million (U.S.), it drove what appears to be an immovable wedge between the NHL and the new league. That was only exacerbated by the recent defection of Montreal prospect Pavel Valentenko, who signed with Dynamo Moscow when he was allowed to go home for personal reasons.
Despite the acidic relationship between the NHL and the neophyte 24-team league, Larionov said he doesn't see the KHL as "a threat to the NHL at this moment. Some NHL guys went to play this season (in the KHL) but we're not talking about some big names except (Jaromir) Jagr."

Another one by Globe and Mail . March 31, 2009

Larionov said the economics of the KHL make little sense today, given that some teams in Moscow draw as few as 1,000 or 2,000 fans a game and ticket prices are modest — the equivalent of $5, $10 or $15. At that rate, he does not believe the salaries on offer last season — as much as $10-million to Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin — are sustainable over the long term. Malkin's former team in Russia, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, is one of several clubs struggling to meet its payroll commitments.
"I ask myself: How long is it going to last?" Larionov said. "You want to be wise economically. You want to get ticket sales and apply to the salaries. Now, we have great support from big companies and business people, but how long is it going to last? That is why we have to sit down and talk."



Championat. ru July 2008

- What supposed to be done to get KHL well promoted?
- I believe one day we (KHL) should be as good as the NHL. We are not to copy the NHL but have to implement all the best from there and there is very little "bad" in the NHL...Believe me I know what I am talking about, I played there for 15 years...

Monday, August 24, 2009

VLADISLAV TRETYAK: COMMUNICATION IS OUR MAIN TARGET

by SPORT-EXPRESS



President of the Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretyak comments on the national team’s preparations for the Olympic Games.

Russian hockey national team will start pre-Olympic training camp on August 29 in Moscow. President of the Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretyak told Sport Express about the team’s preparations for the Olympic Games.

The coaching staff submitted the 38-men roster for the trainings however not all players confirmed their participation in it. In particular Gonchar and Tyutin were said to miss these trainings.

"Both Gonchar and Tyutin said that they would come to preparation session", said Tretyak. "We haven’t received agreement of Volchenkov and Datsyuk as they are out because of family problems. We are hopeful that they will come to Moscow".

"Program of our preparations is not ready now since it is in process of completion. I can say now that we will surely organize a meeting with our supporters, so called a Doors Open Day".

"We also plan to hold awarding ceremony of winners of the previous World Championship. Want it to be held by the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin but we are to agree this question now".

"Our players will live in hotel “Aerostar” which is situated close to the hockey palace Megasport and CSKA stadium as our Hockey Federation paid for it. The main events of our preparations will take place there".

"But it’s necessary to take into account that several players will prepare for the Euro Hockey Tour Czech Games at that time and they will live in Novogorsk. As for other players we are not against if they decide to live at home".

"Rossgosstrakh company fully insured the whole preparation camp. I can say that there won’t be any serious danger to players’ health because they will be busy mostly with athletic exercises".

"In general the main reason of this training camp is communication between players. Believe me that it’s much better than usual trainings. Moreover we want to set players for maximum result at the Olympics".

RICHARD BENDELL ON BOBBY CLARKE




Count me in as one of the people who views Clarke as a menace not a top-level player worthy of respect or admiration.

In '72 he showed the world several examples of what kind of player he was, dirty, nasty, backstabbing, egotistical, he unfortunately gained a totally undeserved reputation as the kind of player a team needed to win against a highly skilled team like the Soviets.

I will acknowledge that he had exceptional passing skills and was decent at face-offs especially when he was allowed to cheat which was quite often in the NHL especially for many years after the Summit Series where he gained a reputation as a key player for Team Canada that is quite of out proportion with his actual contributions.

Many people are under the impression that Clarke made Paul Henderson in that series yet interestingly in my Revised Statistics I discovered that Clarke earned only 5 points in 8 games (not 6 as he was given an assist on Canada's 3rd goal in Game 5 that actually should have gone to Ellis) and thus earned points in only 3 of Canada's eight games.

He also gained four of those five points in two of Canada's most disappointing losses (Game 1 and 5) and had NO points at all in the crucial games 6, 7 and 8 of Canada's unbelievable comeback yet again gained this undeserved reputation as a "clutch" performer even though he was nowhere to be found offensively when the games were really on the line.

Meanwhile Henderson had 11 revised points gained in 6 of Canada's games and 2 of those points came while playing with Phil Esposito in Game 8!

Thus, I would argue who actually made who in 1972?

I for one believe that Dave Keon would have greatly outshone Clarke if he had not been passed over for the '72 team as he had not yet signed an NHL contract and had an offer on the table from the WHA's Ottawa Nationals.

Dave was a much better skater than Clarke, a terrific checker, a good face off man, quite familiar with playing with Henderson and Ellis and very capable of putting points on the board. He would have done just as well or better against the Soviets and would never have taken the kind of stupid and undisciplined penalties that Clarke did that only served to inspire the Soviet players against such dirty play.

Richard B.

EUROPEAN INVASION DROPPED THIS YEAR


Yesterday my friend and well-known online hockey researcher Joe Pelletier, Greatest Hockey Legends author, has published an excellent article which I want partly to quote and comment here.



We North Americans really misjudge just how big of an issue the transfer issue is.

It has the significant potential to greatly reduced the number of new European players coming to the NHL. This is the first summer without a transfer agreement, and we are already seeing a dramatic change. So far this summer the NHL has only signed 23 new European players - 11 of which are Swedes - marking a 46% drop from last year.

The lack of a transfer agreement even scared off teams at the NHL draft table in July. Only 24.9% of draftees were European, by far the lowest such total this decade.

One season is too early to definitively blame the lack of a transfer agreement for declining European content in the NHL. It may be just a weak year for Europeans or perhaps more Europeans are just staying home or going to the KHL rather than risk playing in the American minor leagues. But it is an alarming coincidence to say the least.

By the way, 25 NHL players have signed in Europe this summer. There has never been a reverse transfer arrangement compensating NHL teams.

JOE PELLETIER

Having "long-term" picture to consider I am not sure what would be better for the NHL and Canadian hockey. I am somewhat agree (partly) with Don Cherry - the huge number of European players, flooded the NHL for the last 20 years has damaged our (Canadian) domestic hockey. So this drop of European newcomers to the NHL, you mentioned in this article, is not necessary bad thing. We have a lot of good players here who have no chance to prove themselves sitting whole life in AHL, CHL, OHL...Look up at my favorite Red Wings - sometimes I have impression it's Europe select team. I think no doubt the best decade in terms of hockey progress was the 70s. But why? Because it was strong and EQUAL competition between the NHL and Europe. And the worst? In my opinion - 90s with same but reversed reason.
The NHL like business is straggling, ignore all this G. Bettman crap, straggling in terms of absence of new heard breaking ideas. So may be this will be "the one"?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SERGEI FEDOROV VISITS THE FACTORY

Pavel Zaitsev, Sport-Express


Sergey Fedorov gets his number 18 jersey from Metallurg Magnitogorsk General Manager Gennadiy Velichkin.

Sergei started his hockey career with Red Army team under number 18. "Choosing number 18 I have closed my hockey career circle", said Fedorov.

Yesterday Metallurg team was visiting the parent company - the workers of the Magnitogorsk steel giant. Sergey Fedorov obviously was the most popular person for factory employees and media. He answered a lot of questions. Sergei has shown deep interest in production technology processes and aggregates.

- To work here one supposed to by real professional - said the famous forward - These people are working really hard. This kind of excursion is unforgettable for outsider. We are lucky to be here and to observe this process "live".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

KIND OF JOKE - HOCKEY FUR GLOVES





Just in case you think it's a joke only you can click this link by hockeymonkey to watch the sale page.
O, people, give me a break!

THE EVER - BEST HOCKEY FANS - WORLD CHAMP 1957. MOSCOW


Can you imagine - 50,000 fans at soccer stadium watching the Worlds final with -20C outside? It happened on March 5, 1957 in Moscow, Russia


The Soviet team lines up prior to the historic game at the Luzhniki soccer stadium on March 5, 1957.

The Soviet Union shocked the hockey world by winning the 1954 World Championship in their first international appearance. Two years later, the Vsevolod Bobrov-led CCCP team won Olympic gold in Cortina. The decision to hold the 1957 World Championship in Moscow was made by the IIHF in recognition of the instant success of Soviet hockey.

When it was learned that neither Canada nor the United States were coming to Moscow, the hosts were unanimously considered the tournament favourites. Most of the games of the 24th World Championship were held in the newly built indoor Luzhniki Sports Palace. The last game of the round-robin format between the Soviet Union and Sweden was to be the gold medal game. The Swedes, led by players like Sven Tumba, Lasse Bjorn, Roland Stoltz and Nisse Nilsson, had won six straight games, while the Soviets had five wins and one tie, against Czechoslovakia.

Only three years earlier, the Soviet sports fans hade a very vague idea of ice hockey, which the authorities endorsed only in 1946. But after the successes of 1954 and 1956, ice hockey interest grew immensely. With the national team playing in an all-decisive gold medal game against Sweden, the demand for tickets was massive.

The tournament directorate realized that playing in the 14,000-seat Luzhniki Sports Palace would prevent many fans from attending the game. The decision was made to build a rink on the nearby Luzhniki soccer stadium. As this was Moscow in early March 1957 and the world had not yet been subjected to the term ‘global warming’, the organizers were not taking any major risks that it would be cold enough to sustain the ice.

The exact attendance figure will never be known, but as the teams took to the ice there were at least 50,000 (some say 55,000) fans. The game was a classic. The guests took a 2-0-lead in the first period, but the Soviets scored four goals in the second stanza making it 4-2 after two. Sweden got one back early in the third. With twelve minutes to go it was still 4-3 and the gold medals seemed destined to stay in Moscow. But then Swedish forward Eilert Maatta chased a loose puck in the right corner of the Soviet zone and cut to the goal, skating along the goal line.

With no one to pass to, Maatta saw that Russian goalie Nikolai Puchkov, anticipating a centering pass, had left a small gap between his pads and the goal post. The Swede, a right-handed shooter, went for the backhander and the puck found the small opening left by Puchkov.

The Swedes hung on, and the 4-4-tie gave Tre Kronor their second World title. Despite the fact that the Soviets didn’t win gold, they started a streak that would see them go undefeated on Moscow ice in World Championship competition for 41 games during a span of 50 years. The streak was broken on May 12, 2007 when Finland became the first team to defeat the home team in Moscow in a World Championship game.

Unless the IIHF takes its flagship event outdoors again, the attendance record from the Luzhniki soccer stadium will never be broken. It was that game, on March 5, 1957, that established hockey as the sport of the masses in the Soviet Union.

Friday, August 21, 2009

BOBBY CLARKE AND "FRIENDLY" GAMES


Having read tons of articles and books about Bobby Clarke I clearly have the strange impression as if all of this staff is written about two completely different persons. Don't you have the same test? Here are two more of them

By Jeff Z. Klein. The New York Times

Czech Television gives us this fast-paced compilation of blood-curdling incidents at the IIHF World Championship down through the years. There are many here (which we’ll get to below), but none is more horrifying than one that took place not during a World Championship but rather during a 1972 “friendly” between Canada and Czechoslovakia: Bobby Clarke’s butt-end to the face of Czechoslovak captain František Pospíšil:



That Canada-Czechoslovakia game was played in Prague one day after the famous last-minute Canadian victory over the USSR in the Summit Series. Team Canada were traveling back from Moscow, and you’d figure they’d be happy and triumphant. But instead they were as truculent as they ever were in the Soviet Union, and Clarke, fresh off breaking the ankle of Valeri Kharlamov at the direction of assistant coach John Ferguson, went after Pospisil’s face with what might be the dirtiest play ever captured on film.

By the way, the Czechoslovak referee gave Clarke only a five-minute major for this act, and Canada wound up earning a 3-3 draw on Serge Savard’s goal with 4 seconds left — all in all a perfect reflection of Team Canada in 1972.

Other incidents highlighted on the Czech Television compilation of international aggro since the late 1940s include Canada’s Ryan Smyth hacking at Czech defenceman Jiri Fischer’s ankles at least eight times during the 2005 World Championship; Claude Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk mixing it up during the 1996 World Cup; extended mayhem at the 2001 WC, starting with Italy’s Mario Chitarroni clotheslining and then pummeling a prone Swiss player, followed by a vicious sucker punch by Italy’s Anthony Iob — apt name — that knocked out Jean Jaques Aeschlimann; and Canada’s Owen Nolan dropping a Czech player with a gloved sucker punch while the Czech was surrounded by three Canadians.

BOBBY CLARKE - SAME PERSON, DIFFERENT LOOK


by Philadelfia Flyers Alumni Assosiation



Bobby Clarke began to play for his home team, the Flin Flon Bombers, when he was eight. In the beginning, he was nothing special as far as his friends were concerned. Hockey in Flin Flon was the only pastime. The Flin Flon Bombers' arena seated 2,000 and was always packed. The Bombers were practically impossible to beat on their home ice. It took 10 hours to get to Flin Flon by bus from Winnipeg. It was such an ordeal to get there that opposing teams were too exhausted to turn in a good performance.

Playing for the Bombers in the 1967-68 season, Clarke racked up 168 points (51 goals plus 117 assists). That was the best performance in the league. By all accounts, Bobby should have been first in the draft, but there were rumors in the NHL that Clarke was a diabetic and most probably wouldn't be able to play in the top league because of that. Pat Ginnell, head coach of the Bombers, didn't waste any time. He made arrangements with the Mayo Clinic, one of the best hospitals in North America, and took Bobby to Minnesota.

The doctors concluded that Clarke could play professional hockey if he looked after his health. The coach asked the doctors to put their statement in writing and returned home satisfied. When the following season began and NHL scouts began to visit Flin Flon, Ginnell showed them the verdict from the Mayo Clinic. On ice, Clarke hardly looked like a man with a serious affliction. He totaled 137 points with 51 goals and 86 assists and was again at the top of the league. Clarke also demonstrated superior leadership skills, which are highly valued in the NHL.

The 1969 draft was ample evidence that there were those in the league who believed in Clarke. Bobby was selected 17th by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. Sam Pollock, manager of the Montreal Canadiens, who were 1969 Stanley Cup winners, immediately offered a deal that the Flyers management could hardly refuse. But Philadelphia turned it down. Next in line was Detroit Red Wings chief scout Jimmy Skinner, who offered two veterans for the 20-year-old diabetic. But the Flyers made it clear that Clarke wasn't up for sale.

For Clarke, the start of his professional career was rough. During training camp, he had two serious diabetic seizures. One of the Philadelphia coaches, Frank Lewis, conducted his own investigation and learned that in both instances Clarke had had only a light breakfast before the workout. Lewis drew up a complete dietary plan, which Bobby strictly followed for years to come. Before a game, Clarke would drink a bottle of Coca-Cola with three spoonfuls of dissolved sugar. Between periods he downed half a glass of orange juice with sugar added, and after the game a whole glass. Lewis always stashed several chocolate bars and a tube of 100% glucose in his bag, just in case.

The personal diet plan developed by his coach went without a hitch and Bobby Clarke didn't miss a single game in his first NHL season. At the same time, Clarke didn't put on any spectacular performances either, with 15 goals and 31 assists for a total of 46 points.

The following season, Clarke's 27 goals and 36 assists helped Philadelphia to capture the number three slot in their division, but in the first round of the playoffs the Phillies were KO'd by the Chicago Black Hawks 4-0. Bobby himself felt that he'd made improvements in all the elements of his game during the second season. There was plenty of praise for the young center, but the question remained: How long could a diabetic keep on playing at the professional level?



Diabetics were susceptible to infectious diseases and even a slight scratch could be dangerous. And Clarke played a very physical game and did his share of bleeding. The blood's sugar content was a major source of danger. If the concentration was low, the player could lose his physical coordination. If it was high, his legs would feel as heavy as lead. Gradually Bobby proved to all the skeptics that he was able to deal with his ailment. There were plenty of players out there with injuries that hadn't fully healed. Some with back injuries were compelled to wear a corset under their uniform. Others with knee injuries had to wear tight knee bandages before coming out on the ice. Clarke had diabetes and fought his illness by consuming sugar-laced juices.

By the third season, everyone had forgotten about Clarke's diabetes. Not only did Clarke chalk up the highest number of points in the club's history - 35 goals plus 46 assists for a total of 81 points - he became the uncontested leader of the team, and that at the age of 22. At the end of the season, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance and dedication - a first for the Philadelphia team.

It was no surprise when in the summer of 1972 the head coach of Team Canada, Harry Sinden, named Bobby Clarke as one of the first candidates for the Summit Series against the USSR. Clarke had two wingers from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ron Ellis and Paul Henderson, and this threesome made a strong impression on observers during exhibition play. In the first game, which ended in a fiasco for the Canadians, Clarke more than anyone else was dissatisfied with the way things had gone. Bobby was named best player among the Canadians, but his efforts weren't enough. Before game two, Clarke reminded his team of the irony of the situation.

It was thought that the Russians had come to Canada to learn how to play hockey. The lesson the Canadians learned from the game in Montreal was that you had to be in good shape for a series where the pride of a nation was at stake and passions ran high. Judging by how they skated, the Russians knew this better than the Canadian team did. "We'll see what they can do after two or three games," said Bobby Clarke. But Team USSR adopted none of the techniques of the supposedly superior pros from the NHL and continued to play their own style of hockey. Before game four in Vancouver, the fans booed their own Canadian players. Bobby was furious. It was one thing if you were jeered by the fans of your club, but this was the national team of Canada!



The series was looking more and more like an embarrassment for Team Canada. The Canadians arrived in Moscow one game down on their opponents. After the first game at the Luzhniki Sports Palace, the gap doubled. A mistake by Clarke in the final minutes of the game cost the Canadians a tie. He was trying to control the puck near the boards and shot a pass to his partner, Rod Seiling. But Valeri Kharlamov intercepted the pass and flipped the puck to Vladimir Vikulov, who beat Tony Esposito at the net. The situation was critical. One more loss and the Canadians, whose considerable prestige was at stake, would blow the series. It was do or die.

At this point, Clarke took a more active role on his team and did his best to inspire the other players. At first he'd felt somewhat uncomfortable in the company of such stars as Phil Esposito and Brad Park. But facing the threat of an impending disaster, all players on the team became equal. The Canadians had to lay out everything they had to win game six, which they did with a score of 3-2. The battle would be uphill all the way, for the Soviets had home ice advantage and still led the series, but a slim chance had opened up for the Canadian team to win the series.

And suddenly Canadians demonstrated support for their players like never before. The team received over 50,000 telegrams. There were even messages from the town of Flin Flon. Bobby, smiling, said that he knew he wouldn't be forgotten. In the end, the Clarke trio was instrumental to the overall win of Team Canada. They won game seven by a score of 4-3. And Bobby's partner, Paul Henderson, scored the winning goal in the dying seconds of the final game to win it 6-5. Canada won the series.

Bobby Clarke could have become a national hero. The merits he accumulated during his career were impressive. As a player, the former Philadelphia captain led his club to Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. He also captured numerous individual awards, including the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1973, 1975 and 1976, and made the All-Star Team four times. But Clarke's behavior on ice was far from heroic. Under the captaincy of Clarke, Philadelphia played a very aggressive game of hockey.



He had a famous, captivating smile - with about a dozen missing teeth. That is how Bobby Clarke will be remembered by those who saw him on ice. One of the best checkers in the entire history of the league, he was also a ruffian and a warrior. And a victor.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

HERB BROOKS - DREAMER OF DREAMS


Today I would like to post an exellent article by Tom Jones first published in 2002



Tom Jones, Star Tribune. Published Feb 6, 2002

Twenty-two-year-old Herb Brooks sat slumped and silent in the living room of the East Side house he grew up in, watching the flickering black-and-white images of a dream. His dream.

Next to him, his father, - Herb Sr., Insurance Man - the man who told his son to stop these silly Olympic dreams and finish college, become something - a lawyer, an accountant, a banker. This is the same man who answered the telephone day after day for a year, his son telling him he wasn't coming home, that the Olympic team still had a place for him. This is the same man who told Herb to get back home and start his real life. And then Herb broke the news that he was the last - the God-forsaken last! - player cut from the Olympic roster, mere days before the 1960 Squaw Valley Games.

Back home and with a pit in his stomach, Herb sat next to his father and watched the guys from the neighborhood, buddies he used to play hockey with on the outdoor rinks and frozen ponds of their youth, win the gold medal. As he sat in his living room watching the American celebration, Herb felt a rush of emotion: happiness for his friends, and jealousy, sour green jealousy, because his dream was someone else's reality. He turned to his father, looking for comfort.

Herb Sr. looked at his son and said the words Brooks, to this day, can hear: "Looks like Coach cut the right guy."

That moment, those seven words lit the fire in Brooks' belly. The dream, the very purpose of Brooks' life, was born. This, you see, was Brooks' defining moment. This was his "Rosebud," the thing he has remembered all his life. That day, Feb. 27, 1960, in that little room in that little house off Queen Avenue in St. Paul, changed his life forever. And it changed the face of American hockey.

Dreamer of dreams

Not long ago, Herb Brooks, now 64 (the article was published in 2002 - A.N), sat in his White Bear Lake home, surfing through television channels when he stumbled on to one of his favorite movies, "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

"You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams," Brooks said. "We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams.

"I'm a dreamer."


HERB BROOKS. 1968 USA OLYMPIC TEAM CAPTAIN

Brooks dares to dream things no one thinks possible. He dreamed of playing in the Olympics, and he did in 1964 and 1968. He dreamed of coaching the U.S. Olympic hockey team, and he did in 1980. He dreamed of taking a bunch of American college boys and beating, perhaps, the best hockey team ever assembled, the mighty Soviets. And the boys did it.

Through it all, Brooks never stopped dreaming.

"I'm still driven by these same dreams," said Brooks when explaining, after all he has accomplished, why he would put it all on the line to coach in the Olympics again. "I'm driven by the pursuit of perfection as opposed to the quick-fix mentality that I think has engulfed our society today. I'm not talking about the dream team, I'm talking about the dreamers. I'm probably a dreamer more than anyone else."

Brooks' dreams these days haven't changed much from the days when he was knocking around Payne Avenue in St. Paul. He dreams of challenges. He dreams about the pursuit of perfection. He dreams of gathering groups of people and making them believe the impossible is possible.

"He makes you believe you can do anything," said Mike Ramsey, a member of Brooks' Miracle on Ice team in 1980.

It's why he is back coaching the U.S. Olympic team. He wants what he calls "one more kick at the can."
It's one more chance to dream.

"The dream now," Brooks said, " is no different than it was in 1960 or 1980."

Inspiring the 'Miracle'

Here's something Herb Brooks never dreamed of: coaching at the University of Minnesota. He was grateful for the opportunity. And he was good at it. He took a last-place team in 1972 and seven years later, the Gophers had the nation's Rolls Royce program, having played in four national title games, winning three of them. But coaching at Minnesota simply was a rung on the ladder. At the top? Coaching in the Olympics. For Brooks, it always was - and is - about the Olympics.

"The Olympians, with all the stories and athletes like Jesse Owens, well, to me they were up here," said Brooks, holding his hand above his head. "The Olympics have always captivated my attention. It's a world sport. It's not ho-hum business as usual. It's national pride, it's legacy, it's history. Those are the stories I grew up with. The Olympics transcend the game itself."

Still, it was a miracle that Brooks coached the Miracle on Ice team. He wasn't USA Hockey's first choice to coach the '80 team. Or its second. Maybe not even its third. He was 42 at the time, the youngest college coach in the country. But because of a variety of reasons, some not even fully known to this day, the job slipped down to Brooks.

Immediately, Brooks asked his players to do what he did back in 1960, a lesson he learned when he was the last cut for the Olympic team: "Sacrifice for the unknown." Be willing to give everything you have for something that may never happen. Take a leap of faith.

No one gave his college boys, average age 21, a chance.

"I understood the pragmatics of the situation," Brooks said. "But I wasn't going to leave those dreams on the table. I was driven by this thing as the athletes were driven by this thing."

But it wasn't easy. Brooks needed to push these kids beyond where even they believed they could go. Everything needed to be full-out. Brooks couldn't just screech his tires around the curve, he had to be willing to take out a stretch of guardrail. He shoved. He challenged. He prodded. He yelled. He was part motivator, part teacher, part psychologist. And full-time, well, Brooks said, "I was a bastard a lot of times, no question."



It worked. There was a tie against the Swedes. And Eruzione's goal against the Russians, and the magical Sunday morning against Finland while the world watched. And Brooks' kids had their Olympic gold.

And then that was it. Brooks was supposed to climb onto his white horse, ride off into the sunset, coach a few years in the NHL (which he did), then come back to St. Paul and wife Patti and live out his days as a Minnesota legend, like Paul Bunyan. His name would go down in coaching lore. We would have Bear, and Knute and Red. And right along with those names: Herbie. All went according to plan.

Until three years ago..

The 4 a.m. call

Neil Sheehy tossed and turned in his hotel room in Florida. The former NHL player and current Minneapolis-based players' agent started thinking of all the years and miles during which he became friends with Herb Brooks. He thought of the car rides to North Dakota, to Duluth, to Mankato, to Madison when the two talked about hockey and players and dreams.

The alarm clock in Sheehy's room clicked over to 4 a.m., sending Sheehy to the telephone to track down his shotgun rider. Brooks awoke to the ring of the telephone in his South Bend, Ind., hotel room. Groggily, he answered.

Sheehy didn't identify himself. He just said: "Herb, you got to coach the Olympic team in 2002."

Brooks' reaction? "You're crazy. Or drunk."

After assuring Brooks he was neither, Sheehy concocted the plan to bridge the gap that had grown between Brooks and USA Hockey. Brooks was intrigued, but he wouldn't allow himself to believe that it could come together. After all, even though he coached the U.S. team to its greatest victory - perhaps the greatest moment in American sports of any kind -- Brooks was never asked to coach an American national team after 1980. Brooks is stubborn, headstrong, opinionated. He had his way of doing things, and it was different from the way USA Hockey (read: Walter Bush, president, USA Hockey) did things.

"A lot has been said and a lot has been written that Herb and I don't get along," Bush said. "But it was never as bad as people thought. We have had different thoughts on how to run this. From a hockey perspective, I couldn't agree with Herb more."

Sheehy, patiently and perfectly, set out to close the gap between Brooks and USA Hockey, and found out the gap really wasn't that wide. He began working on USA Hockey to consider Brooks. He then worked on changing Brooks' stubborn ways.

"Herb, you want to change the world," Sheehy told Brooks, "but sometimes to do that you have to change yourself."

It all sounded great. Nothing, though, came easy. During one telephone conversation, a frustrated Brooks told Sheehy to "Forget it! I'm out!" and slammed down the receiver.


HERB BROOKS COACHING MINNESOTA NORTH STARS

That prompted a letter from Sheehy to Brooks that challenged Brooks to reconsider. Sheehy closed by paraphrasing Brooks' speech to his 1980 team before the showdown with the Soviets.

"Herb," Sheehy wrote, "you were born to be here. You were born to coach."

But when one hurdle was cleared, another popped up. Because NHL players would be involved, there was a thought that maybe the team should be run by an NHL coach. That obstacle, though, was overcome when Brooks coached the Pittsburgh Penguins for most of the 1999-2000 season. Brooks' success in Pittsburgh (29-24-5-2) proved he could deal with temperamental and arrogant millionaires.

Meantime, Brooks had other issues. He thought the Olympic job should be passed from coach to coach and he had already had his moment. He wasn't -- and still isn't -- crazy about letting professionals play in the Olympics. Sheehy's words ("Herb, you want to change the world, but sometimes to do that you have to change yourself.") echoed in Brooks' head. Brooks can be bullheaded, but he also believes in democracy. He also knew he was on the losing side of the pros-vs.-amateurs argument. He could either whine to anyone who would listen while someone else kicked the can, or he could get with the program.

The announcement came on Nov. 1, 2001: Herb Brooks would coach the 2002 United States Olympic men's hockey team.

It's about hockey, and dreams

Why? Why is Herb Brooks interested in coaching the Olympic team in 2002? Choosing Brooks makes sense for USA Hockey. Brooks is a masterful coach, an innovative strategist and a brilliant motivator. His hiring conjures up memories of the Miracle on Ice in 1980 as opposed to what the story line could've been going into these Games: Team USA's embarrassing performance on and off the ice in Nagano in 1998. Hiring Brooks seems like a no-brainer .

But why is Brooks doing this? Even he admits there never will be another Miracle on Ice. Why risk damaging the legacy?

"I'm doing it for the cause," Brooks said. "And the cause is this: Hopefully our Olympic team will be an impetus and a catalyst to further the growth of American hockey. . . . I've seen American players go from the apprentice in the game, to the journeyman in the game, to some real masters of the trade. I want to continue to see that growth, and this is a vehicle to do that."

But that isn't all. Brooks remembers that day in 1960, sitting on the couch, hearing his father saying: "Looks like Coach cut the right guy."

"Well, it's the same dream as 1960 and 1980," Brooks said. "We want to win the gold medal. It's the same motivation. We all -- the players, me -- have that little boy in them.

"We should all have dreams. My dream is win a gold medal. My dream is to work with a group of individuals and prepare to do something great."

Tom Jones is at twjones startribune.com

REMEMBERING HERBIE. Q&A


"You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams. We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams. I'm a dreamer."- Herb Brooks


HERB 'HERBIE' BROOKS. 1960 PRE-OLYMPICS

Did Herb Brooks really miss his chance to play in the Winter Olympics in 1960?

Yes. Brooks was the last person to be cut by coach Jack Riley from the 1960 gold medal winning U.S. Olympic team. At right is a photo of Herb Brooks in his shortly worn 1960 Olympic attire (click to enlarge). Brooks did however later play in the Olympic games in 1964, and he was the captain in 1968. -ESPN.com

How did the U.S. victory over the Russians and subsequent Olympic Gold Medal at Lake Placid in 1980 become known as the "Miracle On Ice"?

The "Miracle On Ice" catchphrase took hold after sportscaster Al Michaels exclaimed, "Do you believe in miracles?" just after the final seconds winded down in the United States' 4-3 victory over Russia. -Disney

What was the national reaction to the United States 1980 victory?

The Miracle on Ice was a monumental victory on both an athletic and political level. The nation was looking for a distraction from world events, which included the impending threat of nuclear war, the country's hostages in Iran, and the long lines at the gas pumps. With little good in the news, Herb Brooks and his ragtag hockey team of college kids soon became the national focus. Their victory over the Soviet Union, our Cold War enemy, gave the United States a symbol of hope. It also inflicted upon the Russians a scar of defeat. The players became celebrities, and still remain national heroes. Even U.S. coach Herb Brooks enjoyed the limelight a little. He dropped in for an unannounced appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on February 27, 1980



Did Herb Brooks ever coach another Olympic hockey team after 1980?

Yes. Herb Brooks first returned to the Olympics in 1998, coaching the French team at the Nagano Games. Then, in 2002, Herb Brooks coached the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City. To begin the Games, Mike Eruzione led other members of the 1980 Olympic team in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. At Salt Lake City, Brooks led the U.S. team to a silver medal, defeated in the final game by Mario Lemieux and the rest of team Canada, who were coached by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. When asked why he decided to return to coach at the Olympics, Herb Brooks said the following, "Maybe I'm sort of like the players -- there's still a lot of little boy in me," Brooks said. "And maybe I'm a little smarter now than I was before for all the stupid things I've done." - olympic-usa.org

Did Herb Brooks ever coach in the NHL?

Yes. Following his 1980 Olympic victory at Lake Placid, Herb Brooks coached the New York Rangers (1981-85). There he set a franchise record, reaching 100 wins quicker than any other coach in the organization's history. After leaving the Rangers, Brooks coached the Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), the New Jersey Devils (1992-93), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-00). - olympic-usa.org

What were the details surrounding Herb Brooks' death?



On Monday August 11, 2003, just six days after his sixty-sixth birthday, while on his way to the Minneapolis airport to board a flight to Chicago, Herb Brooks lost control of his minivan and veered onto a grassy area at a highway intersection north of the Twin Cities. Chucke Menke of USA Hockey said that Brooks was coming from a Hall of Fame celebrity golf event. State Patrol Lt. Chuck Walerius said that an inspection of the accident scene (above, right) revealed that Brooks had apparently not been wearing his seatbelt. His body was found about forty yards from the vehicle, which is thought to have rolled several times. Anoka County coroner's office said that Brook's died of multiple blunt-force chest and abdominal injuries when he was ejected from his vehicle (ESPN.com). The State Patrol's report confirmed Brooks wasn't drinking, speeding, talking on his cell phone or having health trouble before the crash. Officials also said that weather and road conditions were ruled out as contributing factors. The State Patrol concluded that he most likely fell asleep at the wheel (news.mpr.org). The following morning after the accident a makeshift memorial could be seen at the site of the wreck. Commuters slowed down to pay their respects, spotting the hockey jersey and the University of Minnesota hat on the side of the road. - olympic-usa.org

Did Herb Brooks know about the Disney movie Miracle before he died?

Yes. Brooks had visited the sets of Miracle around Vancouver, British Columbia. He had spoken with the actor portraying him on the big screen, Kurt Russell. He talked to Russell about possibly watching a game in which Russell's son played, who is a Tier II goaltender. - Post-Gazette.com

HERB BROOKS IS GONE, BUT NEVER FORGOTEN

by nhl.com



WOODRIDGE, Ill. -- It's pretty rare to attend any USA Hockey event nowadays without the name Herb Brooks popping up at some point.

That's because USA Hockey and Herb Brooks are synonymous, and it's why the entire hockey community mourned the death of the legendary coach in a car accident on Aug. 11, 2003. Brooks’ valuable lessons of life and hockey -- "Herbisms" -- will forever remain a part of the American sports culture.

"I think you can really define it pretty simply -- Herb Brooks was the architect of the single most significant moment in the history of American hockey," USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean told NHL.com. "His role with that team was clearly one of larger-than-life dominance since we were dealing with players younger than we have now. Herb was the leader, the one who molded them, pushed them and challenged them, and a guy who always insisted on doing things his way. He was never a compromiser, but, at the end of the day, he put his signature on what is the pinnacle moment for hockey in the United States."

Brooks followed up the 1980 Olympic "Miracle on Ice" in Lake Placid with a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"In the intervening years between 1980 and 2002, Herb spent most of that time in the NHL," Ogrean said. "He had coached, scouted and gotten more experience in Europe. He absorbed a lot of knowledge of international and NHL hockey, so when the NHL guys entered the Olympic Games, it was a logical fit to bring him back in 2002. And we almost did it again, but Canada was just better that day (in the gold medal game)."

Three of the 34 players invited to the 2009 United States Olympic Men's Orientation Camp had the opportunity to play for Brooks in the '02 Games -- forwards Mike Modano and Chris Drury and defenseman Brian Rafalski.

Each player took some time to provide NHL.com with some of their fondest memories of Brooks during that three-week stretch in 2002.

Mike Modano -- "Just having Herb there in Salt Lake with us and returning to the Olympics was so exciting. We really wanted to do it for Herb and get to the gold medal game and win one more for him. He wasn't really an X's and O's guy because he wouldn't elaborate on systems. He just went out there and asked us to skate hard and work hard and have fun because that's when good things happen. He was a real rah-rah guy and he had some great speeches leading up to some games, some very similar to the things he said in 1980 for Team USA and also when he coached Minnesota and then in New York."

Chris Drury -- "It was a big thrill. We all watched him growing up and to get to see how he handled our team and the veterans and how close we were to winning gold but just fell short was certainly something I'll never forget. He was really pretty casual. I think he knew the talent he had, especially with the older guys in the group that had won World Cup (in 1996). By not pressing too hard, I think he figured he would get the most out of us. He just seemed to have a real good relationship with our core group of guys."

Brian Rafalski -- "It was a great experience and my first Olympics so it's something I'll always remember. We were playing on home soil and skated for a legendary coach. It was great to hear the stories he shared and we wound up doing pretty well -- a silver is good. I'll never forget that summer camp he held in Colorado Springs when he told me "The legs feed the wolf." He wanted you to do this extra weight program after regular workouts and you're like, "Oh man, Herb, I don't know, I'm really tired." I mean, how much work do you need to do? But he certainly got the best out of us, and I feel honored to have played for him."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BERTUZZI SAGA CONTINUES IN DETROIT. SECOND LAP

FREE PRESS STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES



The Red Wings made another move Tuesday to bolster their offense and put themselves over the NHL’s salary cap in the process.
The Wings signed free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Bertuzzi, 34, had 15 goals and 29 assists in 66 games last season with the Calgary Flames. He also had a minus-13 rating.

With the off-season defection of three key players — Marian Hossa (40 goals), Jiri Hudler (23) and Mikael Samuelsson (19) — the Wings lost 82 of their 295 goals — or 28% — from last season. They have added free-agent forwards Jason Williams (19 goals), Patrick Eaves (six) and Bertuzzi (15) and expect increased production from Ville Leino, Darren Helm and, possibly, Justin Abdelkader.

“We lost almost 90 goals,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “I read or hear people picking us to be about fourth in the Western Conference.

“Even though a lot of teams have gotten better, I still think we’re a Stanley Cup contender because our defense is as good as anyone’s defense and I like the rest of our team.”

Bertuzzi, who likes to throw around his 6-foot-3, 230-pound body, has changed teams five times since 2006, in part because he has battled back, knee, leg and head injuries. Holland said Bertuzzi’s back problems appeared to be in his past and the team’s medical staff was impressed with his conditioning during a physical.

Bertuzzi played in eight regular-season games and 16 playoff games for Detroit in 2006-07 after he was acquired from Florida.

The Wings wanted to re-sign him and offered a one-year deal in the $3 million range. He took a two-year deal at $4 million per with the Ducks. The Ducks bought out his contract after a 14-goal season, and he signed a one-year, $1.95-million deal with the Flames.

Bertuzzi’s addition puts the Wings’ payroll for next season at $58 million, about $1.2 million above the cap. That can be solved pretty much, for starters, by sending Abdelkader and his $850,000 salary to Grand Rapids of the AHL or putting defenseman Andreas Lilja ($1.2 million) on injured reserve; he has been dealing with the effects of a concussion since February.

Bertuzzi, a 13-year veteran, had his best season in 2002-03, when he had 46 goals and 51 assists.



For most fans, though, Bertuzzi is best-known for his vicious hit on Colorado’s Steve Moore in March 2004. Moore, who suffered three fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts and a severe concussion, never played hockey again. Bertuzzi, a Canuck at the time, was suspended for the final 13 games of the 2003-04 season and the playoffs. He also faced assault charges for the incident. He pleaded guilty and received a conditional discharge, meaning no jail time or criminal record.

DANY HEATLEY TALKS TO "HOCKEY CANADA"

Ken Warren, The Ottawa Citizen; with files from Canwest News Service.
Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009



Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada's President and CEO, speaks at a news conference to unveil Canada's 2010 Olympic and Paralympic hockey sweaters in Vancouver, British Columbia, August 17, 2009

At least Dany Heatley is talking to the president of Hockey Canada. Heatley talks, if only to Nicholson.
"I talked to Dany Sunday and I will talk to him again later this week about our camp," Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson wrote in an e-mail to the Citizen on Tuesday, in response to questions about whether Heatley could become a distraction at next week's Olympic orientation camp in Calgary.

"Hockey Canada will do what is best for Dany and Hockey Canada."

Heatley hasn't uttered a word publicly since his demand for a trade away from the Ottawa Senators leaked out two months ago. It's believed Nicholson will ask Heatley to addre ss the issue before the opening of camp.

Heatley has five years and $33.5 million U.S. remaining on his contract ($4 million of his $8 million salary for 2009-10 was paid out on July 1), but he will face more concerns the longer the situation drags out. If he's not traded before the start of the regular season and holds out, he won't be paid. If he stayed away long enough, his chances to make the Olympic team would also dwindle because he wouldn't be at the competitive level of his peers.

Considering all of the above, why did Heatley choose to use his no-trade clause to prevent a potential deal to Edmonton? It's one of many questions Hockey Canada doesn't want being asked at camp next week.

JIRI HUDLER MAKES DYNAMO DEBUT

by SPORT-EXPRESS



HC Dynamo Moscow played their first match at pre-season training camp in Switzerland.

Dynamo Czech newcomer and Detroit former forward Jiri Hudler played his first match in the Moscow club. The match against Bern ended in 4-4 draw and Dynamo clinched victory in shootout series only thanks to accurate strike of another new man Linus Umark.

Umark, Juhan Harju, Leo Komarov and Ivan Nepryaev scored one goal each.

"I am satisfied with Hudler’s debut", said Dynamo head coach Sergey Kotov. "This player always creates danger in front of our opponents’ goal".

"Unfortunately we couldn’t do without losses in Switzerland. Saprykin and Kalyuzhny will have to miss some time because of minor injuries".

ILYA BRYZGALOV: UNCERTAINTY IS THE HARDEST THING FOR LADA

by SPORT-EXPRESS


Vasiliy Koshechkin (L) and Ilya Bryzgalov with the World Champions Cup Photo SPORT EXPRESS

Russian hockey goalkeeper Ilya Bryzgalov is hopeful that Lada won’t be eliminated from the KHL championship.

Phoenics Coyotes and Russian national team goaltender and the World champion-2009 Ilya Bryzgalov is currently preparing for the new season in his home city Togliatti. He started training with Lada squad this week.

The goalie visited Togliatti with the World Champions cup in a very tough moment for Lada as this club faces elimination from the KHL championship because of financial problems.

"This situation is difficult and not very pleasant", Bryzgalov told Sport Express. "On the one hand the team is training and preparing for the coming season but on the other hand it could be eliminated from the league".

"To my mind the most difficult thing for coaches and players is to be uncertain of their future. Vasiliy Koshechkin and I brought the champions cup to our home city to make people happy but we see that they are in awful mood".

"Vasiliy is a grown-up person and he will decide his future himself. I am hopeful that Lada will stay in KHL roster and Vasiliy will continue his career in Lada".

"Togliatti is a good city with perfect hockey school and faithful supporters. Don’t forget that Lada is the first non-Moscow club which won the Russian championship".

"Our success at the World championship in Switzerland was a big pleasure for my family and me. However it happened so long time ago and I don’t watch videotapes again now. We need to continue our life and move forward".

"Ahead of the 2009 World Cup many people said that it would be difficult to repeat our success in Canada. Ill-wishers always exist and even now they will say that it will be hard to win the title for the third consecutive time. So we will try to disappoint these people again".

"We just need to believe in our team. We went to Switzerland with only one target to win and we fulfilled it".

"All players dream of winning the Olympic Games. I know that it will be impossible to win three tournaments – the Stanley Cup, Olympic Games and the World Championship – in one season. So it’s necessary to wait for the Olympics and perform successfully there".

"I like everything in America. I have two-year contract with Phoenics and I am not ready to tell you what I will do after it".

"Many NHL players move to the Kontinental Hockey League and it cannot but prove this league’s strength. These experienced players are provided with good financial conditions in Russia".

"At the same time we shouldn’t forget that the most talented youngsters still play in NHL".

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TODD McLELLAN: "AS OF NOW NOBODY IS OUR CAPTAIN"

by Mark Purdy, Mercury News Columnist



Patrick Marleau is no longer the Sharks' captain. The team made it official Monday.

If you are stunned or surprised, you must be either a pure Marleau enthusiast who doesn't believe in consequences, or a pure baseball fan who doesn't believe in hockey.

Here's a bigger question: Will Marleau be with the Sharks at all by the season-opening face off?

The answer remains very much up in the air. Rumors still gurgle that Marleau could be traded, perhaps as part of some three-way deal that would bring Ottawa's Dany Heatley to our beloved Los Tiburones.

However, if Monday's news does anything in that regard, it probably pushes the needle more toward Marleau staying. Otherwise, why would the Sharks even bother to make the announcement? Marleau could have simply dropped the no-trade clause in his contract and been dealt to another team, and the captaincy of the Sharks would automatically become vacant.

Instead, it appears Marleau will be granted the wish he expressed at the postseason "State of the Sharks" question-and-answer session with fans. Marleau said his primary desire was to stay in San Jose and "prove all the naysayers wrong."

Speaking as one of those sayers of nay, I wish Marleau well in his quest. He was never a disruptive force. Yet as captain of the team since January 2004, he just couldn't ratchet up his climate-control personality to a higher level when the stakes were raised in the springtime. Monday was the result.

What you need to know is this: Marleau was never going to be the captain of the Sharks in 2009-10, not after another early playoff elimination. Sometime in July, he was informed by team management that the "C" on his uniform would have to be removed.

Marleau gave a hint about all of this a few weeks ago when he said that he would give up the captaincy if necessary to improve the team. By then, Marleau had to know it was a done deal, anyway. The only variable, really, was how the information would be handled.

We discovered the answer Monday in an almost casual fashion, courtesy of Sharks coach Todd McLellan. The Mercury News' hockey guru, David Pollak, stopped by the team's practice rink to check on the team and McLellan offered the demotion bulletin.


"At this point," McLellan said, "nobody's our captain."

McLellan then said the captaincy would stay vacant — sort of like a temporarily unoccupied condominium — until at least the middle of next month. That's when training camp opens. Between now and then, McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson will continue to take the roster's temperature and jointly make the decision.

McLellan, it should be noted, did not rule out Marleau being renamed captain when the choice is announced. But to believe that will actually happen, you would also have to believe that Mike Vernon will be returning to play goalie.

Who will be the captain instead? Three names come to mind. The most likely candidate is Dan Boyle, the defenseman who arrived a year ago in a trade from Tampa Bay, where he won a Stanley Cup. Boyle quickly set an example of intensity on the ice and wasn't afraid to call out his teammates in public when necessary.

That doesn't mean Boyle's ascendancy is automatic. If the Sharks' hopes to win a Stanley Cup rest most firmly on the shoulders of former league MVP Joe Thornton — and they do — then it might be time for him to wear the "C" as he did earlier in his career with the Boston Bruins. That would be my vote.

The final possibility is Joe Pavelski, the young second-line center who was among the most visibly angry Sharks following the playoff loss to the Ducks. He won an NCAA championship at the University of Wisconsin. Pavelski, 25, would be a bold selection, though not an utter shock.

A captain in hockey does not have to be outspoken and loud. But he absolutely must be the gravitational center of the dressing room, setting an elevated tone when necessary. The recently retired Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche was the perfect example of all those qualities.

Marleau is a soft-spoken, beyond-decent human being who has done much good community work in San Jose without tooting his horn. But as a team leader, he never made it into Sakic territory. In the five playoffs of Marleau's captaincy, the Sharks won five series — but they also lost five series, two of them after taking a lead in games won.

Marleau personified the Sharks' postseason malaise. He could look spectacular one night, be a vapor the next night. Some excused his inconsistent play against the Ducks because he was nursing a knee problem at the time, although the injury wasn't bad enough to require surgery after the season.

As it turned out, the only thing that Marleau had cut out was the letter from his sweater. Let's see how he — and the team — respond.