Advertising on World Cup of Hockey jerseys isn’t close to the travesty of ads on NHL jerseys

Adam Proteau
Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey (Getty Images)

A TSN report Thursday rankled more than a few people with news the NHL and NHLPA intend to put advertisements on player jerseys in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on a “trial” basis.

Sacrilege? Nah. And I say this as someone who detests the idea of advertising on NHL teams’ jerseys. But the World Cup is a different animal altogether. That tournament isn’t steeped in tradition like the Olympic Games, nor does it originate from a place of pure, uncompromising athletic competition, like an IIHF world championship. The history of the World Cup traces back to the Canada Cup, which was in large part the brainchild of the villainous NHLPA turncoat Alan Eagleson.
Read more

World Cup of Hockey 2016: projecting Finland’s roster

Matt Larkin
Tuukka Rask is a lock to make Finland – but has competition for the starting goalie job. (Chuck Myers/MCT via Getty Images)

The Finns have performed consistently well in recent international competition. They’ve medalled in four of five Olympic tournaments since NHL participation began. They won the 2011 World Championship and finished second last year.

But the Finns are witnessing a changing of the guard, saying goodbye to Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. They’re a team in transition that must rely on new, younger pillars. Their 2014 world junior gold suggests they can do so successfully. What type of roster might they field at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey? Here’s a rough projection.

Read more

World Cup of Hockey 2016: Projecting the North American Youngstars

Matt Larkin
Good friends Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones should compete together on the North American Youngstars squad. (Getty Images)

The dust has finally settled on the next World Cup of Hockey, set to commence Sept. 17, 2016. The rumored format came to fruition, with the eight-team field including Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, a Euro all-star squad and the North American Youngstars team.

The latter two groups are highly polarizing, of course. Will the Euro all-stars have any motivation to succeed without playing for their nations? Is the Youngstars team a cheap gimmick? I’m fine with both entries – It’s not like we know this tournament replaces the Olympics – though it’s surprising to learn any players 23 and younger can only play for the Youngstars. That means a Nathan MacKinnon or Johnny Gaudreau can’t even make Canada and the U.S, respectively, on merit.

After forecasting Canada, the U.S. and the Euro all-stars, it’s time for the difficult task of predicting the 23-and-under group. Here goes. I’ll deploy 25 players again, even though the official designation is 23, as I’m factoring in the taxi squad members. Also worth noting: the league has not yet designated an age cutoff date. In this case, we’ll go with players 23 and younger on Sept. 17.

Read more

Four reasons to love the new World Cup of Hockey format

Adam Proteau
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr (L) and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman reveal plans for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Saturday a new, radical format for the returning World Cup of Hockey. Although many have criticized the inclusion of a team comprised of the best North American players 23 or younger and one stocked with the best players from the non-”big four” European countries, there’s plenty to like about the structure of the tournament. Here are the top four things to like about the 2016 World Cup.

4. The future possibilities. With the NHL appealing to other countries via the European combined team and the league clearly intending to extend its imprint on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, there could be a day the tournament takes place in its entirety there. Does anyone doubt a World Cup in Sweden or Russia would be a smashing success? They shouldn’t. The league is building the event safely by choosing Toronto, but it’s not going to stay in that city forever.

3. The controversy. The format is already paying off, as hockey fans of all degrees are discussing the difference between this tourney and the standard, IIHF-sanctioned hockey showdown. Be honest – if the NHL and NHL Players’ Association had simply said, “Everything we did at the last World Cup, we’ll do again in 2016,” the hype over the event would have faded in the immediate months to come, before it began to spike at the end of next season. Now, people will debate all the angles – the rosters, the eventual transition to a more traditional format – and they’ll stay more engaged with it for a longer period. That can only help fuel interest and anticipation. The status quo wouldn’t have done any of that. Read more

Time for star players to step up because NHL prepared to ditch Olympics

Ken Campbell
Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – Now is the time for the best players in the NHL to stand up the way they do when the Stanley Cup is on the line. Because if they don’t push the issue on Olympic participation, the NHL will be more than happy to trash the entire concept.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced the details of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be played in Toronto Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016. Both sides spoke of the event in glowing terms and there was much singing from the same songbook. That’s because both sides stand to gain a mother lode of money from a World Cup. The profits for the event are split 50-50 between the NHLPA and the league, meaning they will not be part of Hockey Related Revenues and will have no bearing on the salary cap. Each side is free to take its money and do with it whatever it wants. Read more

Toronto to get All-Star Game and outdoor game in 2017: Source

Phil Kessel  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – The Toronto Maple Leafs will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017 with the All-Star Game and an outdoor game, a source with close ties to NHL ownership told thn.com.

And it looks as though the Winter Classic for 2016 will be held in Boston at Gillette Stadium with a game against the Montreal Canadiens. And, of course, the World Cup is scheduled for Toronto in 2016 with eight teams, including an all-star team made up of smaller hockey countries and a team of 23-and-under North Americans. Read more

Stop what you’re doing & watch this goal of the year candidate

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube/DEL)

The following comes to you from the German DEL and a player you’ve likely never heard of, but will likely remember for the rest of the year after this dazzling tally.

Nick Petersen plays for the DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters and last Friday he scored on the greatest goals you’ll ever see. It was posted by a reddit user, Geoff819, who writes Petersen is his brother and this beauty was his hat trick capping goal in an 8-1 defeat of Dusseldorf EG. Watch as Petersen shakes four defenders, changes directions multiple times, puts on an incredible fake, before firing it home. Read more

World Cup of Hockey 2016: projecting USA’s roster

Matt Larkin
Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter would be staples on a Team USA 2016 World Cup roster.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

It was crazy enough to project a Team Canada roster before the 2016 World Cup of Hockey was even officially unveiled. And heck, that came more than a month after forecasting the Euro all-star team. Why stop there? Let’s explore the American team, which includes much more agonizing decisions because the talent gaps are so tiny between the top players at each position.

Players are alphabetized by position. Keep in mind the forecast is for summer 2016. Also, some roster choices may change if the NHL announces players under 23 years old cannot play for their country and must suit up for the under-23 team.

Read more