Hockey is no longer Canada’s game — and that’s a good thing

Mike Brophy
Jonathan Toews (Photo by Robert Beck /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

The TV commercial promoting the 2016 World Cup of Hockey asks the question: Who owns hockey?

Russian Evgeni Malkin of the Stanley Cup champion says, “There’s no question, Russia.”

The Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel of Sweden, counter, “That’s easy, Sweden.”

American hockey players argue, “Three words: Miracle on Ice.”

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, a Finn, responds with, “Three names: Selanne, Kurri, Koivu.”

Finally, Canadians Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks and Sidney Crosby of the Penguins conclude: “Canada didn’t just invent hockey, hockey invented Canada.”

That may be true Jon and Sid, but hockey no longer belongs to Canada, if it ever really did.

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European teams form alliance to get a seat at the table with the big boys

Sebastian Aho (left), Jesse Puljujariv (middle) and Patrik Laine (MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

When Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are drafted into the NHL a week from now, their teams in the Finnish Elite League will receive a one-time payment of about $240,000. Assuming each player earns $50 million over the course of his NHL career – which is probably being conservative – the amount their teams receive represents about one-half of one percent of their career earnings.

The teams that choose Laine and Puljujarvi – almost certainly the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets – stand to make millions in merchandising and ticket sales, particularly if each of them is a central figure in some long playoff runs. Meanwhile, the organizations that have basically developed these players from the time they were children, Tappara and Karpat, are receiving a pittance. That $240,000 is what Karpat will receive for losing Laine’s and Puljujarvi’s World Junior linemate Sebastian Aho to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week.

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Meet the Finnish coaching phenom who made Joonas Donskoi an NHL player

Lauri Marjamaki (Bili Tygri Liberec/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – One of the first things Lauri Marjamaki did when he began coaching Joonas Donskoi three years ago was take him to the grocery store. Some kids get it early, others take a little longer. You can put Donskoi firmly in the latter category. At the age of 21, he had no idea what it took to be a professional hockey player.

But Marjamaki, who could have passed for Donskoi’s older brother and not his coach, went to work. And more than anyone aside from Donskoi himself, Marjamaki is responsible for the final product we’re seeing today. The 24-year-old player who saved the San Jose Sharks season – at least until Game 4 Monday night – was the product of a progressive hockey system and a progressive coach in Marjamaki.

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World Cup Power Rankings: Take a wild guess who’s No. 1

Sidney Crosby  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Now that the rosters for the World Cash Grab of Hockey™ have been finalized, we can now set about to devoting our energies to predicting everything that’s going to happen. After all, the tournament is only four months away and time is of the essence.

With that said, here’s our stab at World Cup of Hockey Power Rankings. Remember, these are Power Rankings and have no bearing on how a team will finish, so stop it with the hate mail and nasty tweets just because your team didn’t do well in this little exercise. That goes double for all you Team Europe fans out there, all three of you.

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More Patrik Laine! Finland gives us what we want with World Cup roster

Patrik Laine (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)

Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.

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Jagr to stay retired from international competition, won’t play for Czechs at World Cup

Jared Clinton
Jaromir Jagr (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Fans hoping to get a glimpse of Jaromir Jagr at the World Cup of Hockey this September will be disappointed, as the veteran winger confirmed to Czech Republic GM Martin Rucinsky it’s a no-go for the upcoming tournament.

Rucinsky told Czech publication Denik Sport that Jagr took a week to think about the decision, according to NHL.com. After taking his time to think about it, the 44-year-old winger, who announced his retirement from international competition following the 2015 World Championship, has decided to stay retired and remain off the roster for the tournament.

“We spoke to each other during the weekend and his final decision was he wouldn’t be going,” Rucinsky said, via NHL.com. “It would be too difficult for him to get ready for such an important tournament during the summer. And he said at last year’s World Championship that he was done with the national team. He also will have a lot of work with Kladno [the Czech league team Jagr owns]. He wants to do some work with the team and therefore wouldn’t be able to get ready for the World Cup in time.” Read more

Finland’s international golden era has just begun

Finland's Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

Call him The Narrative Slayer.

When Connor McDavid charged the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Canada’s 2-0 golden performance at the World Championship in Russia, the young Oilers star punctured a pretty good storyline in the making. That being, of course, that a Finland victory would have given Suomi all three major IIHF men’s titles this year.

But while Finland may have lost at the worlds, the country’s gold medals at the world juniors and world under-18s were reason enough to believe that Finland is entering a golden era of hockey.

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