Relations between Russia and North America are a little frosty right now. Discipline is expected from the IIHF after the Russians took off during the Canadian national anthem at the World Championship, while the newest issue of Harper’s magazine reveals that 81 percent of Russians today have a negative view of the United States, compared with just 25 percent in 2013.
And now a hockey legend has waded into the fray.
Standout Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal could be heading to North America next season and if he does, it appears he could be landing with the Hurricanes, Flames or Blackhawks.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nakladal is working on finalizing an NHL deal and Carolina, Calgary and Chicago are the three teams left in the running. While there haven’t been many reports on what exactly the 27-year-old blueliner is looking for in a destination, he certainly has his pick of destinations following a stellar campaign with TPS Turku of Finland’s SM-Liiga. Read more
The IIHF is investigating the actions of the Russian team during the post-game ceremony following the gold medal game at the World Championship.
Following Russia’s 6-1 defeat at the hands of Canada, many of the Russian players, as well as coaches and training staff, left the ice before the Canadian national anthem was played and the flag was lifted in honor of Canada’s victory. Several Russian players, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Viktor Tikhonov and Dmitry Kulikov, remained on the ice throughout the post-game celebration and Canadian anthem.
There aren’t many players on Canada World Championship roster that went overseas with hopes of taking home a million-dollar jackpot for Hockey Canada, but thanks to the team’s incredible play over the past two weeks, they’ve done exactly that.
For the first time in World Championship history, the tournament’s media and marketing sponsor, Infront Sports & Media, offered up a $1 million jackpot to any club that could make it through the entire tournament winning every single game they played in regulation. Infront likely weren’t planning on the Canadian roster being one of the most talented World Championship rosters ever assembled, but that’s exactly how things shook out, and now Hockey Canada is $1 million richer.
For the first time since 2007, Canada has captured World Championship gold.
Maybe one of the most dominant clubs in the history of the World Championship, Canada rolled through nearly every opponent they played. In the round robin, Canada notched 49 goals while allowing only 14 and in the round robin and a plus-16 goal differential in the playoffs. After defeating Belarus 9-0 and the Czech Republic 2-0, Canada didn’t allow a single goal to opponents until the the final eight minutes of the third frame when Evgeni Malkin finally found room behind goaltender Mike Smith.
For the first time since 2009, the World Championship gold medal game will pit the Canadians against the Russians.
For the Canadian squad, taking on Russia could be the biggest test they’ve faced yet. Through the round robin and well up until the semifinal portion of the medal round, the Canadians went largely untested. In round robin play, Canada went 7-0, scored 49 goals, allowed only 14 and then followed that up by walking through to the semifinal against the Czech Republic thanks to a 9-0 dismantling of Belarus.
Russia’s path was not all too dissimilar, although getting through to the gold medal game took a bit of an uphill climb.
If the “Like A Girl” campaign that Team USA women’s standout Hilary Knight was promoting earlier this season is looking for a new face, maybe they should give 11-year-old Emma Nichols a call.
As part of the English Ice Hockey Association’s Inter Conference Tournament, Nichols’ South East squad took on Midlands back on May 3 and the young netminder turned away more than 25 shots in the victory. But it’s not that Nichols turned away so many shots. It’s how she stopped the pucks. From sprawling, desperation saves to a few flashes of the leather, Nichols was far and away the star of the game. Check it out: Read more
As we pause briefly from the Stanley Cup playoffs, let’s turn our eyes over to Europe for a second, where the World Championship is down to four teams. Canada plays the Czech Republic in one semifinal, while Russia and the United States renew hostilities on the other side of the bracket.
If Canada hopes to move on, they’ll have to stop an ageless icon. Meanwhile, the Russians will have their hands full with a powerful teenager.