Canada names Sidney Crosby World Cup captain; happy with J-Bo

Sidney Crosby (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

It was the most obvious choice, but there was also a pretty good reason for it. Team Canada named Sidney Crosby captain of the upcoming World Cup of Hockey squad, with Jonathan Toews and Shea Weber earning ‘A’s on their sweaters as alternate captains. So what went into the decision?

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Bettman says ‘serious discussions’ about Olympics will wait until winter

Jared Clinton
Gary Bettman (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2018 Olympics may feel far off, but there’s less than a year and a half between the start of the 2016-17 NHL season and the beginning of competition in Pyeongchang. However, it doesn’t appear the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC are feeling any pressure to decide whether NHL players will participate at the tournament come 2018.

According to commissioner Gary Bettman, the league hasn’t come to a conclusion on Olympic participation for its players and fans shouldn’t be expecting a decision soon. Bettman was asked about the Olympics following the press conference to unveil the 2017 Winter Classic in St. Louis, and according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, Bettman didn’t foresee a decision being made before the start of the upcoming season.

“We probably won’t get to it in terms of serious discussions one way or another with players’ association and the IIHF and the IOC until winter,” Bettman said, via Kuc. “It’s not on the front-burner right now.” Read more

There are some bad omens for Canada’s junior program right now

World junior heartbreak  (Photo credit should read Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Canada was eliminated from medal contention at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Slovakia. Russia and Sweden will move on from the pool, and hey; those are both great national programs. But Canada has won the under-18 event (which also has games in the Czech Republic) 18 of the past 20 years. Yes, only twice have they lost the gold medal game in that span.

Now, call it a one-off if you will, but ignore the trends at your own peril: Canada’s junior dominance continues to slide.

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Five hockey players who competed at the Summer Olympics

Matt Larkin
Hayley Wickenheiser. Photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games officially launched Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the opening ceremonies. Even if we hockey lovers feel starved for the Winter Games, we can get our fix if we think outside the box.

Start by cheering for Ray Whitney. The 1,330-game NHL veteran has found a new passion in retirement: caddying. He’ll carry the sticks for Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet on the course in Rio. Whitney and DeLaet both live in Scottsdale, Ariz., they’re good friends, and they’ve played multiple charity tournaments together. Whitney will sub in for DeLaet’s regular PGA caddy, Julian Trudeau.

So we have a hockey player to cheer for. Still, it’s not like Whitney will actually compete. Plenty of outstanding hockey players have at the Summer Games, however, and that doesn’t just include all the teams from 1920, when hockey was a Summer Olympic sport.

Here are five pucksters who legitimately competed at the Summer Olympics over the years.

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IIHF will request names of Russian players who were part of Olympic doping scandal

Jared Clinton
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport)

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released a report on the doping allegations made against Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympics which stated more than a dozen hockey players’ doping tests were tampered with during the course of the tournament. Now the IIHF is seeking to identify and punish those players.

Russian outlet TASS reported Monday that IIHF president Rene Fasel is requesting the names of the 14 players whose samples were potentially altered and hopes to levy suspensions to those who would have tested positive.

“We will (ask for the names),” Fasel told TASS. “At least if we find out they tested positive we will of course suspend them.” Read more

What will the Buffalo Sabres do with Zemgus Girgensons?

Ryan Kennedy
Zemgus Girgensons  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is a lot of room for long-term optimism in Buffalo. Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly and now Alex Nylander are all gems up front, while Rasmus Ristolainen looks like a solid No. 1 defenseman in the years to come. But the team is still in transition and there will be bumps in the short-term. One of those storylines involves fan favorite Zemgus Girgensons.

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Hired Guns: South Korea has loaded up on Canadian hockey talent ahead of hosting the 2018 Olympics

The Hockey News
Matt Dalton, Eric Reagan, Mike Testwuide, and Brock Radunske. (Jo Turner)

BY DAVE HAZZAN

It’s Saturday evening in the Seoul suburb of Anyang, and life is proceeding apace. Couples are canoodling in the cafes, groups of older men are getting drunk at the barbecue restaurants and families are glued to that evening’s episode of I Have a Lover on Korean television.

Yet at Anyang Ice Arena, Goyang High1 have just upset Anyang Halla 4-2, finishing with a shorthanded empty-netter, six seconds before the end of the game. It’s High1’s first win in 10 games and Anyang’s first home loss in 18. It wasn’t supposed to happen his way, and the home fans are incandescent, screaming, booing and slagging off that cross-cultural punching bag, the referee.

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While NHL and NHLPA make scads of money in World Cup, federations get the crumbs

Connor McDavid and Hazel Mae (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

So let’s say the SM Liiga in Finland, along with its players’ association, wanted to start a World Cup of Hockey of its own. And let’s say that in exchange for getting NHL and NHL Players’ Association approval and sanction, it was offering each of them $500,000 plus the ticket revenue from one pre-tournament game.

Suffice to say that after the negotiators from the NHL and NHLPA got back onto their chairs and recovered from their laughing fit, they’d probably walk out the door, never to be seen again.

But that’s exactly what’s happening, in reverse, in the 2016 World Cash Grab of Hockey™. The event is expected to generate about $130 million in revenues and $65 million in profits, which will be split 50/50 between the NHL and the players. The federations that have developed the players and will be allowing the World Cash Grab™ to use their logos and players, meanwhile, will be receiving a pittance.

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