In case you haven’t noticed, Dean Lombardi is a pretty interesting and witty guy. When talking about his American roster for the World Cup of Hockey, he channeled his inner historian and talked about how Alexander the Great didn’t reveal his plans for the Battle of Gaugamela in advance.
But like Alexander the Great – the former Macedonian king, not the guy from Washington who scores all the goals – Lombardi knows his opponent/nemesis. And when it comes to the World Cup of Hockey, Lombardi knows his equivalent of King Darius of Persia. All he has to do for that is look over the border.
Quick: Who is on your roster for Canada’s World Cup team? You could list off 40 players without really being wrong, but unfortunately the squad’s brain trust was only revealing 16 today. And though big names such as Brent Burns and Corey Perry aren’t there yet, it seems like the team would have preferred to name more guys today.
The World Cash Grab of Hockey™ has brought the NHL and its players’ association together like never before. That much was evident on Wednesday afternoon when NHLPA executive director Don Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly appeared together and were so much in lockstep that there were reports they left the room arm-in-arm whistling the same show tune.
Which is great if you’re a big fan of peace and harmony between the players and their owners. With six more years remaining in the collective bargaining agreement, there must be a certain amount of resignation to their situation. But anyone looking for Fehr to show his teeth the way he did to Major League Baseball must be disappointed.
I’ve been to the arena in Lake Placid where it all went down. You can feel the vibe, see where the ghosts might hang out on weekdays. But to modern eyes, it’s incredible how small everything appears. Peer out the window and you can see where the opening ceremonies were held – it had to be closer to a high school graduation than the Beijing overdose at the 2008 Summer Games – and the concessions are spartan, as if that really ever matters.
But that’s why the Miracle on Ice was special, wasn’t it? The Americans were the little guys, taking on the Big, Red, Soviet Machine. The Yankees weren’t supposed to hang with Viktor Tikhonov’s army, but they did. And 36 years ago today, the final score was 4-3 for the locals.
How far has hockey in America come since that victory? Light years.
By Dan Marrazza
The NHL has long trumpeted hockey’s speed as one of the league’s top selling points. For years, this has resulted in slogans such as “the fastest game on Earth” and “the coolest game on ice” being promoted, with no other sport or league ever really trying to dispute the NHL’s assertions.
Reebok-CCM challenged the NHL’s long-standing claims with a clever marketing stunt two years ago. In racing fleet-footed Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon against Charles Hamelin, the three-time Olympic gold medal-winning short track speedskater, it was supposed to determine if hockey was truly as fast as it’s always marketed itself as.
The results were inconclusive.
MacKinnon bested Hamelin in a short 50-foot race, blue line to blue line. Hamelin easily topped MacKinnon – Hamelin was more than a full second faster – in a longer race around the rink’s perimeter.
Ed Belfour had one of the most successful careers of any goaltender in NHL history.
During his 17-year career, he won the Calder Trophy, two Vezina Trophies, three William M. Jennings Trophies, the Stanley Cup, and an Olympic gold medal. When he finally hung up his skates in 2007, Belfour retired with the fourth-most games played of any goaltender, third-most wins and in a tie for the ninth-most shutouts. In 2011, he became a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
All this is to say Belfour has collected a ton of interesting merchandise and memorabilia over his travels, much of which is now up for auction. That’s right: you can own a 2002 Olympic gold medal. All you need is about $21,500. Read more
By Dan Marrazza
South Florida is known for a lot of things.
Sunny weather? Sure. Beaches? Definitely. Large retiree community? It’s always been there.
Although South Florida has the reputation for being a popular place to retire, it’s the only area of the United States where 43-year-old hockey players remain active.
Jaromir Jagr, perhaps you’ve heard about. Darius Kasparaitis, Jagr’s former teammate with the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers and fellow member of the 43-year-olds club, you may have forgotten.
Although it’s been nine years since he last played in the NHL and seven since he finished his professional career in the Kontinental Hockey League, Kasparaitis has resumed training from his Miami home in preparation of taking one last kick at the can with the Lithuanian national team.
Sources tell thn.com that the NHL is scrambling to find a way to the solve a potential debacle that has materialized over a women’s hockey showcase game at the Winter Classic in Boston.
As was reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN earlier this week, part of the Winter Classic festivities were to include a game between the Montreal Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Pride of the first-year National Women’s Hockey League. The game was to be comprised of two 15-minute periods and was to be played prior to the game between the Canadiens and Bruins alumni teams on Dec. 31, the day before the Canadiens and Bruins face off in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxoborough, Mass.