NHL says a decision ‘should be made quickly’ on 2018 Olympics

Matt Larkin
The NHL and its owners are openly skeptical about sending players to South Korea in 2018. (Getty Images)

Just when Michael Corleone thought he was out, they pulled him back in. And every time it seems the NHL’s Olympic adventure will die – no, seriously, this time we’re never going back – the twinkle returns to the league’s collective eye.

The league currently has no arrangement to participate in a sixth straight Winter Games, which shifts to South Korea for 2018, and no short-term timetable to make a decision. At a sport management conference Monday, NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston a decision “should be made quickly,” but that the league needs more information from the Olympic organizing committee. Daly hopes to learn soon “where hockey fits in the pecking order.”

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2014 Hall of Fame class highlights global reach of the game like never before

Hall of Fame Class of 2014 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Take a close look at the four men who will be inducted in the players’ category of the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.

Four players, four different countries represented. A Hall of Fame cohort that includes Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek belongs in the debate of the best of all-time. We’re not going to get into that debate, but hey, the 1972 class included Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith. But there is no Hall of Fame induction group that represents the global reach of the game more prominently than this one. Read more

World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal Nicklas Backstrom ruling

Ken Campbell
Nicklas Backstrom  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was cleared of any wrongdoing and had his Olympic silver medal awarded to him six months month after a positive drug test in Sochi, but if the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has anything to say about it, Backstrom is still guilty of cheating.

A spokesman for WADA confirmed to thn.com that the agency has appealed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to clear Backstrom of any wrongdoing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. Read more

Canada’s first gold medal winning team remembered with new Heritage Minute

Jared Clinton
WinnipegFalconsFeatured

Canada’s jubilation over the past two Olympic gold medals – 2010 in Vancouver and 2014 in Sochi – is warranted, but the little piece of hockey history that Canadian fans may not know is that the very first gold was brought home by a Canadian squad.

In one of the newest Canadian history minutes (remember these?), the tale of the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons is told. You can watch the video below: Read more

Hockey Canada gesture leaves Stamkos nearly speechless

Jared Clinton
Steven Stamkos (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

A broken tibia didn’t just derail Steven Stamkos’ 2013-14 season, it robbed him of the opportunity to represent his home country at the Olympics.

While there’s no telling the impact Stamkos may have been able to make during the Sochi games, his scoring ability surely would have been a welcome addition to Team Canada. Though he fought valiantly to rehab his injured right leg in time for the tournament, he was unable to reach full speed in time, and Team Canada named Martin St-Louis as his replacement. Read more

Guess what happens when Nathan MacKinnon races an Olympic speed skater

Ryan Kennedy
Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon is a fast dude. He has already made countless defensemen look silly with his skating prowess and promises to do more of the same in his sophomore season, but just how fast is he?

In a video produced by CCM (MacKinnon endorses their line of Tacks skates and wears them in the clip), the Avs pivot takes on Canadian Olympic speed skater Charles Hamelin, who has two golds and a silver medal to his name. The result? See for yourself:

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Olympics or World Cup – which would you rather see NHLers participate in?

Team Canada at the Olympics. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

The last World Cup of Hockey was played in 2004, with Canada winning just ahead of the lost 2004-05 NHL season. When the league came back, the Olympic tournament became the main international best-on-best competition, with Turin, Vancouver and Sochi the three host cities in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Last June, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported the World Cup was expected to return in 2016 with Toronto as the host city. With the next Winter Olympics scheduled for PyeongChang, South Korea, the destination isn’t as attractive to the NHL as events hosted in North America or Russia. The live games would be broadcasted at odd hours for the majority of hockey fans and the 2018 host nation isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed – the program is ranked 23rd in the world. Not exactly ideal conditions for a best-on-best tournament that the NHL would have to shutdown for. Read more

Bob Suter remembered as rock-solid force for Miracle on Ice team

Ken Campbell
Bob Suter (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Bob Suter was remembered as the genuine article both on and off the ice, a Midwestern boy whose easy-going nature was contrasted on the ice by a physical presence that helped the U.S. Olympic team win the gold medal in 1980. Suter, 57, also the father of Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, died of an apparent heart attack in Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon.

Former Miracle on Ice teammate and four-time Stanley Cup winner Ken Morrow patrolled the blueline for the American team in 1980 along with Suter. On a team that was known for its speed and finesse, Suter was a physical presence who did the heavy lifting for the Americans.

“He was just rock-solid, on and off the ice,” said Morrow, who is now a pro scout for the Islanders. “We used to call him ‘Bam-Bam’. He loved to hit and he was probably one of the fiercest, most physical guys I ever played with.” Read more