Will World Cup harmony lead to continued Olympic participation?

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

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.

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Happy birthday, Miracle on Ice: you changed everything

Steve Christoff and captain Mike Eruzione hop over the boards  (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

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.

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Can hockey players benefit from taking a speedskater’s approach?

The Hockey News
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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.

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Ed Belfour is auctioning off a ton of memorabilia — including 2002 Olympic gold medal

Ed Belfour's 2002 Olympic gold medal, Toronto Maple Leafs mask and Team Canada mask (via ClassicAuctions.net)

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

Darius Kasparaitis putting retirement on hold to join Lithuanian national team

The Hockey News
Darius Kasparaitis. (Getty Images)

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.

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Blunder over women’s game at Winter Classic has NHL scrambling

Hilary Knight of Boston (left) battles Elana Orlando of New York (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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46 ways to make hockey way, way better. Maybe

If the NHL doesn't want to send its players to the Olympics, how about holding the World Junior Championship there? (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Hockey News, I’ve made a ton of suggestions on how to improve the game. You’d almost think I didn’t like it.

The truth is, I feel it’s part of my job to help stimulate conversation and debate. While hockey is still pretty darned fantastic, nothing is perfect.

What follows is a list of various things I’ve suggested, conceived, advocated or supported during my baker’s dozen years in my ivory tower.
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Mike Danton back on hockey radar after joining Polish national team

The Hockey News
Mike Danton.

By: Dan Marrazza

When you bring up the name Mike Danton to people in hockey, a lot of different thoughts are conjured. None of them are pleasant.

The thoughts center on Danton’s involvement in one of the ugliest episodes in the sport’s history, when he hired a hitman – who turned out to be an undercover police officer – in a failed murder-for-hire plot that targeted his controversial former agent, David Frost.

When the whole sordid episode concluded, Danton was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, of which he served 65 months. Although only 24 at the time his NHL career was halted, and it was clear the hockey world preferred to forget Danton ever existed.

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