In the last moments of his last news conference at the Sochi Olympics, Canadian coach Mike Babcock had the following observation: “Does anybody know who won the scoring race? Does anybody care? Does anybody know who won the gold medal? See ya.”
And with that he left for the closing ceremonies, having coached Canada to its second straight gold medal. It bears mentioning that most of us still remember who won the scoring championship in Sochi. Phil Kessel had five goals and eight points for Team USA, finding the back of the net more often than Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Marleau, Martin St-Louis, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Matt Duchene and Chris Kunitz combined. Read more
There will be no need for Hockey Canada to give Bob Nicholson a golden handshake or a gold watch when he officially announces his departure on Friday. Nicholson already has approximately as much gold as Fort Knox.
Under his watch as president and CEO of Hockey Canada, his country has won seven Olympic gold medals (three men, four women), five World championship golds, 12 World Junior golds and 10 World Women’s gold medals. And speaking of gold, he has presided over Hockey Canada becoming a money-making monolith, both in terms of attracting sponsorship money and generating revenues from events. For example, the WJC in Montreal and Toronto could make a profit of up to $30 million, 50 percent of which goes to Hockey Canada. Read more
Longtime Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson is scheduled to officially announce his resignation from the organization at a news conference in Toronto Friday. There was no indication as to what he planned to do after spending more than 15 years in the position, but the longtime executive has been linked to NHL GM discussions in the past – and given that he leaves with Canada’s national team enjoying an incredible run of success, it’s unlikely he’ll be out of work very long.
Nicholson has held the title of president and C.E.O. for Hockey Canada since 1998, but was senior vice-president of the Canadian Hockey Association for the previous six years. During his time running the program Nicholson led Hockey Canada to seven Olympic gold medals (three men’s and four women’s, including both golds at the 2014 Sochi Games), 12 International Ice Hockey Federation world junior championships, five IIHF men’s world championships and 10 IIHF women’s world championships. To say other hockey federations want to match his results is an understatement. The Vancouver native has also steered the organization in its role as Canada’s sole governing body for the amateur side of the sport (ice hockey and sledge hockey) and produced phenomenal metrics in growing the game. Read more
Just when we thought Jaromir Jagr was out, he pulled us back in.
It appeared No. 68 was done being relevant when he petered out with 22 goal-free playoff games as a Boston Bruin last spring. Signing with the New Jersey Devils meant he’d toil in obscurity and fade away. Instead, he’s busted out his best season since his three-year Kontinental League vacation. Not only have his 24 goals and 64 points in 76 games at age 42 blown us away, they’ve clinched fantasy titles for plenty of poolies who scooped him in the final rounds of drafts.
Better yet, Jagr has tacked a few more memorable moments onto a Hall of Fame career. His latest: making his teammates look away when it was a Devil skater’s turn in last night’s shootout against Buffalo. Was it superstition or was Jagr sparing his mates from watching a team that is 0-11 in shootouts? Either way, it was awesome.
It inspired me to list 20 of the best things about Jaromir Jagr, in random order, inspired by his 20 amazing years in the NHL.
1. Those rosy cheeks. Don’t you just wanna pinch ‘em? He brings out the inner grandma in all of us.
2. He shepherded us through the worst of the dead puck era. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the NHL became molasses on ice, Jagr was still tossing up 120-point seasons and winning scoring titles by 20 points.
3. Game-winning goals. Gordie Howe lovers be damned, the recorded stats say ‘Jags’ has more clinchers than any player in history. And this is a Jagr list, not a Howe list, so Jagr deserves a tip of the cap. Actually, better yet…
4. The salute. Annoying if he did it after scoring on your team, but awesome whenever he was easing the dagger into any other squad’s heart.
5. A wild man behind the wheel. Remember that? When he was a teenager? He was a menace to the road, and it was somehow endearing at the time. Especially the glove box full of speeding tickets.
Tuukka Rask should be accustomed to taking a backseat to a Canadian goalie. If he doesn’t win the Vezina Trophy this season and Carey Price does, it will be the second time it’s happened to him. And he doesn’t appear to be any worse for it.
The first time was in 2006 when the Toronto Maple Leafs chose Justin Pogge over him. The Leafs, with the two stars from the 2006 World Junior Championship in their system, signed Pogge and, in one of the worst trades in recent history, moved Rask to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Andrew Raycroft.
The Maple Leafs, apparently oblivious to the fact that Pogge had backstopped arguably the best defensive World Junior team in the history of the tournament, feared the public backlash they would face if they chose a Finnish-born goalie over a Canadian World Junior hero. The move has haunted the Maple Leafs for years and was one of the main reasons why former GM John Ferguson was fired. Read more
After Team USA crushed the dreams of Canada on Thursday with a 3-0 win and Russia outplayed Norway in a 4-0 victory, the Americans and Russians squared off for gold in the Paralympic ice sledge hockey final today.
Both teams matched up well against one another, with USA coming in as the favourite on paper, while the Russians were favoured in the crowd.
Canada had hoped to run the board on the ice and capture men’s, women’s and sledge hockey gold in Sochi, but those dreams were crushed on Thursday after a loss to Team USA 3-0.
The defeat set-up a bronze medal re-match against Norway, who bested the Canadians at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. This time, the results were different for Canada, as they walked away with medals draped around their necks after defeating the Norwegians 3-0.
Team U.S.A.’s sledge hockey team has the opportunity to defend its status as gold medal champions after beating Canada 3-0 in the semifinals of the Sochi Paralympic Games. And they get the chance to in large part because of 16-year-old phenom Declan Farmer, who scored twice and added an assist to prevent Canada from sweeping men’s, women’s and sledge hockey at the two Olympic events. The Americans will take on the host Russians in Saturday’s gold medal final, while the Canadians will face Norway the same day for the bronze.
The Americans were upset by Russia 2-1 in their final round-robin game, but in front of a crowd of 5,150 at Shayba Arena, they were the deserving victors over their arch-rivals. Farmer, who only one year earlier became the youngest international sledge hockey player in American history, opened the scoring 9:12 into the first period and scored again with 56 seconds remaining in the opening frame to set the dominant tone; from that point, Joshua Pauls scored in the second period and U.S. goalie Steve Cash stopped all 11 Canadian shots he saw to secure the win. Read more