For years now, many who follow the NHL have expected the league to announce the return of the World Cup of Hockey. That’s on the verge of being made official, but what nobody was quite prepared for was the stunning Sportsnet report concerning “dramatic changes” made to the structure of the off-season, league-controlled tournament.
According to the report, the NHL is considering a format that would see the six top hockey nations (Canada, the United States, Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic) take part – but in a new twist, two “all-star” teams would join the competition: one squad would be comprised of the best players from countries other than the aforementioned six nations: Slovakia (who could offer Zdeno Chara), Slovenia (Anze Kopitar), Switzerland (Nino Niederreiter), and Germany (Christian Ehrhoff, Dennis Seidenberg), among others. The composition of the second team has yet to be determined, but one of the concepts being bandied about is taking all of the game’s best young players and giving them the same jersey to create a “Generation: Next”-type lineup.
As soon as the news broke, the reaction was less than universally positive. But you know what? I think the new format would be a terrific breath of fresh air – that is, so long as the return of the World Cup doesn’t mean the end of NHL participation in the Olympics. Read more
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.”
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
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 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
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
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:
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