Interview with San Jose State hockey coach Ron Glasow

San Jose State SJSU hockey

San Jose State hockey coach Ron Glasow was nice enough to take a few questions about his team. Make sure to visit the official website SJSUhockey.com, and click here for more information on opening night against CAL this Saturday [8PM, at Logitech Ice].

[Q] How long have you been coaching this SJSU team?

[RG] I have been coaching SJSU since its first season in 1991.

[Q] Who are some of the SJSU players fans should keep an eye on this season [Jon Barney was the player that jumped out at me the most last year].

[RG] Players to watch are Jon Barney for his open ice hits. Ray Kellam for his speed and intensity on the ice. Mason Nave for his creativity with the puck.

[Q] How does the schedule look this year and which games stand out? Who is the biggest SJSU rival?

[RG] This years schedule is the toughest we have ever had. Out of 29 games there will only be two that we should have no problem with. Every other game will be a war, and will be won by the team that makes the least mistakes. The competition gets stronger every year. Our biggest rivals are probably USC and Cal.

[Q] What goals does the SJSU team have for this season?

[RG] Our goal this season is to finish first in the Western Region of the ACHA. The top 4 go to Nationals in Detroit in March. There are over 20 teams in the West. We plan to make it to Detroit.

[Q] Last question, what would you tell Sharks fans who come to an SJSU game for the first time, to see hockey with the NHL locked out? How is the game different or similar to hockey they may have seen at the SJ arena? I noticed a lot more hitting when I watched a game last year.

[RG] I think fans will be very surprised at the quality and speed of the College game. We dont use the center red line like they do in the NHL, and that helps open up the game a little more. The hitting is hard and the competition is there, so it becomes very entertaining for the fans.

I honestly believe our games are more entertaining today than the pro game. The pro game is so structured and systematic that the creativity has been taken out of it. Our games obviously have more mistakes, but that makes for more goals and more action. You have to see this hockey to know what I'm talking about.

And I would add that the college crowds, and the college music in the background also make for a very entertaining atmosphere. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

It would be nice if someone from the Sharks organization, and a Sharks player or two still in the San Jose area, came out for SJSU's first game of the season. The NHL lockout may last a year, but showing support for the fans and local hockey would go a long way.

[Update] To Russia with trepidation - Toronto Star.

[Update2] Adieu Monteal. I guess revenue sharing was not the answer.

Jonathan Tremblay at the rookie tournament

[Update3] The Cleveland Barons training camp is underway. The official Cleveland website has a review of the first day of camp, a roster of those attending, and more on Sharks Assistant Coach Tim Hunter instructing Glenn Olson and Jonathan Tremblay on hockey pugilism.


San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales sends a letter to the NHL and the NHLPA

San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales released a letter Tuesday to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Executive Director Robert W. Goodenow, and Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison.

According to the Mercury News, this letter was forwarded to mayors of 29 other NHL cities. Sharkspage forwarded it to the op-ed page of the NY Times.

Mayor Gonzales wrote on behalf of his city, the people and businesses of downtown San Jose, and NHL fans. He called for the two sides to come to an agreement before more is lost.

Mayor Gonzales letter to Bettman and Goodenow

Visit the mayor's website for more information about San Jose, www.sjmayor.org.

Thanks to Morning Buzz columnist John Ryan for passing along the letter. His Morning Buzz column in the Mercury News sports section is well worth the read. He has been on a roll of late.

Also thanks for the mention. Advice for NHL free, arbitration costs extra - San Jose Mercury News.

The mayor sent copies of the letters to mayors of the other 29 NHL cities, hoping similar pressure can spur an agreement.

Morning Buzz likes the effort. But the originality is lacking. For that we turn to our friend Jon Swenson, who runs the Sharkspage Web site (http://sharkspage.com). The 12-point Swenson Plan includes some fairly reasonable solutions (a $60 million hard salary cap and escalating luxury taxes beginning at $35 million).

And it features one idea we heartily endorse: a one-year gag order from Goodenow and Bettman.

My suggestion for the NHL and NHLPA to solve the lockout: The Swenson Plan.

[Note] Also take a look at my recent interviews with ESPN's John Buccigross, with the founder of Hockey Gladiators Darryl Wolski, with Gladiator rink girl Amelie Paul, with Sharks goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner, and with SF Chronicle columnist Ross McKeon. More on the way, stay tuned.

[Update] Coach's stormy times - SF Chronicle. One last post about hockey before the storm - Sharkspage.

[Update2] Locked out Rink Notes from Offwing.


The Swenson Plan

Sometimes you can over think a problem. Here is my solution to the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining impasse with as little thought as possible.

The owners want a salary cap, the players want a luxury tax. Both will get what they want under the Swenson Plan. A hard cap will prevent the NY Rangers from blowing the curve for everyone else, and a scaled luxury tax will make sure smaller market teams get extra funds. How is a $31 million hard salary cap going to help a team who can not afford to pay that amount in salary?

This plan is only good for a limited time, so act now.

The Swenson Plan includes:

- A $60 million hard salary cap.

- A Luxury tax from $50-60 million [2-3 dollars for every dollar you are over].

- Luxury tax from $35-50 million [1 dollar for every dollar you are over].

- A team willing to pay $60 million in salary, would put up to $45 million back into the league. Seven teams would have reached that $60 million salary cap using last years payroll. Eleven teams with payrolls under $35 million would have received money from the luxury tax.

- Trade deadline moved up, arbitration revamped, rookie salaries capped at a lower figure.

- Here is the kicker, fans will get no financial incentive from the Swenson Plan, fans will get no cost certainty. Fans will get 5 feet, or 2 rows of seating, removed from all 4 sides of an NHL hockey rink. Luxury tax money can also be used to install seamless glass.

- There will also be a small section in the lower bowl of every arena that is standing room only. $10 dollars a ticket, sold an hour before the puck is dropped with a lottery at the front door. This will ensure fans in Toronto and Montreal have at least a chance to see one game a year.

- Fans will also get complimentary plastic wiffle ball bats, and NHL referees will have to walk a gauntlet of NHL fans in order to leave the arena. I suggest NHL refs call clutching and grabbing under the Swenson Plan.

- Fans under the Swenson Plan will demand a one year gag order for Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow. Owners and players are free to speak their minds even if it differs from the party line. Players must sign autographs for every child under 12 before the game starts, and owners have to buy a hotdog and drink for every fan if their team loses 4 straight games. Pickup hockey will also be played in the parking lot at every arena 3 hours before game time, and for 3 hours after game time.

- All NHL teams will have ice girls. And the Swenson Plan scoffs at women who object to this fundamental concept. For 5 years, emails from female fans to me are 100-1 asking for photos of only male hockey players. Coincidence? I think not.

- Hockey on TV is in trouble. The Swenson plan invites Hollywood to film a half dozen NHL games a year. Make it a big event. Leafs-Bruins by the man who brought you A Few Good Men. Game broadcasts will also be streamed online for 99 cents a game, it worked for Apple. One game is free each week. The Swenson Plan will also start a new television channel. A 24hr-a-day station with nothing but footage from the goal cam. GCNN, the Goal Cam News Network.

- And finally, the Swenson Plan will order players and owners fighting over $2 billion in revenue to each sponsor one fan website for one year. Hell hath no fury like a hockey fan scorned. Or is that a Philly fan scorned? I am not sure. It does not matter if the website talks about what color Jagr's socks are from game to game, if they post pictures of cupcakes with portraits of players in icing, or if the site is in Japanese and you spend a year just trying to figure out where the email link is. Support the fans.

In addition to developing economic systems, I am also available as an arbitrator.

[Update] Here is HNIC Brian Burke's 15 point proposal.

[Update2] Andrews Starspage has a breakdown of NHL revenues and expenses detailed in the Levitt and Forbes reports. I am sure in the future he will add numbers from a third report on the leagues finances:

National Hockey League review and outlook - Moag and Company.

There will be concerns about these numbers, but three reports by three reputable entities should at least give us ballpark numbers to work with. But I like hockey, not numbers. Unless they are goal numbers, and Cam Neely has 50.


San Jose State hockey opening night Oct 2nd

San Jose State opening night hockey

San Jose State hockey starts their season Oct 2nd at 8PM with a game against Pac-8 champion Berkeley. Visit SJSUhockey.com for more information.

Here is a photo gallery from a 2002 SJSU-Davis hockey game, and a photo essay "Hot off the ice" from the SJSU Spartan Daily newspaper to get a feel for what the games are like. Last year admission was $5.

Thanks to Thresher for the photo links, and to SJSU team captain and PR director Ray Kellam for the flyer. Also take a look at my San Jose State, Berkeley, and Stanford hockey pages. There are links to the college papers on each so you can find more information. If anyone knows a player from Stanford, tell them to send me a schedule.

The teams play on a club level, and they are affiliated with the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The local teams are below:

DII West as part of the Pac-8 Conference:

University of California Berkeley
Stanford University
Palmer Chiropractic West
San Jose State University

[Update] Berkeley checks in about their home opener. Visit the official CALicehockey.com website for more information. From Cal Ice Hockey General Manager William Tsai:

The Berkeley hockey season starts in two weeks, on Oct. 14, with our season home opener vs. SJSU at 8:30PM. It should be a good one. I'll look forward to seeing you out here.

Cal Hockey also has a very cool online store. I am not sure if any of those items would go over well when I am studying at the Stanford bookstore.

[Update2] I just visited broadstreetbully.com for the first time. Very cool.


Interview with the founder of Hockey Gladiators, Darryl "Beef" Wolski

Darryl "Beef" Wolski is the creator of Hockey Gladiators. A 32-man event with hockey enforcers battling it out for a $100,000 payday. The original August 20-21 dates in Winnipeg were cancelled for legal reasons, but the Gladiators are marching on.

[Q] What is the current status of the Hockey Gladiators competition? Are there any venues you are looking into that look like a possibility?

[DW] I should be able to make an announcement on the Hockey Gladiators in a week to 10 days. I have been flying around looking at rinks in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Lexington, Kentucky. Both are hockey hotbeds near pro, college, and minor hockey.

[Q] What specific part of the Winnipeg legal code was Hockey Gladiators violating? Have events like the Ultimate Fighting Championships or the Tough Man competition run into the similar obstacles?

[DW] The Winnipeg Criminal Code prohibits bare-knuckled fighting events unless they are sanctioned by the Manitoba Boxing commission. The Ultimate Fighting Championships and the Toughman competition both use gloves, which would not apply.

[Q] What was the payout going to be for the winner of the Hockey Gladiators?

[DW] 32 players would participate in the event. The winner would receive $100,000. Travel and expenses for all the competitors would be paid for.

[Q] David Singer from Hockeyfights.com sent me a link an article in the Winnipeg Sun. It said that while attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, someone cast you for a small part in the upcoming Farrelly Brothers movie. What part did you play, and what was your line?

[DW] I was at a game at Fenway park after doing a morning radio show with Lyndon Byers. Saturday Night Live's Jimmy Fallon, who was in town doing a movie, sat a few rows behind me. Normally I do not pay too much attention to celebrities, but later in the game someone came up to me and asked me if I would like a role in the new Farelly Brothers movie, Fever Pitch. They cast me because they said I looked like a wheeler dealer. Someone offers Fallon, a man obsessed with the Boston Red Sox, cash for his season tickets. When trying to convince him to make the sale, they pointed to me and said, "ask this schlub". So my one line in the movie was the one word reply, "schlub?".

[Q] Scott Parker, Marty McSorley, Link Gaetz, Jeff Odgers, even Owen Nolan... which San Jose Sharks enforcer was the toughest to fight against?

[DW] Neil Wilkinson. He was a very under-rated fighter.

[Q] How many women tried out to be a Gladiators Girl on your website, how were the 3 winners chosen, and why was I not a judge?

[DW] Several dozen women applied to be a Gladiators Girl. Every week fans voted on which ones would advance. They chose the three finalists: Amelie Paul, Miranda Rox, and Mindy Karuk. Amelie Paul was the overall winner.

[Q] Your nickname Beef is probably one of the best nicknames I have heard all-time. How did you get the nickname? And was Dennis Miller as big a hockey fan as he looked during your interview?

[DW] (Beef told me how he got his nickname, but I will leave that to your imagination.) Dennis Miller was a huge hockey fan. He knew a lot about the East Coast teams in Philadelphia and New York. And he even offered to freeze the floor of the Dennis Miller show on CNBC and let us fight there.

Thanks for the interview. We spoke for about an hour on the phone, but I need to refine my cellphone recording technology. These answers were double checked with Darryl.

Darryl Wolski also operates the AAAhockey.com website for minor hockey tournaments. The midget-goalie photos on that website are priceless. Hockey Gladiators is also planning to release a DVD after their event.

As soon as I hear of a preliminary date, I will post it on the calendar section to the right of this website [scroll down].

[Update] I meant to post this earlier, but visit Assaultgfx.com for a great collection of NHL and hockey wallpapers. The ones of Olaf Kolzig, the World Cup teams, and Martin Brodeur are very good. He has wallpapers of Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau in the Sharks section.

[Update2] Offwing nails my sentiments exactly with this post, The Grand Delusion. If the NHL owners and NHL players think solving the CBA issue is the only problem facing the league, they are mistaken. If hockey is anything more than a business, then some of the character from the owners, players and fans needs to step foward and distinguish itself.

[Update3] Sharks 1st round draft pick Lukas Kaspar scored a hat trick as the Ottawa 67s downed the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7-4 in OHL action.


Interview with singer and Hockey Gladiator girl Amelie Paul

Amelie Paul

Amelie Paul is a 26 year-old French Canadian model and actress living in Montreal. In addition to being selected as a Gladiator Girl, Amelie operates her own website, has appeared in several movies, won the local Miss DYLG contest, and recently sang at the first Sorel Mission hockey game of the year [Donald Brashear was playing for the opposing Radio-X team].

[Q] What is your favorite NHL team and who are a few of your favorite players?

[AP] Of course my favorite team is the Montreal Canadiens. I have been a hockey fan forever. I remember my father bringing me to the arena in Sorel and watching games since I was about 5 or 6.

My favorite player is Stephane Quintal because he is one of the rare players who seem to play for the love of the game and he is a real team player. He seemed to be totally devoted to the Canadiens. That's why I am really disappointed that he is not gonna play for them anymore. When I was young I used to be a big Guy Carbonneau fan, he was such a good defensive forward. And I LOVED Patrick Roy.

[Q] How do you feel about the NHL lockout?

[AP] It does not change anything for me because I am not as big an NHL fan as I used to be. I like the semi-pro league in Quebec [LNAH] and I think that a lot of people are gonna start following that league now. Many NHL players are playing in that league during the lockout which makes it even more interesting.

[Q] What are your thoughts on minor, junior, semi-pro hockey in the Quebec area? The QMJHL or the LNAH?

[AP] The QMJHL is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. They are players who are about from 17 to 20 years old and some are potential NHL players. The semi-pro league is the LNAH [North America Hockey League]. Some players from the NHL are playing in that league during the lockout. I must say that there are often more goals scored in that league than in the NHL, so the goalies do get a lot of work. In the last game with the Sorel Mission against the Quebec Radio-X, the Radio-X won 8-6. So it was quite an offensive game... or was it the goalies who were bad?

[Q] TSN recently had a story on a few of the player contracts in the NHL that might have led to the current lockout. Jose Theodore's was mentioned. They said the large contract Theodore signed was not just a product of his play on the ice, but also his place in the French Canadian community. How popular is Theodore to Montreal Canadian fans?

[AP] Jose Theodore is like Patrick Roy for the French Canadian community. In a very Anglophone world, he is a French Canadian that people can identify with. And there is something about goalies with the Montreal Canadiens... they seem to be always the big star of the team.

[Q] And since I am an American, how do you pronounce his name correctly?

[AP] This is a though one for me to explain.... I think you should pronounce it like "Jo-Za" (of course, "a" pronounced like in the alphabet not like in Color"a"do).

[Q] You cried when Patrick Roy left for Colorado, I felt the same when the Quebec Nordiques went to Colorado. But how would you compare Martin Brodeur to Patrick Roy?

[AP] It is hard to compare a retired player and one who is not. Martin Brodeur is getting a lot of exposure right now because he is still playing, unlike Roy. The comparison can be made when the 2 goalies are playing at the same time. I think you can't really say who is better; they are 2 very talented goalies with 2 different styles, and I wouldn't say that Brodeur is in Roy's shadow. Even if Patrick Roy will always be remembered as a legend because of all the records he broke, Brodeur will probably break Roy's records in a couple of years.

[Q] I have to ask this of everyone. How would you make watching hockey on TV better?

[AP] The National Hockey League should be more strict in applying the rules, which would result in better hockey games. By being more strict with "hooking" calls, it would allow the more talented players to perform better, the game would be much faster and more interesting to watch.

[Q] HG said you won the competition to be a Gladiator Girl by a large margin. Do you have a lot of fans from your website, model/calendar work, or your movie appearances?

[AP] It is probably my web site that helped me to get a lot of votes. I also think the popularity of semi-pro hockey here in Quebec and a lot of LNAH players from Quebec participating in the Hockey Gladiator event helps. I guess that the hockey fans wanted to encourage the only Quebec girl finalist in the competition.

[Q] What do you like best about maintaining your own website, Ameliepaul.com? [I have to ask since I am from Silicon Valley.]

[AP] The best thing is that I don't have to bother anybody with the updates that I want to make and it doesn't cost me anything. I decide everything myself, I'm my own boss, which is what I love.

[Q] Last question. You said as a hockey fan the lockout does not change anything for you. Do you think the NHL will lose a lot of French Canadian fans with the loss of a season? If they brought Amelie Paul in as an arbitrator for the two sides, would you choose a salary cap like the NHL wants, or a luxury tax like the NHLPA wants?

[AP] Absolutely not, I don't think that the NHL will lose French Canadian fans because of the lockout. Hockey will always stay Canada's national sport and hockey will always stay hockey for us... French Canadians will miss the NHL season, but we can live without it! When the lockout ends, people will watch the games like if nothing ever happened.

I don't know which side I would choose as an arbitrator, I don't think I know enough to really take a position. The luxury tax is not a bad idea though, it would be good for the teams who have less money.

There is an association in Quebec of NHL players who are playing for charity, with the profits going entirely to minor hockey and community organizations. Jose Theodore is actually part of that association. Maybe the players are doing that so it will make them look good, but at least something good is coming out of it!

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Your English is better than mine, not to mention 10,000 times better than my French. I think Hockey Gladiators found a possible hockey analyst as well as a Gladiator Girl. And Sharkspage has found a new French-English translator.

Amelie did an interview on Connecticut radio 96.9 FM. To listen to the interview, click here. Also take a look at this photo gallery from Modem Magazine.


Interview with the host of NHL2night, ESPN's John Buccigross

He should need no introduction, but ESPN2 and ESPNEWS might not have reached this blog's loyal following in Estonia.

John Buccigross was an anchor on ESPNEWS, ESPN's 24-hour sports news network, when it launched in 1996. From the 1998-99 NHL season until May 2004, Buccigross was the host of NHL2nite along with Barry Melrose and Chicken Parm. He also writes a regular hockey column for ESPN.com.

[Q] What did you think of Canada going unbeaten in the World Cup?

[JB] I thought Canada would win Gold. They were the deepest team by far and will dominate international hockey for the next ten years.

[Q] How do you think the roster for Team USA will be different for the next World Cup?

[JB] The U.S. roster won't be too different if there is another World Cup. Certainly, Hull and Chelios will be gone, but the core will stay the same. The U.S. has a gap of standout players in their mid to late 20's.

[Q] Marco Sturm said he was not 100%, but he looked like he had a chance to score each time he skated with the puck for Germany in the World Cup. In the German Elite league, he has helped Ingolstadt reach first place early in the season. How do you think the Sharks would have built on last year with Sturm in the lineup for a full season in 2004-2005?

[JB] I'm a huge Marco Sturm fan. I think he should be captain. His speed, enthusiasm and smile embody Shark hockey. The way the Sharks build on last season is to be confident and visualize themselves as champions. The front office is building the pieces on the ice, but when it is all said and done the players have to picture themselves as champions.

[Q] Miikka Kiprusoff started the World Cup with two shutouts, he helped the Calgary Flames reach a game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals, and he recorded the lowest goals against average by a goalie in a season in the modern era. Do you think he can sustain this level of play and remain a premiere goaltender for a number of years? He seems like he has the talent, confidence, and Sutter defense in front of him to do well. I wonder if he has the potential of Brodeur, or if he might struggle to duplicate his season like Giguere?

[JB] If Kiprusoff continues to be relied upon to save the Flames keester, he will wear down and have a short stint of success. If he was on a real good team, he would have longevity by keeping the stress level down. That's why Martin Brodeur will shatter all the goaltending records. He's always played on a good team with good defenseman. A lot of wins are stress free. But, in the short term he should be fine.

He may never repeat last year though. That was a special run. And as far as Giguere, Kiprusoff didn't get the big contract so he still has a hunger factor. That was the Canadiens and Ducks mistake, giving one year wonder goalies big contracts.

[Q] The loss of a season, or a portion of the season is tough enough, but the loss of NHL2nite just makes it worse. Will any of the segments from your show become a regular on SportsCenter or ESPNnews?

[JB] Don't expect hockey to get any coverage on Sportscenter. ESPNEWS does a good job covering hockey in the afternoon. With Brian Kenney, and hockey experts, they provide good highlights and box scores at night. I will still be writing my hockey column on ESPN.com.

[Q] What is ESPN planning to broadcast instead of NHL games? Are AHL or college hockey games a possibility?

[JB] All NHL coverage is now on ESPN2 which goes to HD in January. I don't expect any AHL or college games to be shown. ESPN could show three year old Poker on ESPN2 and get better ratings, sad to say.

[Q] What would you do to add to the broadcast of an NHL game on ESPN?

[JB] I would mike every player and every official. Other than that, I love hockey on TV.

[Q] What is your favorite Cam Neely moment?

[JB] My favorite Cam Neely moment was the expression on his face during his fights. It summed up his soul.

[Q] My Boston Bruins coverage in SJ was limited, but I heard a Boston Bruins assistant coach say Ray Bourque [#77] was so effective on defense because he could play the puck and the body at the same time. What made him so good?

[JB] Ray Bourque had no weaknesses. That was his strength. He inspired teammates with his will and love of the game. They didn't want to let him down. I think he was a better offensive player than he was given credit for. His ego wasn't big enough to have huge offensive numbers.

[Q] I heard Barry Melrose's intensity before a broadcast would have scared Herb Brooks [sarcasm]. What was the most embarrassing moment Melrose had in the 9 years he was on NHL2nite?

[JB] Barry is always a cool customer. He understands television and has a lot of skill. That's why he is so good at it. His most embarrassing moment would have to be when he said on air that the reason for getting a haircut was because he didn't want to look shi**y.

[Q] Finally, what was your favorite moment with the Cup?

[JB] My favorite moment with the Cup is seeing people's expression looking at it. My hobby is watching people who are full of awe and joy.

[Q] What is in your CD player?

[JB] My CD player is filled by a band called THE SHINS. I highly recommend getting their last two CD'S.

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I hope you know a number of fans in every NHL city appreciate your work on NHL2nite, on ESPN.com, and on ESPNEWS.

If you are in SJ for ESPN, chicken parm is on me.

[Update] Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff were assigned to the Cleveland Barons. Milan Michalek may need another knee surgery. Cleveland has a nice profile of goaltender Dimitri Patzold. According to the official Sharks website, Mike Hoffman and Colin Shields from the rookie tournament will try out for the Cleveland squad. They also report Sharks Goaltending Coach Warren Strelow is having a few more health problems after his recovery from a kidney transplant last year. Get well soon.

[Update2] Nils Ekman has 2 goals in his first game for Djurgarden in the Swedish Elite League. Miroslav Zalesak is playing for HK 36 Skalica [Slovakia]. Jes Golbez should have more on everything Slovakian this season. Niko Dimitrakos is working out with Maine. NorthernLife.ca has a good preview of the Sudbury Wolves and kind words about Sharks prospect Patrick Ehelechner. Thanks to Serena for the link.

Marco Sturm helped ERC-Ingolstadt to a 2-0 start in the German Elite League [DEL]. Check to the right of this page and scroll down for a permanent list of German links. Former Sharks goaltender Jimmy Waite also has 2 shutouts for Ingolstadt. Sharks goaltending prospect Thomas Greiss is playing for the Cologne Sharks, but my people in Germany tell me he might not get too many starts behind Chris Rogles. Thanks again to Monty for his World Cup pictures from Germany. And another fan mailed in this Hockeys Future prospect preview of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga [DEL].

From Erick:

I went to the Nurnberg Ice Tigers home opener last night and it was nuts. 12 goals. The goaltending was horrible. Both sides. Nurnberg came out on top 7-5 but still. I think if the NHL takes the two line pass away its on. They also need to make the rink bigger. Greg Poss is the coach for Nurnberg and u can see the American play in the Ice tigers. The power play was great, and they cycled and stepped up on defense in the neutral zone for the big hits. Finishing checks and driving to the net was great. Though they did give up 5 goals, a lot of those were the goalie's fault. I mean Savoda gave up 3 goals in less than 5 minutes. They want to open scoring they need to get a bigger rink and take away the two line pass. There were so many breakaway's and odd man rushes it was awesome. Its a much faster game, plus the with nhl talent who knows what the scores would be.

I am going to go to the Oct 3 game to see Sturm against the Ice Tigers. The fans here are so into the game. If it doesn't go their way they throw plastic beer cups on the ice. It's nuts. They chant and cheer every time it's great. I like the drum guys, they bring in the drums in arena and get the crowd going. Plus the other team has a section so they have chant wars. It's a great game here but the soccer game was the same night and the soccer field is 10 feet from the arena. So the parking sucked and all the fans were at the soccer game instead. So go figure. It was a good night though. I would send pictures but i don't have a digital camera. Sorry i need to get with the times. Other than that ill keep you updated on Sturm as long as im here.

Hockey updates are cool, but where are the Oktoberfest updates?


Interview with Sharks goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner

2004 rookie tournament Patrick Ehelechner photo

Sharks 2003 draft pick Patrick Ehelechner answered a few questions about the rookie tournament, his style of play in net, and the future of Germany's national hockey team.

[Q] What do you think of the rookie tournament this year compared to last year?

[PE] Well, I believe it's a good thing that it happens in the first place. It's very good to be competitive that early in the year. I also felt a lot better this year because it wasn't new for me anymore. So this made me feel more comfortable and I already knew the coaching staff and a lot of players from last year.

[Q] I noticed that San Jose did not have a lot of the same defenseman as they did last year, but they did have a lot of speed from the forwards.

[PE] Yes, you are right. We were quite young in our defense and we really had speedy forwards. But that's what it is all about, to gain experience and compete with the other rookie teams.

[Q] You told the Mighty Ducks that one of your goals was to win the Memorial Cup, how do you think the Sudbury Wolves will play this season? Do you think they have a good chance to win the Memorial Cup?

[PE] Well, when I go out there, I always want to win. I don't get in the crease and think about how we could play against tonight's opponent. I also expect that from my teammates. The same applies to playing in the league. Now, if you go out there and want to win and you succeed in more games than others, you wind up playing at the Memorial Cup. Last years Stanley Cup finals is a good example, believing the experts, both teams should not have been there.

For sure I am not an expert evaluating other teams, but my goal is, to win the Memorial Cup with the Wolves. We all have to work hard, harder than others, then make the play offs and then we will see. So, in my eyes, right now we have all chances with the Wolves.

[Q] One of the benefits of watching the San Jose Sharks is the ability to see Nabokov, Kiprusoff, Toskala, Irbe, and Vernon play over the years. Who was your favorite goaltender growing up?

[PE] Well, in the late 80's we didn't have any TV coverage of NHL teams. I just saw some of the NHL goaltenders at the World Championships. So my favorite goalie to watch was Karl Friesen in my hometown Rosenheim. A native of Winnipeg Manitoba, Karl played in Rosenheim for more than ten years. He was voted best goalie of the World Championship in Prague in 1985. In the late nineties we could watch NHL games like once a week and I loved to watch all the leading goalies like Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and of course Olaf K�lzig.

[Q] Who was your favorite Sharks goaltender to watch?

[PE] Oh, I love to watch all of them. One can always learn from each and everyone of them. Especially last year, when I was on the ice with them and very close. They all help you to get better and it is a great experience to work with them and watch them closely, all of them. So I cant say I have a favorite goalie, I just know that I would like to get as good as they already are.

[Q] I just ask this because I used to watch Boris Becker to get tips on my tennis serve. I wonder if it is the same for goalies.

[PE] Oh sure, it's the same, but you can't copy anyone and you shouldn't. You have to learn and try to adopt it for your own play. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. You actually watch very close how they solve a problem and then you have to try if it works for you too.

[Q] How would you describe your style of play in net [standup, butterfly, combination..]? What would you say are your strengths, and what are you going to try to work on to become an NHL goaltender?

[PE] I believe there isn't a specific style anymore, because one has to adopt as the game evolves and how it suits you best to stop the puck. This is a process of constantly evaluating your performance and trying to work to get better and if you don't have any specific style, it is probably easier to change a bit to solve an upcoming problem better. And this will change constantly, just think of the new rules they will implement to the goalies equipment in the near future, this again will force the goalies to change and try to make the best out of it.

I am not the one to talk about my strengths, this I will leave for the coaches to determine. I just like to play and compete, because that brings me forward. I passed the 450 games mark this spring and that's the experience I like. Each and every game you find some thing you have to work on in order to perform better. With the San Jose coaching staff I have the perfect people who will teach me what is necessary to become a NHL goaltender. You can see for yourself when you look at the names you mentioned above.

[Q] Finally, what did you think of Kolzig's performance in the World Cup? I know the first two games he faced more shots than anyone else at that point in the tournament. And during the quarterfinal game he was able to hold the game close until Finland scored late to win.

[PE] I think he played great. It seems he always grows with pressure, I like that too when it becomes real competitive. And as the eighth ranked team the Germans did pretty good especially in the last game against the later finalist Finland. It was very close until the end and they had the Fins at the edge of a sensation.

[Q] When Kolzig retires, who do you think will play in net for Germany? Would you like to play for Germany in a future World Cup game?

[PE] Robert Mueller will be the number one in Germany for sure. He came a long way with the German team and is the best German goalie then. He was fortunate that he came as a very young goalie to the German national team. So he has great experience internationally and he comes also from Rosenheim, my hometown. Of course I would love to play for Germany in a future World Cup game or the World Championships or the Olympics. I hope I will get a chance one of these days to come.

Visit Patrick Ehelechner's website here. Thanks to Patrick for taking the time to answer my questions, and to his webmaster Karl Heinz for his help setting this up.

[Update] Sharks 2003 1st round draft pick Steve Bernier scored a hat trick for the Moncton Wildcats Tuesday.


Interview with SF Chronicle columnist Ross McKeon

The Sharks columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Ross McKeon, was nice enough to answer a few questions.

[Q] How long you have been covering the Sharks for the Chronicle, and hockey/sports in general?

[RM] All 13 years of the team's existence. I've been with San Francisco newspapers (first the Examiner and then the Chronicle once we merged staffs) since 1985. I worked at East Bay suburban papers (Valley Times, CoCo Times and the Tri-Valley Herald) for six years previously.

[Q] What are the Chronicle's plans for covering hockey with the NHL lockout in effect?

[RM] Basically just to update readers when there is news. I certainly wouldn't expect there to be an article every day, but when something happens of any significance it will be reported. Occasionally there might be a feature on merit.

[Q] A major item of contention from the NHLPA is that the owners loss figures are not to be believed. The Sharks recently confirmed reports that they lost $7 million this season [with 9 home playoff dates], and $10 million last season. I lean more towards the owners in this CBA mess, but fans have expressed to me concerns that losses from other properties may be included in that figure, and that not all hockey-related revenues are included. How accurate do you believe the loss numbers are?

[RM] If the loss numbers are inflated, so be it, but I do believe the owners' claim that this is not a money-making venture and it was headed for disaster under the old system. Teams would not be filing for bankruptcy, teams would not be for sale with no buyers. I'm not trying to side with ownership's position, they are in fact ultimately responsible to signing players to inflated deals and signing off on the CBA that got them in so much trouble. But I do believe they can not operate under a similar system, so they have my sympathies there.

[Q] The NHLPA proposal does not really address the inherent problems with a franchise like Pittsburgh, and its inability to compete with teams like Toronto or the NY Rangers. Do you think a hard $31 million salary cap is the only viable solution?

[RM] I honestly don't know enough about economics to be an expert here. I do believe there must be a way to take what works from systems - a cap, a luxury tax, arbitration, etc. - combine them for what is applicable to hockey and negotiate from there.

[Q] The NHL lost hundreds of millions in guaranteed money with the new television contract. What would you do to make the game translate better to television?

[RM] Make people want to watch. Glowing pucks, cameras buried in the back of the goals, live interviews just before the opening faceoff and at intermissions can only take the sport so far. Executives have to realize this isn't football, this isn't baseball. As much as they want to make hockey THAT popular, they can't and wont.

Personally, I would like to see the U.S. hockey market - particularly ESPN and whatever company whether it be NBC, ABC or FOX who chips in - get more serious about it's coverage by hiring people who do a better job of conveying the game. Barry Melrose, Gary Thorne, Steve Levy, etc., just don't do as good a job as the average Canadian play-by-play guy or analyst.

If you want to see a game done well on television, tune in to any game produced north of the border. Makes a huge difference.

[Q] How are you treated by Sharks fans when you are on the road?

[RM] Honestly, that's hard to answer because the media sits in the press box and doesn't really have an opportunity to "mix" with fans. I will say this, NHL fans across the nation, the ones who really care about the sport, are both passionate and appreciative of what service people like myself supply. And the people in Canada would all love to have my job.

And quite a few in San Jose as well. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, thanks for keeping Sharks fans informed over the years. I hope there is a season for you to write about shortly.

Read Ross McKeon's columns here.


Hockey Notes - Oktoberfest edition

- Notice the lack of NHL or San Jose Sharks from the title of this post.

- From Puck Update, NHL owners avoiding coverage of individual players during the lockout. There will be plenty of coverage of players in the San Jose Sharks organization on this website. But consider the source of that report. Larry Brooks of the New York Post is the Geraldo of the hockey media world.

- Offwing is doing yeomen's duty serving up the links. He links to articles about the hockey season gearing up in Finland and in Russia. Thanks to Colby for finding that newspaper from Finland in English [Helsingin Sanomat].

- More on NHL players filling out the Finnish Elite League teams from Hockeys Future. The first Sharks draft pick in 2000, Tero Maata, is #33 on their list of top 40 Finnish prospects. A second round selection in 2000, he currently plays for the Espoo Blues.

- The Hockey Rodent has an extensive preview of the Czech ExtraLiga. Click here for his list of NHLers in the ExtraLiga, here for an interview with his correspondent in Prague, and here for a quick overview of the Czech ExtraLiga. Even more from Jes Golbez.

- Thanks to ansbachMPI, here is a link to Marco Sturm's first game with ERC Ingolstadt vs. Eisb�ren Berlin [here is a rough google translation]. Scroll down to the bottom for photos from the game. Also visit Prohockey.de for more coverage from the German Elite League, Deutsche Eishockey Liga [DEL].

- NHL lockout a windfall for Swedish hockey league as stars return - AFP. Forsberg, Zetterberg, Kiprusoff, Czerkawski, Morrison, Tarnstrom, and San Jose Sharks winger Nils Ekman will all be playing in the Swedish elite league.

- Sharks cancel preseason, first two regular-season games - SF Chronicle.

- NHL Lockout by the numbers - SJ Mercury News.

- Sharks goaltending prospect Jason Churchill earned a tie in his first start for the Halifax Mooseheads [Halifax 1, PEI Rocket 1]. In his second start he earned a 3-3 tie against Cape Breton with 32 saves. Churchill also made a few comments about the NHL rookie tournament.

- From the official Cleveland Barons website, president Michael T. Lehr made the following statement:

The current situation in the NHL will have no perceptible effect on the Cleveland Barons or the American Hockey League. The Barons season will begin in Grand Rapids on October 15th. Our home opener will take place at Gund Arena on Saturday, October 16th at 7pm vs. the Manitoba Moose. The AHL's collective bargaining agreement with its players association was recently signed effective through 2007.

One effect will be Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, and Milan Michalek playing on the Cleveland roster. Possibly Miroslav Zalesak and Tom Preissing as well.

- ECHL.com traffic up 63%. I will go out on a limb and say that percentage will increase with an NHL lockout.

- No Hockey? Visit the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, Germany. Or visit Oktoberfestbythebay.com in San Francisco October 14-17th for the Bay Area equivalent. [1-888-746-7522]

[Update] Andrews Starspage has a list of media quotes on the NHL lockout. To that list, I think my insightful quote should be added: "Lockout bad."

[Update2] Inside College Hockey has a blog. Cool.

[Update3] David M Singer has a few CBA considerations. Canucks Corner is back, and has the CBA deal breaker. Hockey Night In Canada analyst Brian Burke offered his 15-point solution to the CBC. Reluctantly, I would have to admit that this National Post editorial is the only likely solution to the NHL's problems: How to save the NHL.


Nike Lockout commercial - A Dark Day

NHL strike equals empty hockey rink

This commercial from Nike on the NHL lockout says more than I care to at this point. It is airing now in Canada, but it should be playing in the homes of every NHL player and owner.

Owners need to release the numbers and let us determine how much is actually being made or lost per team. And the players need to actually negotiate instead of calling every proposal a salary cap.

Fans in Pittsburgh should expect to field a team every season that is as competitive and entertaining as clubs in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, or Toronto. That has not been the case for many years.

Both sides have created conditions that have priced core hockey fans out of several markets, and kept casual fans from even being established in others. What are the fans going to get out of this strike? Nothing.

A dark day indeed.


One last post about hockey before the storm

Time for one more post about hockey before the inevitable discussion about the CBA and lockout mess.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks ice girls

I dedicate this photo to the visitor who came to this site looking for "hot ESPN2 log rolling chicks". Sorry this site could not help you find what you were looking for.

Mike Hoffman

Here is 6,5 250pd defensive prospect Mike Hoffman [#62] stickhandling around a Mighty Ducks player in the NHL rookie tournament. Someone sign him post-haste.

NHL rookie tournament

Patrick Ehelechner [#33] and defenseman Doug Andress [#67] battle Dustin Penner [#76] in front of the net. Since both of my parents went to University of Michigan, it pains me to say that Ohio State defensman [Andress] played very well. Probably not the best photo to use to illustrate that point.


I was charging my camera battery after an 11-2 Los Angeles drubbing of Phoenix. I said something to the guy next to the outlet about rooting for Phoenix after 2 straight lopsided losses. Dean Lombardi mentioned that at this level you just focus on the top prospects. That makes sense from an NHL perspective.

But I met the family of an AHL prospect in the parking lot, two people from the ECHL Fresno Falcons and the San Diego Gulls sat behind me, and I chatted with another AHL scout while waiting in line for fries. Watching some of the Germans in net for San Jose [Ehelechner, Greiss] I wondered if any of the Sharks prospects would end up replacing Kolzig on the national team after he retires.

There are a lot of levels of hockey that fans are interested in, and the top level just happened to implode yesterday. Anyways, thanks for building a solid organization Dean. It was nice to see you get a little credit during the success the Sharks had in the postseason. I still remember the three headed monster days.

[Note: I saw Jeff Friesen in the equipment store. I asked him when he was coming back to San Jose and he said "that would be nice". It would be nice if there was a season for him to come back to.]

- My rookie tournament photos, now with thumbnails, are on this Pbase photo gallery. Vote for this gallery here.

- Also check LetsgoKings.com for more photos from all 4 days.

- Visit the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a complete wrap of the tournament. My RT coverage: day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4.

- Congratulations to Team Canada for winning the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

I have to agree with Offwing, the goal by Finland's Tuomo Ruutu at the end of the second period to tie the score at 2 was the best goal of the tournament. Skating towards the right boards at the red line, he banked the puck off the wall and skated past a stick check by Brad Richards. He then hopped to his left to avoid another check by Simon Gagne, he quickly shifted the puck to his left avoiding Scott Niedermayer flying in for a poke check. Tuomo took four strides and fired a wrist shot past Martin Brodeur while Scott Hannan guarded against the pass across the crease.

Beautiful play. Not a beautiful World Cup trophy though. Someone needs to return it to Walmart and exchange it for a real one. Visit CBS for a lot of World Cup photos.

- Dave Pollak reported this yesterday in the SJ Mercury:

Sharks CEO Jamison is aware that a lockout, especially a protracted one, carries the risk of alienating fans. But he's also an advocate for a new economic model, having set the Sharks' losses at $17 million over the past two seasons.

Using my extraordinary math skills, since the Sharks lost $7 million last season [no Nolan, no Selanne on the payroll, 9 home playoff dates], the Sharks must have lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million the season before. This has been the rumored bottom line in San Jose for some time. The Sharks were reported to be one of 20 teams losing money in the NHL. The players dispute those numbers

- Sharks gobble up Riley Armstrong - The Daily Herald. The Sharks pick a quality player off the shelf of Kevin Constantine's Everett Silvertips team. That Constantine name sounds familiar.

- From HockeyBird, the NY Newsday quotes center Bobby Holik on the lockout:

"It's awful," said Rangers center Bobby Holik as he drove from New York to Florida to spend a few days on his farm, cleaning up after Hurricane Frances. "I listened to the commissioner's speech on the radio, and he talked about, 'To save the game, we have to do this.' This has nothing to do with the game. The game is what we play and what the fans love to see. This is business. The game is great."

That is odd coming from the man whose contract is a glaring example of what was wrong with the previous agreement. The league has been playing in some fashion since 1892-1893, and a CBA that allows a checking center to earn $8,850,000.00 a season means the game is doing great?

Up next, Jaromir Jagr's [$11,000,000.00] treatise on fiscal responsibility, and a Chris Pronger [$10,000,000.00] dissertation on cost certainy. Between the three, only Jagr exceeded the 30 goal plateau last season, by 1 goal.

hockey fight picture

[Update] Added some fight pictures to the RT gallery, scroll to the bottom. Also added the rookie training camp black and white pics to Pbase. At least there will be something to look at during the strike.


Letter to fans from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and San Jose Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison

The official Sharks website released two letters to fans on the day the NHL CBA expired.

From NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

Dear Hockey Fans,

The National Hockey League enjoys and appreciates the support of the greatest fans in the world. We acknowledge that by not starting the 2004-05 season as scheduled due to the lack of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, we are disappointing this loyal and passionate group �- and for that, we sincerely apologize.

This is a situation that we hoped would not occur and, in fact, have been working very hard to avoid. I want you to know that I am committed to fixing the problems that face our League and to delivering an economic system that will bring you exciting, world-class NHL hockey at ticket prices you can afford.

The CBA that just expired made it very difficult for most teams to be competitive, both economically and on the ice, as approximately 75% of all the dollars generated went to player salaries and benefits �- by far the highest such percentage in all of professional sports. Our objective is to negotiate a CBA that will provide a partnership with our players, will provide them with more than 50% of every dollar of revenue, including an average salary of $1.3 million (U.S.) and will assure a stable business while giving your team the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup every season.

Our mandate at the League is to do everything possible to reflect our respect for your connection to NHL hockey and the commitment you make to your favorite Club. We thank you for your continued support and understanding. While there is no way to know how long it will take to conclude this negotiation, we sincerely hope your team will be back in action soon.

Gary B. Bettman

From Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison:

Dear Sharks Fans,

As you are aware, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association expires on September 15. Unfortunately, no NHL hockey will be played until a new economic system is in place. At this point, no one is certain what will transpire next, but there are a few things I want to communicate to you.

First of all, you should be aware that I am as frustrated as you with the delay to the start of our season. Our organization has worked hard to put a championship level club on the ice that you can be proud of and the reasons that prohibit us from playing are unfortunate.

To be honest, this entire process could be painful and protracted for all involved, but it is happening for the right reasons. We are committed to our players and our team, but we are also committed to the NHL's desire to find a solution that is fair to both sides and also allows the League and each team to succeed.

Please know that as our fans, you are our most valued constituents and our Number One priority. Your enthusiasm and commitment to our franchise is unparalleled and something we do not take for granted. We have demonstrated a commitment to putting the best team on the ice and fully appreciate and thank you for your support over the years.

Updates on the labor negotiations can be found on SJSHARKS.COM to keep you apprised of the latest developments.

Bear with us as we enter this uncertain period. We hope to see you and NHL action back at HP Pavilion very soon.


Greg Jamison
President & CEO

I appreciate both acknowledging the fans after the failure to negotiate an agreement with the NHLPA on time. It would be nice if Greg Jamison reiterated Bettman's stance on ticket prices.

Sharks sign Wayne Primeau, Edmonton signs Todd Harvey

The official Sharks website announced today GM Doug Wilson signed restricted free agent forward Wayne Primeau, terms of the contract were not released. The NHLPA lists his 2004-2005 compensation at $1,050,000.00. There is a new note below all salary figures on the NHLPA website.

NHLPA members do not receive compensation from their club or the league during the owner's lockout.

The signing was released shortly before the expiration of the CBA, giving Wilson his second straight year of having all his players signed before training camp. Unfortunately there will be no training camp, and probably no season this season.

Wayne Primeau scored 9 goals and 20 assists [+4] in 72 games played last year. The 6'4" 225pd forward also had 1 goal and 2 assists [-7] in 17 playoff games.

Agitating free agent forward Todd Harvey signed a multi-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday. The two year deal has a club option for a third. The NHLPA lists his 2004-2005 compensation at $675,000.00.

According to the official Edmonton Oilers website:

Harvey, a 10-year NHL veteran, has spent the last five seasons with the San Jose Sharks after being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers in exchange for current Oiler Radek Dvorak. Last season he tallied four goals and five assists in 47 games.

Oilers Assistant General Manager Scott Howson says, �Todd is a proven NHL player whose versatility and grit make him an extremely tough opponent to play against. We expect him to be a valuable addition to our hockey club.�

In previous years the Sharks have locked it down defensively in the postseason, but have not had enough offensive firepower to advance. This year the Sharks were oozing offensive firepower, but lacked the in-your-face quality needed when the series picked up physically. When Ville Nieminen, Marcus Nilson and Chris Simon started taking liberties in the Conference finals, Todd Harvey and Jason Marshall were two Sharks who answered that call. Now both are gone.

This is an area the team will need to address if there is a season.

Time to answer some reader email

[Is there going to be an NHL strike today?]

There is a meeting of the NHL's Board of Governors today in New York City. After which there will be a press conference from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at 11:30 PT. Nhlcbanews.com will stream the press conference live. If there is no last minute agreement, the owners will lock out the players and the season will not start as scheduled.

[Will there be an NHL season this year?]

There have been rumors of a January 1st cutoff date, but the league has denied any specific cutoff date.

[Where did the Sharks news updates go?]

A few have also asked where the blog news posts on the right went. There were problems with the javascript feed not loading from both Feedirect and Sportsblogs. I moved the NHL/hockey news to its own page, the San Jose Sharks now get there own news page, and the blog news gets its own page as well.

[What are you going do if the Sharks do not play this year?]

I have been asked this question in person and online probably more than 20 times. The last few months I have followed international teams and players from Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. I have followed prospects from the Canadian junior leagues, the NCAA college teams, and the AHL Sharks affiliate the Cleveland Barons. Hopefully the Sharks affiliate in the ECHL, the Fresno Falcons, land a Sharks prospect or two. The San Jose State and Berkeley hockey clubs are starting their seasons either at the end of this month, or the beginning of the next. Other than that, I might just have to strap on my blades and get into game shape again.

[Who do you support, the players or the owners?]

Here was my first post on the CBA negotiations. I tried to outline the positions of both sides, and give readers links to the financial audits, information about the television contract, and statements from players regarding the CBA, but I ended up leaning heavily towards the owners this time around after supporting the players in 1994. My next post on the CBA tomorrow will examine some of the points raised by the NHLPA.

[Thanks go out to]

Hockeyfights.com, Jen from Ernst & Young, Sarah, and OwenNolan11 for donating to this site. Also to John Logue, Chris, Mike Zampelli, [and a few others whose emails I lost] for their help at the rookie tournament. I also appreciate the people who have been shopping in the store. Someone asked if I had an Amazon wishlist online. Yes, and it consists of one item.

Thanks for your emails. I will try to answer the rest today. Go Sharks!

[Update] More information from CBC that might surprise you, We've been here before.

1992: NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow, in just his first year on the job, led the players on a 10-day strike. It was the first-ever strike in league history.

1994: To the surprise of many, NHL camps did open on Sept. 1, but the season never started. On Oct. 1, the league's owners locked out the NHL's 600 players. The lockout ended on Jan 11, 1995, after 104 days, and games resumed Jan. 20. A total of 468 games were lost.


Rookie tournament Notes - day 4

Consolation game: Phoenix Coyotes 3, San Jose Sharks 2

After winning the rookie tournament last year, the Phoenix Coyotes met the San Jose Sharks in the consolation round of this years event. Phoenix started the tournament with a 4-1 loss against San Jose, and an 11-2 blowout loss against Los Angeles, but regrouped and beat the Mighty Ducks 4-2 on Sunday. Phoenix defensive prospect Keith Ballard told the official website that the team was starting to click after having more practice time together.

San Jose gave each goaltender in camp a period in the first game and a start later in the tournament. Each of the goalies combined for a 4-1 win over Phoenix to start the tournament. Patrick Ehelechner and the team in front of him struggled during a 6-2 loss to Anaheim. The Sharks prospects tightened it up in the third period of that game and did not allow a goal. Thomas Greiss was in net as the Sharks bolted to a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles, until LA scored 3 unanswered goals to tie the game in the 2nd.

Jason Churchill rookie tournament

Six foot four Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Jason Churchill, a 4th round 2004 draft pick, played in net for the consolation game against Phoenix. Jason was briefly profiled a few weeks back on Sharkspage. I know the Moosehead-nation was happy I got at least a couple of decent pictures of him during the first game.

San Jose outshot the Phoenix Coyotes 43-17 in the consolation game, but lost 3-2. San Jose got goals from Steve Bernier and Shane Joseph, with an assist from Lukas Kaspar. Add in Joshua Hennessy, and the Sharks organization got a good look at the future forwards in teal.

Speaking of the org, the official Sharks website reported head coach Ron Wilson attended the last two days of the rookie tournament after Team USA lost to Finland in the World Cup. Mentioned in an earlier post: "Sharks assistant coaches Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler, and Cleveland coaches Roy Sommer and Dave Cunniff were behind the bench for San Jose."

More from the Phoenix Coyotes website: Coyotes rookies beat San Jose Sharks 3-2 - Phoenixcoyotes.com.

All the photos from the first four games of the rookie tournament are here. Photos from all 8 tournament games can be found on LetsgoKings.

Championship game: Anaheim Mighty Ducks 7, Los Angeles Kings 2

The Mighty Ducks claimed the 2nd annual rookie tournament championship between the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the San Jose Sharks, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings looked to have one of the stronger teams in the tournament with LA-native Noah Clarke and Petr Kanko up front, Denis Grebeshkov, Nikita Korovkin, and Scott Basiuk on the blueline, and a 5 man contingent in net.

Anaheim lost the first round-robin game to Los Angeles in overtime. The Mighty Ducks downed the Sharks 6-2 in the second game, scoring all six of their goals in the first two periods. Phoenix gelled as a team and beat Anaheim 4-2 in their third tournament game. With a 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 OT loss, the Mighty Ducks made the championship game and earned a 7-2 win.

Penalty machine Curtis Glencross scored a hat trick against Los Angeles and recorded an assist. Curtis lead the tournament point race with 6 goals and 2 assists. Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Gibbons, Tim Brent and Dustin Penner also scored for Anaheim. Mighty Ducks goaltending prospect Gabriel Bouthillette made 24 saves and earned the win. Eric Fortier and Noah Clarke scored goals for the Kings.

More on this game from Mightyducks.com, Ducks Win Second Annual Rookie Tournament With Win Over Kings.

World Cup Final - Canada vs Finland preview

Miikka Kiprusoff Canada Finland preview

Canada and Finland play tonight [4PM,ESPN2] in the finals of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Canada escaped with a 4-3 OT win against the Czech Republic on Saturday. Vincent Lecavalier fumbled a puck from the left of the crease that would have ended the game. Lecavalier then gathered the puck as he was coasting backwards towards the boards and fired a goal up high from an impossible angle. Roberto Luongo started the game because of a hand injury to Martin Brodeur, and made 37 saves on 40 shots for the win. According to Hockey Canada, Brodeur may play in the final.

Finland played a tight game against the United States on Friday and earned a 2-1 win. Before Finland's quarterfinal game with Germany, coach Raimo Summanen said in a televised interview that he was going to try a different way to motivate his team. I am not sure if that was the cause of defenseman Janne Niinimaa leaving the team, but it has been reported there is a rift between the Finnish players and their coach. Finland was lucky to escape a close game with Germany, but they looked solid in downing a strong USA team.

Olli Jokinen, Saku Koivu, and Teemu Selanne are playing the best up front for Finland, Kimmo Timonen has a goal and 5 assists in 5 games, and Ossi Vaananen and Sami Salo are throwing their weight around the blue line. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff started the tournament with 2 shutouts, and continued to register a 1.18 GAA and .948 sv% in 5 games played. All I can say to Miikka is be thankful you did not have to face Marco Sturm in the Western Conference finals.

Offwing has a great roundup of World Cup links. This column about hockey taking over the newspapers in Finland was interesting. Trust me, they had to translate those quotes because I have yet to find a Finnish paper in English.

Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames

Here is the Kiprusoff preview I wrote before the Sharks faced Miikka in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After his second shutout to start the World Cup tournament, Miikka said his game had improved because he had become more patient in net. Maybe that came from having an assured position as a #1 netminder in Calgary, maybe the stiff Darryl Sutter defense in front of him helped, either way it was kind of cool he agreed with my "expert analysis". Here is Sports Illustrated's Daren Elliot with a technical breakdown of Kiprusoff's game.

Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan will start on the blueline for Canada, with Patrick Marleau a possible scratch. Vesa Toskala is likely to back up Kiprusoff for Finland. It is a shame Vesa did not get one start in the preliminary round. Former Sharks Teemu Selanne, and Ville Peltonen will play for Finland, with Miikka Kiprusoff suiting up for Canada.

The Finland Ice Hockey association website is here, Hockey Canada's website is here. The media guide from the World Cup final is here [PDF file].

[Update] Iced, Iced Baby, NHL prepares for deep freeze, long lockout - SF Chronicle.

[Update2] Sharks prepare to endure lockout, players dig in for labor strife - SJ Mercury


Rookie tournament Notes - day 3

rookie tournament Sharks vs Kings game 3

San Jose Sharks 3, Los Angeles Kings 3

From LetsgoKings, a report on the third game of the rookie tournament for San Jose:

King Rookies to play in Championship Game

Before the start of today's rookie game between the Sharks and Kings, there was one thing for certain - the Kings had already made the championship game and were just determining whether they face the Sharks or the Ducks Monday night.

After a botched carry-out from the defensive zone by Connor James resulted in a turnover and a short-handed goal by Sharks prospect Riley Armstrong, things turned from bad to worse. Aaron Gill and Josh Prudden scored for the Sharks and the undefeated Kings found themselves staring up at a 3-0 deficit after one period.

The Kings clawed their way back into the game during the second period with goals from Mike Lukajic and Denis Grebeshkov. Then, while the Sharks were on a man advantage, Greg Hogeboom made the most of a breakaway chance by lifting a backhander high into the far side of the net. The tie stood through the final period and overtime, ensuring the Kings would hold the top spot in the competition leading into the championships on Monday.

Kings vs Mighty Ducks for the title.

More is available from the official Mighty Ducks website, Ducks to Face Kings in Championship Game - Mightyducks.com.

The San Jose Sharks will play the Phoenix Coyotes in the consolation game at 4PM. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Mighty Ducks will play in the championship game at 7PM. The Canadian national team will play the Finnish national team for the World Cup championship at 4PM Tuesday on EPSN2.

Phoenix Coyotes 4, Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2

After starting the tournament with a loss against San Jose, and a blowout loss against Los Angeles, the Coyotes regrouped and beat the Mighty Ducks 4-2 on Sunday. Olivier Latendresse scored 2 goals for Phoenix, and Roman Tomanek and Kiel McLeod each had a goal. Corey Perry and Joel Stepp scored for Anaheim.

Phoenix defensive prospect Keith Ballard told the official Phoenix Coyotes website:

We were able to move the puck very well and that just comes from more practice time together and like I said earlier, it took a couple of games for guys to know each others tendencies and our hard work paid off.

The Phoenix Coyotes have more on the third day of play, Coyotes rookies beat Ducks - Phoenixcoyotes.com.

Rookie tournament Notes - day 2

Los Angeles 11, Phoenix Coyotes 2

2004 rookie tournament Paul Colaiacovo
#60 Paul Colaiacovo

The Kings dressed two of their five goalies for this game, Ryan Munce allowed 2 goals [12 saves, 14 shots] in a period and a half, and Japanese goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji [12 saves, 12 shots] allowed 0 goals in the period and a half he played.

#36 Yutaka Fukufuji

Petr Kanko led the onslaught with 4 goals and an assist. Noah Clarke had a goal and an assist, as did Conner James. Denis Grebeshkov is a can't miss defensive prospect, but Kings tryouts Scott Busiuk [3 assists] and Nikita Korovkin also were very impressive. Busiuk is a fluid skater who had 2 point shots deflected in for goals. Korovkin can skate and has a heavy shot.

There is a great interview with LA prospect Greg Hogeboom from the tournament on Hockeys Future. Hogeboom talks about playing in the NCAA, how well prospect camp is going, and his goal of playing in the NHL.

All the photos from the first four games of the rookie tournament are here.

Anaheim 6, San Jose Sharks 2

2004 rookie tournament Colin Shields
#65 Colin Shields

The Ducks came out of the gates blazing with two goals in the first period, and four goals in the second. Joel Perrault scored the first goal, penalty machine Curtis Glencross notched the next two, Shane O'Brien, Igor Pohanka and Correy Perry were responsible for the remaining Anaheim goals. Ryan Getzlaf had four assists.

Patrick Jarret lit the lamp in the first for San Jose, and 2004 first round draft pick Lukas Kaspar scored a goal in the third.

2004 rookie tournament Lukas Kaspar
#54 Lukas Kaspar

According to the score sheet released to the media after the game, Anaheim prospect Gabriel Bouthillette [30 saves, 32 shots] and SJ goalie Patrick Ehelechner were in net for the entire 60 minutes.

It is hard to take any positives from a 6-2 game, but Lukas Kaspar did stand out for San Jose. The line of Kaspar-Hennessy-Bernier was an impressive one.

I was expecting to see Thomas Greiss halfway through the second period, but the Sharks might have wanted to see how well Ehelechner responds to adversity. He played very well in third not allowing a goal on a number of Anaheim scoring chances.

The entire team came out flat in the first period, a few defenseman missed their coverage in their own zone, and a few Phoenix forwards were left unchecked in the slot. Two goals resulted from pileups, with the puck going in only after several seconds of scrambling in front of the net. Patrick made two Hasek-type saves from his back, blocking the puck with his legs in the air. Even though it was a 6-2 loss, it was an entertaining game, but sometimes you want a goalie to make boring saves instead.

2004 rookie tournament Patrick Ehelechner
#33 Patrick Ehelechner and #61 Joshua Hennessy

All the photos from the first four games of the rookie tournament are here.

[Update] Ducks Down San Jose in Second Annual Rookie Tournament - Mightyducks.com.

[Update2] The guys from LetsgoKings and Hockeys Future had presspasses and were all over the place taking pictures. Here is the LGK photo gallery from day 2, and the photo gallery from day 1.

Patrick Ehelechner photos

2004 rookie tournament Patrick Ehelechner photo

Here is another photo of Patrick Ehelechner, this time during the warmups before the second Sharks game against Anaheim. More photos are available at his website, ehelechner.com.

Here is another photo from the warmups before the first game. Patrick told the official Mighty Ducks website:

I played in this tournament last year. Its pretty fast and a tough game. You get used to the NHL level. First, I want to play good hockey and play better than last year. My goal this season is to win the Memorial Cup.

Below is another from the 2nd period of the San Jose-Anaheim game on day 2.

2004 rookie tournament Patrick Ehelechner photo


Rookie tournament Notes - day 1

San Jose 4, Phoenix 1 2004 rookie tournament Shane Joseph
#47 Shane Joseph

The San Jose Sharks rookie squad defeated Phoenix 4-1 in the first game. Riley Armstrong scored two goals, defenseman Tim Conboy had a goal and 2 assists, and Colin Shields had a goal. Randall Gelech scored for Phoenix. Patrick Ehelechner, Thomas Greiss and Jason Churchill combined to make 16 saves on 17 shots for the win.

Many Sharks fans were impressed by Shane Joseph during the public session of the rookie training camp. In the photo above he deked one forward and was able to stick handle around another for a shot that went off the goaltenders pads.

Steve Bernier showed a little edge to his game. With two players on him along the near boards, he was able to give both a shot before sliding towards the middle to take a pass. Andress and Hennessy were all over the ice as well.

Lukas Kaspar, Glenn Olson, Scott Ford, and Mike Hoffman did not suit up for the first game. Sharks assistant coachs Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler, and Cleveland coaches Roy Sommer and Dave Cunniff were behind the bench for San Jose.

Tim Hunter talked to the official Sharks website before the game:

Our goal is to evaluate these kids... The things to be concerned with are hockey sense, how they follow the system, how they integrate with their teammates and how they compete. All that as they play against their peer group.

#33 Patrick Ehelechner

36 Thomas Greiss with Ryan Gibbons and Niko Tuomi battling in front of the net.

2004 rookie tournament Jason Churchill
#1 Jason Churchill

All the photos from the first game can be found here. The pictures from the other 3 games will be posted after I get back from a movie.

Los Angeles 3, Anaheim 2 [OT]

2004 rookie tournament Daniel Taylor
#46 Daniel Taylor

In the second game, the Los Angeles Kings prospects defeated Anaheim 3-2 in overtime. Los Angeles native and crowd favorite Noah Clarke scored two goals including the game winner. Petr Kanko [LA], Curtis Glencross [PHO], and Joel Perrault [PHO] were the other goal scorers.

2004 rookie tournament Gabriel Bouthillette
#68 Gabriel Bouthillette

More pictures from the second game are here.

[Update] Coyotes open rookie tournament with a 4-1 loss to San Jose - Phoenixcoyotes.com.

World Cup Hockey notes

- An update to our server caused a problem publishing with Blogger. Thanks for hanging in there.

- Team USA lost to Finland 2-1 last night as Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves on 17 shots. After registering the lowest goals against average in the modern era [1.69 GAA], after carrying the Calgary Flames to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, Miikka helped his national team reach the finals of the World Cup of Hockey. [Note: Finland no longer Europe's version of the Boston Red Sox.]

Doug Weight scored a power play goal in the second period, Olli Jokinen and Saku Koivu scored in the third for Finland. USA had a power play late in the game and pulled the goalie for a 2 man advantage, but could not convert.

- In the other semi-final game today, Canada will play the Czech Republic in a matchup between two very high powered offenses. The Czech Republic tromped on a favored Sweden team 6-1 to reach the semi-finals. Czech beat Germany 7-2 in their last round-robin game. It was hard to determine how the death of coach Ivan Hlinka would affect the team. Using Jagr as my Czech barometer, they are playing inspired hockey.

- Marco Sturm, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc logged a lot of minutes for Team Germany. During intermission of the first game against Sweden, ESPN reported Sturm saying he was 85% and only able to take the ice 3 weeks before the games started. That still did not stop him from scoring his patented breakaway short-handed goal. Goc was scratched for the third round-robin game and the announcers were not impressed with his first two. In the close quarterfinal loss to Finland, Goc displayed impressive stick-handling and change of direction moves in order to create space in the offensive zone.

- Vesa Toskala has not started for Team Finland. Nils Ekman [Sweden] and Patrick Marleau [Canada] also have been scratches for their national teams.

- Due to injuries, Canada was down to 6 healthy defenseman. Scott Hannan [+2] has played a solid role in 3 games, with 1 assist on a game-winning goal. [Update: Goaltender Martin Brodeur may miss the semi-final game with a sprained wrist, Wade Redden also unlikely to play].

- A dispute between Finnish head coach Raimo Summanen and defenseman Jaanne Niinimaa before the quarterfinal game with Germany last Monday resulted in Niinimaa leaving the team. There were unconfirmed reports that players had taken Jaanne's side in the disagreement. The top-seeded Finland scored on a determined German club late in the third period to eek out a 2-1 win.

- Sharks coach, and Team USA coach Ron Wilson made a very interesting lineup change after two straight losses to start the tournament. Against Slovakia, Wilson sat Brett Hull, Craig Conroy, and Brian Rolston. All three signed large free agent contracts this offseason but were lifeless on the ice. The USA lines for the game against Slovakia:


Wilson's changes gave them an impressive checking line, and three solid scoring lines up front. If I could have published after the first two games, I would have said that getting Gomez and Guerin in front of the net was critical for the USA team. I would have said Tkachuk was also a key, but the key was for him not to take bad penalties like he did in the postseason [against San Jose?]. He proved me wrong by getting on the scoreboard and for the most part staying out of the penalty box. Doug Weight played well, and also wrote a journal about the tournament for Team USA.

- There was a lot of grumbling about players who declined to participate for Team USA and the two early losses, but the team should be honored for competing hard. With the NHL lockout almost certain, it was a good performance to end on.

- Chris Chelios on the tournament-ending loss to Finland:

We knew what we were up against... One bounce, one power play, that's what it can come down to. We stuck to our system, but sometimes it takes a great individual play to get it done. We just came up short. We got beat by a good team. There's nothing to be ashamed of.

[Update] The lines used by Canada for their quarterfinal win over Russia and the last round robin game against Slovakia:

Lemieux - Sakic - Iginla
Smyth - Lecavalier - Heatley
Gagne - Richards - St. Louis
Draper - Thornton - Doan

Regehr - Niedermayer
Brewer - Foote
Hannan - Bouwmeester

[Update2] I met Jes Golbez who is a huge 6,5 ultimate fighting Canadian. He got to see SF and how the A's always lose to the Red Sox. If Slovakia wins tonight against Canada, definately take a look at his blog coverage.

[Update3] Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed is back posting new Thursday quote sheets. Ron Wilson, Lennox Lewis, and Bob Goodenow make an appearance in the latest edition.

[Update4] Vincent Lecavalier scored 3:45 into OT to give Canada a 4-3 win over the Czech Republic. After fanning on the original shot from the left of the crease, he gathered the puck while coasting towards the boards and fired a shot up high from an impossible angle.

Roberto Luongo filled in for an injured Martin Brodeur. That is like replacing Babe Ruth with Barry Bonds. The World Cup final will provide an interesting matchup between Tampa Bay's [Lecavalier, Richards, St. Louis] and Calgary's [Kiprusoff]. Iginla who?


Word Cup broadcast update

Today's World Cup match between Sweden and Finland is not on ESPN or ESPN2. Visit ESPNbroadband.com for the free preview weekend Sep 4-6 to watch the game live over the internet. The game is 4-3 Finland halfway through the second. Tellqvist and Kiprusoff are in goal. [Note: Tomas Holmstrom scored with just under two minutes remaining to force the game into overtime. Ossi Vaananen scored his second goal of the game to give Finland the top position in the European bracket.]

Other games that will be available over ESPN broadband is the later game today, Canada vs Russia, tomorrow's game Russia vs Slovakia, and the Monday quarterfinal between the first and fourth team in the European bracket.

- For those without broadband, try Sirus satellite radio.

- Game notes for day 6 of the World Cup [PDF file].


Finland downs Germany 3-0, Russia defeats USA 3-1

Monty from Germany sent in a few World Cup photos from the Germany-Finland game. He is using a Panasonic Lumix 2, with a 12x optical zoom. More photos, including several from the Germany-Czech game are available on his website canadiens.de.

Monty Sturm World Cup hockey photo

Marco Sturm sits on the boards during a break in play.

Monty Sturm World Cup hockey photo

Two #21's faceoff as Mikko Koivu from Finland takes a draw with German forward Stefan Ustorf. That looks like Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff [#10] in the background.

[Update] Visit CBS Sportsline for another World Cup photo gallery (link emailed by Kevin).


World Cup of Hockey preview and results

World Cup of Hockey

The World Cup of Hockey started Monday with a 4-0 Finland win over the Czech Republic. It continued yesterday with a 5-2 Sweden victory over Germany and a 2-1 Canada win over USA.

[Game 1] Mon: FIN 4 - CZH 0. The death of coach Ivan Hlinka is hanging over a talented Czech team. Finland outplayed the Czechs in the offensive zone, and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was rarely tested in the defensive zone. Niko Kapanen had a PP goal, and an assist, Saku Koivu had a goal, and former Shark Ville Peltonen had an assist.

[Game 2] Tue: SWE 5 - GER 2. The Swedes were simply too much for the German squad as Germany had trouble finding room to skate on the NHL-sized ice. Marco Sturm had yet another breakaway short-handed goal, but he was still a step slow after recovering from surgery. The announcers said he thought he was 85%. Mats Sundin had one goal and two assists, Holmstrom had a PP goal and an assist, and the line of Zetterberg-Naslund-Forsberg is going to be scary when it starts to click.

[Game 3] Tue: CAN 2 - USA 1. This game has resulted in the most email sent in, most of it having to do with Jeremy Roenick's breathless wrestling-style commentary. I have no problem with it. He is fired up, and it provides a fun atmosphere that differs from the usual broadcast. Team USA was worried about goaltending, but Robert Esche made 30 saves on 32 shots, and really held the team together in the first period. Canada got goals from Martin St. Louis [PP] and Joe Sakic [PP], USA got a goal from Bill Guerin with an assist from Scott Gomez. One controversial moment from the game came when the puck went off the netting before the first Canada goal. The play was not stopped, and the goal counted.

Thanks to those sending in articles. Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle has his world cup preview online. ESPN has a well designed World Cup 2004 section. Visit the official website http://wch2004.com, and the official Canadian and USA Hockey websites. Andrew's World Cup coverage is also very informative.

My WC preview is below:

North American pool:

Marleau and Hannan were scratched for the first game, but they should play a role later in the tournament [Update: Jovanovski injured]. Canada plays a physical game up front and on the blueline, they will rely on a wealth of offensive firepower [Lecavalier, Lemieux, Sakic, St Louis]. Canada has the best goaltending in the tournament bar none [Brodeur, Luongo, Theodore], even after Belfour withdrew due to injury. Having Canada instead of individual names on the back of the jerseys is cool, but the mustard yellow Canadian throwback color was frightening.

Robert Esche team USA [USA]
Many of the players from the last World Cup championship team 8 years ago still play a prominent role for Team USA and coach Ron Wilson. Up front this may not be a problem, but on the blueline it is a concern. Matthew Schneider declined to participate, and Hall Gill, Derian Hatcher and Jordan Leopold are not on the team due to injuries. Brian Leetch and Chris Chelios will both log a lot of ice time. The goaltending trio is young [Esche, DiPietro, Conklin], but all three had flashes of excellence this year. Esche looked solid in the first game, but Ron Wilson needs to find out which goalie is hot, and ride him as far as possible. Bill Guerin and Scott Gomez are the players who need to live in the crease.

Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made it official that he will not play for Russia in the World Cup tournament. He is still recovering from offseason knee surgery. Nikolai Khabibulin [best name in hockey] and Sergei Federov, also declined to play for the national team. Russia is going to have to play defense by scoring more goals. That should not be a problem with Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Kovalev, Sergei Samsonov, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Ovechkin. Russia will rely on Anaheim prospect Ilya Bryzgalov in net. Not adding San Jose forward Alexander Korolyuk to the roster was a mistake.

I have been following Slovakia mostly because of the reports by Jes Golbez. Slovakia took a hit with a recent injury to Peter Bondra, and their goaltending is untested [Budaj, Stana, Lasak]. Hossa-Demitra-Gaborik, and Zednik-Stumpel-Satan provide two solid lines that are going to have to do a lot of work for Slovakia. [Note: Injury riddled Slovaks face Canada - CBC].

European pool:

Sweden, Canada and USA are the three favorites in the tournament. The weakness for Team Sweden would have to be in net with Tommy Salo. He is a proven NHL netminder, but has struggled to do well at key times in the playoffs. In the first game against Germany he let in another long shot, and almost a second that went off his glove and was thrown in the net with a hand pass. San Jose Sharks forward Nils Ekman is in the lineup, but might be a healthy scratch. Forsberg-Naslund-Zetterberg has to be the most dangerous line in the tournament. Mats Sundin and Daniel Alfredsson are two more NHL captains in the lineup. Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, and former Shark Marcus Ragnarsson are on the blueline.

Finland's strength in goal is second only to team Canada. Former Shark Miikka Kiprusoff and current Shark Vesa Toskala will keep Team Finland in games and give them the opportunity to win. Saku Koivu, former Shark Teemu Selanne, former Shark Ville Peltenon, Olli Jokinen, and Calgary agitator Ville Nieminen will have to get it done on offense.

[Czech Republic]
The story of the Czech team is the death of coach Ivan Hlinka shortly before the start of the tournament. The team has always had the knock of not being motivated enough to perform well consistently, and a lot of people were looking at Hlinka to address that. Tomas Vokoun should get the majority of minutes in goal, with Roman Cechmanek providing a solid backup. Jagr, Hejduk, Havlat, and Elias are going to have to lead the rest of the team by example.

Team Germany has the largest contingent of San Jose Sharks on their roster with Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc, and Christian Ehrhoff. Washington Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig will have to play inspired hockey in order to give Germany a chance to win games. Jochan Hect will also skate on the first line with Goc and Sturm. Germany is the underdog of the tournament, but a hot goaltender can steal a game. Stealing enough games to get into the later rounds of the tournament will be a challenge.

Other notes around the league:

- ESPN World Cup analyst Jeremy Roenick was asked during an intermission of the USA-CAN game: [Q - from Steve Levy] Have you ever bet on hockey? [A - JR] "... I would never do that". Later on in the interview he mentioned, "everything was on football." That is enough of an answer for me. For some writers looking to fill blank space during a lockout, it might not be enough.

- The Phoenix Coyotes continue to build an impressive team for a season that may never happen. After signing free agent Petr Nedved [19 goals, 27 assists, 81 games], the Coyotes traded center Daymond Langkow to Calgary for defenseman Denis Gauthier and winger Oleg Saprykin. Additions in Phoenix this offseason: Devereaux, Gauthier, Hull, M. Johnson, Nedved, O'Donnell, Ricci, Saprykin.

- The Hockey Rodent breaks down the x's and o's of the 5-2 German loss to Sweden.

- Anna from Sweden asks me if I have any photos of goalie Tommy Salo in a national jersey. No. Another fan did sent in this link to the official Swedish hockey media guide [in English] which might be of interest. Also take a look at Aftonbladet which is covering every minute of Sweden play. Salo made an appearance in San Jose with the Colorado Avalanche this postseason, but he did not start a game.

Tommy Salo

- Also an update on Danish hockey from an earlier post, the author Peter Seeberg emails in his recommendations about where to go to watch the Denmark Super Best league. The name of that league is perfect.

Hockey in Denmark: If you go to Kopenhagen, R�dovre is the best venue, Rungsted/Nordsj�lland ok, Herlev to be avoided. Odense, where I live, is a couple of hours from Kopenhagen by train... always good atmosphere. In Jutland, Herning and Esbjerg are interesting, Herning has always been a force. Vojens, a small club now named "S�nderjylland" plays there, is also interesting because of the atmosphere...a crazy place, especially against local opponents like Esbjerg and Herning.

[Update] Jeremy Roenick offers up his own plan for a CBA solution. I predict the "Roenick Ceiling" will be labeled a salary cap by the NHLPA and the scorn/ridicule will commence shortly. My solution is to have a cage match between Bettman and Goodenow with Brett Hull as the referee, and Don Cherry/Barry Melrose as the announcers. Winner take all. Just don't schedule it in Ottawa.

[Update2] Hi NHLPA! Hope you enjoyed the site.