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Greatest Hockey

Updated: 2018-02-19T18:30:57.811-05:00


Canada at the Olympics


I have been on vacation, enjoying the sunny climes of Arizona, Nevada and Hollywood. As such I have not been able to watch much of the Olympics at all. I saw the third period, overtime and shootout of the men's game against the Czech Republic and none of the women's games, I'm shamed to say. This week I hope get back with the program. The women's gold medal game is already set, with Canada

50th Anniversary of Most Important Olympic Hockey Game Ever


February 15th marks the 50th anniversary of what is arguably the most important Olympic hockey game ever played. Ethan Scheiner of the Washington Post explains On Feb. 15, 1968, the hockey team of Czechoslovakia, of which Slovakia was part, took on the Soviet Union at the Olympics in Grenoble, France. Czechoslovakia’s challenge extended far beyond the ice: The game served as a lightning rod in

Hockey And The Korean War


There is an absolutely fantastic hockey history article over at the Globe and Mail that I know I certainly have never heard of before, and likely you have not either. It's about a Canadian military initiative to keep troops spirits up during the Korean War. Within ear shot of enemy forces, Canada set up a hockey rink on the Imjin River. It became the site of some heated hockey matches that

A Look At Team Canada 2018


Here is the master list of my continuing look at the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team. I will update the list with each new profile. Forwards René Bourque Gilbert Brulé Andrew Ebbett Quinton Howden Chris Kelly Rob Klinkhammer Brandon Kozun Maxim Lapierre Eric O’Dell Mason Raymond Derek Roy Christian Thomas Linden Vey Wojtek Wolski Defence Stefan Elliott Chay Genoway Cody Goloubef

Team Canada Will Need A Gallant Effort


Team Canada's coaching staff will need to be the team's MVP if they are going to win 2018 Olympic gold in Pyeongchang. Willie Desjardins is the head coach of Canada's men's Olympic hockey team, something he properly calls "the chance of a life time." "The NHL was a great experience. I had a chance to coach in Vancouver … but things didn't work out there, so I was looking for something else and

Unknown Canadians: Justin Peters


There was a time when Justin Peters was hoped to be Cam Ward's heir apparent with the Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, that Cam Ward. The long time Carolina Hurricane's goalie. The Stanley Cup winning goalie in 2006 and star of Canada's 2007 gold medal winning World Championship team. Back then if you told Hurricanes fans that Peters would be representing Canada at the Olympics you would have been

Unknown Canadians: Marc-André Gragnani


Ah, good ol' Marc-André Gragnani. The skilled defenseman of some good promise with the Buffalo Sabres. He was a bit of a throw-in in the Zack Kassian for Cody Hodgson trade with Vancouver. He quickly disappeared, bouncing around the minors and Europe with very brief appearances with Carolina and San Jose. How I remember you well, Marc-André Gragnani. Mostly because I could never pronounce your

Unknown Canadian: Karl Stollery


As recently as last season defenseman Karl Stollery played some games in the National Hockey League. Eleven games with the New Jersey Devils, in fact. The Camrose, Alberta native has played 23 career games in the big leagues, also seeing action with Colorado and San Jose. After graduating from Merrimack College with all-academic honours, the undrafted blueliner signed with the Avalanche's AHL

Gary Bettman Finally Getting Some Love, But It Won't Last Long


It seems that, after 25 years on the job, Gary Bettman is finally getting some love from the media. There are multiple articles out in the past few days lauding the NHL commissioner. And rightfully so. He has done an absolutely masterful job. He has taken the business to once unfathomable heights. The owners are very, very happy. A 400 million dollar business to a 4.5 billion dollar business

Unknown Canadians: Kevin Poulin


Heading into the Olympic announcements, most people expected Ben Scrivens and Justin Peters to be named to Team Canada. They are NHL veterans compared to most of the options. The third goalie, many speculated, was supposed to be Barry Brust, who has been playing very well in Slovakia and has 11 NHL games to his credit. But in the end it was former New York Islanders puckstopper Kevin Poulin

Cy Thomas' Not So Happy Day


This is Cy Thomas. His son Trevor sent me this photo. Thomas was a little known, well travelled player post-World War II. He played just 14 games in the NHL split between Chicago and Toronto in the 1947-48 season. He's probably best known as a footnote in one of the biggest trades in NHL history. Thomas a throw-in by Chicago in the Max Bentley deal that landed five regulars from Toronto. He

Darren Lowe: First Black Player For Team Canada


Darren Lowe was a speedball out of the University of Toronto who came out of nowhere to make the 1984 Canadian Olympic team. Never really scouted by the NHL, Lowe made scouts notice him when he cracked the National team and Olympic team lineups. The 1984 Canadian Olympic team was full of young but solid NHL prospects - such as Dave Gagner, Pat Flatley, Carey Wilson, Russ Courtnall, Kevin

Mike Fisher Coming Out Of Retirement


With 45 year old Jaromir Jagr's exiting of the NHL I was left hoping against hope a veteran hockey player would come out of retirement and save me from the embarrassing fact that there is no current NHL player who is older than me. Days later a faint hope was raised as Mike Fisher announced he was coming out of retirement to return to the Nashville Predators. It was good try Mr. Underwood, but

Unknown Canadians: Ben Scrivens


By this team's standards, Ben Scrivens is perhaps the best known player on the 2018 Canadian Olympian team. The veteran goalie played in 144 NHL games from 2011 to 2016, including in the bright spotlights of Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal. He also played with Los Angeles. The Spruce Grove, born and raised puck stopper could never emerge as a starting goalie in the NHL. He, like so many goalies

Back To Kladno: Thank You Jaromir Jagr


Jaromir Jagr has cleared through the NHL waivers system and is said to be returning to his native Czech Republic to play for HC Kladno, a team he owns. It seems the certain Hockey Hall of Famer has played his last NHL game. If so this is an especially sad day for your author as Jagr's exit means there are no active NHLers who are older than me. I am officially old. Jagr, 45, was always a

Gretzky's Greatness


It's been nearly 20 years since Wayne Gretzky last played a game in the National Hockey League. There is an entire generation of hockey fans who never saw the greatest player in the game play the game. In fact, that generation may very well not think Gretzky is the greatest ever. Not that he necessarily is. There is plenty of great arguments for Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe in particular and even

Unknown Canadian: Maxim Lapierre


Okay, so Maxim Lapierre is one of the better known 2018 Canadian Olympians. For 614 NHL contests, most notably with Montreal and Vancouver, Maxim Lapierre was one of the more disliked players in NHL arenas, both by the opposing teams and their fans. More of a pest than a true villain, Lapierre was a yappy competitor with a physical edge. He could always skate, take faceoffs and kill penalties,

Unknown Canadians: Rene Bourque


Rene Bourque may be the best known 2018 Canadian Olympian. The veteran of 725 NHL games, most notably with Calgary but also with Chicago, Montreal, Anaheim, Columbus and Colorado is not exactly a stranger to NHL fans. "He's inconsistent at times," veteran hockey scribe Eric Duhatschek recalls. "There were times in the NHL when he scored a lot for two weeks, then for three weeks, you couldn't

Unknown Canadians: Chris Kelly


Chris Kelly is another of the better known 2018 Canadian Olympians. He has played 833 NHL games - the most of any Canadian Olympian - with Ottawa and Boston. He was part of Boston's 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. Kelly has been playing with Ottawa's AHL farm team in Belleville this season, hoping to make the Olympic team to cap off his impressive career. The 37 year old was all but set to

Unknown Canadians: Rob Klinkhammer


NHL fans will remember the name Rob Klinkhammer if only for the uniqueness of his name. The Lethbridge born and raised left winger played 193 games in the big leagues, most notably with Phoenix and Edmonton but also Chicago, Ottawa and Pittsburgh. The last two seasons he's been playing in the KHL, splitting time with Minsk Dynamo and Kazan Ak-Bars. Klinkhammer has spent the majority of his

Building Without A Carpenter


Aside from all the NHL talent not participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics, the most glaring omission from the hockey tournament has to be Alex Carpenter - a bonafide superstar on the American women's hockey team. Carpenter, the 23-year-old daughter of former NHL 50-goal scorer Bobby Carpenter, led the Americans to a silver medal with four goals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. In 2015 she won the

From Norway To North Dakota To The Olympics


When I scanned over the anonymous list of Norwegians named to their Olympic team it was Ludvig Hoff's club team that really caught my interest.  The NCAA is a very competitive hockey scene, and the University of North Dakota is always right at the top of the heap. These top teams vie for the top talent out of USA and Canada, and occasionally a Swede or a Finn. But UND has a player from the

The Olympic Athletes of SKA St. Petersburg


With Russia officially banned from the Olympics but not it's athletes, get used to hearing this: The Olympic Athletes From Russia. That's the official title given to any of the clean Russian athletes. With that in mind, the hockey athletes from Russia were named today. Fifteen of the twenty five roster spots were given to players from the KHL team SKA St. Petersburg. The Russians made sure the

The Best Female Player In The World?


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There is no better writer in hockey than Eric Duhatschek. In fact the only reason I initially signed up to pay annual fees to read The Athletic was so I could read more from the man they call The Hat. He's that good. This week he has a simply fantastic feature piece on Team Canada's new women's team captain: Marie-Philip Poulin. It's behind that

Almond Joyous To Go To Olympics


Switzerland named both their men's and women's Olympic teams. It's another list of "who is that?" and "never heard of him" hockey players, at least from the North American viewpoint. In fact I only really recognize three names - former NHLers Jonas Hiller and Raphael Diaz and women's goaltender Florence Schelling. While perusing the list of names like Dominik Schlumpf and Ramon Untersander and