February 3rd: Slovakia 4 Switzerland 1
6 Days before the start of the Olympics the Swiss team got beaten big time by Slovakia in Boise, Idaho. Since Ralph Krüeger was appointed national team coach in 1997, Switzerland hadn’t been outplayed like they ere in this game. Slovakia dominated throughout the game and outshot the Swiss 45 to 21. Goalie Lars Weibel stopped 41 shots and prevented an even more dramatic result for Switzerland. At the end of the day the main question was what this game had brought the Swiss. The answer seemed to be that this game would be used for provocation.
On the smaller North-American rink the Slovaks were far more motivated then there European coutnerparts who had only lost to Slovakia once in 6 previous meetings. It was ironical that goalie Weibel was Switzerland’s best player as he’d probably see no ice time during the Olympics as David Aebischer and Martin Gerber will be the first two goalies. Krüeger could be quoted that “not a single player could be happy about today’s performance and that the third period saw not much good from their side. Most goals were due to simple errors and them could be blamed on fatigue. We had expected that though.”
Arriving from Sweden will be goalie Martin Gerber and forward Marcel Jenni along with assistant coach Bent-Ake Gustafsson who will all be avaialble for the second game vs Slovakia. Also Martin Steinegger who was recovering from an injury and had not seen any ice yet is likely to be available.
0-1 16. Conne (Della Rossa Read more»
“I was worried about my participation in the Olympics”, Vauclair says when discussing the past few months. To be in Salt Lake City was a big personal goal for the young defenseman. Last summer when he signed a 3-year contract with the Ottawa Senators he made sure there was a clause in it which granted his release for the Olympics in case he would be called up. “Nevertheless I had to keep in mind I might not even would be selected. Coach Krüeger had said, at the end of last season, that he would try not to take any AHL-players in his squad. That was the risk of my move to North-America. Now I can say everything has been going for me but I did work very hard to achieve that.”
Vauclair is having a good season. The change of scenery clearly did not hurt him. In pre-season he competed for a roster spot in the Senators’ trainings camp for a long time. Just one week before the start of the season he was demoted to the minor affliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Vauclair:”I was really hoping I would start the season in the NHL, but I feel very good in the AHL as well now. Grand Rapids is the best team in the league at the moment. I’m progressing and can develop my game here. From Ottawa I get a lot of response on my game, and the scouts are watching every game.”
Without doubt you can say Julien Vauclair isn’t an offensive defenseman. In 269 Nationalliga A games in Switzerland he produced ‘just’ 7 goals and 21 assists. This season in the AHL he collected 14 points (4+10) in the first 46 games of the season. On the team Vauclair is one of the top 4 defenseman and therefor Read more»
QMJHL ALL-STARS LOOK TO WIN ANOTHER HERSHEY CUP
RIMOUSKI – The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League can win its second Hershey
Cup Wednesday night when the QMJHL Dilio Conference All-Stars take on the
Western Hockey League’s Western Conference All-Stars in the third and final
game of the 2002 Hershey Cup CHL All-Star Series.
Game time is 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on RDS in Quebec and
on Rogers Sportsnet.
The inaugural Hershey Cup was won last year by the QMJHL’s two all-star
teams and the league has a chance to make it two for two by winning
Wednesday night’s game, to be held at the Colisee de Rimouski, the beautiful
home arena of the l’Oceanic de Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey
The 2002 Hershey Cup CHL All-Star Series opened up in Ottawa on Jan. 16,
when the QMJHL Lebel Conference All-Stars defeated the OHL East Conference
All-Stars 4-2. Frederic Faucher of the Drummondville Voltigeurs sparked
Quebec with a pair of goals, while Jonathan Bellemare of the Shawinigan
Cataractes added three assists.
Matthew Lombardi of the Victoriaville Tigres and Jason Pominville of the
Cataractes scored the other goals for the winners. Olivier Michaud of
Shawinigan, Jean-Francois Racine of Drummondville and Pascal Leclaire of
Montreal all played very well in the victory before 5,439 fans in Ottawa.
Zenon Konopka of the Ottawa 67’s and Blaine Down of the Barrie Colts scored
for the OHL, while Peter Budaj and Andy Chiodo of the Toronto St. Michael’s
Majors and David Chant of the Barrie Colts played in Read more»
In its policy towards the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the National Hockey League is doing the same mistake as the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when he tried to implement “perestroika” and “glasnost” some 15 years ago. Gorbachev thought he would reach his objectives by giving the people a little of everything, a little of communism, a little of capitalism and a little freedom. The result was a bit of a mess.
The debate in North American sports media since the hockey season started shows, when one can read between the lines, that the NHL has the same kind of ambivalent feelings towards what should be the biggest show in hockey history. The league wants to be a big part of the show, but not too much. It wants the Olympics to be perceived as something great, but not too great. At least not to the point where it overshadows the NHL All Star game.
The NHL has paid serious money in order to have its logotype integrated with the Salt Lake 2002 logo. Almost every official NHL publication it boasts the Olympic “Hockey Rules” slogan. But when Slovak, German and Latvian players beg to be released for the preliminary round of the Olympic tournament, instead of telling the team GM:s: “Let them go”, the league commissioner looks the other way.
The NHL loves to poach on Olympic ideals, but when a half-injured player declines All-Star game participation in order to be fully fit for the Olympics, a high ranked NHL-official threatens with a fine.
The NHL’s basic problem stems from the fact that North American team sports are not used to i Read more»