After a successful west coast road trip, the Sabres return home with the opportunity to make headway in the standings. We talk about the positive signs they showed out west and how they can translate that into their next stretch of games which are fairly favorable. We also touch on the goaltending rotation and how Linus Ullmark’s hot start might alter the approach Phil Housley takes in naming a starting goalie over the next handful of games.
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There’s a hint of irony that the orange color used on the Team North America jerseys is referred to as solar red given the team’s supernova-like short but brilliant run at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Team North America’s stay may have been but they made a lasting impact due, in large part, to their thrilling final game against Team Sweden. If you haven’t read it yet, there’s a terrific oral history of that game written by Craig Custance on The Athletic. It’s a terrific retelling of their final game, the wire-to-wire banger against Sweden and a wonderful reminder of how much fun they added to the tournament.
Despite topping the top team in their group, North America failed to advance to the knockout round of the tournament due to a 4-3 loss to Team Russia that featured nearly as much action as the win over Sweden.
Unfortunately, that loss to Russia deprived the hockey world of any more hockey from the U-23 squad. Including a semi-final matchup with Team Canada. Continue reading →
It was the game that has spawned thousands of think pieces. As the US fell in uninspiring fashion to the Canadians last night, their World Cup failure raised questions about the team’s roster construction yet again.
While the 4-2 loss to Canada may have been expected, the previous shutout loss to Team Europe helped to stir memories of the pop-gun offensive efforts against Canada and Finland at the 2014 Sochi games. In fact, TJ Oshie’s goal late in the third period against Canada was the first scored by a US forward in 254:02; a streak that extends to Team USA’s preliminary round win against Slovenia in 2014. Only Ryan McDonagh’s goal against Canada kept that from being a shutout streak as well.
That is a stunning inability to score from a country seen as one of hockey’s super powers. Of course, the questions about the roster choices didn’t crop up over the past week. The choices made by USA Hockey have been questioned, in one way or another, since the original roster announcement earlier this year. Maybe this should be too surprising, as many of the same names criticized for questionable choices in 2014 – and highlighted by the in-depth, behind the scenes articles chronicling that team’s construction – remained part of the decision making process. Continue reading →
The World Cup of Hockey is right around the corner, finally bringing the international event back to the hockey world after a 12-year absence. In the time between the 2004 event and this year’s World Cup, some major changes have come to the world of goaltending. It’s far easier for goalies to get new customized equipment and turnaround time on new masks is quite short.
As we approach the start of the tournament, every country’s goaltender has had their new gear or helmets released to the public via Twitter, Facebook or otherwise. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst of the World Cup of hockey goal masks (and gear). Continue reading →
The return of the World Cup of Hockey coincides nicely with the Sabres’ resurgence. The puck will drop on the event over two years after Sam Reinhart was selected in Philadelphia, casting one of the largest stones of Buffalo’s rebuild.
As the Sabres continue to grow from cellar dweller to competitor, their roster will gain more and more notoriety. Jack Eichel already commands a great deal of attention and players like Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen are growing into stars in their own right. Thanks to the format of next fall’s World Cup, the Sabres will have an opportunity to have a number of players represent the team at the re-tooled international tournament.
The introduction of the North American Young Stars and European All Star teams opens additional for many of Buffalo’s players to step onto the Air Canada Center ice next fall. Some of the names that will follow are going to be no brainers in terms of participation while others will be admitted long shots. Here’s a look at which Sabres players will be, at the very least, on the watch list for next year’s World Cup. Continue reading →
Due in part to this year’s NHL lockout, the decision to send NHL players to the 2014 games has been delayed much longer than some may have expected.
A big part of the issue is the significant time difference between North America and Sochi which will drastically decrease the impact that having the NHL’s best on the Olympic stage will provide. Unlike the 2010 games in which nearly every game was broadcast in primetime and the impressive run by the US turned the eyes of the nation to the sport of hockey, Sochi is eight hours ahead of the East coast and that will cause major issues for televising games in North America.
The eight hour difference isn’t nearly as big of an issue as the potential locations for the next two Winter Olympic sites. Pyeongchang, South Korea will host in 2018 and there are no North American bids for the 2022 games either. That means that another European or Asian country will serve as host thus putting the next two Olympic games on a significant time difference from North America. With that in mind, I wonder if the 2014 games will be the last time the NHL provides the athletes for hockey at the Olympics – that is until another North American city hosts.