Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Joni Karjalainen scores game-winner in 2nd day of Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament

Congratulations to Joni Karjlainen for scoring the game-winning goal today in Finland's 6-5 win over the US Under-18 Select team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic! Karjalainen scored with just over a minute remaining in regulation, shortly after Steven Whitney tied the score at 5, to improve Finland to 2-0 in tournament play. Finland takes on Russia tomorrow at 9:30 AM ET. Karjalainen currently plays for HIFK Helsinki and is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brian Leetch elected into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Congratulations to PuckAgency client Brian Leetch, who along with Cammi Granato and Brett Hull, will be formally inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on October 10th at the University of Denver! Brian announced his retirement from the game in May 2007.

Aug 12, 2008, 11:36 AM EDT

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2008 unveiled

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Cammi Granato, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter will be enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2008 it was announced today by USA Hockey. The quartet will be formally inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Denver at an induction dinner set for 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Oct. 10, at Magness Arena on the campus of the University of Denver. The following evening -- Sat., Oct. 11 -- the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game will take place in the same venue, when the University of Denver men's ice hockey team takes on the University of Notre Dame at 7:07 p.m.

"The Class of 2008 is one of the most accomplished groups that’s ever been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "It is indeed with great pleasure that we welcome them to the group of hockey immortals in our country."

In 18 NHL seasons, Brian Leetch was an 11-time All-Star, won two Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman, captured a Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoff MVP and was the Calder Trophy winner as the league's top rookie. He is one of only five blueliners in NHL history to record more than 100 points in a season and one of seven to accumulate more than 1,000 points in his career (247-781--1028).

In his rookie season with the New York Rangers (1988-89), who drafted him ninth overall in 1986, Leetch put up 23 goals and 48 assists to capture the Calder Trophy. Three years later, in 1991-92, Leetch tallied a career-best 102 points, including a team record 80 assists, to capture the Norris Trophy for the first time. In 1993-94, the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in more than 50 years. He led the way as the top scorer in the post season and was the first ever American-born player to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.

Internationally, Leetch is one of just 10 American men's ice hockey players to have competed in the Olympic Winter Games three or more times, as he played for Team USA in 1988, 1998 and 2002. He also represented the United States at three IIHF World Junior Championships (1985-87), two IIHF Men's World Championships (1987, 1989), one Canada Cup (1991) and twice in the World Cup of Hockey (1996, 2004).Leetch played one season (1986-87) of college hockey at Boston College and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sport-Express Interview with Alexei Cherepanov

Source: Sport-Express
August 6, 2008, 8:32 AM

Alexei Cherepanov could not contain his joy while speaking with a Sport-Express correspondent after netting his hat trick against HK-36 Skalica:

-- To be honest, I never thought I would get a hat trick today. Without my linemates, I never would have achieved this. -

- Viewers were hoping to see Jagr be the one scoring, but you were the hero today.

-- Jaromir set up several goals. -

- Your line was the best in the game. What may explain this understanding you have?

-- This is the third year Sasha Popov, Anton Kuryanov, and I are playing together. Over this time, everyone has to explore each other's style of game, and hence we develop such an understanding. As for other lines, they are new and kids need more time.

-- You will not be surprised that you play on the first line, and Jagr - on the second?

-- The coach determines the lines. Maybe, this is a tactical idea? In general, during pre-season it may well be one thing, and in the regular season - another. However, to be honest, I do not care what line I play on. My main goal is to play hard and give everything I can to the team.

-- Last season, you repeatedly said that Jagr was your idol, and dreamed of playing with him one day. Today, your dream come true… -

- You can not even imagine what emotions I feel. A dream is a dream, but at the same time, I even could not imagine that we would play together for the Omsk club!

-- Maybe now you're waiting for the moment to play with him at one point? -- I believe that is possible! I hope to score on some dream passes from Jagr.

-- Have you been able to get his autograph? -- Not yet, but the entire season is yet to come. -- Do you talk to him often?

-- Yeah, sometimes I ask about the NHL. Jaromir knows that I had an invitation from the NHL, and once said: "You want to play in the NHL - train more." After these words I began to work even harder. By the way, after each workout Jaromir stays with me: we look at video and he tells me what still needs work. So he is really one of my coaches.

-- They say that your departure for NHL has been postponed largely because of the fact that Jagr came to Avangard…

-- My contract with Avangard operates for another year, so that meant I was staying anyway. But when found out that my idol will be joining me in Omsk, I basically stopped thinking about that.

-- Do you think Avangard will be able to win a championship?

-- We have an excellent team, and we all will try to make sure that the team has achieved the highest result possible. Jagr's arrival should also give us youngsters even more confidence. Watch Jaromir and learn.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

NY Rangers' 1st Round pick Alexei Cherepanov kicks off 2008-09 preseason with a hat trick

In the build-up to the 2008 Bashkortostan President's Cup, much of the hype has been focused around the scheduled clash between star imports Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Radulov. These players are without a doubt the two biggest names that the Continental Hockey League has been able to attract for its inaugural 2008-09 season. This prestigious tournament is the first opportunity fans will have to see the pair square off outside of an NHL rink. However, with the star-studded clash days away, Jagr's teammate Alexei Cherepanov is the player who has managed to grab the spotlight.

The Bashkortostan tournament is an annual pre-season tournament held in Russia. This year, the six teams participating are Jagr and Cherepanov's Avangard Omsk, Radulov's Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL sides Traktor Chelyabinsk, Spartak Moscow, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, as well as Slovakian club HK-36 Skalica. The opening game of the tournament had Avangard Omsk facing HK-36 Skalica. Omsk came out victorious, as expected, to the tune of a 6-3 score, but it was future NY Ranger Cherepanov and not former Ranger Jagr that powered the Russian side to the win. While Jagr managed two assists, his young teammate lit up the scoreboard on his way to a hat trick.

Cherepanov opened the game's scoring exactly 3 minutes in, before adding what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the middle of the 2nd period, and capping off his day with the team's final tally in the 3rd period. Cherepanov, still one of the world's best prospects at age 19, is aiming to have his best season yet, as a key force in Avangard Omsk's attack. The future looks very bright for the Rangers' 2007 1st-round draft pick.

August 5, 2008, 2:38 pm
The Morning Skate
By Stu Hackel

The prestigious Bashkortostan President’s Cup pre-season tournament has begun and a future Ranger upstaged a former Ranger in the opening game. Top Rangers draft choice of ‘07 Alexei Cherepanov notched a hat trick for Avangard Omsk while teammate Jaromir Jagr had to settle for a pair of assists on goals by his Czech linemates Pavel Rosa and Jakub Klepis as Omsk downed the Slovakian club HK-36 Skalica 6-3 in the tournament’s opening game.

Monday, August 4, 2008

AllHockey.Ru Interview with Dynamo Moscow D Danny Markov

Danny Markov: It's easier for us in Russia, here is our home

July 29, 2008, 10:49 PM

Author: Diana Ozimova, specifically for AllHockey.Ru

I have the honour to speak with one of the leading Dynamo Moscow players, and one of the best in Russian hockey in general, Daniil Markov. Despite his authoritative status, Danny was easy to contact. We had a positive conversation.

-- Daniil, last fall, why did you decide to return to Russia, becoming a player for Dynamo?

-- Negotiations, which I had with several teams, were also civilized, and I was satisfied with everything! But I knew that Dynamo was a good organization.

-- Recently, many Russian players in the NHL returned to Russia. Why in your opinion they are motivated to make such decisions?

-- Russia ... America ... America is still for us Russians, a foreign country, and regardless, you still see yourself as a foreigner. Here is your home, here is your birthplace, parents, family, children. Here is your native land. In Russia it is easier for us in many respects, and in domestic terms, too.

-- You played almost a full season for Dynamo, what you can say about Russian hockey in general, whether or not it is changing?

-- Yes, it varies, ranging from its organization even to the smallest details. In Russia hockey there is progression, and it is changing in a positive direction. I believe it will work out in the right way.

-- What is your attitude to the changes in our hockey as it pertains to KHL rules on fighting?

-- I can say one thing, that if the league permits fights, it should be with the same concept as in the NHL. More precisely, there are certain players, so-called fighters ("tough guys"), which account for a large amount of the fighting among themselves. For example, Georges Laraque goes after guys his size, and does not pound on regular players. This can help to lead a team at the right time. Each team has a fighter. I do not see anything wrong in that. Tough guys also have to act according to certain rules. Each team can have any number of such fighters here. Hockey is not chess, so I am fine with them.

-- This summer, Dynamo was strengthened by several acquisitions. Will the team would be able to claim the first Gagarin Cup?

-- Of course, Dynamo brought in very good players, and that helped strengthen the team. This will affect the club and the overall game plan. We now have a club full of talented players, which can definitely win the championship.

-- The KHL recently had one of its biggest signings - Jaromir Jagr became a player for Avangard Omsk. What does this mean for you?

-- Honestly for me it has little meaning. Jagr already played in Russia. The press gives too much attention to this, and this is already happened once. Open a newspaper, go on the Internet and everywhere is "JAGR, JAGR, JAGR." Of course, when those players are joining the Russian league, it raises our level of hockey. And for young children, it is what they have to learn from. He is still a great player, and has been for many years.

-- Do you think the KHL should go with smaller ice surfaces? How will that affect the development of our hockey?

-- Yes, I believe that it should. In my opinion, our hockey, moving into smaller rinks, will be more spectacular and more intense. And there will be more dynamic play. Some believe that we may lose our style of hockey, where the Russian style of play has lots of passing. But with anything like this, if you can play, then you can play at any venue. All this will make the game 2 times faster, more dynamic, and more interesting for the viewer. But this is my personal opinion.
-- For the first time in many years Russia managed to win the IIHF World Championships, and did so by beating Canada, the host country. What was the biggest factor in achieving this victory?

-- Actually, it was my dream come true! Winning in the final of the World Championship against the Canadians in their territory. The main factor was that we had a very good team chemistry. We all know who does what. It was a good, healthy atmosphere in the team. We played as a team and nobody cared who played more or less. From all these efforts, it was the ultimate team victory. Many did not believe in us, but we showed character, and each of us contributed something to winning the Gold.