After Marian Gaborik was given a timeline of eight weeks to rehab his leg injury, sustained in Team Europe’s semi-final victory, head coach Ralph Krueger has replaced him with Mikkel Boedker in the lineup. While Boedker can be an effective player and has speed to burn, Krueger admits to Helene Elliott of the LA Times that it’ll be a step down from one of their leaders:
We’re losing some leadership and smarts on the puck that were exemplary.
Gaborik obviously is one of the most important players on Europe, with 933 games and 773 points under his belt in the NHL. The three-time forty-goal man put up his worst season last year while fighting injury, only scoring 12 goals in 54 games. The 34-year old will not be ready for the start of the season, making it even harder to bounce back after the career-worst campaign.
- Team Canada hit the ice this morning before the first game of the finals versus Team Europe, and every player was present including Ryan Getzlaf, who according to Pierre LeBrun missed practice yesterday. The Ducks forward was given a “maintenance day” in preparation for the three-game series, as he’s battling a few small nagging injuries. Now 31, the big center doesn’t bounce back as easily as he did when he was young, but has still played in 77 games in each of the last three seasons. While he’s a big part of Team Canada, the Ducks are hoping he comes back fully healthy, as a bounce-back year from him and Corey Perry is integral for a successful season.
- While the talk swirls about the NHL not heading to the Olympics in 2018, especially now that the World Cup has been a success, one influential voice sounds unconvinced. When asked about the difference between the two events, Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock said “The World Cup is great, but it’s not the Olympics. Let’s not get confused.” As Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports, the Maple Leafs coach would like to see the event spread across two cities so that only night games were played, while having only countries compete. These changes would make it more like the Olympics, and would seem to be a future plan for the NHL’s tournament. If the league doesn’t go in 2018 (which it doesn’t look likely to), the World Cup will have to become the preeminent international event. Having Team North America and Team Europe prevents it from ever fully replacing the Olympics, despite their success as individual story lines.