As the U20 Championship season approaches, I figure doing these link posts is a good way to report on the various rosters that are coming out, and other news from around the hockey world.
Lugano looks to hire Bob Hartley
After firing Philippe Bozon after this weekend's games, HC Lugano of Switzerland's NLA has a coaching vacancy... and they're reportedly thinking big, trying to land Stanley Cup winning coach Bob Hartley. He's currently committed to some media projects in Quebec, most prominently something on the Quebec-Montreal rivalry which are holding him back for the time being, but by the new year, he could be free to take on the challenge. While Hartley is fluent in both French and English, Lugano is an Italian Swiss city, so he might have to pick up a third language.
Bob Hartley has been rumored for European coaching jobs in the past, and has said he'd be open to coaching in the KHL if need be, but he is doing relatively well as a media personality in Quebec, appearing regularly on RDS' Antichambre program the past couple of years. That being said, if he wants to coach again, he isn't getting much younger (he's now 50), and he'll be coaching professionals in a pretty comfortable environment if he takes a job in Switzerland.
Ekman gets 5 games, plus fined for additional 4 games pay on slash
Nils Ekman of Djurgarden gets the book thrown at him by the Elitserien's disciplinary board for a vicious slash on Jakob Silfverberg of Brynäs. The punishment has been deemed quite harsh, and over the top... and Swedish commentators like Jonas Fahlmans (who runs an AIK centered blog, Djurgarden's cross-town rivals), think the whole incident got blown out of proportion when Brynäs officials filed a police complaint about the incident. Certainly, in North America, we're getting used to the idea of police involvement and criminal investigation of on ice conduct, but looking at Ekman's slash... it's hard not to side with guys like Fahlmans here: this is something the league can handle on it's own.
Goalie shuffle in Elitserien
Vesa Toskala is back in the unemployment line, with his brief contract with AIK Stockholm expiring. His replacement? Bjorn Bjurling, who lost his job with Brynäs last month when the San Jose Sharks loaned the team Thomas Greiss. Greiss struggled early, but is finding his groove now as his numbers start to approach repsectibility (3.13 GAA, .894 SV%). It could really just be temporary for Bjurling, as the moves are being made to hold the team over while Christopher Heino-Lindberg recovers from injury. Viktor Fasth, AIK's starter, has a 2.20 GAA and .928 SV% so far through 20 games, so Bjurling will be lucky to play more than Toskala did (2 games).
Latvian U20 candidates announced " Latvian Hockey News Report
We're getting news of various country's U20 rosters, and Latvia has released their preliminary roster. It's not the final list, which won't be made until Dec. 12, a day before the IIHF Div. 1A tournament begins in Bobruisk, Belarus. You can scour the IIHF's website for a few more rosters, with the big one being Slovakia's preliminary list, the first of the countries that will be at the top level championship in Buffalo. Slovakia hilites include Martin Marincin, Richard Panik, and Juraj Holly. Other preliminary rosters available on the IIHF website include Japan (already mentioned in an earlier piece here), Great Britain, Croatia, Spain, Australia and Romania.
Pictures of the construction of the Bolshoi Ice Palace (capacity 12000) and other Olympic venues in Sochi, Russia. You can find more here in these forums at Skyscraper City. I'm having issues logging on to the official website for some reason, so you can check out Sochi2014.com on your own if you wish. It is rumored that there will be a KHL team placed in Sochi when the arena is ready. There is also a second arena, called the Maly Ice Palace, being built right beside it. It will be about 7000 in capacity. Enjoy!