That is right. I am back in Sweden! Back to the land of Abba and Julmust. Two things I love about this country, among many others.
I have been invited back to speak at the coaches conference that takes place during the World Championships of hockey. I was honored to be asked and quickly said yes.
I am excited to share some of my hockey knowledge with over two hundred and fifty coaches from all over the world. I am presenting two different topics. The first is on life in the NHL for Europeans. The second, player development from a former player’s perspective. It should be fun.
With this many coaches around there is a great opportunity to learn from them. As a player I realized that each country has its own approach. No one way is perfect. I am hoping to soak up training tips and teaching techniques from them for the kids and defencemen I work with back in Edmonton.
With the conference going on at the same time as the World Championships there is an opportunity to watch some of the games. I really timed my arrival well! Thursday night I got a chance to watch the home team, Sweden, take on the Canadians.
Great atmosphere in the Globe Arena for the game. Many fans had on the bright yellow Swedish jersey. There were even a few Canadian jerseys floating around as well.
Team Canada won three to zero. Sweden had a good strong start which the Canadians weathered. Mike Smith had a good game in the net. He looked very sharp and prepared. I was hoping to get a look at Dubnyk but he had the night off.
I was impressed with a couple of Canadian players. I thought Dallas Stars defensemen Brendan Dillon looked good. I didn’t get a chance to watch him live this season. I put the isolation cam on him tonight. He is a big guy who can move and is physical. He has quick feet, which is surprising considering his size. He is steady and makes the simple first play, something that is important for younger players to learn. I think Dallas has good player in this guy.
The other player is the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds. He has turned into a good player for Philly. Big, physical and can score, pretty good mix. When he was named to the team I wondered how he would do on the bigger ice surface. He line mates were Eric Staal and Matt Read. Simmonds never looked a step behind. I was impressed, scratch skating speed off the list of concerns for him.
The first line of Andrew Ladd, Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux was good. Very nice mix of ability and grit on this line, not to mention the speed. They scored a power play goal with Justin Schultz and Brian Campbell on the point. It was a goal scored exactly how coach Lindy Ruff would have drawn it up before the game. Four passes and then into the net. Boom.
Head coach of team Canada, Lindy Ruff has taken some criticism from Oiler fans for his lack of ice time for both Hall and Eberle. As I watched Canada’s game against Sweden I relay focused in on then and their ice time. I have to say as a fan of these two players I would like to see them play more but if I am being honest their ice time is probably in the right area.
As I mentioned the top line for the power play is Ladd, Giroux and Stamkos. Pretty hard to make a case that either one of the Oilers should be playing ahead of these guys on the power play. These three are older and more established NHL players then both Hall and Eberle. Ladd may not have the top end skill of the two Oilers but he is a bigger body that is a handful in the corners and in front of the net.
The second power play unit is Eric Staal, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Duchene. Eric Staal has earned the right to be on the ice with the extra attacker. Simmonds has a skill set that the Oilers two players do not. They wouldn’t be able to replace that type of play on the second unit. Duchene is the one guy I could see getting switched out for Hall or Eberle.
I am guessing that right now Ruff likes the chemistry between Duchene and the other two. Until he feels that line is stale or isn’t producing there might not be a lot of power play time for the boys from Edmonton.
Another way to get more ice time would be on the penalty kill. Neither Hall or Eberle have been doing much killing with the Oilers. Hard to ask them to start at a competitive tourney like this one. Can’t really fault Ruff for that.
Laid out like this, does it seem like Ruff is trying to screw them over? No, it is called icing the best team. He is slotting in all the players he is given into rolls that he thinks they and the team can have success. It is what every coach does on every team in the tournament. Time to put the conspiracies back into the closet. There are not any here.
August D Man camp
I am happy to announce there will be a full week camp this summer. It is the second installment of the Jason Strudwick D Man camp. We will have more time to work on other areas of the game but work in the corners, in front of the net and moving feet will again be areas of focus.
There is also an off ice component. Body by Bennett will be running this. They will be setting up drills to help young players get their foot work going off the ice so they can transfer that to the ice. I am happy to have them be a part of the week.
For more details and registration forms go to Jasonstrudwick.com.
I have to hand to the Bear 100.3’s Yukon Jack: he can sing. Tuesday night we battled it out during the second intermission of the Oil Kings game.
He sang "I feel good" by James Brown. I went with "Sweet Caroline" He had more singing talent but I blew the rough off Rexall with my stage presence! I think I tired my voice out chirping him on the radio!
Don’t forget to play StreakCred the new playoff pool game from the Nation Network. You can win a trip for 2 to Oktoberfest in Germany among the awesome prizes up for grabs. Only $20 and a portion of the proceeds go to Edmonton Charities. Sign up here.
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