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Author: Kevin Woodley

Hiller and Gerber: Canadian Goalie Guru Key to Both Swiss Olympic scares

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Asked to put his jaw- (and stick-) dropping performance into perspective after forcing an entire country to hold its breath for three hours on Thursday night, Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller needed a little time to catch his first. A couple of reflective – and deep – breaths later, the sweat-soaked Hiller still wasn’t entirely sure about the scope of his incredible 45-save effort, struggling between patting himself on the back for sending Canada into a panic and the disappointment of coming up short in a dramatic 3-2 shootout loss. “It probably takes until tomorrow to realize what we did today,” Hiller said. “It was one of the best games I’ve ever seen from the Swiss National team.” No one was going to argue after Hiller’s remarkable performance, including a spectacular stick-less sequence of saves with the game tied in the third period, and stopping Sidney Crosby once in the shootout before the young Canadian icon clinched the win on his second shootout attempt. But as Martin Brodeur remembered after stopping all four Swiss shooters in the decisive one-on-one, this was hardly a...

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Mikka Kiprusoff and Niklas Backstrom on Finnish Goaltending and the Winter Olympics

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Kipper’s Teammates OK with groundbreaking Finnish goalie’s “start me or else” ultimatum – he’s earned it. Much was made in the media about Miikka Kiprusoff’s “start me or else” ultimatum to the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation in late November. So now, on the eve of his country’s Olympic opener, as he walks into Finland’s dressing room to face his teammates, does Kiprusoff himself think the whole thing was overblown at all? “It’s been pretty clear for me so I really didn’t care,” Kiprusoff responded on Tuesday night after the Finns practiced for Wednesday’s game against Belarus. It’s vintage Kiprusoff, short and to the point when he talks at all, sometimes at the expense of his own reputation in the press. It was the same four years earlier, when the stoic Finn opted out of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin with claims he needed to rest a sore hip, a public relations disaster when he didn’t miss a start for the Calgary Flames the rest of the season, even drawing the ire of a few fellow Finns. The locker room now, though,...

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Roberto Luongo on Canada Defeating Norway 8-0

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP.Last night after the game Luongo spoke with the Media about the game: Although Luongo is obviously very familiar with playing in GM Place, last night was a different experience as he described the great atmosphere in the building and the support of the home crowd: ”The fans were great and I was really pumped up to play in front of them and obviously they were very supportive the whole game,” smiled Luongo after a 15-save performance that forced him to be Luongo-eske twice at most. “There was much more electricity in the air, this is big for Canada and for Vancouver, you definitely felt the electricity, kind of felt like a playoff game.” There obviously wasn’t as much action for him last night against a team that didn’t have any NHL players in the lineup: “There’s not a lot of action, but I think I was more tired skating to the bench for penalties and skating out to the corners to play the puck than anything else,” joked Luongo, who is now 2-1-0 in Olympic play dating back to the 2006 Games in...

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Olympic Interview: Team Canada Goalies Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Luongo got most of the work in practice today, with Brodeur and Fleury (who saw the least amount of action) sharing a net. Shortly after these interviews coach Mike Babcock announced that Luongo would start game one vs. Norway and then turn to Brodeur against Switzerland. One interesting Olympic equipment note for goalies — IIHF rules are up to date as far as measurements, such as the 11″ wide pads, but not all the recent NHL changes (no calf wedges, smaller knee pads, no inner belts on pants, etc.) but all the goalies I talked to today (Brodeur, Luongo, Nabokov and Bryzgalov) were sticking with NHL regulation stuff. Roberto Luongo inGoal: Have you become caught up in the Olympics at all yet? Luongo: “It’s exciting, we’ve been waiting for this a long time, not only myself and my teammates but everybody in the city, so it’s fun, it’s good to be here and we’re going to enjoy it for sure. It was kind of disappointing not to be here for opening ceremonies, but I tried to watch as much as I could,...

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No proportional pads in 2009-10 after fight with NHLPA

The National Hockey League goaltenders will be smaller for the 2009-10 season, but not nearly as many, and not by nearly as much, as the league hoped, planned and fought hard for. While the concept of making equipment proportional to the physical size of each goalie – an ideal approved by both sides two summers ago – appears to be moving forward with sizing charts for pants and upper body protection this season, the Players’ Association delayed the implementation of a similar sizing plan for goaltender leg pads by a year. The changes, approved under the principle of proportionality by the Board of Governors and Competition Committee two summers ago, would have affected as much as 60 per cent of the league, opening the five-hole on a long list of goalies that includes both of last year’s Stanley Cup finalists, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Osgood. They were the biggest part of the NHL’s two-year plan to shrink its stoppers, and the most significant since the width of pads was reduced from 12 to 11 inches coming out of the lockout. “It was supposed to be a discussion between us and the NHLPA about the measurements and how to use them, but they refused to co-operate and then they were like `No. Sorry. It’s too late. We don’t like it.'” said Kay Whitmore, a former NHL goaltender now charged with...

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