Monday, September 19, 2016

With No Flag, Team Europe’s Players Rally Around Themselves at World Cup of Hockey

world cup of hockey jersey

TORONTO - The list and uniforms are a patchwork. It is the only team without the national anthem of the Hockey World Cup played before his games.

This motley collection of 23 players from eight countries have a head coach who runs an English football team.

This is Team Europe.

Before the tournament, some observers wonder if this team could compete with European hockey powers like Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland. Team Europe had lagged 9-1 through four periods of two warm-up games this month against the North American team, another composite team, consisting of 23 and under players from the United States and Canada .

But Team Europe players have forged quick links - helped by a common passion for football - and turned their game around, dominant in North America over the last two periods 3-2 and beating Sweden, 6 -2 in their final exhibition.

On Saturday, Europe looked like a contender for the tournament trophy by thrashing the United States 3-0 in the opening game of the round robin at the two-week window, a collaboration between NHL, union his players and the International hockey Federation on ice.

"We do not see ourselves as a mere sideshow - ever," said Europe coach Ralph Krueger, who is on sabbatical from his day job as president of Southampton, a football team in Premier League English.

Krueger, 57, grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba; played professional hockey in Germany; and served as Switzerland's hockey coach for 13 years, leading the Swiss Olympic appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Krueger was also head coach of the Edmonton Oilers for the 2012-13 season.

Since 2011, he has worked with Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum on new models of leadership, based in Davos, Switzerland, which is how it connected to Katharina Liebherr, the Swiss owner of Southampton.

Given his wide international experience, perhaps Krueger was particularly well suited to coach a team of players from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

"It is the ideal solution for this team," said Thomas Vanek, a Detroit Red Wings striker Austria. "He was everywhere. He knows the NHL Thurs He knows the European game. It is so well spoken . Everyone really respected from day 1. "

As the team of young players from North America, which earned him a dominant 4-1 win over Finland on Sunday, Team Europe has been assembled to create a more competitive entry in the tournament than any other country individual could have on the ice. The list is stacked with N.H.L. veterans, including the three winners of the Stanley Cup: Slovaks Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Slovenian Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.

Krueger said his team did some soul-searching at intermission during the second exhibition against North America.

"Either we pack and roll and go home, and now we work together and we fight to build an identity," he said.

"I thank the children to give us a spanking so hard, because he has brought us early," added Krueger. "He clarified what we should do, and the commitment to do so was born."

After phenomenal Sweden in its final exhibition, Europe frustrated United with discipline, opportunistic play. The Americans now face a crucial match on Tuesday against Canada, the favorite of the tournament and a 6-0 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday.

"They have a skilled team," American Patrick Kane, the reigning MVP of the N.H.L. said of Europe. "You saw on a couple of mistakes, turnovers, pinch, giving them odd man breaks, they were able to capitalize."

During the second period, Kane was stripped of the puck near the blue line of the Europe team, the establishment of an advanced two against zero. Leon draisaitl, a German who plays for the Edmonton Oilers, then slammed a shot in the US warden past Jonathan Quick for a 2-0 lead.

"We can not run-and-gun with teams," said Kopitar, the team captain. "Stay patient waiting for opportunities, and help our keeper - maybe it's not the flashiest thing is actually pretty boring, but it works.."

Each uniform Europe - are two tones with a blue pattern Continental and a shield with a stylized E on the front of the jersey - includes a patch with the flag of the country of origin of a player on the shoulder.

National pride overflowed in football pregame sessions of Team Europe, too.

"It is Europe, you know," said Mats Zuccarello, a wing Rangers. "Everyone loves football. It is high enough skilled football. I mean, Germany is in football the best team, but I think this team, Norway is the best football team. "

Zuccarello is the only player from the team of Norway.

Mark Streit, 38, the Swiss defender who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, said he had jumped football matches to save energy, adding: "In general, I'm so aggravated games are enough. spirited. Everyone wants to win. "

This is true for hockey games, as well.

Team Europe, playing in the group of four teams A, will face the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon and Canada on Wednesday. Only the best two teams of each group will qualify.

Meanwhile, players, representing many flags under one banner Team Europe, enjoyed his other company.

"It's a really good group of guys," said Zuccarello. "We will have fun in the locker room, and it starts there -. Many guys you played against you do not like on the ice, but here are Supernice "

Asked if he had made new friends, Zuccarello smiled and mentioned Chara, who is 6 feet 9 inches; Zuccarello is 5-7.

During the World Cup hockey, they and their teammates have different uniform size, but each fits.

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