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Is there a small 4

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Old
11-03-2010, 05:12 PM
  #1
saskriders
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Is there a small 4

Most will agree there is a big 7 but is there also a small 4 at the second highest level of international hockey I think there is

Switzerland
Latvia
Germany
Belarus

All these teams seem to be close and typically lose to big 7 teams by about 4 goals but it is not unheard of for them to beat a big 7 team

thoughts??

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11-04-2010, 07:33 AM
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Seems about right but i think Norway could contend, they have taken leaps these last five years. Looking att the IIHF world rankings for 2010, it's not unreasonable.

9. Germany
10 Belarus
11. Norway
12. Latvia
13. Denmark

Schwitzerland has actually pushed down Slovakia from the number 7 spot in this ranking.

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11-04-2010, 11:19 AM
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I don't look at rankings because it depends a lot on who gets eliminated from the NHL

I think that Norway and Kazakhstan are improving and could make it a "small 6" but they are not quite there yet

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11-05-2010, 08:38 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saskriders View Post
I don't look at rankings because it depends a lot on who gets eliminated from the NHL

I think that Norway and Kazakhstan are improving and could make it a "small 6" but they are not quite there yet
Maybe... However, I've also heard the opposite. Denmark is definately experiencing a more publicized growth and they could have a good team in a couple of years. Germany is also improving and their recent performance at the World Championship can only help the popularity and growth of hockey.

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11-07-2010, 01:02 AM
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I'd say there is a "small 5" with:

8. Switzerland
9. Germany
10. Belarus
11. Denmark
12. Latvia

And then there are a couple other teams that are competitive and either have some very good players or bounce between division 1 and the championship division:

13. Norway
14. Kazakhstan
15. Austria
16. France
17. Slovenia

Outside of that the competition is pretty slim. Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Japan have all been up to the WC in the last decade, but I think they are all either in decline or haven't taken the steps needed to be competitive. As much as I hate the KHL, I like the fact that they are helping small, former Soviet countries in developing hockey talent. It would be nice to see an expansion to Ukraine and Lithuania and maybe even Poland at some point in the near future so that their hockey programs can begin developing some good talent again.

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11-07-2010, 12:36 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
I'd say there is a "small 5" with:

8. Switzerland
9. Germany
10. Belarus
11. Denmark
12. Latvia

And then there are a couple other teams that are competitive and either have some very good players or bounce between division 1 and the championship division:

13. Norway
14. Kazakhstan
15. Austria
16. France
17. Slovenia

Outside of that the competition is pretty slim. Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Japan have all been up to the WC in the last decade, but I think they are all either in decline or haven't taken the steps needed to be competitive. As much as I hate the KHL, I like the fact that they are helping small, former Soviet countries in developing hockey talent. It would be nice to see an expansion to Ukraine and Lithuania and maybe even Poland at some point in the near future so that their hockey programs can begin developing some good talent again.
Norway should be in the first group. Considering they are currently in the Elite group for U-20's, and made the Olympics, something Denmark didn't do, it is difficult to justify not having Norway at least alongside Denmark. Denmark may be producing a few more high profile prospects, but outside those 1-2 guys, Norway still remains better.

I believe Hungary have made dramatic strides in the last few years. They are still a long way from being in the 2nd group, but progress is definitely being made. Poland and Ukraine have basically fallen off the map. I've also heard Kazakhstan has regressed, but have no info to really back it up.

Not sure why you'd hate the KHL. It's good for Russian hockey. A strong stable russian hockey infrastructure is critical to international hockey scene, and certainly imperative IMO to the future of European hockey. As you point out, it also gives its former satellite states potential for growth. Certaintly i know Belarus has plans to build alot of arenas and develop its hockey program. There were discussions about bringing in a Lithunian team into the KHL last year, but it broke down due to investors i think (maybe be wrong). Poland and Ukraine are ****** though.

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11-07-2010, 01:17 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J17 Vs Proclamation View Post
Norway should be in the first group. Considering they are currently in the Elite group for U-20's, and made the Olympics, something Denmark didn't do, it is difficult to justify not having Norway at least alongside Denmark. Denmark may be producing a few more high profile prospects, but outside those 1-2 guys, Norway still remains better.

I believe Hungary have made dramatic strides in the last few years. They are still a long way from being in the 2nd group, but progress is definitely being made. Poland and Ukraine have basically fallen off the map. I've also heard Kazakhstan has regressed, but have no info to really back it up.

Not sure why you'd hate the KHL. It's good for Russian hockey. A strong stable russian hockey infrastructure is critical to international hockey scene, and certainly imperative IMO to the future of European hockey. As you point out, it also gives its former satellite states potential for growth. Certaintly i know Belarus has plans to build alot of arenas and develop its hockey program. There were discussions about bringing in a Lithunian team into the KHL last year, but it broke down due to investors i think (maybe be wrong). Poland and Ukraine are ****** though.
I am not a fan because it is competition to the NHL (somewhat) and I am an NHL fan. I listed the reasons that you said as to why I believe the KHL is good for hockey in general and why I'd like to see expansion to Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland.

I don't think that Norway should be listed in the top group. They may be ahead in the WJC, but Denmark has quite a few good, young players and the type of talent that these guys have is far ahead of anything that Norway has.

Denmark has guys like: Boedker, Eller, Larsen, Regin, Hansen and Nielsen playing in the NHL and prospects like Lauridsen and Andersen. I see those guys all being far ahead of Norways: Holos, Tollefsen, Thoresen, Olden, Froshaug and Winkler to be honest. I think Denmark is about to break out in the hockey world, but Norway is a bit stagnant.

Also, I don't think that Kazakhstan is really regressing, but I haven't seen any significant strides being made either. They haven't had a player drafted to the NHL since 2004 and I haven't heard of any good prospects coming up either. This all could change with the influence of the KHL and Barys Astana though and I hope to see them improve and maybe produce another guy like Antropov or at least an NHL talent.

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11-07-2010, 02:15 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
I am not a fan because it is competition to the NHL (somewhat) and I am an NHL fan. I listed the reasons that you said as to why I believe the KHL is good for hockey in general and why I'd like to see expansion to Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland.

I don't think that Norway should be listed in the top group. They may be ahead in the WJC, but Denmark has quite a few good, young players and the type of talent that these guys have is far ahead of anything that Norway has.

Denmark has guys like: Boedker, Eller, Larsen, Regin, Hansen and Nielsen playing in the NHL and prospects like Lauridsen and Andersen. I see those guys all being far ahead of Norways: Holos, Tollefsen, Thoresen, Olden, Froshaug and Winkler to be honest. I think Denmark is about to break out in the hockey world, but Norway is a bit stagnant.

Also, I don't think that Kazakhstan is really regressing, but I haven't seen any significant strides being made either. They haven't had a player drafted to the NHL since 2004 and I haven't heard of any good prospects coming up either. This all could change with the influence of the KHL and Barys Astana though and I hope to see them improve and maybe produce another guy like Antropov or at least an NHL talent.
The KHL hasn't really done too much damage to the NHL. Yes, it takes decent mid level European talents and talented older vets, as well as causing talented Russians to stay at home. But the quality of the NHL isn't affected that much ; not yet at least.


As for Norway, they have a better senior squad and their U-20's are on the same level. Yes, Denmark has better young talent. But right now, they aren't a better team IMO. Both are comparitively close in both Junior and senior still. You think Denmark is about to break out? Denmark has serious economic problems regarding to ice hockey right now. It's still a fringe sport relative. Denmark has produced more upper tier prospects recently, but actual results at both senior and junior level show there is basically no difference between the two. Norway and Denmark are in the same group and there is IMO no sensible reasoning for saying right now they are not.

As for Kazakhstan, i have no clue how the development of hockey is going there. I can't really argue one way or another with anything factual. I'd love to see a study of how ice hockey is growing or regressing in some of these 2nd and 3rd tier hockey powers.

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11-16-2010, 11:57 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
I'd say there is a "small 5" with:

8. Switzerland
9. Germany
10. Belarus
11. Denmark
12. Latvia

And then there are a couple other teams that are competitive and either have some very good players or bounce between division 1 and the championship division:

13. Norway
14. Kazakhstan
15. Austria
16. France
17. Slovenia

Outside of that the competition is pretty slim. Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Japan have all been up to the WC in the last decade, but I think they are all either in decline or haven't taken the steps needed to be competitive. As much as I hate the KHL, I like the fact that they are helping small, former Soviet countries in developing hockey talent. It would be nice to see an expansion to Ukraine and Lithuania and maybe even Poland at some point in the near future so that their hockey programs can begin developing some good talent again.
A little late to the party. Hope you don't mind.

You seem to have left Italy out. They're ranked 16th in the world, are back in the Elite Division for 2011 and their youth programs are improving (U20 finished 3rd in Div 1 B last year behind Belarus and Norway and both squads are deserving of Elite Division but had the misfortune of being in the same group and the U18s absolutely destroyed Div 2 A with a +52 goal differential and won promotion to Div 1 where they will take on Latvia, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Great Britain and might manage to stay in Division 1 if they can beat the Brits)

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11-16-2010, 01:33 PM
  #10
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Originally Posted by The Panda Bolt View Post
A little late to the party. Hope you don't mind.

You seem to have left Italy out. They're ranked 16th in the world, are back in the Elite Division for 2011 and their youth programs are improving (U20 finished 3rd in Div 1 B last year behind Belarus and Norway and both squads are deserving of Elite Division but had the misfortune of being in the same group and the U18s absolutely destroyed Div 2 A with a +52 goal differential and won promotion to Div 1 where they will take on Latvia, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Great Britain and might manage to stay in Division 1 if they can beat the Brits)
I think Italy could be on the outside looking in- along with Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, etc. but I really don't think they are in the same league as Kazakstan, Norway, Austria, etc. Italy has an NHL prospect now, but their league is very weak even compared to leagues like the DEL or the Austrian League. I think they are on the way up, but they are still years away from being near the small 5 that I listed.

Although Italy has guys like Thomas Larkin and Andreas Bernard playing in top leagues, they don't really stack up well against the teams that I named. Here is why I see these teams as being ahead of Italy and other countries.

The "small 5" that I listed is full of NHL players and most of the teams have some talented prospects coming up.

Switzerland:
The Swiss currently have 3 NHL players and prospects such as Sbisa, Josi, Niederreiter, Bartschi, etc. Their future looks pretty bright Internationally.

Germany:
The Germans have 6 NHLers as well as guys who are close to the NHL like Mueller, Greiss, Pielmeier, Holzer, Kuehnhackl, Rieder, etc.

Denmark:
They have 4 NHLers currently with Philip Larsen and Mikkel Boedker who are playing in the AHL and Nicklas Jensen who could be a 1st round pick in the 2011 draft.

Belarus:
4 NHLers, 3 of which are fairly young and have prospects in Stefanovich, Kolosov and Gotovets. They also have a good development tool in Dynamo Minsk which will help to improve their system.

Latvia:
3 current NHLers with Kulda and Daugavins in the AHL who have both played in the NHL. They have an NHL prospect in Pelss and Dinamo Riga in the KHL.

Now, for the teams who jump between divisions they all have some sort of "star power" or an all around improving development system.

Norway:
Has 1 NHLer at the moment with Zuccarello and Olimb in the AHL, Thoresen in the KHL, and more and more players in the SEL. They also have NHL prospects in Olden, Froshaug and Winkler.

Kazakhstan:
They are the weakest of the KHL countries, but they do have a team and a 6'6 NHL forward named Nik Antropov. They were on the decline for a few years, but seem to be stablizing.

Austria:
The Austrians have Thomas Vanek and two young NHLers in Nodl and Grabner who both have good potential. They also have Komarek coming up and guys like Lakos, Pock and Bruckler.

France:
They have Cristobal Huet and more and more players moving to play in the QMJHL and going to Sweden and Switzerland for development.

Slovenia:
Anze Kopitar and Jan Mursak are both reason enough to give them a fighting chance against any of the above teams. They are in the top division at the next WC.

Italy just doesn't have any gamebreakers or any up and coming prospects outside of Larkin. I just don't see them as being in the same league as the teams that I listed.


Last edited by smitty10: 12-09-2010 at 09:44 PM.
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11-17-2010, 09:24 AM
  #11
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Calling the DEL and EBEL weak is inaccurate. The DEL may be 6th of the top 7 leagues now but the EBEL has grown is now equal to if not a little above the Slovakian Extraliga in overall quality of play.

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11-17-2010, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by The Panda Bolt View Post
Calling the DEL and EBEL weak is inaccurate. The DEL may be 6th of the top 7 leagues now but the EBEL has grown is now equal to if not a little above the Slovakian Extraliga in overall quality of play.
I don't see why the DEL would be ranked below the finnish, slovak or czech league. Of course it's hard to judge due to lack of inter-league competition but the pre season match-ups with NLA teams are usually pretty even.
Also Berlin won the European Trophy beating the top swiss and swedish teams. Mannheim did pretty well at that competition either and was able to get into overtime with San Jose. And both those teams are actually slightly worse than Hannover or Nürnberg at DEL-level at the moment.

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11-17-2010, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panda Bolt View Post
Calling the DEL and EBEL weak is inaccurate. The DEL may be 6th of the top 7 leagues now but the EBEL has grown is now equal to if not a little above the Slovakian Extraliga in overall quality of play.
I never called any of those leagues weak, but they definately do not stack up against the NHL, KHL or even the AHL and SEL.

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11-17-2010, 03:09 PM
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I don't see why the DEL would be ranked below the finnish, slovak or czech league. Of course it's hard to judge due to lack of inter-league competition but the pre season match-ups with NLA teams are usually pretty even.
Also Berlin won the European Trophy beating the top swiss and swedish teams. Mannheim did pretty well at that competition either and was able to get into overtime with San Jose. And both those teams are actually slightly worse than Hannover or Nürnberg at DEL-level at the moment.
This.
It is hard to judge. If we talk about preseason games, then we can say Slovak Extraliga is better league than KHL , because HK 36 Skalica defeated Salavat Julajev Ufa, HC Košice defeated CSKA Moscow and Slovan Bratislava defeated SKA Saint Petersburg. We can say Slovak Extraliga is almost on the same level as NHL , because Slovan Bratislava was able to get into overtime with Tampa bay Lightning.

In my opinion in German DEL play a lot of Canadians and it makes your league harder and faster and I think Germans play the same style. This is missing in Slovak Extraliga however our players have a bit better technique and puck control.

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11-18-2010, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
Norway:
Has 1 NHLer at the moment with Zuccarello and Olimb in the AHL, Thoresen in the KHL, and more and more players in the SEL. They also have NHL prospects in Olden, Froshaug and Winkler.
Yeah, but that one NHLer is awesome.

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11-27-2010, 02:45 PM
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to smitty10:

oh i fell in love with Norway hockey, i saw good quality play on the last WC and as a fan of Salavat i'm really suprised, Thoresen is the best goalscorer of the team stacked with high quality forwards from elite nations(RUS,SWE,CZE) and he is in the top3 of the league...i just want to see more Norwegians now maybe not in NHL (ex. Zucarello he's a jewell he belongs to NHL) but in KHL i think it will be great if Norwegian team could ever join West Conference of KHL,(as well as the whole system of VHL-MHL) it will boost them for sure.

But i've read interviews with Patrick to local press and he was saying that there are problems on his home soil with supporting hockey..money rules it after all=( you can't produce more talent when there is'nt enough room to improve in your own country, i mean hockey schools, strong system like NHL-AHL-CHL or KHL-VHL-MHL, in Russia it's not like everywhere you can see perfect conditions for hockey, but cities like Magnitogorsk(MHL Cup holder), Kazan, Ufa, and so on (hockey cities) there are great hockey programmes.there are two swedish youngsters playing in MHL for Minks youth team, i know that Sweden got a great hockey programme, i don't know the reason they came here to play in our development system, i think it would be better to invite youngsters from not elite countries but from Norway, Denmark, German, Slovenia, Austria and so on to play in MHL-VHL..great conditions, competitive play and it will be easier to catch an eye of KHL scouts and so after NHL ones


P:S: can anyone give a report about Japan hockey? i see them battling all the time in Div 1 on all levels, is there any sign of progress? they are the only Asian team who's showing some good result(not dropping from Div 1 looks good to me) i've heard there is the Asia League founded by Japanese with a few teams from JP, Korea and China and Japanese teams are the best of them

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11-28-2010, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
I think Italy could be on the outside looking in- along with Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, etc. but I really don't think they are in the same league as Kazakstan, Norway, Austria, etc. Italy has an NHL prospect now, but their league is very weak even compared to leagues like the DEL or the Austrian League. I think they are on the way up, but they are still years away from being near the small 5 that I listed.
Isn't Ukraine getting a KHL team next year after the arena is renovated? I think their program will turn around in a hurry if that happens

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11-28-2010, 06:35 AM
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Isn't Ukraine getting a KHL team next year after the arena is renovated? I think their program will turn around in a hurry if that happens
They are not promised a position in the league for next season but they are one of the current front runners.

Then again, so is Slovakia and Italy.

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12-09-2010, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post

Austria:
The Austrians have Thomas Vanek and two young NHLers in Nodl and Grabner who both have good potential. They also have Komarov coming up and a few players in the KHL.
First off, great post. I only disagree with this part. Komarov is a Finn (of Russian descent) and Bruckler, while very good, is the only Austrian in KHL and has no NHL potential at this point.

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12-09-2010, 01:11 AM
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First off, great post. I only disagree with this part. Komarov is a Finn (of Russian descent) and Bruckler, while very good, is the only Austrian in KHL and has no NHL potential at this point.
I´m pretty sure he didn´t mean Komarov, but Konstantin Komarek who plays in Sweden. And while praising Austria, at the same time we shouldn´t forget that just last season a team around Komarek was relagated to the U18 IHWC Div. II, so not everything is so shiny.

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12-09-2010, 05:42 PM
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hey Norway also has Mathias Emilio Pettersen Lol

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12-09-2010, 09:39 PM
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First off, great post. I only disagree with this part. Komarov is a Finn (of Russian descent) and Bruckler, while very good, is the only Austrian in KHL and has no NHL potential at this point.
Sorry I meant Komarek is coming up through the ranks, not Leo Komarov who was drafted by the Leafs (Estonian birth). And I just realized that Andre Lakos no longer plays in the KHL. The Austrian's also have Thomas Pock who isn't a bad defenseman either and his younger brother Markus who played a few games in the OHL this season.

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12-09-2010, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TatarBashqort View Post
to smitty10:

oh i fell in love with Norway hockey, i saw good quality play on the last WC and as a fan of Salavat i'm really suprised, Thoresen is the best goalscorer of the team stacked with high quality forwards from elite nations(RUS,SWE,CZE) and he is in the top3 of the league...i just want to see more Norwegians now maybe not in NHL (ex. Zucarello he's a jewell he belongs to NHL) but in KHL i think it will be great if Norwegian team could ever join West Conference of KHL,(as well as the whole system of VHL-MHL) it will boost them for sure.

But i've read interviews with Patrick to local press and he was saying that there are problems on his home soil with supporting hockey..money rules it after all=( you can't produce more talent when there is'nt enough room to improve in your own country, i mean hockey schools, strong system like NHL-AHL-CHL or KHL-VHL-MHL, in Russia it's not like everywhere you can see perfect conditions for hockey, but cities like Magnitogorsk(MHL Cup holder), Kazan, Ufa, and so on (hockey cities) there are great hockey programmes.there are two swedish youngsters playing in MHL for Minks youth team, i know that Sweden got a great hockey programme, i don't know the reason they came here to play in our development system, i think it would be better to invite youngsters from not elite countries but from Norway, Denmark, German, Slovenia, Austria and so on to play in MHL-VHL..great conditions, competitive play and it will be easier to catch an eye of KHL scouts and so after NHL ones


P:S: can anyone give a report about Japan hockey? i see them battling all the time in Div 1 on all levels, is there any sign of progress? they are the only Asian team who's showing some good result(not dropping from Div 1 looks good to me) i've heard there is the Asia League founded by Japanese with a few teams from JP, Korea and China and Japanese teams are the best of them
I think Japan is the second best Asian country, with Kazakhstan coming in at #1. However I haven't heard anything about Japan's development recently, but I really don't think it is coming along very quickly. They had Fukufuji who played briefly in goal for the Kings a few years ago, but outside of him they haven't had an NHL prospect in years. I really think they could be a country that would benefit from the KHL if they ever decided to expand there, but I'm not sure that will happen.

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