Hayley Wickenheiser will make 2014 Sochi Games her last Olympics

One of the biggest subjects of this week’s 2010 World Hockey Summit was the state of women’s hockey, which was actually the focus of today’s talks. As I discussed last weekend, Canadian national team captain Hayley Wickenheiser has been one of the leading voices discussing ways to improve the Olympic competitions from being a glorified tournament to pump up the American and Canadian programs.

After many years of being a prominent player for Team Canada, Wickenheiser announced today that the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be her final Olympic appearance. Here is the word from NHL.com.

Canadian women’s hockey superstar Hayley Wickenheiser, 32, announced Thursday at the Molson World Hockey Summit that the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be her final Olympic appearance with the national team. She, however, did not announce her full retirement from the national team.

Wickenheiser, 32, has played for Team Canada for the past 17 years and has been an integral part of the team’s run of three-straight gold medals in Olympic competition, including a championship-game victory over the United States this past February in Vancouver. Wickenheiser captained the Canadians in that tournament.

Wickenheiser was the keynote speaker during Thursday morning’s session of the Summit, which focused on how women’s hockey could become more competitive in the run-up to Sochi 2014.

She accomplished a lot as a player, but chances are, Wickenheiser’s biggest challenges will come behind the scenes. The women’s game faces plenty of obstacles to overcome when it comes to increasing worldwide participation, but Wickenheiser and others will do the best they can to improve the game.

I’m sure she wouldn’t mind winning another gold medal along the way, though.

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    Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

    Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

    Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

    And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

    LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

    Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

    ***

    It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

    Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

    The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

    Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

    One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

    Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

    Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

    /paging Jacques Lemaire …

    Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

    New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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    The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

    The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

    According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

    Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

    Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:

    If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

    “I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

    It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

    The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

    https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

    Yikes.

    Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

    (And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

    Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

    Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?