Wednesday, 17 July 2013

More about Guy in Israel

From the Canadian Jewish News:

TORONTO — When Maccabi Canada announced that Mike Keenan would be coaching the Canadian hockey team at the Maccabiah Games this summer, it was expected his reputation would give the program instant credibility and attract top-notch players.
Well, that’s pretty much what happened, but in the last few weeks, Keenan, a 1994 Stanley Cup winner as coach of the New York Rangers, pulled out of the games, as did the rest of his coaching staff.
But the move, made for personal reasons and after Keenan signed to coach in the KHL, didn’t leave Maccabi Canada bereft.
Suspecting Keenan’s personal situation could be an issue – his daughter suffers from cancer – Maccabi Canada developed a back-up plan.
Enter Guy Carbonneau as head coach. A three-time Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens (1986, 1993) and the Dallas Stars (1999) as a player, Carbonneau was also a coach with the storied Habs franchise from 2006 to 2009, including a stint as head coach.
Wayne Primeau has joined him as his assistant. Primeau played for a number of NHL teams from 1995 to 2010, including Buffalo, San Jose, Calgary, Boston and Pittsburgh. He ended his playing career in Toronto.
At a two-day mini-camp at York University’s Canlan Ice Sports facility earlier this week, Carbonneau got a chance to meet the players and prepare for the tournament. He admitted he’s at somewhat of a disadvantage, joining the team late and not being present at tryouts last year.
“We’ll try to keep things simple at the start, tweak it as we go on,” he said.
He’ll have to strategize for the Olympic-sized rink at the Canada Centre in Metulla, but he’s confident he has the personnel to do so.
“We have guys with good speed, good hands,” he said.
Carbonneau, who captained the Canadiens and was known as a defensive specialist, said, “I always want us to be sound defensively.”
Like the rest of the Maccabi hockey brain trust, Carbonneau is somewhat in the dark as to the level of competition they’ll face. The Americans have a lot of quality NCAA players to draw from, and they recently added Colby Cohen, a 215-pound defenceman who played a handful of games for the Colorado Avalanche and who was one of the Boston Bruins’ “Black Aces” the year they won the Cup.
The host Israelis recently won a gold medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Division II B. Rounding out the tournament will be a team from Ukraine. Little is known about them, except that they replaced a team from France.
The Israeli team is coached by Jean Perron, the man behind the bench of the 1986 Stanley Cup-winning Habs. Carbonneau smiles at the prospect of going up against his old mentor.
“He’s a competitive guy. He always has been,” said Carbonneau. “But so am I.”
Montrealer Alan Maislin, who’s long been associated with hockey in Israel, recruited Carbonneau to Team Canada. He did the same with Perron 10 years ago, asking him to coach the Israeli national team – a task he’s assumed on several occasions.
Doing his due diligence, Carbonneau asked around and heard glowing reports about the Israel experience. One of the people he spoke to was Jacque [sic] Demers, who coached the Canadian team at the 1997 games – the only other time hockey was a Maccabiah sport. Demers was the Habs’ coach in 1993, when Carbonneau won his second Cup.
“Everyone had rave reviews about those Olympics,” he said, referring to the Maccabiah, which have been called the Jewish Olympics.
“I expect it to be a great experience for me and Wayne and all the players,” he said. “None of us has had the chance to win a gold medal, so we’re going to try.”

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