With blogs becoming ever so popular on the Internet, who am I to shy away? The
interesting Ice Hockey tournament schedule at the Olympics got me to thinking it
might be nice to write a little something everyday, as things happen. Iíve made
this a permanent part of the website, and will continue writing something every
day or two. Just another innovation to keep the puck talk going strong!
Sunday, February 26,
1:54 PM - Sweden 3
Finland 2 - The Swedes pulled it off. I never made it out of bed in time
to see the game, but just catching some highlights, and it appears to have been
quite a game. Finland appeared to have their biggest challenge of these
games. They did everything right - they scored the first goal of the game
- but I think their falling out was taking penalties in the 2nd - Sweden had
their powerplay going. Finland just couldn't score late when they needed
to, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. Henrik Lundqvist was equal to
Antero Nittymaki, and never looked back when Nicklas Lidstrom scored what would
be the game winning goal in the 3rd, an emphatic blast from the point.
Teppo Numminen hit the post late in the game.
Nittymaki was voted the
tournament's MVP - not surprising given his record in this tournament.
It's little consolation though. Think of J.S. Giguere winning the Conn
Smythe in a losing cause. These players would both tell you they'd trade
their MVP award for the Championship trophy any day of the week. Finland can certainly be proud of their silver medal, even if it doesn't feel so
good right now. You have to think this team will be force for many
international events to come - especially if the core players on this team are
part of the mix.
Daniel Alfredsson has had
a very eventful past couple of years. While the NHL was in lockout mode,
he helped lead the Swedish Elite League's Frolunda team to a championship, and
now he has Olympic Gold.
"It's an incredible feeling to be able to pull this off. I'm overwhelmed.
It's impossible to describe."
Is an Art Ross trophy on the way, not to mention
a Conn Smythe trophy and/or Stanley Cup? We'll find out in less than four
The closing ceremonies
will take place at the top of the hour, and the Winter Olympic Flame will be
extinguished for four more years. They're interviewing Avril Lavigne as I
type this. I can't believe this girl is from Napanee, Ontario.
Canada produced their
best medal output ever, with 24 total. Cindy Klassen broke a medals
record, medalling in 6 total events - more than any other Canadian - ever!
For me though, being a hockey guy, it's little consolation as the Men's hockey
team came up short.
Wait until Vancouver
welcomes the world in 2010 - it will be a blast!
Writing this blog every
day has been a lot of fun. This Olympic blog will be archived for those of
you who missed out on reading it - I'll be submitting it with Sports Byline as
my next Puckin' Around article. The NHL is back in business on Tuesday, so
keep checking back. Look out for those teams who had NHL players in the
finals at the Olympics - they will be a sight to see I can assure you.
Saturday, February 25,
8:12 PM - Czech Republic
3 Russia 0 - The Czechs win the Bronze medal, as Russia is shutout for the
second straight game. I know it's a moot point to dwell on what ifs, but
do you get the feeling if Canada was ever able to muster any offense they would
be here? The Czech Republic players, as enigmatic as they've been
throughout the tournament, really appeared to want this one more, and if there
was ever a game they wanted to show up for, this was the one. One might
make the argument they're a day late, but at least they're on the podium -
The New York Rangers and
Nashville Predators can only benefit from what the Czech players have been able
to do here, especially Tomas Vokoun, Martin Erat and Marek Zidlicky. All
three were huge in this game. It's obvious to me nobody pays much
attention to Nashville, because all I've heard throughout the entire tournament
is "who is this guy"? The most underrated goalie in the NHL, that's who!
Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet for the second straight game. I don't
have the exact stats, but has that happened in the NHL all season? I
sincerely doubt it.
I can't help but wonder
just how many will actually get up at 8:00 AM to watch the Finland-Sweden final.
Maybe I'll get up at 9:00-9:30, but no earlier!
Should be a good one, all
Friday, February 24, 2006
2:16 AM - The fallout
continues. Wasn't much more I could have said yesterday that hasn't
already been said on the radio, T.V., and on the Internet. But I will say
this - a LOT can happen in 4 years. The local station in Ottawa, the Team
1200, was on the air until 11:00 PM Wednesday night. To put this in
perspective, normally they switch over to Fox Sports Radio around 7-8 PM every
night, unless there's a Senators game.
Mike Modano boarded a
plane and headed home to Dallas on Thursday, almost 24 hours before the rest of
Team U.S.A. were scheduled to leave Torino. Word is there was some
animosity between Modano and the coach Peter Laviolette. In case you
missed the game against Finland, he was on the bench for the entire 3rd period.
"A lot of guys have been there for many
years and maybe we need some new blood in there to run things a little
differently," said Modano, "It's probably time some things changed."
"You'd think U.S.A. Hockey would be a
well-oiled machine, but it's not," he said. "Basically we were on our own for
hotels, tickets, flights, stuff like that."
It's the Olympics, Mike, not the NHL.
OK, OK, sure, I understand things could potentially get disorganized considering
some players had to play up until the Sunday before the tournament started, and
I know weather was a huge factor in a few players even making it on time - but
Mike, you weren't the only one. So where's the real beef here, with the
NHL for not shutting down sooner, or with the IOC for not delaying the Olympics
a couple of days? I guess we'll never really know.
At least they didn't trash their hotel
A couple of NHL notes -
add CuJo to the list of goalies coveted by Edmonton - apparently; Lou Lamoriello
will coach New Jersey for the balance of this season; and Bryan Marchment could
return to Calgary before the playoffs. No more word on the Rick Tocchet
I'll check in later on
this afternoon/evening once we know who plays for medals. Take care.
11:30 AM - Sweden 4
Czech Republic 1 - 2nd Period - Goals from P.J. Axelsson, Fredrik Modin, one of
the Sedin twins and Christian Backman have the Swedes in the lead. Pavel
Kubina has the lone Czech goal. Not surprisingly, neither team seems
willing to open up the ice or get on the body.
Tomas Vokoun still hasn't
seen any ice time since the first period of the Canada game. With a score
like this, you wonder why...
11:38 - Sweden 5
Czech Republic 1 - Jorgen Jonsson has just scored a power play goal, and now Vokoun is coming into the game.
Czech power play coming
up...turning point coming up?
11:44 - Look out!
Ales Hemsky scored on the power play I mentioned, and Vaclav Prospal has just
scored again to make the score 5-3...and they're pressing for more...
12:54 PM - Sweden 7 Czech Republic
3 - Final - A little bit too late for the Czechs, as Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas
Holmstrom (not to mention Henrik Lundqvist) added exclamation points to the
victory. Sweden will play for Gold against either Finland or Russia.
Their fate will be decided starting at 3:00 PM.
3:22 PM - Finland 1
Russia 0 - 1st Period - Olli Jokinen has opened the scoring in the second
Semi-Final game. Russia is on a power play right now but you'd never say
it. Again, the Finns have come to play.
Of note in this game,
Evgeni Malkin is serving a suspension for kicking Vincent Lecavalier during the
Russia-Canada game. However, the Russians still have Ovechkin.
6:31 PM - Finland 4 Russia 0 -
Final - Finland vs Sweden for Gold, Czech Republic vs Russia for Bronze.
Who woulda thunk it - Ovechkin held scoreless?!
After Finland went ahead
2-0 (in fact I think it was 3-0 by the time I left), I decided get out for a
nice brisk winter walk. I didn't think there'd be any point in sticking
around, given the way the Finns have dominated this tournament. Through 7
games, they've only allowed 5 goals. 5 of the games have been shutouts.
Is Philadelphia going to be a scary team coming back from the break or what (how
do you even think of playing Robert Esche after this)?
Didn't Ville Peltonen
play in the NHL at one point, and if so, why isn't he still?
It was said during the
2004 World Cup of Hockey that the final game between Canada and Finland was the
biggest in the history of their country. Even though they lost to Canada
at the time, I think they learned a great deal about what it takes to win at the
International level. If they win one more, it will be their first ever
Gold - and well deserved.
With the focus (somewhat)
off of Hockey in Canada for now - the big news today was Curling - Brad Gushue
of Newfoundland won Canada's first ever Gold Medal in Men's Curling. The
women won Bronze yesterday. Canada hasn't done too badly since the first
Curling event was held at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. We've either been
close to or on the podium every time. There's just something about Canada
and those sports played on Ice...
February 22, 2006
1:34 PM - It's
Switzerland 2 - So the Swedes decided to turn it on when it counts. Let's
give Switzerland a lot of credit - they played hard.
Do any of you reading
this ever get the feeling that Mats Sundin and Daniel Alfredsson should be
playing for the same NHL team? If the rumors in Toronto are true, what
would it take to make Sundin a Senator? John Muckler are you listening?
Finland 4 U.S.A. 2
- 3rd Period - Just tuning in to see Teemu Selanne hunched over on the ice with
a bloody lip - apparently Derian Hatcher got him with a follow-thru - The
linesman called a double minor penalty for high sticking - but nothing doing in
the goals department. Teppo Numminen just took an offsetting minor for
taking down a short handed break for the Americans, who have 9 minutes to tie up
the game. Brian Gionta has just taken another penalty.
Less than a hour before
Canada-Russia faces off. Bring it on!!!
1:44 PM - Finland 4
U.S.A. 3 - Gionta has redeemed himself with 4:27 to go in the game - what a
great "Finn-ish" we have coming!
1:54 PM - Finland is off
to the Semi-finals - something that didn't appear to be in doubt given their
record so far. The winner of Russia-Canada will face them on Friday.
3:14 PM - Canada 0
Russia 0 - 1st Intermission - A fairly even game so far - both teams are fore
checking hard, and Russia so far would appear to have a slight skill edge with
Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Ovechkin, but both the Canadian defense and goalie
Martin Brodeur are so far equal to the task. Russia leads 11-7 in shots on
goal. Most notable Canadian players so far have been Shane Doan,
especially on the penalty kill, and Joe Thornton, who is trying to do it all
Towards the end of the
period, Canada started to gain a little momentum and get their cycling game
going. With the weaker Russian defense, you have to think eventually
they'll make a mistake, or start a parade to the penalty box. You get the
feeling that as soon as one team scores, the floodgates will open. I'd be
remiss if I didn't mention my main man of the hour, Captain Canada himself, Ryan
Smyth - in the right spot all the time, in his office, in front of the net.
I think he may have drawn one of the Russian penalties. We'll see if he
can get Nabokov off his game - he loves to frustrate goaltenders in the crease,
he's been doing it all year!
All of Canada is hoping
for the health of Simon Gagne, as he took a bone crunching hip check, from who
else? Darius Kasparaitis. Make no mistake, it was a clean, hard,
Isn't it nice to see Don
Cherry and Brian Williams together again? At the very least, nostalgic...
By the way, Canada just
won another Silver Medal in Speed Skating - that's 4 medals today...
3:24 PM - Russia starts
the 2nd with a power play - a bench minor for abuse of the official?!?
Apparently Pat Quinn was beaking at the ref a little too much as they left the
ice after the 1st.
Update on Simon Gagne, he
will return - must have just got the wind knocked out of him. Watch out,
he'll score on his first shift - mark my words...and here he comes back to the
Canada killed off the
3:48 PM - Do you get the
feeling there will be many delay of game penalties when the NHL resumes, both
for goalies playing where they're not allowed, and for players shooting the puck
over the glass? In the Olympics it's a defensive play...
Still no score and we're
almost through 2 periods. The Russians are badly outshooting Canada, but
Brodeur is the game star, again. Iginla and Sakic had a good chance
Apparently nobody told
Bob Cole or Harry Neale how to pronounce Ilya Kovalchuk's name...or that the
Russian goalie legend Tretiak's first name is Vladeslav, not Vladimir...
2 minutes to go...penalty
coming up to the Russians...
3:55 PM - Canada 0
Russia 0 - 2nd Intermission - We're in for an awesome 3rd!
In the last quarter final
game of the day - the Czechs lead the Slovaks 1-0 late in the 1st - Martin
Rucinsky scored a shorthanded goal - but it's still early in this one.
Canada advances to the
Men's Curling final - so at least another silver medal is guaranteed.
Watch out Germany, we're coming!!
PM - Russia 1 Canada 0 - Alexander Ovechkin has the first goal of the game
less than 2 minutes into the 3rd period - a power play goal. If this score
holds up, Todd Bertuzzi will never hear the end of it - he took the Interference
Penalty coming up against Russia...
Apparently Simon Gagne is skipping the 3rd period as a precautionary measure -
so much for my prediction...
the hell is that Blue stuff Ovechkin is drinking? Powerade I hope...
PM - Russia 2 Canada 0 - There will be a new Gold Medal winner in 2006.
Alexei Kovalev has iced it late with a power play goal.
money's on Finland.
Wayne Gretzky looks on with a forlorn look, you have to wonder what might have
been. Bad penalties at bad times. A team of superstars that couldn't
play as a team. They will ask again why Bertuzzi was on the team (and why
Staal and Spezza were not), why Pronger couldn't keep his stick on the ice, and
most importantly, why couldn't Canada score?
Canada and the U.S. were Gold and Silver last time around, this time around they
won't even make the podium. Maybe in 2010 in Vancouver?
Speaking of Vancouver, it hasn't been a good day for the Canucks - Bertuzzi with
the bad penalty, and injuries to both Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo round out the
bad luck. With Ed Jovanovski already on the shelf, you have to wonder how
they will fare down the stretch.
PM - Czech Republic 2 Slovakia 0 - 2nd Intermission. Milan Hejduk
has the second Czech goal. Sweden plays the winner of this game.
PM - Czech Republic 2 Slovakia 1 - Marian Gaborik has the Slovaks on the
board in the 3rd.
PM - Slovakia, after having gone through the preliminary round 5-0, are going
home. The Czech Republic will play Sweden after winning their quarterfinal
game by a score of 3-1.
though this Olympic tournament is over for four teams, it is far from being
PM - Just listening to some of the fallout over Team Canada's loss on The Team
1200 in Ottawa, and some guy who goes by the name Mr. Vegas, was in Las Vegas
and apparently had a $10,000 bet down on Team Canada - Ouch! He's
apparently embarrassed, but it's unknown if he's embarrassed over the stupid bet
or embarrassed for the country. Given the way Team Canada played in the
tournament, I wouldn't even have bought a $2 Pro-Line ticket.
just goes to show - you CAN'T bet with your heart. I feel for you Mr.
PM - There's a story developing tonight that says the whole Rick Tocchet affair
may get dropped. There's talk Tocchet is counter-suing over the wire tap
situation. Apparently it's illegal in New Jersey state to make wire tap
evidence public before it's heard in a court of law. The thought is the
countersuit may force the authorities in N.J. to drop their case against Tocchet.
wonder this, and forgive me for thinking this but I can't help it - I'm Canadian
- was this whole Rick Tocchet affair just a ploy to try and get Wayne Gretzky
and Team Canada off their game? How ironic is it now Canada has been
ousted from the tournament that this story is coming down the pipe? And
don't even go there with me about the Steve Moore lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi
on the same day the tournament started. It just seems to me like too much
of a coincidence, but I'll leave it to you readers to draw your own conclusion.
be following this story more as it happens.
that's all for today - I'll keep the Blog updated as the Olympic tournament
continues to unfold. I've learned throughout the last couple of weeks that
I really enjoy checking in daily like this, and I think keeping it going it will
only help. If you don't write, you won't know this, but I've found myself
many times in the past little while struggling to put material together, even
though things happen all the time. I've learned that if I write about
things as they're fresh in my mind, it can only make my future Puckin' Around
articles all the better. Stay tuned folks! This blog is alive and
February 21, 2006
10:48 AM - Canada 1
Czech Republic 0 - FINALLY a goal - almost 8 minutes in! Brad Richards,
assisted by Jarome Iginla. And they're looking for more...penalty coming
10:52 AM - Canada 2 Czech Republic 0
- Power Play Goal - Martin St. Louis scores from Mario Lemieux' favorite angle
(almost on the goal line) - but they don't ask how, they just ask how many...
I don't know what's with
Harry Neale - I know he has to maintain a neutral attitude, but twice now he's
said "I don't know what Vokoun was thinking on that one"
11:04 AM - Canada 3
Czech Republic 0 - 1st Intermission - Chris Pronger scored with one of his
signature blasts from the blue line during the final minute of the 1st period.
This was after about 2 minutes of good pressure from the Czechs. I don't
think we're going to be seeing Roberto Luongo again the way Martin Brodeur is
playing in this game.
11:24 AM - 2nd period
underway - Tomas Vokoun has been pulled in favor of Milan Hnilicka.
11:54 AM - Canada 3
Czech Republic 1 - 2nd Intermission - The Czechs are on the board courtesy of
Pavel Kubina on a two-man advantage - Canada got into penalty trouble and appear
to have dodged a bullet going into the 3rd. Discipline boys - now's not
the time to get "Dopey"!
12:14 PM - Petr Cajanek
has just scored to make it 3-2, but Brodeur is putting on a show trying to keep
Canada ahead! Unfortunately - it's off to work now, but I'll be able to at
least catch the final five minutes - in High Definition no less!!!!!
11:05 PM - It was almost
a shame I had to go to work during what was one of the most interesting parts of
the game - but Marty was the man - again! Canada finishes the round robin
3-2 and will face Russia in the Quarterfinals. There's no margin for error
now, and I think they're finally realizing it.
So Sweden loses to
Slovakia 3-0 - but they didn't even play their money goalie Lundqvist, so you be
the judge whether or not they threw the game. There's certainly no rule
against it, but I'm still not understanding why they would. They will get
to play Switzerland. Given the way they played during the round robin, I'm
not sure why Sweden would prefer them over Canada or the Czechs - here's hoping
the wheels fall off and fast - similar to what we saw in the World Cup - I know
this - the entire Swedish community is up in arms over the very thought of the
team throwing a game! This certainly isn't what the Olympics are about.
Finland will play the
U.S.A., which will be another interesting game, given almost the very same teams
faced off in the last World Cup semifinal. By the way - everybody in
Canada was upset over two straight shutout losses - Team U.S.A. only has one win
the whole tournament and three points! If it wasn't for the tie (against
Latvia of all teams), Kazakhstan might be playing in their place! Go
figure. The round robin means absolutely nothing now.
They used to be one team,
but now the Czech Republic will play against Slovakia for the right to move on
to the Semi-Finals. It's going to be a real barn burner you can be sure of
In any event - I won't be
leaving you readers hanging anymore! I've taken tomorrow and Friday off as
vacation days, and I intend to watch every game I can between now and Sunday
morning. I don't know why they didn't schedule the Bronze and Gold Medal
games the same day, but what are you going to do?
Talk to you tomorrow
during what will be a very interesting day! Go Canada Go!
February 20, 2006
11:58 PM - Well by now
you all know the Canadian Women's team are the Gold Medal Champions again.
Well deserved I might add - how can you outscore your opposition 44-2 and NOT be
the Champions? You gotta love Hayley Wickenheiser - played with a broken
wrist for three games, and still led the team in scoring with 5 goals, 12
assists! That woman is tough - she could throw a check with the best of
them in the NHL - I guarantee it! I wonder if they would let her play on
the Men's team? They could sure use her.
Sweden is to be commended for even being in the Gold Medal
final to begin with. Finland on the other hand has some work to do before the next
Women's tournament - but they didn't fare too badly considering they had to play
Canada and the U.S.A. as their final two opponents.
The Americans saved face
and won the Bronze - 4-0 was the final score. It was Canada by a 4-1 count
over Sweden, but it was 4-0 for most of the game.
As expected, today there
was a lot of hoopla over the Men's version of Team Canada. After suffering
back to back shutouts, everybody and their dog were trying to find answers.
I think Pat Quinn said it best with what has become his favorite adjective -
"Dopey" (Leaf fans know this one all too well). While we're talking dwarfs, we may as well add
"Sleepy" to the list.
In any event, Wayne
Gretzky, as he often does, hit the nail on the head. The younger players
need to step up and help the veterans. Yes, it would be nice to have an
Yzerman or a Lemieux on the team, but Sakic and Iginla aren't chopped liver
either. Neither are Ryan Smyth and Dany Heatley, veterans of the
International circuit. Let's see some of the same passion the Women showed
throughout their entire tournament. It must come from within the team, not
from the individual.
Canada will face the
Czech Republic at 10:30 in their final gimme game before the Quarterfinals start
on Wednesday. As I said before, I really get the feeling the Czechs aren't
going to know what hit them if Canada is really truly serious about winning this
whole thing. Forget about what you've seen so far - the real tournament
starts now. Let's get Wickenheiser in the dressing room for a pep talk
before the game - that'll get them fired up!
I read a story today
which I was absolutely appalled by - it's expected Team Sweden may decide to
throw their final round robin game against Slovakia to try and gain a more
favorable opponent. I mean, if you're not going to come to the Olympics to
play with your heart on your sleeve, stay home. How do you set an example
for some of the premier NHL players in the world by doing something like that -
particularly those who are going for a Stanley Cup (Daniel Alfredsson anyone)?
If Sweden loses tomorrow, I hope they get blown out by whoever they do play in
the quarterfinals - by 10 goals.
See you tomorrow morning.
February 19, 2006
2:27 PM - Just getting ready to settle in and
watch Canada take on Finland - you know, I can't believe the big deal everyone's
making over Switzerland's victory yesterday. They are a good team riding a
hot goalie, a much better team than
anybody gave them credit for. In any event, if Canada can win the rest of
their games, they will still finish on top of Pool A - so relax everyone.
Anyhow, the U.S.A. are in danger of bowing
out of the medal round. It doesn't seem likely that Latvia will win their
final game, but if they do, and the Americans lose, it will come down to goal
differential. Both are tied in the Goals For department right now with 9
each. I'm not sure if Goals Against factor in to the equation, but if they
do, Latvia doesn't have a hope, unless Russia can put 25 goals or more on the
board against the U.S. It's getting interesting.
Unless Italy can come back and beat the Czech
Republic, it's not looking good for the home team. Italy must win and get
some help from Canada to qualify for the quarter finals. Right now, they
are trailing 2-0 in the 1st period.
Other scores from this morning - Sweden 2
U.S.A. 1, Slovakia 2 Kazakhstan 1, Germany 2 Switzerland 2, and
Russia 9 Latvia 2.
I'll be back with a 1st Intermission report
3:41 PM - Finland 2 Canada 0 - 1st
Intermission - Finland has come out hard in this game. I've always been
amazed at how similar in style the Finns are to the Canadian style of play.
They always seem to place 2nd or 3rd best to Canada, and they seem determined
this time around to get over the hump. Put simply, Finland looks like they
want this game more. They're already 3-0 and have only allowed 2 goals the
whole tournament. Shots are 14-5 in favor of, guess who?
Canada needs to adjust - they just seem to be
a team who is trying to find their identity (as a matter of fact, Ron MacLean
and Kelly Hrudey are talking about this very thing as I type this) - they have
to stop trying to break out one on one, because Finland is positioning
themselves perfectly. You've heard of the neutral zone trap? - the Swedish
invented it on the international ice surface, and the Finns are executing it to
perfection. Forget about the two line pass, send 2 men up, short passes on
the tape, have puck support and try to break through the trap and forecheck,
40 minutes still to come - if Canada can get
their game going, it's going to be a dandy the rest of the way. It already
The Czech Republic lead 3-0 over Italy going
into the 3rd.
4:02 PM - Canada has come back out with a
purpose in the second period. They're doing all the little things I said
they needed to. This is more like it. Look out if they get on the
4:33 PM - Second Intermission - Canada had
many chances to get on the board, probably the best was a breakaway by Rick Nash
- Hey Ricky - for the love of God - Deke!!! Antero Nittymaki is making it
look easy. Miikka who?
The key now for Canada is score, twice.
They haven't scored a goal in almost six periods of hockey now. First
period goals by Teemu Selanne and Niko Kapanen are still holding up. One
might think, oh well, 2 goals isn't that much to worry about - but this is not
the New NHL.
Czech Republic 4 Italy 1 - Final score - Italy
is out, but give them a round of applause just for showing up on the ice.
It's all about positioning now. Finland, Canada, Switzerland and the Czech
Republic will advance to the quarterfinals. Pool B isn't set in stone just
5:16 PM - Final Score - Finland 2 Canada 0 -
Finland still has one more game to play, but regardless of the outcome, they
will finish first in Pool A, which means they'll get to face the fourth seed in
Pool B. At this point, it would appear that fourth seed could wind up
being none other than the U.S.A. The way this team is playing, they can't be ruled out for a medal.
I feel sorry for the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Canada will not be a happy team after being shut out for two straight games.
I also feel sorry for all the Sports Talk radio announcers who have to take
February 18, 2006
10:09 AM - Switzerland 1 Canada 0 - 1st
Intermission - Former Montreal Canadien's player Paul DiPietro has scored the
only goal of the game so far. Not a great start for Canada. Martin
Gerber is looking like his usual self.
10:43 AM - Switzerland 2 Canada 0 -
Canada has managed to get themselves in penalty trouble by playing a little too
physical, and Paul DiPietro has made them pay with his second goal of the game.
10:51 AM - I don't know what Pat Quinn said to
the players but they are playing with a real sense of urgency as they try to get
back into this game. I'd like to know what's going through Wayne Gretzky's
mind at the moment - he certainly doesn't look thrilled with the result so far.
11:23 AM - 2nd Intermission - They called it
inconclusive, but as Greg Millen pointed out, the one camera angle that could
have been the determining factor is not even set up correctly! How could
the organizers of the Olympic Hockey tournament overlook such a critical detail?
What the hell am I talking about? The cameras that are above the net are
supposed to be aligned in such a way so that the crossbar doesn't get in the way
of the ice behind the goal line. Had they aligned that camera properly I'd
bet you $100 that puck off of Rick Nash's stick was in the net in Martin
Gerber's glove. But what are you going to do? Switzerland 2
Canada 0 - Canada has the 3rd period to catch up and has 12 seconds of power
play time to gain back some momentum.
12:12 PM -
Final score - Switzerland 2 Canada 0?
It's in the books.
I called Switzerland as a possible dark horse
in this tournament, but I never imagined they'd have back to back victories
against two of the better teams playing in it - they beat the Czechs and now the
Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes won't be too
surprised to see Martin Gerber stop 49 shots for the shutout - he's been
unbelievable all year long - part of the reason I predict Switzerland will enjoy
a very strong tournament. How about Paul DiPietro? A former Stanley
Cup winner, now the catalyst on the Swiss National team. Another Montreal
Canadiens stalwart, Mark Streit, is also playing key minutes on the power play
and penalty kill.
They're already calling it the biggest
victory in Swiss hockey history. I guess it goes to show there's always a
first time for everything - this is the first time Canada has ever lost to
Switzerland in International play, but they didn't make it easy on themselves
either with a parade to the penalty box. They must still be in that NHL
groove where they think they might get away with one or two, but this referee
that was calling the game, give him credit, all of the calls (well maybe not the
Pronger slash in the crease) were legit. I don't think he missed one
infraction on either side. By the way, how many of you had a flashback of
the Bertuzzi on Moore hit when he hauled down the Swiss player by grabbing onto
the back of his sweater? I know I did.
Canada will have to forget this one in a
hurry and get right back out there tomorrow for another big test - Finland.
As uLAr mentions on the Saturday Picks page, they haven't allowed a goal in this
tournament, yet! Discipline boys, Discipline - you can bet that will be
the message Pat Quinn will be sending to the whole squad.
2:01 PM - uLAr brought this one up to me -
how do you only beat Kazakhstan by a 1-0 count? I guess we'd have to ask
Russia that very question. The game was long over by the time I got up to
watch Canada-Switzerland, it was a 5:30 AM start. I know Ovechkin is the
real deal, but there was NO way in hell I was getting up that early to watch it.
As it turned out, Pittsburgh prospect Evgeni Malkin assisted on the only Russian
goal, scored by former Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Alexander Kharitonov, who
has played in Moscow the past couple of seasons. NY Islanders fans know
him as well, he was part of the Adrian Aucoin trade in 2001.
Sweden pummeled Latvia by a score of 6-1.
Daniel Alfredsson is up to his old tricks again. Now he needs to bring
that back to Ottawa with him, not that he hasn't produced all season, but he was
in a bit of a rut before the break started.
The Americans and Slovakia are scoreless
about four minutes in - the great wall of Chara and Meszaros against a team that will need a
Miracle of 1980 proportions to even make it on the podium. Finland and the
Czechs will also play this afternoon. It's heating up, but there's still a
long way to go.
2:35 PM - U.S.A. 0 Slovakia 0 - 1st
Intermission - Rick DiPietro just made an outstanding save on Miroslav Satan to
keep the game scoreless. Very fast pace to this game so far!
3:15 PM - Slovakia 1 U.S.A. 0 - Marian
Hossa has scored a power play goal in the second period to give Slovakia the
3:20 PM - Czech Republic 1 Finland 0 -
The Czechs have the first goal in the other game this afternoon. Not sure
who scored it yet.
3:23 PM - Slovakia 1 U.S.A. 1 - Brian
Rolston has drawn the Americans even late in the 2nd. Still looking into
that Czech Republic goal as the horn has just sounded to end the period.
3:29 PM - Czech Republic 1 Finland 1 -
Saku Koivu made a beautiful feed to OIli Jokinen to tie the game. Marek
Zidlicky has the Czech goal. Finland appears to have all the momentum
right now after the goal.
Does anybody know the whereabouts of Jaromir
Jagr? I see him on the ice, but I don't see much more.
3:45 - Slovakia 2 U.S.A. 1 -
Peter Bondra has given his team the lead early in the 3rd period.
4:05 PM - NHL Injury Update - I've just heard
news that Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Jose Theodore has slipped on a patch of
ice outside of his house (on a step apparently) and broken his heel - apparently
will miss 6-8 weeks. Must have been too much hair in his face, couldn't
see where he was walking. In his absence, Cristobal Huet will most likely win the top
netminder job for the Habs, and Yann Danis will probably get called up for the backup
4:36 PM -
Czech Republic 2 Finland 2 - 2nd Intermission. Of note here, Jarkko
Ruutu has been kicked out of the game for a serious boarding hit on Jaromir Jagr
that left him with a bad cut above his eye. Jagr won't return.
U.S.A. 1 - This is now a final score. Slovakia is now 3-0.
4:48 PM - Finland 3
Czech Republic 2 - Teemu Selanne scored during the first 30 seconds of the 3rd
period to give Finland the lead. Saku Koivu has another assist.
9:33 PM - So both
Finland and Slovakia are 3-0 in the Men's Hockey Olympic tournament.
Finland beat the Czechs by a final score of 4-2. Jaromir Jagr apparently
will be ready to go for tomorrow's game against Italy.
At this stage of the
game, the Czech Republic are in danger of falling out of fourth place in the
standings, which would put them out of the medal round. Although it's a
remote chance at best, if they lose to both Italy and Canada, then the host team
Italy will make it to the Medal round, which in all honesty wouldn't be a bad
thing. Highly unlikely, but then again who expected Switzerland to beat
Finally, some good
news on the injury front. Joe Sakic took a high stick during the
Switzerland game, and it was thought he may have fractured a cheek bone.
It's being reported now that X-Rays are negative - good news if you're pulling
for Canada. Didn't Sakic injure a knee in Nagano around the same time of
the round robin?
Tomorrow the blog
will be lighter than usual as the Canada-Finland game isn't until the afternoon
at 3:00 PM. Finally I get to sleep in. You can bet one of the line
match-ups will have Jarkko Ruutu against his Vancouver Canucks teammate Todd
Bertuzzi - two of the best agitators in the game head to head. Ruutu
better watch the head shots though. Talk to you all then!!
February 17, 2006
10:55 PM - T.G.I.F.!!!!! For some
reason this week seemed longer than usual. Perhaps it's the bad weather,
the evening shift, or the anticipation of some of the best hockey of the year.
It appears I spoke way too soon about a
Canada-U.S.A. Women's Hockey Gold Medal Game - while Canada as expected
manhandled Finland by a 6-0 count, Sweden had other ideas as they beat the
Americans 3-2 - in a shootout. Perhaps there's a silver lining in all of
this - or at the very least a silver medal for the Swedish squad. With all
the talk this week about how Women's hockey is a Canada-U.S.A. free-for-all,
with the rest of the world fighting for Bronze, perhaps this is just what the
doctor ordered. Now what will really get the world talking is if the
Americans don't even Medal - we'll find out Monday afternoon!!!
So Dominik Hasek is coming back to Ottawa to
be re-evaluated by Senators' team doctors - apparently he won't miss any time,
but even if he does, the Sens have a fairly light schedule on the rebound -
light as in the competition - Pittsburgh and Washington back to back - and
Toronto on the weekend. I figure even if they play Emery against Crosby
and Ovechkin, the worst that can happen is they get Hasek
back for the Leafs.
While Ottawa is holding their collective
breath - so too is New Jersey - Patrick Elias also had to drop out of the
Olympics with an injury. Yet, Peter Forsberg apparently is going to play.
I'll believe it when I see it. Personally, I wish Chris Pronger would stop
playing on that broken foot. Edmonton will need him if they make the
In any event, Canada-Switzerland tomorrow
morning - bring it on!!! Also, there's no Olympic Break for Saturday Picks
as uLAr and I rekindle our weekend rivalry - Olympic style. Have a great
weekend and keep checking back for more!
February 16, 2006
11:37 PM - Well the wireless network I set up
yesterday allows me to update the website as I watch most of the games without
having to run up two flights of stairs to my main computer. This will
allow more frequent updates of the scores, almost real time (not to mention more
frequent Blog updates!). You'll be able to see the difference on Feb 28
when the NHL resumes. I'm still working out a little file sharing glitch
that I can't seem to get past, but it's nothing I can't handle.
In any event - the past couple of days have been very
eventful. I touched on Dominik Hasek's injury yesterday, which the media
was first reporting as a groin, then a hamstring, then an upper-front leg injury
- now - get this - it's being described as a "tense muscle". So far all
anybody seems to know is that it's his left leg that's affected! Next
thing you know it will be downgraded to a Charlie Horse. They may as well
just stick with the NHL mysterious "lower body injury" description for now.
I don't know if Hasek's absence was a factor, but the Czech Republic lost today
to the Swiss by a score of 3-2. I'm thinking Switzerland could make some
noise in this tournament. Canada better be ready on Saturday.
Speaking of Canada - they won again today - 5-1 versus
the Germans. No Olaf Kolzig for Germany, Thomas Greiss was between the
pipes. Kolzig apparently will play later on in the tournament - not a bad
move if you ask me. San Jose Sharks' defenseman Christian Ehrhoff had the
lone goal for Germany, while Dany Heatley, Joe Sakic, Wade Redden, Shane Doan
and Simon Gagne scored for Canada. Shots were 40-12 in favor of guess
I didn't know this until Harry Neale mentioned it, but
Germany won Hockey Bronze in 1976 - probably one more medal than anybody who
follows hockey knows, or cares.
On an unrelated note - I saw Patrick Roy yesterday
giving a huge vote of confidence for Habs' goalie Jose Theodore - if that
doesn't help him pick up his game when the NHL resumes, nothing will!!
Also checking a few AHL scores from yesterday,
Jean-Francois Jacques scored a hat trick for the Hamilton Bulldogs vs the
Toronto Marlies - where was that offense during his call-up with the Edmonton
Oilers last week?!?
Tomorrow is an off day for the Men's tournament, but
there is lots of hockey to play as the Women's tournament will heat up with the
Placement Rounds and two playoff games - U.S.A. vs Sweden and Canada vs Finland.
The winners will get the weekend off before they play for the Gold Medal on
Monday. We may as well just pencil in Canada vs U.S.A. now and get it
I'll be checking in more often this weekend during the
Canada-Switzerland game. Ciao for now.
Wednesday, February 15,
1:18 AM Ė The Olympic Menís Ice Hockey tournament faces off in exactly five
hours and 42 minutes. Canada will play Italy. Why in God's name is the game on
so Early? I know Italy is a six hour difference from Ottawa, but then again, I
don't have to work until 12:30, so maybe it's just as well. I really feel for
the west coasters, who will have to be up at 4:00 AM!!! They may as well stay
up all night for crying out loud. The Gold Medal Game is an 8:00 AM start on
February 26th, 5:00 AM Pacific Time. No sleeping in that day I guess!
When Canada and Italy's womenís teams faced off, Canada had three goals on the
board before the game was even five minutes old, two of them scored in the first
minute and a half! Final score was 16-0. While Italyís menís team will be
looking not to get blown out so bad, I donít think this one will be even close.
By the way, I really pity Finland's women's team, they get Canada next. I'm
guessing with the Canadians outscoring their opposition 33-1, it's BUH-BYE
Finns! Going to bed now, will talk to yíall in a few hours.
7:41 AM - Canada 1 Italy 0 - 1st Intermission - Not the best start Canada could
have hoped for, but they'll take it - so will Italy. The Italians have been
very aggressive on the fore check and are using the International ice to their
advantage. The difference in the game so far is Jarome Iginla's power play
goal. For all the nay sayers, Todd Bertuzzi got an assist on the first goal as
he set up the goal perfectly from his office along the corner boards. Canada
has 1:36 of an Italian power play to kill off in the 2nd period. Dany Heatley
elbowed Jason Muzzatti to the ice - goaltender interference - you think? In the
only other game going on right now, Sweden has a handy 7-1 lead over Kazakhstan
going into the 3rd.
Later on today,
Switzerland plays Finland, Germany has the Czech Republic, Russia takes on
Slovakia, and Latvia gets the U.S.A.
7:57 AM - Italy made good on their power play 43 seconds into the 2nd period,
but Dany Heatley redeemed himself at the 2 minute mark. Canada 2 Italy 1.
8:07 AM - Canada 4
Italy 1 - Canada seems to have shaken off the jet lag as Shane Doan has scored
and Iginla has another power play goal. Kazakhstan scored their second goal
against Sweden in the third, but it was all for naught - Sweden 7 Kazakhstan 2
- that's now a final.
8:22 AM - Canada 6
Italy 1 - Tampa Bay team mates Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis have blown
this game wide open with less than 5 minutes to go in the 2nd.
8:32 AM - Canada 6
Italy 2 - 2nd Intermission - Canada found their legs in the second period, but
Italy made it interesting on the power play. I pity any team who gets into
penalty trouble against them going forward. They keep things simple and should
be a handful for any team that isn't ready for them. Will update you all on the
final score later, but for now going back to bed until 11:00. Luckily I don't
work until 12:30! Go Canada Go!
11:26 AM - Final Score -
Canada 7 Italy 2 - The Media are calling it "a lacklustre effort". In my
opinion they're just not giving the Italians enough credit. For 21 minutes,
Italy was by far the better team, they played hard, completed their checks, and
had an aggressive fore check and put the power back into power play. Canada
took a period to get their legs, but after that they showed why they're the
defending Gold Medal and World Cup champions. If this was a lacklustre effort,
I'd hate to see what happens if Canada actually Loses a game. Finland has a 5-0
lead over Switzerland in the 3rd period in other hockey action.
11:58 PM - Wow, what a day!
Upon returning home from Work I've been busy setting up another computer on a
wireless network, so I'll be back later to chime in on the day's action.
But, I must say, Oh Dominik!! Please be O.K., not just for your country
but for your second home - Ottawa!!
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