Category Archives: World Junior Championship

Habs And Lightning Play A Beauty

Montreal may have given us a few stinkers this year, but tonight wasn’t one of them. That was a real hockey game that was played in Tampa on the night before New Year’s Eve; a great game that had everything. If fans ever wonder what games were like when there were only six teams, they were like this one.

And the Habs pulled it out in overtime when Tomas Plekanec used Mike Cammalleri as a decoy, picked a hole, and  fired home the winner, and joy reigns supreme throughout Habland.

The guys who are suppose to wheel, wheeled. From both sides. Plekanec was flying. So was Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez and Andre Kostitsyn. On the other side, if Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier played like this every night, their names would’ve been called for the new Canadian Olympic team. Tampa’s dynamic duo were dangerous all night, just as they’ve been in years past.

Carey Price was stellar, as was Tampa’s Mike Smith, and it’s like it was written that each would face 35 shots. Price looked like he hasn’t missed a beat after sitting for the past five games while teammate Jaroslav Halak did everything including garnering NHL first star of the week last week, and Price was especially solid in the third when Tampa poured it on.  If Montreal doesn’t trade Halak, this could be the finest goaltending duo in the league.

Tomas Plekanec not only notched the winner but also assisted on Brian Gionta’s goal, and Plekanec, as we all know by now, is a bonafide star in this league. Finally, we have a guy up there with the other big boys. It feels good. It looks good. And Brian Gionta now has a chance to send this team up yet another notch, like Andrei Markov has just done, and what Plekanec has done all year.

Just a few more little tweaks. We’re still waiting for Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, and Matt D’Agostini to pick it up. Look how Andrei Kostityn has turned a bummer year into a glittering year. Get those three going the way Andrei has and we’ll see the Habs climb fast and the oddsmakers in Vegas will suddenly be hard at work.

For me, this was a satisfying win. A great game, and the Habs win five out of their last six.

Like Jim Hughson says, “That’s hockey!!!”

Random Notes:

Tomorrow night I work afternoon shift, and both the Habs and Panthers, and Team Canada juniors against the US. are being played. I’m going to have to tape both and watch when I get home around 11pm. So after I watch and then attempt to write something worth reading, it’s going to be about four in the morning.

Maybe I should quit work.


Team Canada Makes Swiss Swoon And Papas Proud

The Canadians continue to steamroll along after two games, totaling 22 goals to zip against Latvia and Switzerland, but we all know it’s going to get much tougher soon enough with Slovakia and then the Americans on deck, and with the other big guys like the Russians and Swedes all chomping at the bit to meet the young Canadian studs in the final for the whole enchilada.

It’s a beautiful thing and I’d like to say here and now just how jealous I am of their dads. To have a son who can play like these kids is like a miracle, and we also know these youngsters are all fine gentleman and probably honour students as well. Almost the exact opposite of me when I was 19 or 20.

The dads are proud and they’d better be. If they weren’t, I’d have no idea why not.

It is curious though, that when the cameras pan out into the crowd and show moms and dads of players, they don’t have mile-wide, proud-as-punch grins on their faces. I suppose they’re nervous, hoping their kid will do well and doesn’t get hurt and all that, but I also suppose these parents are used to having a star player in the household. A kid who’s already been in the newspaper a thousand times and been interviewed till the cows come home, all the while forgetting to pick up his socks, tormenting his sister, and passing gas at the dinner table.

They’ve seen their kids give out autographs and are swarmed after games by fans. They watch as teenybopper girls nearly faint in their son’s presence. They sit down with agents and NHL general managers and everyone tells them just how special their boy is.

So in many ways, the novelty of having a kid who plays hockey like a seasoned NHL’er has probably worn off somewhat.

It goes without saying that I would’ve liked this feeling. My son was pretty good, but nothing like these guys who are now on the world stage. What was it dad, extra Brussel sprouts when junior was growing up? Whatever it was, you and the little lady did something right.

I just wish you’d look prouder in the stands. Like me if my boy was there.


Canadian Juniors Pulverize the Latvians

Team Canada obliterated Latvia 16-0 on Boxing Day and you hope it’s not the old dire warning where winning big to an inferior team can create bad habits and a false sense of confidence leading to trouble against better teams later on.

If coach Willie Desjardins does his job, these boys won’t take their foot off the pedal anytime soon.

We’re so proud of our Canadian boys. Five straight Gold medals. Year after year they dazzle and excite. But what about the poor Latvians? This is a country of a little more than two million people living in ice and snow, with Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, and Russia’a shadow just east. It’s a country that will never crack the big hockey markets, but there are world-class chess players, Mikhail Baryshnikov was born there, as was ex-Hab Sergei Zholtok, and I think a lot of reindeer live in Latvia although I may be confused about that one.

Latvia has given to the world great artists and Olympians and scientists and more, and has much to be proud of.

It’s just a great a feather in the Latvians’ cap that they can have a program which creates enough talent to be in the prestigious World Juniors.

They were certainly in tough against the big boys in the opening game of Canada’s quest for another gold, and Canada’s quest is not a good thing for the foreigners, but at least they’re there.

I’m thinking that Latvia is a beautiful, hospitable, charming place and someday I’d like to visit there. And yes, I’m feeling a little bad for them right now. But Canada’s gotta do what they gotta do, and that’s rack up the score when they get a chance.

It’s all about winning gold.