Tag Archives: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Yanks Spank Canada

The U.S. dominated throughout in their 5-1 crusher of the Canadians in World Junior semi-final action, and if there’s a solid reason why Canada just didn’t show up on this day, I’d like to know why. Was it coaching? Was it nerves, or lack of leadership, or lack of sleep? Whatever it was, the Americans blast through to the gold medal game against the Swedes on Saturday, while Canada and Russia sadly battle it out for the bronze after Russia fell 3-2 in a shootout against Sweden.

Not what Canadians from coast to coast wanted or expected, that’s for sure. Speaking as a Canadian, this is quite an obnoxious turn of events to say the least. We have two things to brag about in the Great White North – world-class comedians, and world-class hockey players. We hate it when the Americans try to put a dent in some of our best stuff.

Damn Yankees. And I say that with respect and admiration, because the U.S. squad was just way too good on this day. They seemed to want it more. Much more. I just don’t understand why. We always want it more. It’s what Canadian hockey players are best known for.

And it’s a tremendously depressing sight to see the number one guy between the pipes get yanked in the second period when it was 4-0 at that point. But no blame can be put on Malcolm Subban, or relief Jordan Binnington, who played well under difficult circumstances, like sitting on the bench from game one on. Maybe Subban didn’t have his best game and be miraculous when the going got tough, but it’s a team game, and the team in front of the two just didn’t show up.

There’s going to be a lot of questions from the Canadian side now. Like, what happened? Almost from the first minute of the first period, the Americans took advantage of Canada’s loose play, with pucks being turned over, missed passes, poor line changes, and ultimately, when Canada did get quality chances, particularly in the third period when Ryan Strome, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Dougie Hamilton all were close in, the U.S. goaltender John Gibson was there like a brick wall.

Can Canada win bronze on Saturday against the Russians? Maybe. But I hate bronze.

 

Team Canada Scores a Few

It’s the time of year to think of others less fortunate, and my heart goes out to Russian World Junior ticket scalpers, who might have to soon think about another occupation. How can they sell overpriced tickets to games in an arena where there were so many empty seats, elephants would be free to roam?

Although having said that, there probably aren’t a lot of elephants in the industrial city of Ufa, which is located 1169 km. southeast of Moscow and 7908 km (4914 miles) from Montreal if you’re interested.

The Ufa arena holds 8250 fans, with just 3618 warming the seats for today’s contest. Ufa isn’t Saskatoon. But then again, Germany isn’t Russia or the U.S.A. when it comes to hockey.

If you’ve recorded the Canada-Germany game and are waiting to watch it when you get home from wherever you were, you might not want to read this, because I’m about to tell the score. But think about it. Are you really biting at the bit waiting to see how badly Germany gets blown out?

9-3 Canada.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who should be playing for the Edmonton Oilers now if NHL people weren’t such morons, had a goal and four assists. Nugent-Hopkins’ linemates also had big days, with Jonathan Huberdeau adding a goal and 2 assists and Mark Scheifele two goals.

Malcolm Subban, in nets for Canada, didn’t stand on his head but didn’t need to, and is it immature of me to hope that young Subban, brother of P.K., doesn’t blossom into an NHL star considering he was Boston’s first-round draft pick? Am I bad for saying this?

But I am hoping that for the next couple of weeks, Malcolm shines. Is that better?

Canada doesn’t yet seem to be an overwhelming machine, but it is only game one of course. It remains to be seen how they play when it’s against some of the powerhouses who would like nothing better than flex their muscles against Canada. It’s always been that way. Even if you can’t win gold, if you can manage to beat Canada, you’re automatically a bonafide hockey nation. So we’ll see how things play out as we go along.

Of course, being a Canadian, my focus sits mostly with Team Canada. But as a Habs fan, I can’t help being excited to see Alex Galchenyuk with the American team. May he score buckets, dominate, have fans on the edge of their seats. Except when the Americans meet Canada. Then I hope he’s only second star in a big Canadian win.

Galchenyuk and his gang get going tomorrow, against this same German team we saw today, and here’s hoping he dazzles and, God-forbid, doesn’t get hurt. Canada hits the ice again on Friday, when it’s time to meet Slovakia.

Love this time of year, this tournament with hockey’s future strutting their stuff. Too bad, in just a few short years, many of these guys will be NHLers and become out of touch with reality and the common person.

 

 

3rd Pick. Is That Good?

We’re in Anaheim, California, late in the evening, and I’ve just found out only now that we have the third pick in the June draft.

Those Edmonton bastards. Again they get a young world-class stud, for the third year in a row. (Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came before). Is it because their weather sucks so much that the hockey gods feel sorry for them?

Regardless, I’m not excited and I apologize to everyone who has their hopes higher than Timothy Leary at a Merry Pranksters party. I’ve seen too many times over the years a high draft pick turning out to be sour as sour can be. Neil Brady (3rd), Wayne McBean (4th), Pat Falloon (2nd), and Alexandre Volchenhov (1st) didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

The NHL road is littered with high picks that died quicker than American Idol top 20 winners.

I hate to be negative but I can`t help it. We’ll see who the Canadiens take in June, and we’ll see the impact he makes when he finally dons the CH. But I’m just not excited at this time. I’m jaded. I’m sorry. Good night. I just wish we could have had a shot at Nail Yakupov.

And who are some of the other choices involved besides Yakupov?

Mathew Dumba, a smallish defenceman. Filip Forsberg, a smallish left winger. Ryan Murray, a nice-sized defenceman. Alex Galchenyuk, a tall centreman. And Mikhail Grigorenko, also a nice-sized centreman. I’m curious to know who’s the odds-on favourite is of whoever’s left of the Habs’ brass.

Again, good night. We’re right across the street from Disneyland but Luci and I are taking the day off. We’ll let our Russian visitors go crazy with Mickey Mouse while we hang out and relax and recuperate after driving 2500 kilometres in the last three days.

Forget Those Three, We’ve Got P.K.

The Habs host the Oilers tonight, and yes, I’ve mentioned the young guns in Edmonton in the past and how well they’ve done, and I wish I hadn’t. Because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle are the enemy. And I hate writing about players on other teams. Let their own bloggers spout admiring adjectives.

Besides, we have PK Subban, young like these three, as important to the Habs as they are to the Oilers, but who’s been sent to the back of the class by many as the new darlings become the teacher’s pet. Hopefully this evening will show a peach-fuzzed PK denting the boards by crushing these children as they scurry down the ice, full of themselves because the press won’t stop going on and on about them.

We need PK to show that he’s a step ahead of them in development. To take charge on power plays and make the crowd ooh and awe as he dashes up the ice with the puck. A goal or two, especially on the power play, would be a pleasant experience. Clean, punishing, thunderous checks, the order of the day.

We want Oilers fans tuned in to their televisions from the northern Alberta city to watch with appreciation as Subban does his job in a big way, and on this night at least, show those three as just ordinary soldiers.

PK has developed some sort of reputation with opposing teams and their fans, and unfortunately, officials too, and it needs to be corrected. Darth mentioned the other day, and rightly so, that most players probably wouldn’t have been penalized for spraying snow in the face of Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but because it was PK, he was sent to the box. There have been accusations, right or wrong but probably right, of the odd slew-foot from PK, some questionable diving from time to time, and a lot of chirping, and it’s all unnecessary action from a budding superstar.

P.K. has hit a small boulder on the road to superstardom while these three have had a smooth highway so far. But starting tonight, our guy can show everyone that he’s the real deal, and Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, and Eberle, as good as they are, are still a step behind on the star chart.

 

 

Broadway Blues

Their four-game-winning streak is now a thing of the past as the Canadiens drop a 5-3 decision in New York, and yes, it’s a downer because they had their chances, but every game on every night cannot be won. It’s just the way it is.

Things stop. Like Kim Kardashian’s marriage.

You have to wonder how it might have been without the rash of penalties the Habs managed to get, beginning with a nice, slightly illegal open-ice hit on Brandon Dubinsky by Michael Blunden that created a string of penalties all over the place, including having game misconducts handed to Petteri Nokelainen and Michael Sauer for a disagreement or two.

When the dust settled and the scorekeeper needing to sharpen his pencil, the Canadiens found themselves attempting to kill a 5 on 3.

Which they didn’t do.

It became 1-0 New York, then later 2-0, and then 3-0. And I had no beer to guzzle.

After that, though, things began to pick up. With the Rangers enjoying that 3 goal lead, Max Pacioretty slammed home a Brian Gionta rebound just 14 seconds into the second, and the game suddenly became a 3-1 affair. Then the Habs took advantage of their own 5-3 power play and made it 3-2 when Andrei Kostitsyn bulged the twine.

Such wild times in Manhattan. It was like Studio 54 On Ice. The Canadiens swarmed the net, Erik Cole hit the post, but then, like a pin stuck in a Kardashian boob (even the brother’s), things went pffft. Brad Richard spoiled the party by making it once again a two-goal lead for the Blueshirts.

Damn that Richards. Was he a Habs fan growing up in P.E.I?

But wait! In the final frame, Brian Gionta blasted one home and it became a one-goal game again! We knew they were going to come back!

Except they didn’t.

New York scored on the empty net and any drama and feel-good story for Habs fans was quickly sent down the toilet of life.

All in all, I’d say too many penalties wrecked things. For example, in the first period, Montreal took 9 infractions to New York’s 3. It’s a momentum killer if I ever saw one. But I’m not going to whine. The Canadiens could have been more disciplined to be sure. (&^*%#$ referees). 

Next Up:

Tuesday the peach-fuzzed Oilers visit the Bell Centre, led by young speedsters Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Taylor Hall, accompanied by veteran Ryan Smyth, who is 17 years older than Nugent-Hopkins and therefore old enough to be his father.