Tag Archives: Team Canada Juniors

World Juniors Gearing Up

Saw the second and third periods of the Canada-Sweden pre-tournament game today (Sunday).

Canada was outmatched, losing 3-0, so it means they have to work on a couple of things, tweak a bit, and improve a fair amount as the days go on. Sweden looks good and I wonder how the other nations stack up.

Next year the tourney will be co-hosted by Montreal and Toronto. How great is that!

My son and I were at a World Junior game once, on Dec. 30, 1994 in Calgary when Canada came back late in the game to beat the Czech Republic 7-5.

It was a magical experience, even though I was in the midst of a marriage breakup at the time. A full and noisy Saddledome.  Wonderful hockey ending in dramatic fashion. And we had great seats because I ordered them as soon as they went on sale.

Somehow I think getting tickets in Montreal or Toronto for next year’s tourney won’t be so easy.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Incredible Canadian Charge Runs Out Of Time

The game had fast become a disappointing blow-out as the Russians racked up a 6-1 lead after two periods, led by Evgeni Kuznetsov with 3 goals and an assist, and Nail Yakupov with four assists. The partisan Canadian crowd at Calgary’s Saddledome sat on their hands, and I suppose most of us conceded the game to Russia by the time the third period came along with the visitors holding a five-goal lead and the Canadians becoming undisciplined and unraveling fast..

But then, Russia’s practically unbeatable goalie, 17 year old Andrei Vasilevski, was beaten, and the game became 6-2. Then it was 6-3, then 6-4, and shockingly, 6-5. The Saddledome was in explosion mode, several millions of us moved to the edge of our seats, and we watched and held our breath as Canada peppered the replacement goaltender Makarov from every angle. They hit the post, they came within inches, and my heart almost blew a valve.

In the end, the Russians held on for a 6-5 win and will meet Sweden for the gold, while Canada toughs it out with Finland for the bronze. But what a game, what a third period, what a finish. Regardless of the outcome, this is what hockey is all about. This is why it’s the world’s most exciting game.

Congratulations to Russia on this night. And to the Canadian boys, you did us proud. You came within a whisker of giving us one of the most memorable nights in hockey history. You never quit and came back and scratched and clawed the way Canadian hockey players do in big games like this. From this Canadian hockey fan, thanks.

Random Notes:

Montreal prospect Brendan Gallagher was a major force in the stirring third period, and the Habs have a good one on their hands.

Canada outshot the Russians 56-24. If only they had started their charge sooner than the third.

Russian Juniors Move On To Meet The Canadians

It was some kind of hockey game in Calgary Monday night, as the Russians and Czech juniors clashed in a battle of goaltenders, with the Russians coming out it with an 2-1 overtime win and the right to meet the Canadians Tuesday evening.

What a game. Chances galore at both ends, but the goalies, Czech Petr Mrazek and Russian Andrei Vasilevski, stood tall, making save after spectacular save, and it was such a treat to see these old rival countries perform like they did.

Exciting times, and my wife, who is Russian, went from eyes semi-closed to eyes wide open, especially in the third when pucks flew and goalies sprawled and glove hands darted out, and back and forth it went. And in the end, just 1:30 into overtime, Russia’s Grigori Zheldakov blasted one past Mrazek with a Czech forward injured and out of the play, and like they say, Boris is your uncle.

Who is my wife going to cheer for tomorrow?  “If Canada wins, I’ll be happy,” she says. “Russia did it last year, and enough is enough. Go Canada go.”

I second that. Go Canada Go!

 

Gold Medal Game Set To Go

At approximately 7:30 pm Eastern, Team Canada and Team Russia go head to head for World Junior supremacy.

Go Canada; smash ’em, demolish, destroy, trounce, obliterate, kill, maul, run over, and pulverize these boys-to-men from so far away, and bring the trophy home to Canada.

I’ll be back later in the evening to talk about what transpired. We’re cheering for you, Canada. Show ’em what you’ve got.

Canada Dismisses US. Bring On Russia For Gold

Team Canada Juniors, in certainly their finest game of the World Junior Championships thus far, drops their southern rival, the U.S., 4-1 in an impressive display, and now moves on to play Russia for the gold medal on Wednesday.

Canada was great throughout, and if they can play like that one more time, the gold medal will surely come back to Canada after a brief rest in the US after Canada had won the five previous years.

One more game, against a formidable Russian squad.

My wife, from Russia, is now firmly entrenched in Canadian society, and absolutely wants and needs Team Canada to kick those Russian asses.

Game time Wednesday for gold is 7:30 PM Eastern, 4:30 Pacific.

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.


Maybe I Made The Team

I’ve been working graveyard shift lately, which means my mind and body are disagreeing on pretty well everything. In fact, the two of them hate each other’s guts.

But the daytime sleeps are providing some beauty dreams.

Yesterday I dreamed I tried out for the Team Canada Juniors and was cut after what I thought was a good showing on my part. Naturally I was upset and decided to come back as a walk-on, but before I showed back up at training camp, I ran miles and worked out and skated hard on my own. I was completely focused on making the club.

I guess it didn’t matter that I’m slightly older than my teammates. About 40 years older. But I’d gotten along well with the others guys. I was just one of the boys. They kind of looked up to me like a …..grandfather figure.

And then I woke up before I found out if I made the team or not.


Canada’s Juniors Find A Way. Now They Smell Gold

Like has happened so many times before, Canada has found a way to win. Canada’s Jordan Eberle tied the game with just five seconds to go, and then scored, along with John Tavares, in the shootout, to thrust Team Canada into the World Junior gold medal game Monday against Sweden.

 

And I’ve never agreed more with Jim as I do now. The outspoken critic of the shootout is dead on in this. It’s a shame it came to a shootout. It was tense, exciting, back and forth hockey for all three periods and the ten minute overtime.

 

And then it was decided by a shootout.

 

But what a game. I need to find some downers somewhere. Check my blood pressure. I just love the World Juniors. Young kids who, if you saw them in the poolhall, are just ordinary pimply-faced kids who like video games, chicks, and giggling. But put a hockey uniform on them and they transform into magical, ultra-talented boys/men playing like NHL’ers. They’re a sight to behold.

 

How can young kids play such fine hockey?