Kukla's Korner Hockey
My goodness. The biggest collapse in Canadian national junior history. Stunning to watch it all unfold. 5-3 Russia.
-Damien Cox on Twitter.
Buffalo is getting some undue criticism for the low turnout of USA fans at the World Juniors tournament and particularly at the semifinal snoozer Monday night at HSBC Arena, which Canada won easily 4-1 in front of an overwhelmingly Canadian crowd.
It was the main topic on sports talk radio here yesterday, with even some local fans labeling the city as a Sabres town as opposed to a hockey town.
And in a humorous and ironic display of naivety, ESPN.com writer and hockey antagonist “The Sports Guy” Bill Simmons not only hopped aboard the Buffalo Bashwagon, but also for good measure even decided to throw Detroit and a portion of the Western frontier under the bus.
From his twitter account:
This junior hockey game is further proof that we just need to sell Buffalo to Canada. Get it over with already.
What about a blockbuster in which we get Vancouver and Canada gets Buffalo + other goodies? I’m hitting the Trade Machine.
OK, here’s my final offer: Buffalo, Detroit, 50% of Montana, three No. 1 picks + $3 million for Vancouver + Steve Nash.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: 1996+world+juniors, 2011+world+juniors, andrew+podneiks, bill+simmons, buffalo, new+york+times, team+canada, the+sports+guy
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Bragin let them practise what they enjoy most: varying rushes to the net and shots that keep goalkeeper Dmitri Shikin hot, who has become Russia’s number-one netminder after the opening game, a 6-3 defeat to Canada.
In between, the players were kidding around with their teammates and cheering each other after each penalty shot. Of course Bragin let them practise the shootout, essential work given that it was needed in the semi-finals game against Sweden.
“The good atmosphere is easy to explain,” Bragin said. “We reached the final after two hard games and for the first time in several years. The players really enjoy it. They could also recover a bit after two games in two days. The main goal before each tournament is to reach the gold medal game, so now we put pressure away for us and in the final it’s a 50-50 chance for each team.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Backed by a loud sellout crowd that was almost all Canadian, the Americans found themselves under siege on their own turf and surrendered that all-important first goal two minutes and 38 seconds into the game, which paved the way to a 4-1 win for Canada and a spot in Wednesday’s gold-medal game against Russia. It is the first time in the nine years since the tournament adopted this format that two quarter-finalists, rather than a team with a bye to the semi-final, made the championship game.
The importance of that first goal cannot be under-emphasized. Throughout the tournament, Canadian head coach Dave Cameron was questioned about how to combat his team’s habit of starting slowly and having to fight back from an early deficit. Part of that was the goaltending, which was average at best, and the defence, which looked increasingly slow and mistake-prone against quick teams like Sweden.
“Our starts haven’t been the best,” said Canadian forward Ryan Johansen, who was a force on a line with fellow bruisers Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno. “We wanted to make sure we came out playing our game and not get fancy.”
I’m writing this ten hours before puckdrop for the Canada/USA semi-final - should be an amazing night, right? I can buy a $95 ticket online for face value on the Buffalo World Juniors website. Why is this? People have dropped $400-$500 in recent years at Canadian venues to scalpers or ticket brokers to get into such an affair, whether it’s the gold medal game or the semi-finals. Are prices too high? Is the border-crossing that much of a hassle? People cross the Peace Bridge from Ontario to go to Target or Dick’s Sporting Goods. Or 41 Sabres games! You can’t tell me they won’t do it for an affordably-priced piece of hockey history.
-Greg Brady of Fan590. More from Greg on the WJC.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
From a historical point of view, Canada has a big advantage going into this latest clash with the best of American hockey.
The United States, you see, has never been able to do it twice. At least not twice in a row.
Look it up. There was the big men’s Olympic upset in 1960 at Squaw Valley, but it took another five Winter Games for the Americans to take the gold again in Lake Placid.
Their women won the inaugural ’98 Olympic event, but couldn’t follow that up in 2002, 2006 or 2010.
And their national junior team? It won this world tournament for the first time in 2004 in Finland, but couldn’t repeat the next year on home ice in North Dakota as the province of Manitoba infiltrated Grand Forks.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
With Team Canada set to play the U.S. in the WJHC semi-final on Monday, Bob McKenzie offers some thoughts on who has the edge in goal and why the American power play has the potential to be lethal.
Between The Pipes
From what we’ve seen so far, the U.S. absolutely has a sizeable advantage in the goaltending department, no question about it.
Team Canada’s goaltending has not been stellar, it has not been great. In fact, they’ve given up at least one bad goal in each of the games that they’ve played.
BUFFALO, NY (January 2, 2011)Tea—- With their 4-1 quarterfinal win over Switzerland today, Canada has advanced to the semifinal round of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. They will now face the defending champion United States team tomorrow night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available for $140 (lower bowl) and $95 (upper bowl). Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.buffaloworldjuniors.com by ca,lling 1-888-467-2273, or at the HSBC Arena Box Office.
The winner of tomorrow’s USA/Canada game will play for the gold medal on Wednesday night at HSBC Arena. Only single seats remain for the gold-medal game. Finland and Russia play in tonight’s second quarterfinal beginning at 7:30 p.m. The winner moves on to play Sweden at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon in the first semifinal game. Tickets are still available for this game.
“You realize what’s important in life. As I said earlier, I have in the back of my head that there are people who are going through worse things in life. I’m not going to hang my head and feel sorry for myself. I’m still going to be here for the guys.
“Family and life are most important. I have a good perspective on my life.”
-Jaden Schwartz, member of Team Canada’s World Junior team after suffering a brroken ankle. More from Tim Wharnsby of CBC.
from Andrew Podnieks of IIHF.com,
Canada’s junior players often eschew the high fives at the bench in favour of elbow hugs, knocking elbows together instead of gloves after a goal. They are the only team at any level to do this.
“It started last year,” said captain Ryan Ellis, a member of the team in 2010. “Some of the western boys started doing it, and we’ve been doing it this year as well.”
Brayden Schenn, a Saskatoon native and the scoring star for Canada the last two games, shed further light on the ritual. “It started with a group of Brandon boys called The Wagons, a group that played in the summer. We just adopted it last year and kept it going this year.”
Young fans of the game can’t possibly fathom an earlier generation when the entire players’ bench would empty after most goals. This was the 1970s. The NHL brought an end to this practice, though, because it often led to bench-clearing brawls, the scored-upon team none too happy, and the scoring team delighted.
It was in Canadian junior hockey that players came up with a solution to the problem. They wanted to celebrate a goal as a team, but weren’t allowed to leave the bench, so the five skaters on ice would skate by their players’ bench and high-five their teammates on the bench.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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