Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Canada vs. Finland - What's the Motivation for the fans?

*The Czech version of this article can be found at http://www.svetovypohar.cz

Up until the Canadians faced the Czechs in the semi-final match, the Canadians were steamrolling over the competition. The Canadians beat the Slovakians, Americans, and Russians with relative ease. If the Canadians broke a sweat, it was during the post-game exercises, and not the actual games themselves.

The Czechs, on the other hand, were an emotional mess during the preliminary round. After the death of coaching legend Ivan Hlinka, the Czechs looked like they would have rather been somewhere else.

After a blowout loss to Finland, and a loss to the Swedes, the Czechs managed a token win over the overmatched German squad. It was hard to expect that the Czechs would suddenly turn it around and play as well as they did in Nagano.

This all changed with the Czechs getting their revenge in a 6-1 win over the Swedes in the first playoff match. This set up a great semi-final match between the Czechs and Canadians: Would this be a replay of the 1998 heartbreaker in Nagano?


In the best-played match in this year�s World Cup of Hockey, the seemingly invincible Canadians ran into a determined Czech squad. The Czechs outplayed, outshot, and outworked the Canadians for 3 periods. Unfortunately for the Czechs, Tomas Vokoun is not Dominik Hasek, and Prince Vince Lecavalier gave the Canadians a lucky victory.

Canadian coach Pat Quinn and almost every Canadian fan could appreciate how well the Czechs played.

"We escaped!" Pat Quinn said. "I saw tentativeness in our team tonight. I'm not sure why? We sure didn't have the focus we needed to have. We did not execute very well, but a lot of that was the play of the Czechs."

"We were fortunate to have survived," Quinn said. "The Czechs played really well. They out-chanced us by quite a margin."

It�s almost unfair to the Czechs and the hockey fans that the Canada-Czechia match was not the final match of the World Cup. Instead, the Canadians now face the Finns.


For Canada, there is no rivalry or hated in playing the Finns. It is certainly easy for Canada to hate the other countries�

Russia? Evil Communists.
Sweden? They hog all of the beautiful blonde supermodels for themselves.
Czechia? They beat us in Nagano
Germany? There was World War I and World War II�
USA? We want revenge for 1996 and Britney Spears.

Yes, Gary Bettman must be crying himself to sleep with the fact that the USA and Canada won�t meet in the finals. The television ratings in the USA will be low and only hockey fans in Finland and Canada will care about the game.

It�s hard to hate Finland or Finnish hockey players. Really, how can we be mad at Finland?

They use too many vowels in their language?
They are always winning STRONGMAN competitions?
They bombard us with boring educational toys and dorky looking cell phones??
They eat reindeer?

Sorry, but I find it hard to get excited about a finals match against the boring and hard-working Finnish squad; It�s like winning a game of chess against your mother.

Canada will be cheering hard for their team, but it just won�t be as sweet as beating the evil Americans, Russians, or Czechs.


From a post on livejournal...

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