Thursday, December 30, 2004


Another GRRRRRREAT Day at the WJC's!

YOW! I feel good!

Santa didn’t give me the Ice Girls or Slovakia over Canada victory that I asked for, but yesterday was a pretty good consolation prize. Out of the 4 games at the WJC yesterday, all 4 of the ‘good’ teams won! Let’s break it down like MC Hammer.

Belarus 5 – USA 3
That is not a typo, folks! Belarus is making a habit out of major upsets at major tournaments. This isn’t quite the bomb-from-center-ice upset of the Swedes at the Olympic Games, but it’s close! The hometown USA team played awful defense in their game against Switzerland, and did even worse against the Belarussians – A team with 3-4 ‘good’ prospects and a whole lot of filler.

What’s the problem for the US squad? Why are they stinking up the home joint?

Over on the Hockeyrodent’s message boards, ‘Atlantaran’ had these comments:

They have no stay at home defensive defensemen. They lack a defensive line that can check the opposition. In short this team looks more like what the Rangers tried to do over the past several years. Their coverage in their own end is down right pitiful. No one clears the crease they all look like a cross between Tom Poti and Rod Seiling! The gap between the defensemen and the on coming offensive players is wider than the gap between Michael Strahan's front teeth! They give up more prime shooting space to the opposition without even contesting the play. They back up faster than the former Iraqi Information Director ever did.

If the US is not controlling the game with their forwards and playing the majority of the game in the other team's end, they are in big trouble.

Slovakia 5 – Germany 0

The Germans are definitely the punching bags of this tournament. Jaro Halak only had to make 11 saves for the shutout, Stefan Ruzicka (the Flyers have an underrated sniper prospect in this guy) had the natural hat-trick in the 1st period (3 shots, 3 goals!) and Andrej Meszaros added 2 goals in the 3rd period. Tomas Bulik had 3 assists in the game, and he gets my nod for best surprise performance of the WJC in the non-Canadian category. (4 points in 3 games now for Bulik)

Some bad news to report as 2005 uber-prospect Marek Zagrapan missed his second straight game. Coach Dusan Gregor refuses to elaborate on what type of injury Zagrapan has, but did say he expects Marek back in the lineup by at least the playoff round.

Czechia 5 – Switzerland 2
The line of Kvapil-Olesz-Vrana continues to carry the offensive load for the Czech team as they accounted for 3 of the 5 Czech goals. Olesz had 1 goal and 2 assists, and 2006 uber-prospect Michael Frolik, whom I have talked about before and will mention many times, had another goal! He isn’t getting any Sidney Crosby-type hype, but he almost should be.

Finland 5 – Sweden 4

If you read my entry from yesterday, than you know why I am a little pissed off at Sweden right now. I was so happy to come home and see this story:

In sensational and unprecedented comeback, Finland stunned Sweden with four unanswered goals in third period to earn a dramatic 5-4 win on Wednesday afternoon in Thief River Falls.

Finland's comeback, which spanned just over 12 minutes, started when they took advantage of a high-sticking and game misconduct penalty on Sweden's Nicklas Grossman in the opening moments of the third period. At the time of the penalty, Sweden led, 4-1.
Sweden is now 1-2 and will need some miracles to avoid playing in the relegation zone. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of talent-stealing meatball eaters ;)

The IIHF has a good preview of the final games of the preliminary round. Canada is sitting pretty and Slovakia is positioned well for the next round.

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