Wednesday, May 11, 2005


WC's: Into the Knockout Round

The Ukrainians gave another top team, Canada, more fits as they held the Canucks to just a 2-1 victory in front of only 2,211 fans. What? No love for the Ukes?

Rick Nash (who else?) potted the winner in his usual 'Tim Kerr Jr.' style and Canada had a tough time generating offence against a Ukrainian team playing an aggressive 0-5 'NyQuil' forecheck.

Meanwhile, evil Sweden recovered from their American beating to wallop Belarus 9-1 and take first place in Pool F. Typical of Sweden to run up the score ;)

Slovakia had another one of those games where they had plenty of chances (50 shots!) and few goals as they defeated Kazakhstan 3-1. Slovakia has done well against the poor teams, but needs to start playing well against GOOD opponents.

And to finish off, Czechia wrapped up 2nd place in Pool E with a 5-1 win over Glen Hanlon's Belarus squad. I don't think Hanlon will get a return engagement after leading Belarus to a rather poor record...and just 4 goals for!

Standings after yesterday's games

Group Qualifying F
Team G W T L GF : GA PTS
1 SWE 5 4 0 1 23 : 13 8
2 CAN 5 3 1 1 18 : 14 7
3 USA 5 2 2 1 14 : 10 6
4 FIN 5 1 3 1 12 : 13 5
5 LAT 5 1 1 3 9 : 18 3
6 UKR 5 0 1 4 5 : 13 1

Group Qualifying E
R Team G W T L GF : GA PTS
1 RUS 5 3 2 0 13 : 8 8
2 CZE 5 4 0 1 15 : 5 8
3 SVK 5 3 1 1 12 : 11 7
4 SUI 5 2 1 2 9 : 10 5
5 BLR 5 1 0 4 4 : 11 2
6 KAZ 5 0 0 5 3 : 11 0

...and now the real fun begins with the Mike Tyson Knockout Round, beginning on Thursday. One loss and you go home crying to your partially-eaten children.

Canada vs. Slovakia

Canada *should* win this game, normally. Slovakia has had plenty of trouble with the top teams, and Canada has much more talent defensively and in goal. Still, Slovakia seems to be gellin like a felon on the offensive side (results aside) while the Canadian defence is sucking lemons. This is the year that Canada is primed to be booted off of the island, and I have my biases.
Predicition: Slovakia 4 - Canada 3

Czechia vs. USA

USA was great against the evil Swedes and played well against Canada. Czechia has been in fine form defensively, and has the edge in personnel, even with Jagr's finger hanging by a surgical thread.
Czechia should win a very tight and, probably, boring defensive battle.
Prediction: Czechia 2 - USA 1

Russia vs. Finland

Finland has almost no offensive firepower that will leave goaltenders waking up with cold sweats. Russia has a lot of no-name players (outside of Russia) that have really gelled and played much better than star-studded Russian teams of the past. Despite the lack of offence, you can always count on the Finns to play a tough game and keep the score close. I expect an upset here.
Predicition: Finland 3 - Russia 2

Sweden vs. Switzerland

Overpriced watches and sheltered bank accounts are no defence for evil Swedish torpedos. Apart from their amazing loss to the US, Sweden has been phenominal without their top stars. How do they do it?

Predicition: Sweden 5 - Switzerland 1

Sweden actually beat Latvia 9-1. And you're in good company picking Slovakia in the upset; Mark Spector from the Post wrote the same thing today.
D'oh!! So much for editing... isn't that your job, now? :)

Who is Mark Spector? Anti-Canadian hockey writer? :) I don't get the Post anywhere so I wouldn't know him..
Mark Spector
Thanks. Too bad the articles are behind a subscriber wall :(
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