Saturday, December 29, 2007

2008 world junior championship
Down goes Canada

Canada's 20-game win and lengthy shutout streak at the world junior championship came crumbling down in the third period against Sweden on Saturday.
Well, I'm glad I didn't write that post about how Canada's dominance was leading to a bit of a hohum reaction from the fans here.

As far as I'm concerned, a loss makes things a little more interesting.

Twenty consecutive wins over four years, and three gold medals in a row, is pretty impressive, but this is a comparatively green entry with only two returning players, and it makes sense there'll be some adversity this time around.

Canada's next and final round-robin game will be a cakewalk against Denmark, who were pounded 10-1 by Sweden in their last game and are headed back to Division I play next year, and a 3-1 record has the Canucks waiting for the outcome from Monday's Sweden-Czech tilt. A win by the Swedes gives them an undefeated record and the top seed in Group A (and a bye to the semi-finals), but a Czech win means a three-way tie at the top between a trio of teams.

In Group B, Team USA is undefeated after a big win today over Russia, and the Americans face Finland on Monday in their final round-robin game. I believe the U.S. has already clinched top spot on that side, which would mean a bye to the semis.

On the outs: Slovakia and Kazakhstan have already been put into the relegation playdown, with Denmark and Switzerland likely soon to join them.

What you need to know, in short, is that the real elimination portion of the tournament doesn't kickoff until Wednesday, and its at that point that some pretty good teams will be walking away empty handed.

That could definitely include Canada, as it's looking like they'll have Russia or Finland in a sudden-death game, and they'll need a better effort than they put in for the third period today.

As I said, things are getting interesting.

UPDATE For reference sake, here's a look at the tie-break format the IIHF uses in this tournament to decide playoff seedings.

UPDATE The Hockey News' Ken Campbell called this year's event a snoozer before it even started.

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9 Comments:

At 9:08 PM, December 29, 2007, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

That was a heartbreaker to watch. 7 seconds left and the D had a mental lapse and both guys went for the same player.

Some lucky bounces for the Swedes but they still played a great game and deserved the win.

 
At 11:52 PM, December 29, 2007, Blogger sager said...

Well, you would have been spot-on with the ho-hum attitude... I'll confess to being pretty blasé about it up until the time the Swedes got their second goal.

 
At 12:33 AM, December 30, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Wow. Three games away from Don Lucia, and Kyle Okposo has stopped underachieving. I guess Garth Snow was right after all.

 
At 2:46 AM, December 30, 2007, Blogger Hawerchuk said...

I finally got set up so that I could watch TSN from here just as the 3rd period started, so it was a disappointing outcome.

 
At 3:18 PM, December 30, 2007, Blogger sager said...

I finally got set up so that I could watch TSN from here just as the 3rd period started ....

Ah-ha! So it was you!

(Kidding.)

 
At 3:58 PM, December 30, 2007, Blogger Bruce said...

I had a bad feeling about this game from the moment I heard that TSN intro about how many flights had flown and how many babies had been born in the world since Canada last lost in the World Junior. Hearing that self-congratulatory bilge my son promptly predicted the loss, in the process saying that such blatant bragging made him ashamed to be a Canadian.

Hopefully the (well-deserved) loss will wake up not only the Canadian team but some of the arseholes in the media as well. It's called respecting your opponents, and it seems like we all could use a dose of it.

 
At 8:00 PM, December 30, 2007, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

Bruce, did the soapbox cost much for you?

It was a ridiculously long time since Team Canada lost at the World Juniors and it's certainly something to be proud of. If that means tossing in a few odd facts for fun, so be it.

As for respecting your opponents, I heard the "arseholes" in the media point out how good the Swedish team was both before, during and after the game.

Climb back down, take a deep breath, down a Molson and relax.

 
At 8:37 PM, December 30, 2007, Anonymous kyle said...

>> I had a bad feeling about this game from the moment I heard that TSN intro about how many flights had flown and how many babies had been born in the world since Canada last lost in the World Junior. Hearing that self-congratulatory bilge my son promptly predicted the loss, in the process saying that such blatant bragging made him ashamed to be a Canadian.
<<

Could you imagine the reaction if an American network did that in regards to, say, an event at the Olympics. All the Canadians would be going nuts about arrogance and jingoism, yet we'll be the first to adopt that attitude towards hockey.

 
At 11:56 AM, December 31, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Wah wah wah, Canada has pride in something. Better than the constant attitude of belittling anything and everything about the country just because it's Canadian.

As for the game, what terrible luck on 2 of the 4 goals and what the hell was Marchand thinking, what were Hickey (?) and Doughty doing, and why was Bernier channeling Raycroft by coming out into the corner to challenge?

The kids will sort it out and it will help them to face a little adversity and it certainly makes the tournament more interesting. Not that I wouldn't have taken a cakewalk again.

 

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