Friday, October 14, 2016

From One Austin, to another Auston!

So honestly after watching the Austin Matthews debut, just one thing needs to be said his performance on the night.

Now true, while at the end of the sixty minutes and a bit of OT for the 2016-17 debut for the Leafs and Senators the scoreline was Senators 5, Matthews 4, remainder of Leafs 0, the hype surrounding the young Arizonan making his regular season debut seems rather justified.

The young phenom from Scottsdale, Arizona had a fine night of skating on the ice surface at the Canadian Tire Centre, dazzling the Ottawa fans and undressing the Ottawa defenders as he provided for a performance to launch the new season for the NHL.

Bringing to the ice a performance that guaranteed top line exposure on all of the nightly sports highlights shows, even ESPN, which for the most part in the past has placed the NHL's scoring crawl in the same line up as Cricket Test matches from Fiji.

Matthews' rewarded the Leafs confidence of Draft Day in June, picking up his first NHL goal at 8:21 of the first period, followed by his second just six minutes later.  With a short break between periods, possibly to check his twitter feed and instagram account, he came back out and became the thing of nightmares for Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.

With Matthews scoring just after the one minute mark of period number two, collecting his fourth and final goal on the evening with but three seconds remaining in the middle period, a full night of hockey already accomplished with just forty minutes of play out of the way.

With a modern day NHL record in Matthews pocket, that of four goals in his first game, the Maple Leafs night on score sheet would come to an end, as the Senators finally found a way to not only shut down the highly touted addition to the Leafs lineup, but to turn the game around and claim the win in Overtime.

Perhaps a perfect outcome for hockey fans in the Nations' capital who can say they were there when Matthews' collected the first of what appear to be many records that may soon claim his name, while at the same time having seen the home side squad show some grit and take their first victory of the season.

The scoring exploits became one of the trending topics on twitter for part of the evening and no doubt set Leafs' fans hearts to racing at the prospect of a home game schedule that suggests offence may soon be back in the blue print for Maple Leaf hockey.

The only person perhaps that was happier than Maple Leafs fans on Wednesday night was League Commissioner Gary Bettman, it was like winning your Fantasy Hockey Draft on the first night of play.

Bettman has a top level American star, playing for one of the most iconic franchises in the league, one based in Canada, in the home of the top television market for the NHL, a guarantee that the launch of the legend of Auston is going to get maximum exposure.

As an added chance for a short victory lap, the newest star for the NHL hails not from a snowbound town in the hockey belt, but from that newly charted territory of Arizona. A market that Bettman has done all that he could to keep alive and with the ascent of Matthews to the NHL galaxy he no doubt make for at least a short term salute to building footprints across the continent.

At some point the Commish might prefer to see young Mr. Matthews on a US based team in one of the large media markets of the lower 48, but for now the spotlight is Toronto and Matthews it seems is going to fit in just nicely.

Sometimes you just have a great day and Wednesday was that for Matthews, Bettman, the Leafs and hockey fans as well.

The Reviews quickly came in following Matthew's debut and for fans of the Leafs, the omens would appear to indicate that alls  is going to be fine.

Why Auston Matthews is the perfect prospect for the Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews wows with four goals, but Sens beat Leafs in overtime
Leafs' Matthews offers a tour de force in debut
History was four score and one game ago
Auston Matthews' four-goal NHL debut a Twitter sensation
Sports world reacts to Auston Matthews' incredible debut with Maple Leafs
Babcock happy with Matthews and other kids, wants Maple Leaf veterans to step up
13 players who could challenge Auston Matthews for NHL rookie crown
'This is our kid. He's from our state': Arizona hockey breaming with pride after Matthews' historic debut
High praise following Auston Matthews' first game with Maple Leafs
Matthews proves he's setting the tone for the Leafs this season
Maple Leafs marketing scheme off to flying start with Auston Matthews' historic night
Matthews' historic 4 goals not enough as Leafs fall to Sens
Nothing to C here
The NHL has become a place where kids can play
Calder Trophy, meet Auston Matthews
Senators spoil Matthews' coronation by winning in Overtime
The Auston Matthews effect and dreams for USA hockey
Auston Matthews puts debut 'in the past'
Auston Matthews adding to celebration in Toronto
What they're sayin about Auston Matthews
Five things you likely don't know about Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews has record-setting debut
Auston Matthews historic in Maple Leafs debut
Auston Matthews has unforgettable debut
Watch Auston Matthews drive his mom to tears of joy
Auston Matthews debut sparks social media frenzy
Auston Matthews scores four goals in first NHL game
Auston Matthews. Wow ... just, wow
Scottsdale's Auston Matthews first ever with 4 goals in NHL debut with Toronto Maple Leafs
Spotlight growing on Auston Matthews' historic NHL debut
After four goals in NHL debut, what does Auston Matthews do for an encore?
Auston Matthews' mom was so happy for her son
Auston Matthews saw all of your nice tweets after his incredible deabut game
Number One overall pick Auston Matthews makes history in NHL debut
Gilmour, St. Louis and others weigh in on Matthews' debut
Perspective on Auston Matthews' historic NHL debut
Please Toronto, don't screw up this Auston Matthews thing

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Potus on Puck: President Obama honours the Pittsburgh Penguins at the White House

It's become an annual ritual for sports teams, a sports championship guarantees a trip to Washington and in the case of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals were not on the itinerary.

Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled into a pretty impressive arena all on its own, as President Barack Obama paid tribute to the Stanley Cup Champs for 2015-16 at the White House.

Oilers turn to McDavid to wear the C, making him youngest ever to claim that letter

The Edmonton Oilers are Connor McDavid's team now, though in reality they've been his team since the day the Oilers announced his name at the draft table. Yesterday's announcement awarding McDavid the Oilers C, just reinforced the new foundation for Oiler hockey that will build on the enthusiasm and pure skill that the young player brings to the game.

The Oiler's Centre joins some legendary names that have been selected to lead from the very first Oiler in Al Hamilton, through the Stanley Cup winning ones of Gretzky and Messier and through some names that roll through the Oiler's hockey history books.

The new face of the franchise joins a list of players who bled Orange and Blue through the good years and the not so successful ones, forces that willed remarkable victories at times and suffered the hardest of losses at others.

Beyond Northern Alberta, McDavid can review some recent hockey history for role models for his journey into leadership, Sidney Crosby and Jonathon Toews from the new generation, Steve Yzerman from Stanley Cup champs of the past all were handed the title and rewarded that confidence impressively.

Others that also were tapped early in their careers include Brian Bellows, Gabriel Landeskog, Vincent Lecavalier and Jim Schoenfeld.

As we discovered from the recent World Cup of Hockey, McDavid even at 19, has a presence on the ice that speaks volumes. Team mates gravitate to him and feed off of his passion, while line mates of course benefit from his skills on the ice.

But as the decision making process was outlined on Wednesday it's what we don't see off the ice that made the Oilers realize that the future would be secure in the hands of the young talent out of Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Here's what the Oilers think of the new holder of the Burn't Orange C ...

The 2016-17 season is one which is highly anticipated by Oiler fans and one that fans in other cities will be watching with quite a bit of interest.

From the celebrations that will come with a new rink and an expectation that the learning curve is over for young but enthusiastic squad, there is very much a feeling that it's time for results now and that this season will be the year where the challenges of the last few years will finally be forgotten.

That may be a pressure situation for some, but having watched Connor McDavid tackle high pressure situations over the last couple of years, one suspects that he's up to the challenge and that its just one more step on the return of the Oilers to levels once thought far away.

Edmonton Oilers website notes:

Captain Connor
McDavid's Dedication to Craft Leads to Captaincy

Some of the notes out of Edmonton on Wednesday's announcement can be found below:

Captaincy a confirmation of Connor McDavid's early ascendancy
Connor McDavid named youngest captain in NHK history
Captain McDavid will need some fierce henchmen to succeed - but he's got them
Oilers name Connor McDavid captain
The question wasn't if the Edmonton Oilers would name Connor McDavid captain, it was when
Edmonton Oilers name Connor McDavid as captain
Oilers' McDavid can look to Crosby, Toews, Yzerman for leadership examples
Edmonton Oilers tab Connor McDavid as captain - youngest in NHL history: 'He's mature beyond his years'
McDavid becomes youngest captain in NHL history as Oilers give him the C
Connor McDavid's challenge to Crosby as best player has only just begun
Inside the decision to make McDavid captain
Oilers make Connor McDavid youngest captain in NHL history
Connor McDavid has hard acts to follow as youngest NHL captain
Connor McDavid 'right guy' to be Oiler's captain, says Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler

Saturday, October 01, 2016

HockeyNation Headlines -- October 2016

Our archive of items for October 2016

October 20 -- Arizona Coyotes GM adding to his arsenal of ideas through chats with former Blue Jays boss Alex Anthopoulos
October 19 -- Laine explodes for hat trick to lead Jets furious comeback
October 18 -- Marian Hossa scores 500th goal of his career in wild win
October 17 -- Carey Price won't play in Canadiens' home opener
October 16 -- Long-distance goal against Oilers turned game around for Sabres
October 15 -- Leafs finally get it right in honouring - no, retiring - their greats
October 14 -- P.K. Subban golden in big day for Predators
October 13 -- Leafs' Matthews offers a tour de four in debut
October 12 -- Calgary Flames teammates relieved to have Johnny Gaudreau back in the lineup
October 11 -- Johnny Gaudreau returns to Flames, apologizes to teammates, says he wants to play for fans, city
October 10 -- Concussion diagnosis has Penguins preparing to start season without Crosby
October 9 -- Florida Panthers lose Huberdeau for months to injurym name McKenzie captain
October 8 -- Life moves on for Flames without Johnny
October 7 -- Blues acquire forward Yakupov from Oilers
October 6 -- Obama congratulates Penguins on Stanley Cup championship
October 5 -- Captaincy a confirmation of Connor McDavid's early ascendancy
October 4 -- Jackman gets a big sendoff while retiring as a Blue
October 3 -- Avalanche's Matt Duchene suffered separated shoulder in World Cup practice, played on
October 2 -- Connor McDavid leads Oilers offence in win over Kings
October 1 -- Stanley Cup lands in Lumby

Friday, September 30, 2016

Marchand pops the European dreams with game winning short handed goal

Brad Marchand celebrates a career making kind of goal
as he secures a World Cup victory for Team Canada

(photo from World Cup of hockey website)
Such was the relief at Team Canada's come from behind victory to win the World Cup on Thursday night that even fans living in British Columbia, still with memories of a Boston Bruin tandem that dashed their Stanley Cup dreams clear in their minds as a bright Pacific sky, probably stood up and cheered.

On Thursday evening, what was shaping up as a rather disastrous night for the Canadians was turned around with mere seconds to go, as Brad Marchand hustling off the Canadian bench joined into the play to convert a Jonathon Toews pass which he quickly rifled behind Jaroslav Halak to secure the victory for Team Canada.

But let's back up a bit shall we, because for 57 minutes of the game it was most certainly Team Europe's victory to claim, they out-hustled the Canadians to the puck and Halak, as he had for the entire tournament put up a wall that was almost enough to send a seismic shock through Canadian hockey.

Playing with momentum off of a laser guided missile from Zdeno Chara, the European squad did what many teams from the continent have done for decades, make a one goal game an exercise in shut down hockey, with the Canadians frustrated at any number of times through almost sixty minutes of play.

The Europeans made sure that no room would be found to launch an offensive attack, the Canadians for their part uncharacteristically making a number of sloppy plays, passes that just missed, shots that went wide and periods of lethargic play that seemed to suck the atmosphere out of the Air Canada Centre and left folks at home occasionally checking in on baseball, the NFL or pre-season hockey.

Sure we checked back in from time to time to see if things were still looking sketchy, but the full attention of the nation (much like the players it seemed at times) appeared to be elsewhere.

The Europeans no doubt were deserving of one more game of the best of three series, such was their ability to neutralize the Canadian machine, yet the as the third period moved towards the midway point though, our attention became focused again as Team Canada looking increasingly desperate to turn around the play began to pressure the European squad in ways that they hadn't through the previous fifty minutes.

First there was the equalizer as Patrice Bergeron finished off a Sidney Crosby/Brent Burns play at the seventeen minute mark to give a jump to the Canadians, putting the first doubt of the game for the Europeans at the worst possible time.

The push down the stretch didn't come without some tension, Drew Doughty took a high sticking penalty with two minutes left in the third, leaving the Canadians short handed and looking to just survive the period and take Game Two into an Overtime.

Their penalty killing proved inspiring, aided by one lucky bounce off a post and a spectacular game saving stop by Carey Price who had been providing much of the same for much of the game.

And then game the time for the Magic of Marchand, as he hopped off the bench on a change on the fly, found himself in the right spot to take a Jonathan Toews pass and with a quick shot the World Cup was Canada's.

The winning goal by Brad Marchand capped his tournament appearance, making whichever member of the Team Canada selection team that lobbied for him to be included on the roster look like an Oracle of the puck.

The wisdom of that selection having been rewarded time and time again through the tournament, the fact that the clinching goal came off of the Nova Scotian's stick was a true reward to the concept of the work ethic and always being ready to accept the call to duty.

There have been many significant moments in Canadian hockey since the legendary magic of 1972 when Paul Henderson brought relief to the huddled masses gathered around a television set watching the flickering images from Moscow.

A  goal for the ages that has been joined by a few other Heritage moments over the decades since.

And while we suspect that in the litany of historic goals for Canadian hockey, the Marchand marker won't be quite remembered in the same conversations as those of Henderson, Gretzky to Lemieux or Iginla to Crosby.

On September 29th of 2016, Brad Marchand's late game heroics resonated for Canadian hockey fans from coast to coast to coast, and even in Vancouver, where the name Marchand was once etched into the deepest corners where the nightmares of the Pacific coast hockey fan live, a glass or two of craft beer was no doubt raised as Team Canada celebrated their lucky talisman and claimed another international title.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

World Cup Game Day: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our update page for Tuesday, September 27 at the World Cup of Hockey.

Canada Wins the World Cup of Hockey 2 games to 0 in Best of Three Final

8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT
Team Europe  1 vs Team Canada 2
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Canada scores two down the stretch to beat Europe, win World Cup
Canada's Cup win maintains world hockey order
Fans get 'the outcome we wanted' as Canada wins World Cup of Hockey
Team Canada storms back to claim the World Cup of Hockey title over Team Europe
Team Europe played its heart out in loss to Team Canada: Chara
Canada's core, led by Sidney Crosby, cotinues hockey domination
Canda saves best for last as Marchand's game-winner caps late rally to seal World Cup of Hockey
Carey Prince in Vezina form, plus other takeways from World Cup
Canada's dominance in International hockey
Canada rallies to beat Team Europe, wins World Cup of Hockey
Team Canada continues its run of dominance with World Cup Win
Brad Marchand's clutch goal squashes his reputation as a pest
Canada scores twice down the stretch to stun Europe, win World Cup of Hockey
There's nothing left to question about Team Canada
How Crosby led Canada to an unprecedented golden era
Canada's golden era something to savour
MVP puts Sidney Crosby in rare company
Team Canada defeats Team Europe to win World Cup
Canada's unprecedented streak continue
Team Europe united, managed to build legacy
Final three minutes difference in Team Canada victory
Brad Marchand caps 'dream come true' with Cup-winner
Carey Prince win streak hits sweet 16

Pre Game

Europe aims to give Canada its all at second game of World Cup final
Sidney Crosby cementing place as 'best player of his generation'
Team Europe believes it can beat Canada in Game 2 of World Cup final
Once feared and dominant, Zdeno Chara's decline apparent at the World Cup of Hockey
No doubt about it: Mike Babcock deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame
Things we have learned about the World Cup of Hockey
Canada is just too good and Team North America was a ton of fun: What we learned from the World Cup of Hockey
Who is Ralph Krueger and why isn't he coaching in NHL?
Canada can't afford to take plucky Europeans lightly in Game 2 of WCOH finals
Sidney Crosby reasserts himself as game's best
Mike Babcock won't reveal lineup for Game 2
Team Europe looks to build on good things from opener
Canada strives for perfection at World Cup

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

With interest starting to wane, time to put the wrap on the World Cup for 2016

Danger World Cup!
We are getting sleepy, very sleepy
For a Final round of a highly promoted tournament, Game one of what could be, but really shouldn't be a Best of Three provided for few moments of inspiration, or as the lacklustre crowd at the Air Canada Centre who at times could work up to a good yawn, would show for few moments of excitement.

Whether it was just the fact that the tournament had entered a new week, or the thrill of the pressure packed elimination games had come to an end, the first puck drop for the finals provided an underwhelming display of the game, with the Canadian side for the most part the main culprits when it came to lethargic and sloppy play, making life miserable for their own goaltender as they went along.

The Europeans who rumbled through the tournament knocking off favourites as they did, put up a good effort, testing the Canadians Carey Price frequently, thirty three times as a matter of fact, something that should indicate the lack of attention that his defensive corps provided to the night.

As was expected, Team Europe played a more clinical game, cycling the puck, trying to slow the game down (rather successfully most will note) while taking advantage of a number of turnovers that the Canadians offered, a surprising trait that wasn't part of the Canadian game plan for most of this tournament.

Defensively the Europeans had high hopes of concentrating on shutting down Team Canada's top line of Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, something that others attempted and failed at and once again didn't happen on Tuesday night.

That top offensive combo provided for two of Canada's three goals and six points on the scoresheet for the night, the first marker opening the game at 2:33 of the first, the second closing it down for good at the 9 and half point of period number three.

Canada's other marker on the night was a Steven Stamkos shot, which converted a Ryan Getzlaf pass for a 2-0 lead heading into the first.

The full Canadian lull came in the second period as the Europeans briefly found some incentive on a Tomas Tatar goal at the seven minute mark and while they would have a number of other chances, nothing else would get by Price in the Canadian nets.

For much of the game the Canadians play suggested that they were weary of the tournament and that the end can't come fast enough.

And while the Europeans are saying all the right things for motivation purposes, that of playing the Canadians tough in game one, showing disappointment at letting a chance for a win get away, even they probably have the feeling that they won't be hanging around for a Game Three.

After a couple of weeks of some high tempo hockey and emotional play, the first instalment of the Final was not the kind of game that suggested drama was at hand, in fact you know that you're in trouble when the Zamboni becomes the main attraction for the night, going in circles over and over again, which come to think of it, was a similar style that many on Team Canada seemed to be bringing to the game for long stretches when the ice was resurfaced.

Wednesday is an off day for the two teams, a chance to refocus and  review how they played in Game One and what they need to change for the next one, for Canadian fans the hope will be that Team Canada brings a bit more immediacy to the rink.

The fact that they won with a sub par effort is probably a testimony to the fact that even on a bad day they are still the Best of the Show, but the time is at hand to bring the World Cup of Hockey to an end.

Thursday should bring the curtain down for the 2016 edition, leaving hockey fans to prepare to turn their attention to training camps and who will be in the opening night lineups of mid October.

It's been a fun run for the European squad that has probably provided tournament organizers with more than a few things to give some thought towards as they ponder the tournament make up in years to come ....

But for Team Canada, Thursday should be Closing Time!

It's time to put the bar stools up and turn off the Big Screen TV's, better for Canada turn them off with one more win, before the folks at home turn them off themselves over a lack of interest.

The pace of Tuesday's game did not go un-noticed by the media covering Game One from the Air Canada Centre, you can review some of their thoughts from our Game Day Archive.

World Cup Game Day: September 27, 2016

Our update page for Tuesday, September 27 at the World Cup of Hockey.

8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT
Team Europe 1 vs Team Canada 3
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Price bails out home team as Canada tops Europe in Game 1
Whose game? The question has been asked and answered
Canada squeezes out victory over Europe in snoozefest Game 1 of World Cup of Hockey Final
Simply put: Game 1 of Canada-Europe World Cup of Hockey final was brutal
Europe keeps it close in Game 1 loss to Canada
Crosby line leads Canada to Game 1 win over Europe
Canada in control of underwhelming World Cup Final after 3-1 win over Euorpe, but the thrill is gone
Canada holds off Team Europe in Game 1 of World Cup of Hockey Final
Canada needs to play a better overall game against Europe or risk -- gasp -- losing a game
Canada cruises to 3-1 win over Team Europe in Game 1 of World Cup Finals
Stamkos, Canada draw first blood in World Cup Final
Team Canada defeats Team Europe in Game 1
Team Europe 'very angry' over Game 1 loss
Team Canada far from perfect but good enough
Carey Price big when he has to be
Top line continues to lift Team Canada

Pre Game

Sidney Crosby's legendary resume is missing one thing: World Cup Gold 
Canada's Marchand turns into little ball of great
Europe's Zdeno Chara still draws respect at 39
Looks like Krueger has all the right tools to slay Canada
Roman Josi - the diamond in the rough of Norris Trophy contenders - shines for Europe at World Cup
Former Canadiens teammates Carey Prince and Jaroslav Halak go head-to-head, and four other storylines for the World Cup of Hockey final
Brad Marchand's reward for starring at the World Cup of Hockey? A cool US$49 million contract extension
Could Team Europe really beat Canada? It would take an upset of miraculous proportions
Win or lose, Team Europe has surpassed expectations at the World Cup of Hockey
'He's like a real diamond': Roman Josi having coming out party at World Cup
Former "Little Ball of Hate" Marchand has earned spot on Team Canada's top line, contract extension with Bruins
Canadiens past resurfaces as Price and Halak clash in World Cup of Hockey final
Team Europe motivated to knock off Canada
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky among World Cup of Hockey converts
No past or future: Team Europe embraces World Cup stage
Team Canada's battle-tested leaders benefit from experience
Europe has to be firing on all cylinders to have a shot at Canada
Team Europe's Jaroslav Halak making another surprise star turn
Europe has a Cinderella run at the World Cup of Hockey, but Canada is its midnight
Marian Gaborik to miss World Cup final
Team Europe looks to get jump on upset bid in Game 1
Focus, fear key for Team Canada
Jaroslav Halak, Team Europe capable of earning upset
Team Canada looks to stay dominant in World Cup Final
Carey Price can thank Jaroslav Halak
Jaroslav Halak cornerstone of Team Europe
Team Europe's experience could fuel upset
Team Canada too deep, talented

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the flash of a blade, Sweden is sent packing by Team Europe

The ensemble cast of hockey's version of Les Miserables made things rather miserable for Swedes everywhere on Sunday, as momentum, that of a skate blade to be precise, told the tale for whether Team Europe, or Team Sweden would move on in the second semi-final of the World Cup of Hockey.

Team Europe, the tossed together line up of the other countries that don't quite put fear into the hearts of hockey nations as a full unit, collected a string of A-listers that was made up along the lines of a Noah's Ark squad (one, or two from each of the participating counties) along with some surprising lesser names.

All of whom pulled on the rather colourful uniform of Team Europe and took to the ice without the benefit of even a national anthem (though in a pinch they possibly could have pulled out the EU's Ode to Joy which seems to be the defacto song of unity for those inclined to such a concept in Europe)

Regardless if they had a song to sing along with or not, all seemed to gel quite nicely under coach Ralph Krueger, who no doubt channelled that always popular theme of "No one respects us, and no one expects us" something clearly heard by his roster of new believers.

That approach worked well through the opening round and on Sunday in the second semi-final of the weekend, the European squad would once again surprise the hockey pundits, as they and Team Sweden settled in for what at times resembled a sixty minute drills session, occasionally broken up with some bursts of speed and yes, even a hit or two.

It wasn't a thriller by any means, that despite the fact it went to an Overtime before the Euro's found their winning goal off of the skate of Tomas Tatar, the bulk of the three periods was for the most part a stifling affair of lock down hockey. Ye there was some nice passing and shots were fired on goal here and there, and while plentiful at 39 to 31 in favour of the Swedes, you never really had the feeling that suggested a high scoring match was on the horizon.

The first period was played to a 0-0 draw and for good cause, few chances were taken, few mistakes were there to be capitalized on, as the two sides took to lengthy glides on the ice as drawn up on the dressing room board we imagine.

Period two did find some scoring as each team traded goals the Swedes making their case for another Canada/Sweden final with Nicklas Backstrom's goal in the first three minutes, the Europeans going not so fast when Marian Gaborik grabbed the equalizer late in the middle frame.

Tomas Tatar served notice that Sweden might not be fulfilling its destiny when he picked up his first of two goals on the day at the twelve second mark of the final period, Team Sweden would not claw their way back into a tie until fifteen minutes later when Erik Karlsson gave hope to the Blue and Gold combining with the Sedins for a nice passing play to even things up.

Neither side could find the range in the final four and half minutes setting the stage for the Overtime drama which would not take long to play out, with Tatar once again the featured attraction parked at the side of the Swedish net, directing the puck with his skate by Henrik Lundqvist setting off celebrations from uh, ah, well ... they were pretty happy on the Team Europe bench at least.

The Swedes looked sufficiently stunned at the outcome, wondering if the goal was valid or not, though in the end it was ruled a good goal and the celebration for Team Europe was on.

And while Sweden may have been shocked, they probably were nowhere near as baffled as World Cup organizers.

They now have a team that was tossed together as a way to showcase the constellation of non hockey power nations (Team Leftovers as some would call them) ready to challenge for the top honours.  Something we are pretty sure they didn't anticipate back when they cooked up the World Cup Concept earlier this year.

The European squad now moves on to the Semi-Finals on Tuesday and the first of what could be a three game showdown with Team Canada.

And while most probably believe that the Canadians will be on a fast track to claiming the top spot for 2016, a few bounces of a puck and the continued hot hand of Jaroslav Halak could make things interesting.

If the Europeans really want to really put a scare into Canadian hockey fans from game one on, we offer up an alternative option for the anthem prior to each game.

Same tune; different interpretation.

If nothing else, it probably would make for the perfect dressing room sound mix to get some European blood pumping prior to face off.

And should Team Europe pull off a World Cup Hockey championship, it will definitely become the talking point for the two weeks of hockey that have played out and none of us will ever look at Ode to Joy in the same light again.

You can review the game summary and some notes on Sunday's semi-final from our Game Day Archive page here.

World Cup Game Day: Sunday, September 26, 2106

Our update page for Sunday, September 25 at the World Cup of Hockey.

1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
Team Sweden 2 vs. Team Europe 3 (Overtime)
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Team Europe has made it to the best-of-three tournament final
Anything but gold was a 'failure' to Team Sweden
Team Europe stuns Sweden on Tomas Tatar overtime goal, will face Canada in World Cup final
Team Europe digs deep to reach World Cup of Hockey championship series
No past or future: Team Europe embraces World Cup stage
Europe beats Sweden in OT to reach World Cup of Hockey finals
Coach Krueger and Europe living in the now of World Cup
Europe goes from laughingstock to last opponent standing at World cup
Team Europe's World Cup success may spell its end
Tatar scores in OT to lift Team Europe into final
Team Europe's Cinderella story continues
Team Sweden never played to potential

Pre Game

Fittingly, Sweden stands between Europe and World Cup Final
Team Eurpoe playing with house money but no pushover at World Cup of Hockey
Team Europe, Team Sweden vie for World cup final spot
Patience paying off for Team Sweden
Henrik Lundqvist gives Team Sweden advantage
5 keys: Team Europe vs. Team Sweden
Jaroslav Halak embracing next challenge
Team Europe defensemen gain valuable audition time
Team Sweden not taking semifinal lightlty
Mikael Backlund leaves Team Sweden
Team Europe not lacking pride at World Cup
Team Sweden focused to face Team Europe this time
Team Europe deserves respect in World Cup semifinal
Mikael Backlund out of World Cup of Hockey with concussion
Slovak vets Gaborik, Hossa, Chara are foundation of Team Europe's surprising success
Henrik Lundqvist leads Sweden into World Cup of Hockey semi-final
Henrik Lundqvist eager for Rangers return - but first, a World Cup title

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey