Friday, December 30, 2005

Climbing to the top in the Alps

Canada's Spengler Cup entry has once again made it to the tournament final, as Team Canada defeated Sparta Prague on Friday by a score of 8-2. Made up mostly of Canadian players who toil away in the European leagues, Team Canada consistently finishes in the top three of the tournament participants. Most recently winning the gold medal in 2002 and 2003.

Last year the Canadian team came up short as the European club teams were stocked with locked out NHLers who came home for the season. This year however, it's back to the top of the heap as coach Marc Habschied continues to get the best out of his gypsy like lineup of players.

Few are household names in Canada anymore, some probably rekindle fond memories of days in junior or college hockey or a cup or two of coffee in the NHL, but for the most part they are guys who still love the game and find that Europe makes a rather comfortable place to play the game and pick up a paycheque.

The final goes Saturday when the Canadians will play HC Mettallurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian Elite League for the tournament championship. The games have proven to be a popular feature on Rogers Sportsnet, which has played all of Canada's games on a tape delayed basis across the nation all week long.

Saturdays final will be aired on Sportsnet at 12:30 Pacific, 3:30 Eastern.

No comments: