Monday, May 22, 2006

Sweden secures double domination for 2006

They made it look easy as the lads from Tre Kronor collected their second gold medal of the last three months. Sweden completely dominated a lumbering Czech Republic squad, making quick work of them early on and shutting them down quite effectively on their way to a 4-0 victory and yet more gold medals to hang on the mantle.

The Czechs never seemed to get into the game as the Swedish team just kept moving the puck and breezing by the Czech defenders. It was almost a perfect game plan for Sweden who put the Czechs deep into a hole from about the midway part of the first period on, the Czechs who don’t do well when playing from behind never got a chance to try and pick up the pace as the Swedes controlled both ends of the rink quite effectively.

It marks the eighth time that Sweden has claimed a World Championship and in a bit of World Hockey history it’s the first time that a nation has won both the Olympic Gold Medal and the World Championships Gold in the same year.

For the Czech’s the silver medal was their for the claiming, but having been so handily taken to task by the Swedes there probably wasn’t much of a celebration in their dressing room later on.

If the Czech’s were disappointed by their performance, one wonders what the Canadians must be thinking as they head for home. As the tournament began they seemed poised to challenge for the Gold, but as the tournament came to a close on Sunday they hadn’t even qualified for a bronze medal. The Finns totally took charge of the bronze medal game, handing the Canadians a 5-0 loss. Normally bronze medal games don’t mean much to Canada in the first place, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort that Canada lost; it was more of a lack of energy. That and a lot of time spent in the penalty box as marginal calls took their toll on a Canadian team that eventually tired of working the penalty kill.

Canada had 32 minutes of penalties in the bronze medal game, compared to 84 minutes for all previous games in the tournament. That in a nutshell describes their play and the final outcome. With all the power play opportunities provided to Finland, the Canadians seemed to lose their focus as the game progressed and the Finns built their lead, ending with the Finns taking home the bronze.

For Canadian forward Sindey Crosby the tournament was a huge success, as the Pittsburgh Penguin was named top forward at the tournament, an honour indicative of his domination for the most part of the play throughout the competition. He also found himself named to the tournament all star team, a successful debut in his first appearance in a Canadian International uniform as a professional.

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