Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Canada gets a wake up call in Switzerland

There is always at least one game in Canada's international travels at the World Championships where the guys with the Maple Leaf on the jersey get brought back to the here and now of tournament play.

This years moment came on Monday as Team Canada found that The Finnish squad was more than up to the task of reminding Canada that a Gold Medal requires a full effort for all sixty minutes of every game.

Canada came out on the short side of the score sheet on Monday, but it was the lesson that they hopefully have learned that will carry through the rest of the week as they resume their quest for Gold in Switzerland.

The loss while ruining dreams of a perfect record, did not particularly hurt the Canadians chances to once again contest for gold, in fact it should serve as the appropriate wake up call to refocus the team on the task at hand.
The early games for Canada tend to be runaway affairs as the Canadians work their way through those teams that are slowly climbing the rankings of respectability in world hockey, the Finns perhaps their toughest test thus far and more than full value for their win in a chippy and North American looking kind of game. The action featured one particularly familiar scene for North American viewers as Steven Stamkos and Jarkko Ruutu exchanged pleasantries, with Ruutu portraying his best victim of the grassy knoll motif the raise the ire of the Canadian players, but send Stamkos to the penalty box, though Ruutu found himself banished there as well for his efforts.

It was Canada which ran into penalty trouble as the second and third period moved along, a trait they will have to guard against later this week when the knock out phase of the tournament begins and a loss means you're done in your quest for Gold.

Canada rallied in the third to regain the momentum in the game, but couldn't find a winning marker sending the game into Overtime and then that bane of Canadian hockey the shootout, which saw the Finns take the win after fourteen shots.

Up next for Canada is Latvia on Thursday, having faced a little adversity on Monday, it can be safely expected that the Canadians won't be taking the Latvians lightly when the puck drops on the quarterfinal match.

Photo above from Globe and Mail website

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