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.

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