Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hey, A little help here if you can ... Bobrovsky left to fend for himself as Canadians roll over Russia

Russian net minder Sergei Bobrovsky is going to be reporting to his Columbus Blue Jackets training camp in a few days and the first thing he'll probably do is take a deep sigh of relief at the prospect of having some help from the blue line for a change from his last week or so.

And that's saying something considering the Blue Jackets offered up 252 goals against last year, second worst in the NHL and yet compared to the corps on the Russian line this tournament, the Blue Jackets look like lock down specialists.

The signs were building for much of the week that the Russians were a little thin on the blue line but perhaps Bobrovsky should have been prepared for Saturday night's defensive shortcomings when he cracked open the fortune cookies for a glimpse on the game to come.

Bobrovsky did all he could to stem off such omens for Mother Russia on Saturday night, making for the main difference between at least keeping things respectable, as opposed to suffering a humiliation on the ice as he held off a high octane Canadian lineup.

A squad that while scoring five goals over the course of the three periods, probably left the ice following their semi-final victory wondering how with 47 shots on goal, they didn't get even more behind the Russian goal line.

The Russian defence was horrendous in their showdown with the Canadians, allowing the home side into their zone time and time again, the concept of clearing the front of the net, or taking a man once and a while, seemingly forgotten once they jumped over the boards and onto the ice.

Offensively they weren't much more effective, while a second period lead at 2-1 provided for a temporary case of the vapours for Canadian fans, once Team Canada had returned the universe to its balance it quickly became clear that the Russian team, while gaining 34 shots on goal,  didn't really seem all that dangerous or inclined to be making much of a push, that might give much further cause for distress for the Canadian side.

For Canada Brad Marchand continued to make for a fascinating story line for the tournament,  his play a major difference maker for the Canadians, adding to his reviews on the week by snaring two goals that proved to be quite instrumental in Canada's 5-3 victory over the Russians.

Both of which came as a result of some terrific work from Captain Sidney Crosby who got the puck over to Marchand on both occasions for the finishing touch.

Another strong night for Sidney Crosby
as he bested long time rival
Alexander Ovechkin in Saturday's semi-final
Of course Marchand has benefited from shared ice time with Sidney Crosby, who once again was no slouch on the ice himself, picking up a beauty of an opening goal as he forced a turnover in the Russian end to set the pace for Canada.

Besides his opener and the assists on the Marchand goal, Crosby continued to have a dominating presence on the ice, overshadowing Russia's Alexander Ovechkin who struggled to find any kind of offence on the night.

Russia's marquee player was slowed down rather effectively by Jonathon Toews and his line mates, frequently leaving the Russians frustrated for much of the sixty minutes as they became bogged down an incapable of moving the puck with any authority.

Russia did offer up some resistance and for a brief period in the second period had pulled ahead of the Canadian squad and appeared ready to set the scene for another Canada/Russia thriller, however Team Canada settled their play down shortly after that brief spurt.

Marchand's first goal of the night coming just one minute after the Russians took the lead, his second in the opening two minutes of the third returned a one goal margin for the Canadians and they never looked back.

Corey Perry picked up his first goal of the tournament less than five minutes later, the marker not only providing the cushion that gave Canadian fans an opportunity to breathe, but also appeared to finally knock down any Russian prospects of a push back.

John Tavares also grabbed his first goal of the World Cup salting away the victory at the 9 and half minute point of the third, the Canadians by that time in full control of the flow, dictating the play as they wished.

Russia made one more mark on the scoring sheet with less than ten seconds to go in the game, with an extra attacker on the ice Artemi Panarin was credited with the Russians third goal of the night, though replays suggest that it probably should not have counted, however with time close to expiration no challenge was issued, the Canadians content for the centre ice puck drop and the sound of the horn.

Canada moves on to the Finals set to begin on Tuesday evening, their opposition will be sorted out on Sunday afternoon as one of the pleasant surprises of the tournament Team Europe look to spoil any plans that the Swedes have of securing their place in the three game final.

For the Russians they will scatter to their various directions, the NHL based players to their training camps those in the European leagues or Russia's KHL will make their return overseas. And while they return to the ice, they will leave it to the officials back in Moscow to try and figure out why their development program suddenly no longer can deliver the likes of a Fetisov, Mironov, Zubov or Zhitnik.

Members of defensive units that once held a strong presence on a Russian blue line and gave hockey fans a totally different theme to consider when talking about Russian hockey.

You can find more on the Canada/Russia semi-final from our  Game Day Archive page, which features game summaries and a collection of commentary and analysis of Saturday night's match up.

The Expandable NHL -- Las Vegas Archive

Our notes on development from the Southwest desert, as the Las Vegas franchise for the 2017-18 season begins to put together its foundation to launch its travels in the NHL.

Las Vegas
Team website

September 22 -- Vegas Hockey Fan Fest scheduled for October 8 at Toshiba Plaza
September 22 -- Announcement of Las Vegas NHL team name delayed again
September 22 -- Hockey team announces 20-year lease for Summerlin practice facility
September 20 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise sells out season-ticket allotment
September 20 -- Las Vegas franchise ready to pack the house, sell out of season tickets for 2017-18
September 19 -- Las Vegas reaches limit on season tickets
September 19 -- Las Vegas hockey team hits season ticket deposit cap at 16,000
September 19 -- Las Vegas NHL team sells out season ticket deposits a year in advance
September 19 -- Las Vegas hockey team hits season ticket deposit cap at 16,000
September 19 -- Sold Out: Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise reaches season-ticket deposit limit of 16,000
September 19 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion team reaches cap for season tickets
September 19 -- Las Vegas' new NHL team already sold out their season tickets
September 19 -- NHL Las Vegas hockey season tickets sold out
September 19 -- Jackpot: Vegas Expansion Team sells out Season Tickets
September 17 -- Foley turns attention to business side for Las Vegas expansion team staff
September 16 -- Bettman and Fehr on World Cup, Las Vegas, salary cap info and jersey ads
September 15 -- Bill Foley, fans put too much emphasis on NHL team's nickname
September 14 -- Poker Face: Vegas NHL Expansion team has a name, but it's a secret
September 14 -- Construction ready to begin on Las Vegas NHL team practice facility
September 13 -- Las Vegas inches closer to NHL team name
September 13 -- Las Vegas NHL team will be called Silver, Desert or Golden Knights
September 13 -- Las Vegas trademarks three names
September 13 -- With staff in place, McPhee confident he'll bring NHL winner to Las Vegas
September 10 -- Las Vegas NHL team name to have word "Knights" in it
September 9 -- Las Vegas NHL team adds Robert Morris assistant coach as amateur scout
September 9 -- Las Vegas owner confirms team will have "Knights" in name
September 7 -- NHL Las Vegas team hires Raphaël Pouliot as scout
September 3 -- Bill Foley admits to registering fake names for Las Vegas NHL team
September 3 -- Las Vegas owner registered fake names in 'misdirection ploy'
September 2 -- Las Vegas NHL team hires NHL veteran Kelly Kisio as pro scout

August 31 -- Las Vegas NHL team adds  former minor-leaguer Kent Hawley as amateur scout
August 23 -- Las Vegas NHL franchise hires Vaughn Karpan as director of player personnel
August 18 -- Bill Foley learning valuable lesson in selecting team name
August 18 -- Murray Craven gets title with Las Vegas NHL team
August 17 -- Las Vegas NHL team hires scout
August 17 -- George McPhee returns from Europe armed with knowledge of young hockey players
August 12 -- Vegas NHL team goes back to drawing board in search of nickname
August 12 -- Bill Foley says 'Nighthawks' still in play for Las Vegas NHL nickname
August 12 -- Las Vegas NHL team registers 3 choices for potential team name
August 11 -- Report: Red Hawks, Desert Hawks and Nighthawks in play for name of Vegas NHL team
August 10 -- Las Vegas NHL team hires David Prior as goalie coach
August 8 -- Las Vegas NHL team hires Misha Donskov as director of hockey operations
August 7 -- Las Vegas NHL team general manager scouting for players at European hockey tournament
August 6 -- Bill Foley again asks for fans' patience on NHL team name
August 4 -- NHL Las Vegas team hires director of player personnel
August 4 -- Las Vegas dips into Washington franchise for its director of player development
August 3 -- We're still trying to figure out the Las Vegas hockey fan
August 3 -- Las Vegas' NHL team making slow but steady progress on finding a name
August 2 -- Kelly McCrimmon takes 'dream job' with Las Vegas NHL team
August 2 -- Kelly McCrimmon joins Las Vegas' NHL team as assistant general manager
August 2 -- T-Mobile Arena's public preview of hockey setup awes fans
August 1 -- Kelly McCrimmon leaving juniors for Las Vegas NHL
August 1 -- Las Vegas hockey fans get to see NHL team's home (video)

July 31 -- Las Vegas NHL team to get WHL coach as Assistant GM
July 24 -- Former NHL Player Murray Craven back in the game with Bill Foley
July 23 -- This is the name you decided on for Las Vegas' NHL team
July 22 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion team still searching for name
July 15 -- Bill Foley's frustration grows over lack of name for Las Vegas NHL team
July 14 -- New GM expounds on philosophy behind building Vegas' franchise
July 13 -- Murray Craven helped deliver new GM George McPhee to Bill Foley
July 13 -- Las Vegas NHL team introduces George McPhee as GM (video)
July 13 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion team reportedly hires McPhee as GM
July 13 -- In mirror image, Las Vegas owner Bill foley hires no-nonsense GM
July 13 -- Las Vegas NHL team picks George McPhee as general manager
July 13 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise hires George McPhee as GM
July 13 -- Foley tabs former Capitals leader to be Vegas team's first GM
July 11 -- Las Vegas NHL team closes in on general manager hire
July 6 -- Dropping the puck in Sin City
July 2 -- Las Vegas NHL expansion team holds staff meeting - in Montana
July 1 -- If hockey stars align, Victor Hedman makes sense on Las Vegas blue line
July 1 -- Veteran NHL executive on L.V.: 'They have to decide what type of identity they want'

June 30 -- New Las Vegas club had edge over NHL's 2000 expansion teams
June 30 -- NHL may face uphill climb in Las Vegas, but let's hope it can stick
June 29 -- The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation
June 28 -- Bill Foley planning ahead with local NHL team's opening-season roster
June 25 -- NHL betting at T-Mobile is possible (there's an app for it); no shakin' in Elvis' old theatre
June 25 -- Bill Foley nears deal to build hockey practice facility next to downtown Summerlin
June 25 -- Toronto sports official on NHL in Las Vegas: "It's a bad idea"
June 24 -- Season ticket sales for Las Vegas NHL team exceed 15,000
June 24 -- NHL's expansion decision gets varied reaction in media
June 24 -- 10 subtle decisions Bill Foley must make for his Las Vegas NHL team
June 24 -- Bill Foley's focus is to get Las Vegas hockey operations running 
June 24 -- Bill Foley expects NHL franchise to give Las Vegas a new identity
June 23 -- What type of owner will Bill Foley be? Think late Ed Snider or Mark Cuban
June 23 -- Picking team name, logo tops list of what's next for Las Vegas' NHL franchise
June 23 -- NHL insiders say Las Vegas could field competitive team soon
June 23 -- Bill Foley considers options for minor league affiliates for his NHL team
June 23 -- Las Vegas NHL chief Bill Foley: 'This is not going to be a 10-year program'
June 23 -- T-Mobile Arena played major role in enticing NHL to Las Vegas
June 23 -- NHL player Jason Zucker can't wait for puck to drop in Las Vegas
June 23 -- Ex-Wrangler Deryk Engelland says Las Vegas' distractions will benefit home team
June 23 -- Youth hockey could flourish with NHL in Las Vegas
June 23 -- Las Vegas could be attractive destination for NHL free agents

And the NHL will expand to ... Las Vegas, Nevada

June 22 -- Las Vegas hockey history now includes an NHL team
June 23 -- T-Mobile Arena designed for hockey
June 22 -- Place your bets: Books already taking action on new NHL team
June 22 -- Las Vegas awarded NHL expansion team
June 22 -- Las Vegas NHL franchise now faces many tough hockey decisions
June 22 -- Gary Bettman, Bill Foley confirm Las Vegas expansion franchise
June 22 -- Even before talk of pro pucks, Las Vegas has been a major league city
June 22 -- FAQ about Las Vegas expansion team
June 22 -- Las Vegas hockey fans cheer long-awaited arrival of NHL team
June 22 -- NHL rolls dice on expansion team in Las Vegas
June 22 -- Season-ticket holders for Las Vegas NHL franchise will be able to select seats soon
June 22 -- Bill Foley's commitment to Army will show how he runs NHL team
June 22 -- Sports books don't expect betting ban on NHL's Las Vegas team
June 22 -- Hockey fans ponder what's in a name?
June 22 -- Five potential coaches for the new Las Vegas NHL franchise
June 22 -- Maloofs stay in background as  minority owners of Las Vegas NHL team
June 22 -- Bill Foley smitten with 'Black Knights' as Las Vegas nickname
June 22 -- NHL Board of Governors votes to expand to Las Vegas
June 22 -- Cost of NHL expansion goes from $2 million to $500 million
June 22 -- Here's a timeline for Las Vegas' pursuit of an NHL expansion franchise
June 22 -- Las Vegas NHL team owner Bill Foley opens up in a wide-ranging sitdown
June 22 -- NHL is welcomed to Las Vegas
June 22 -- NHL expansion press conference in Las Vegas
June 22 -- NHL expected to officially announce Las Vegas expansion franchise today
June 21 -- Kings' Drew Doughty looking forward to Las Vegas rivalry
June 21 -- Vegas NHL team will need to get creative, play good hockey to keep fans
June 21 -- Foley, Las Vegas fans await NHL's vote to grant expansion franchise
June 20 -- Bill Foley to stay low key as wait for Las Vegas NHL team is almost over
June 20 -- Oscar Goodman started Las Vegas' NHL relationship
June 16 -- With Las Vegas decsion, the NHL gets lost in the desert
June 15 -- Why the NHL is hot on Vegas
June 15 -- NHL's imminent Las Vegas expansion a ridiculous decision
June 15 -- NHL hasn't pursued betting ban for local expansion team
June 14 -- NHL finally ready to gamble on Las Vegas
June 14 -- NHL settles on Las Vegas for Expansion: source

The Expandables -- Quebec City Archive

Our notes on development from the Southwest desert, as the Las Vegas franchise for the 2017-18 season begins to put together its foundation to launch its travels in the NHL.

Quebec City 

September 14 -- Bill Daly Still hoping for NHL Expansion in Quebec City soon

June 27 -- Quebec taxpayers spent hundreds of Millions on an NHL-ready arena and didn't get an NHL team
June 26 -- Paying for an NHL-ready arena only guarantees you a spot on the rumour  mill
June 26 -- History of a dream: Régis Labeaume's unending quest for NHL hockey
June 26 -- Quebec City's Centre Vidéotron 'Field of Dreams' a nighmare for taxpayers
June 24 -- Quebecor-ownd TVA Sports, doubles losses  if first year of NHL, RDS profits drop 58%
June 24 -- Régis Labeaume convinced Quebec City will have an NHL team, some day
June 23 -- Why Sin City topped Quebec City for an NHL team
June 23 -- Why the NHL (and the Montreal Canadiens) said no to Quebec City
June 23 -- Quebec City still holding out hope for future team as NHL opts to expand to Las Vegas
June 23 -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doles out another face-wash to Canada
June 23 -- Quebec City vows to continue fight for NHL team
June 22 -- NHL defers expansion to Quebec City
June 22 -- Quebec City ponders options after NHL defers expansion bid
June 22 -- NHL expansion to Las Vegas; no team for Quebec City
June 22 -- Quebec City remains patient, optimistic
June 22 -- Sorry, Quebec City: Loonie, geography blamed for NHL team deferral
June 15 -- Even if you build it, NHL still won't come to Quebec City
June 15 -- Writing has been on the wall for Quebec City non-expansion
June 15 -- NHL's Las Vegas expansion a ridiculous decision by any normal metric. But, hey, free money
June 14 -- Las Vegas a 'done deal' for NHL expansion team, but not Quebec City
June 4 -- Mulroney has his doubts about Quebec City NHL expansion this year
June 3 -- Mulroney: Quebec City expansion 'slim'
June 3 -- Ex-PM Mulroney optimistic for NHL return to Quebec City, but not soon

April  8 -- Does Hurricanes owner have eye on Quebec City?

Mrach 23 -- Québecor owner still wants NHL franchise in Quebec City
March 16 -- Quebec City most natural choice for expansion
March  7 -- Rumours aside, the weak Canadian dollar won't help Quebec City's dreams of NHL expansion this time

January 15 -- Puny loonie could have a huge impact on the NHL

The Expandable NHL -- Archive of Developments 2016-17

With the Las Vegas franchise beginning to lay its foundation for play in the 2017-18 season, we'll start to track their moves both in the front office and in the city itself as they prepare to introduce their team to the NHL collective.

With Vegas now officially in and the NHL looking to expand by two in the years to come, we'll also track other locations that are looking to find a crack in the door to join up with the league, either through the expansion process, or by standing by to take any wards of the NHL that may arrive from existing locations.

In the Club

Las Vegas

Looking for a seat at the table

Quebec City


World Cup Game Day: Saturday, September 24, 2016

Our update page for Saturday, September 24 at the World Cup of Hockey.

7:00 ET/4:00 PT
Team Canada 5 vs. Team Russia 3
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Canada pots four straight goals, pulls away from Russia to clinch spot in World Cup of Hockey final
Canada pulls away from Russia to reach final at World Cup of Hockey
Canada steamrolls into World Cup final
Canada advances to World Cup of Hockey final after beating Russian rivals
Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry ends with Sid on top once again
Alexander Ovechkin's legacy is being defined by his play against Sidney Crosby
Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky put in the best performance of the tournament but still lost to Canada
Brad Marchand scores twice as Canada reaches World Cup Finals
Marchand, Crosby lead Canada over Russia
Sidney Crosby's dominance helps Canada send Russia packing
Team Canada defeats Team Russia to reach final
Alex Ovechkin thwarted by Team Canada
Sergei Bobrovsky does his part, gets little help

Pre Game

Sidney Crosby carries weight of a nation in World Cup of Hockey
'Going to be crazy': Russians relish matchup with Canadians
Sergei Bobrovsky will be Canada's biggest obstacle in World Cup of Hockey semi-final against Russia
Beating Sidney Crosby, Canada at World Cup of hockey would be a signature moment for Russia's Alex Ovechkin
Weber says Canada's sustained success comrs from 'having pride in wearing that maple leaf'
Ovechkin and Russia beating Crosby and Canada in World Cup semifinal would speak volumes
Storied Canada-Russia rivalry begins next chapter at World Cup of hockey
Sidney Crosby among six forwards getting own postage stamps
Can Canada be stopped? Ranking the four remaining teams in World Cup of Hockey
Former Russian team goalie Ilya Bryzgalov remembers Canadians in 2010 as big, mean, scary
What to watch for: Russia vs. Canada
The Canada-Russia rivalry, which once produced the best hockey ever played, could use a kickstart
Can Russia compete with Canada?
Canada expects intense, emotional game from Russia
Russia will need some luck against these Canadians
Team Canada's 'here to win' - but Russia's a real threat at World Cup
Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin in International play
Red-Hot Bobrovsky stands in Canada's way
Pavel Dasyuk's status for semi-final uncertain
Team Russia in position to upset in semifinal
Make no mistake, Canada will be ready for Russia
Canada vs. Russia still holds magic for diehard hockey fans
Canada-Russia gets new chapter at World Cup
Alex Ovechkin, Team Russia eager to play Team Canada
World Cup semifinal storylines to follow
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin to meet in semifinal
Team Canada won't adapt for Team Russia
Phil Esposito plays ambassador to Russia

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hey, anyone see Connor's Ninendo games? Russia rolls over Finns,while we have parting gifts for USA and the Czechs

Try as they might no amount of   HyvaSumoiGo would work for the fans of Team North America on Thursday afternoon, with the Russian squad taking to their tasks with some serious determination to make sure that they were punching their ticket to a Saturday showdown with their legendary rivals Canada.

Mind you, the Russians did take a bit time to get started, looking like a Lada just hauled out of Vlad's garage in need of a tune up. It took more than few minutes before they took the afternoon match up with Finland in hand by the midway point of period number two.

The middle frame proving to be the end for the Finns as Russia scored two goals in quick succession as Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Telegin rattled in markers separated by less than ninety seconds to serve notice that any thought of Finnish resistance perhaps might be futile.

And considering how much the Finnish team had struggled to score through the tournament, a two goal lead by a machine such as the Russians may as well been a ten to nothing shellacking.

Evgini Malkin scored one extra goal in the third just to ensure that the Finns would not grab any momentum, something that for the most part never really appeared to be much of a threat of that happening.

From some early enthusiasm for the gang from Suomi in the early periods, the sudden roll from the Russians had an effect on the Air Canada Centre crowd that quickly channelled the feeling of a quiet Greyhound station awaiting the midnight bus.

The majority of the crowd which appeared keen for a Finnish victory realizing that the prospect of the North American Young Guns advancing was quickly fading into the Toronto afternoon.

Leaving us with only memories of that youthful exuberance and a remarkable run by a group that probably didn't even bother to pack shaving cream.

Though while disappointed that the chance to watch the energetic youngsters continue on into the tournament has been dashed, the consolation prize for hockey fans is a pretty good one, with the Thursday win the Russians set up a Semi Final Showdown with Canada for Saturday night.

A one game winner moves on, loser packs up match up that will call to mind some of the dramatic games of the past whenever the two nations catch up to each other on a sheet of ice.

The night cap game had no drama, no real energy and brought a whole lot of extra baggage into the Air Canada Centre beyond the regular sticks and equipment.

Team USA went into their final game of their tournament experience embroiled in some nasty finger pointing and keeping the twitter feeds of social media alive as they reviewed an avalanche of trolling from players of the past, or those left off the USA's 2016 World Cup roster.

By the time they took the pre game skate, one imagines that the American players no doubt were anxious to be done with the Thursday game ...  a feeling similar to those Southwest airlines commercials where you want to get away ... far, far away.

By the time the Americans took to the ice they had already seen the reviews from the US media that was merciless in their coverage of every aspect of the USA experience, from their unfocused play on the ice to the off ice dramas and feuds that would have made them the winners of the most dysfunctional team award of the tournament, if such a thing existed, and if it did, the trophy surely would be spectacular.

The Czechs were no great power house either through the tournament, but hey, someone had to win on Thursday and so, despite an incomprehensible final five minute flurry by the Americans to try and send the game to Overtime, (really what were they thinking?) the Czech Republic held off the  furious late game charge and for their troubles suffered a few punches to head of Michal Jordan by Dustin Byfuglien at games end.

That outburst we suspect was one part frustration by the Team USA player and one part the understandable understanding that punching out your coaching staff or some of your own players probably won't earn you a return invite for future international events.

Mr. Jordan became the proxy punching bag of every American player that watched their tournament ambitions just drift away.

The unfortunate thing for Byfuglien is that he was one of the few Americans on the ice for the game who appeared to actually have an interest in giving an effort for the full sixty minutes and up until the time he did the rag doll with Jordan, he was about the only positive story of the game.

Having been scratched in game one (a baffling decision that pretty well set the tone for bad decisions through the tournament for the US), he logged lengthy stretches of ice time including near endless minutes in the third where it seemed that he would never return to the bench, though who could blame him it probably was more fun on the ice.

It was an ugly way to end a hockey game and reflected a terrible ending for a hockey program that not too long ago was putting a scare into the likes of Canada and Russia. The players having headed to a training camp in August with great ambitions on their minds, hopes that were dashed in one, two, three games, Over and Out and on to the post mortem.

The score you ask, what was the score?

A 4-3 final, close we guess, but honestly we're pretty sure no one is going to be going hey, did you see that game last night it was a beauty, it wasn't and no one will...

We doubt that the Americans will be hanging around for the Semi-Finals on the weekend, watching Canada and the Russians on Saturday, or the Swedes and Team Europe on Sunday make their push for the Three Game final series probably is best done from afar, at a bar, done alone.

You can find more on the final day of the preliminary round from our Game Day Archive page, which features game summaries and a collection of commentary and analysis of both games.

World Cup Game Day: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our update page for the games of Thursday, September 22nd on the World Cup of Hockey schedule.

8:00 ET/5:00 PT
Team USA 3 vs Team Czech Republic 4
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Team USA's last game a fitting end after a brutal tournament
Team USA goes winless at World Cup after loss to Czech Republic
USA comes out flat against Czechs, sent packing from World Cup without a win
Team USA ends group play at World Cup of Hockey winless
Team USA loses finale to Team Czech Republic
Team USA players accept blame for winless World Cup
Team USA's World Cup plan not good enough
John Tortorella criticizes tweets from U.S. alumni
Lame Blame game for Team USA at World Cup
Team USA brass accepts blame for World Cup of Hockey failure
Team USA reflects on elimination from World Cup of Hockey

Pre Game

Pride on line for Team USA, Team Czech Republic
Team Czech Republic doesn't want to leave without a win
No answers, excuses for Team USA
Team USA has plenty to think about after elimination
Team USA players unhappy with Phil Kessel
Distasteful, aggravating: Team USA reacts to Phil Kessel's World Cup of Hockey twitter burn
U.S.'s Tortorella's antics leave NHL officials shaking heads
Team USA players react to Phil Kessel tweet as if it was a personal insult toward them
The U.S. could never have beaten Canada, because national hockey prowess comes in cycles
This USA group just couldn't match up to the best
Phil Kessel throws shade at USA Hockey after loss to Canada
Phil Kessel says Twitter comment not directed at Team USA players
Team USA reflects on elimination from World Cup of Hockey
John Tortorella criticizes tweets from U.S. alumni
Yes, Team USA is still salty about Phil Kessel's tweet
Team USA tries to explain on-ice failings, responds to Phil Kessel's epic tweet
Coach John Tortorella calls out players dissing USA Hockey's performance
Team USA coach John Tortorella: 'Easy to start chucking dirt on us'

3:00 PM ET/12:00 PM PT
Team Finland 0 vs Team Russia 3
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Russia advances to World Cup semi-finals with 3-0 win over Finland
Team Russia finished Finland to set up clash with Canada
Russia beats Finland to reach World Cup semis; Canada up next
Team Russia defeats Team Finland to reach semifinals
Team Finland optimistic about future
Russia shuts out Finland to squash Team North America's hopes of advancing at World Cup
Another goalless game for Finland in 3-0 loss to Russia
Russia ends North America's hopes, punches ticket for semifinal
North American 23-and-under team eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey

Pre Game

Team Russia facing another must-win scenario
Team North America pulling for Team Finland
Pavel Datsyuk leaves practice with injury
Chances have been there for Team Finland
Patrik Laine ready to face idol for second time
Team Russia needs win to reach semifinals

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Young guns find a solution to stifling Swedish defence; Canada powers on past Team Europe

The afternoon opener to Day five got off to a furious start for the North American kids, who came flying out of the gate, ready to take the play to the Swedes and stake a claim for some playoff time when the weekend arrives, should the Oracles of Hockey allow for it.

Such was the lethargic start to the Swedish game, one wonders what it was that their players had blasting through the dressing room prior to game time.

While we can't confirm this, judging by the style of Swedish play in the first ten minutes anyways, it would seem that the Swedes went with this:

While the young guns clearly had tuned into their own Euro mix with some let's get ready to roll tune-age that left nothing to doubt about how they planned to take to the game.

North America jumped out to a fast two goal lead thanks to markers from Auston Matthews who has already won over his Toronto fan base, picking up his 2nd goal of the tourney at the as the first thirty second came to pass, while Vincent Trocheck added to the furious tart with aother one minute later.

The youngsters could have had another as well if Johnny Gaudreau's penalty shot had found the mark, all of which  left the Swedes just a little shell shocked before five minutes of play had even passed by.

They did however right their Nordic vessel by the midway point of the first, snatching one goal back at the eight minute mark with a Filip Forsberg marker, it was at that point that the game began to level out a bit, with the Swedes finally regaining a bit of their composure after the flurry of near disasters they had faced.

There would still be more scoring before the first twenty was done however, with Gaudreau atoning for his earlier miss at the 14 minute mark, most likely sending the Flames accountants back to the scratch pads, looking for ways to increase the next contract offer, while keeping everyone else on the NHL roster content.

Nicklas Backstrom pulled the Swedes to within one with less than four minutes to go in the first period.

The Swedes finally figured out how to deal with the energetic upstarts through period two which featured a slightly slower pace that the previous frame, (perhaps to let everyone in the rink and watching at home to catch their breath) with no scoring results to show by the time they all headed back to the dressing room for their second period intermission.

The same pattern marked the start of period three, with the Swedes pulling even with the young guns in the first half of the period with a Patrik Berglund goal, a wake up call that saw the North Americans finally return to their run and gun style through the final ten minutes of the final frame making for some of the finest hockey that fans have seen in a long, long, time.

It was fire wagon hockey at its best, with end to end rushes, spectacular scoring opportunities and equally impressive saves from both Henrik Lundqvist and John Gibson, as they both flashed leather and batted pucks away.

The chances were oh so close for both teams, with the North Americans almost taking the victory in regulation time, but on Wednesday the hockey Gods said play some more and so they did.

Nathan MacKinnon brought the Air Canada Centre to its feet at the 4:11 mark of the overtime period, solving Henrik Lundqvist on final time to send the kids to a victory and into a night of hoping for a positive result from the Finns in their match up with Russian on Thursday.

The Finnish squad is going to be feeling  a lot of love when they step onto the ice Thursday afternoon, should they knock off the Russian squad then it's the North American gunners who move on to the playoffs.

Finland may never, ever, have such support in Canada again, as they will find when the puck drops Thursday.

The night cap to Day Five of the tournament was about as anti-climatic as the previous one was manic.

 Such is the depth of Team Canada that even by resting some of their biggest names, the inserts more than took on the challenge of the day, knocking down the European squad a peg or so and securing themselves Top Dog status as they head down the path into the playoff round.

With workmanlike precision the Canadians dominated all three periods of their match up with Team Europe, Corey Crawford while not overly challenged was strong in the nets, while Canada's big guns on offence, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews took care of the early scoring.

Crosby opened things up at the four minute mark, with Toews adding to the lead with less than a minute to go in the opening period.

The Europeans managed to snare one back in the first five minutes of the second thanks to Marian Hossa, but any thoughts of a European comeback were getting smothered by the Canadian play at both ends of the rink.

Defensively they surrendered few scoring chances in the Canadian end, were strong on the forecheck in the European one and such was their control of the play, by the time the game came to an end they had out shot the European collective by a 2 to 1 margin.

Jonathan Toews picked up his second goal of the game at the fifteen minute mark of period number two, by which time the Europeans more or less retreated into the ever popular save it for the next game mode, taking few rushes, gaining few scoring opportunities.

Logan Couture salted away the game at the 17 minute point, sending Sports Lottery players to their tickets to check out the goal differential options from their local retail vendor.

The victory gave Canada an unblemished record in Group A play and sets up a semi-final match that will find a very interested and large audience either way, with the prospect of either facing off against the young guns or the Russians, depending on what kind of a frame of mind the Russian team comes out with in their Thursday match up with Finland.

A win sets up the always fascinating competition between hockey styles and emotional pull that a Canada/Russia gave offers, though if the Youngsters should somehow find themselves in the semis, it may be the first time that Team Canada plays a game with an audience that may not be fully onboard, with perhaps a few silently rooting for the kids.

Whichever way the narrative to come may go, the hockey is going to be something to watch.

You can catch up on the torrid pace of the afternoon special, or digest the entrails of the evening light workout through our Game Day Archive, which features game summaries and a collection of commentary from those that took in the game.

World Cup Game Day: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our update page for the games of Wednesday, September 21st on the World Cup of Hockey schedule.

8:00 ET/5:00 PT
Team Europe 1 vs Team Canada 4
Game Summary

Game Notes:

With another win, Canada showing why it's the World Cup favourite
Jonathan Toews leads Team Canada past Europe
Team Canada rolls past Team Europe to clinch Group A
Canada's win clinces Group A and sets up a Europe-Sweden semifinal
Team Canada defeats Team Europe to win Group A

Pre Game

Team Canada thriving under pressure
Attention to detail paying off for Team Canada
Team Europe getting respect, still has work to do

3:00 PM ET/12:00 PM
Team North America 4 vs Team Sweden 3 (Overtime)
Game Summary

Game Notes:

Team North America's performance in the World Cup of Hockey was poetic
Team North America should have been true to itself against Sweden
Team North America defeats Sweden in overtime
Young stars mean that for Team USA hockey, the best is yet to come
Team North America has won hearts of fans at World Cup of Hockey
North America's blazing start: The 95 seconds when anything seemed possible for the World Cup's young stars
Team North America nips Sweden in freehweeling thriller, saying alive - for now - at World Cup
Team North America stays alive with thrilling overtime win over Sweden
Team North America pulling for Team Finland
Team North America defeats Team Sweden in overtime
Team North America has been as advertised
End-to-End action at Air Canada Centre
Team North America gives USA hockey hope
Team Sweden wakes up just in time to reach semifinals

Pre Game

Team North America to 'swing the bat' after loss
Team North America dealing with injuries
Team Sweden aims to clinch semifinal berth

Archive Page for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

They Can't all be classics ...

The hockey on Tuesday wasn't pretty,
but the results came as expected
Tuesday delivered a double dose of less than breath taking hockey, with Team Sweden disposing of their rivals the Finns with little concern, while the highly anticipated match up of USA/Canada did not deliver quite the same level of firewagon hockey that the pre game bombast had suggested might be found.

The early game played out almost as though an after though to the day's prime time match up, the pre game oxgen was completely taken by talk of the US and Canadian game for later in the night.

Unless you had your schedule handy, you might not even have realized that there was an afternoon game.

As the Swedes and Finns got their play got rolling, only one team appeared to have received the memo that it was a key game for future plans in the tournament.

Team Sweden with Henrik Lundqvist back in the nets played a solid system game, taking their energy from their goaltenders 36 saves along the way to the 2-0 victory, the second marker an empty net goal to banish any further thoughts the Finns might have had of pushing the Swedes to overtime.

The thing with a European system style hockey game is that when a team has a 1-0 lead,  you can actually see the game be drained of any real offence, calling to mind the old Simpson's episode on soccer,  pass, pass, pass, pass .... pass, pass, pass.

The Finns once again struggled when it came to their scoring touch, Patrik Laine while getting a few chances could not find the finish required to give the Finns some momentum. At times it appeared that he was the only one moving his legs in a blue and white uniform, the remainder of his team mates giving every indication of not wanting to take any chances, lest they make a tourney ending mistake.

A strategy that while reducing the risk, never, ever seems to deliver a reward.

The Finns did provide for a final minute push, with Laine set up for what would have been perhaps a tournament changing goal, instead his stick shattered, much like the hopes the Finns might have entertained for advancing.

The path for advancement looks beyond hope now, the next game for Finland is against the suddenly rejuvenated Russians on Thursday, who have finally given their own indications that they might just want to stick around for the playoff round.

The Swedes next play the youngsters of Team North America on Wednesday afternoon, making for another strong test for the young guns who will be looking to take care of their collapse in period two of the Russian game.  Wednesday's afternoon showdown, makes for a battle for First place in Group B, with Goal Differential perhaps something to watch for as the sixty minutes count down.

For the Prime Time Show on Tuesady, the hype for the Canada/US game was such that some of the epic past battles between the two border nations were being channeled, with some suggestions that Tuesday might be one more for the memory book, leaving visions of a Gold medal game from the Vancouver Olympics dancing in many a head.

And for a few minutes in the first period, it did look like the USA was going to live up to their pre game bombast of the game being their championship match up, coming out with some early energy and grabbing the first marker on the night of the stick of , a lone American goal that would not be matched until very late in the third, the second one benefiting more from some lazy play by the Canadians than any dedicated plan of attack.

Canada quickly stomped on the US insurrection, with Matt Duchene making some noise collecting two goals for the Red and White, Corey Perry had one other, while Patrice Bergeron closed off the scoring on the night for the team with the Maple Leaf on its chest.

Carey Price outplayed his US counterpart Jonathon Quick, with the Montreal Canadiens goaltender stopping 32 saves, though he at times, like his team mates show some signs of losing focus in the third.

The game had turned into a rather plodding affair by that time, the Canadians mainly playing to the clock, waiting for it to wind down and offer the reward of two more points.

And while they didn't look dis-interested in the game, the vibe for much of the second period and first ten minutes of the third was one of a mid-season NHL game, there was little energy and even less inclination to turn up the offensive speed.

The Americans did break some of that lethargic play with one final push in a period when it would count for their tournament hopes, ringing three shots off a post and forcing a few turnovers in the Canadian end to gain some scoring chances all in the final ten minutes or so of the final period.

Price though would shut them down whenever it looked like they were about to make a run,  T. J. Oshie reduced the margin with a goal with less than three minutes to play.

The loss eliminated the US team, offering up a final game on Thursday with the Czech Republic, another team that doesn't have much more to do in Toronto now but pack their bags and move on.

The Canadian play wasn't quite the thing of the burning down of the White House of 1812, but the play of the Americans has certainly lit a fire ... under the chairs of the American hockey press who quickly were grabbing the torches and heading the way of John Tortorella.

Even before the final whistle had blown (and truth be told as far back as game one) reporters, announcers and pundits alike wasted little time in performing the autopsy of the American play at the World Cup of Hockey.

And if the court of hockey opinion is to see deliver its judgment, GM Dean Lombardi and coach John Torotrella would seem destined for a post tourney inquisition.

You can review some of that heated discussion, along with the game summaries from Tuesday's action as part of Game Day Archive.