Sunday, May 13, 2007

O' Canada

Canada romped the Finns 4-2 for gold in the IIHF's World Championship winning their 24th gold medal overall in hockey. It ends two weeks of relatively obscure hockey across the pond in Moscow. Russia holds on to win in the Bronze Medal Game beating Sweden 3-1. If you are wondering how our Capitals did, well wonder no more. I did all the stat digging for you. I am sure the boys over at On Frozen Blog who were there have a better scoop than me.

Alex Ovechkin
Ovie finished with just one goal and two assists. He was a +1, and assessed 29 PIM. Not his best work. He might have been a little shaken up though after a shocking hit on a Swiss player after stepping out of the penalty box. The player hit left the game with a concussion.

Although he didn't have the numbers, he was a very potent offensive threat for Russia. He always seemed to be on the ice for a Russian goal, but also on the ice for goals against Russia. Ovie had 3 points, but 14 other Russian players matched that or were better. The numbers just weren't there for Ovechkin.

Chris Clark
He captained the U.S. squad and had a great start to the tournament, only to lose his scoring touch late in the tournament. Clark finished with 2 goals and one assist. He was USA's grinder in this tournament, always in front of the net and mixing it up along the boards.

The Americans gave a much better performance than in the Olympics in Turin. But their medal hopes were dashed after a shoot out loss against Finland. The Finns went on to beat Russia and lose to Canada in the gold medal game.

Brian Potheir
Not a huge stand out on the American squad, Potheir did make a difference on speeding up the defensemen for this tournament. Potheir never produced any offense other than one assist but while Team USA's defensemen of the past were big bruisers Potheir added speed and offensive threat that the Americans have a hard time producing.

Milan Jurcina
I didn't see a whole lot of Jurcina, but I heard he had quite the tournament. He had a goal and an assist and was a +6. He played well against some top lines and always seemed ready to help produce.

In big game situations, Jurcina responded well. Staying defensively sound and helping his team score in clutch situations. He is certainly coming into his own as a defensemen, and hopefully that can translate into next season rewards.

Nicklas Backstrom (future Capital)
So he is not a Capital yet. And I am not going to count my chickens before they hatch. Backstrom's father promised his boy would be in a Capitals' uniform next season, but other sources say he may stay in Sweden for another year.

That being said, Nick had an okay tournament. Although his team Sweden did not medal, they did play well. Backstrom finished with 1 goal and 5 assists, proving he is a set up man, and most likely will play that role on the Capitals squad. Backstrom held his own against some NHL Caliber teams and his feisty attitude should fit in with a scrapper of a club like the Caps.

All in all it was a pretty good tournament, Canada can breath a collective sigh of relief now that the gold is in their pocket and USA Hockey looks pretty good considering they went with a younger squad. Maybe one of these days they will broadcast the Championships next time here, but don't hold your breath.

By the way, we could be looking at the opening lineup for the '07-'08 season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

**Meant to comment on this article***

I saw that hit Ovechkin put on Wirz. That was a sweet, heads up play! Ovie just placed his body perfectly... if you see the reply Ovie could of really destroyed this guy but instead just placed his body perfectly for the guy to run into him. I could only dream of taking somebody out like that. Sweet hit!