Sunday, 12 April 2009

A tragic tale of woe...

Here, for your reading pleasure, or, displeasure, as the case may be... Is an almost minute-by-minute account of Canada's tragic loss to the USA in the 2009 World Women's Ice Hockey Championships. Read it.... and weep... I nearly did...

It's 1700 and the question on everyone’s lips is… “Who will Melanie Davidson start as goaltender for Canada?” The answer? We quickly find out it is Charline Labonte who will start in net for Canada - her first start in a world championship. The TSN commentators speculate the choice of Labonte is in recognition of her excellent performance making 22 saves during Friday’s game against the US team.
The American’s have no real choice. In the net is the indomitable Jessie Vedder.

1705 16 returning players for Canada and many veterans of past championships.

1707 Set for game action! I’m very excited…go Canada!

1709 Noooooo!! US goal by Caitlin Cahow! 24 seconds into the game… I can’t believe it…

1710 Carla McLeod was taken out as well… this is not a good start to this game. No. Not at all.

1712 Canada’s putting on pressure… But no goal yet…

1713 Labonte redeems herself – stops Potter’s shot in its tracks

1714 More good news – Carla McLeod is back on!

1718 Where is the Canadian defense? Every time Canada is in the US end, there is a swarm of white and blue around them. And yet, one after another Americans keep making breakaways into the Canadian zone. Is that their strategy? Get an early goal and then just defend, defend, defend! We’ll show them… Canada’s come to play hockey…

1721 Yet another save by Labonte – except for that first one, she’s been living up to Davidson’s faith in her.

1729 One nothing in the first, to the US. Canada keeps getting caught offside. Canada’s defense is weak. I think maybe the Americans got a real shock after Friday and went away to get stronger. Canada definitely can’t rest on its past success. This, not Friday, is the gold medal game. C’mon Canada!

1730 Labonte – good save! But, ummm… why are there like 4 goaltenders in front of the US net? Defense gone wild! Maybe though, this almost aggressive defense will block Vedder’s view. Let’s hope.

1734 Good save again Labonte – just wish you had some defensive help…

1736 So close!!! That’s what I call good hockey, Canada. Now do it again, but better.

1740 First period ended, still a big zero for Canada – I think the TSN announcers have it right; Canada was a bit nervous at the beginning of the first. They’ve sharpened up, though, and hopefully those early nerves aren’t going to cost them the game, and the gold…

1744 I think the TSN ladies might be right – the US might have been hiding their real strength with the game on Friday. It all seems quite sneaky at the moment. A little too much strategising…

1801 This game is getting hard to watch. Solidly into the second period and Canada’s defense keeps passing the puck to Americans right in front of the net! I know Labonte’s good, but you need more than a goalie to make a hockey team. C’mon Canada…

1804 GOAAAAAAL! For CANADA!!! Jennifer Botterill kicks a**! This is just what the team needed to kick that early slump. Now, it’s our game.

1807 Now Canada can’t relax. The US has really had more chances. They’re playing stronger so far. You can’t relax, Canada.

1812 That American lady… Meghan Duggan… just got a goal for the USA. Oh no… Please respond Canada. 2-1 for the US. Oh no…

1820 Glad to see some Canadians in the audience… There’s still hope and we’re cheering along with you!!

1822 Yet another Lawler shot stopped by Labonte.

1828 End of the Second period – the USA leads by one goal. I’m still optimistic. Canada needs to take a leaf out of the American book – score within the first few seconds of the period. Just score!

1833 Hate to admit it, but the American team is playing better hockey… They’re passing. They’re keeping the pressure on. They’re taking their time to scope out the shots and plan the attack.

1857 So so sad… Another US goal. Still hope, I hope. But the light is fading…

1915 A minute and a half left in the third. So sad…

1916 TSN announcer asks what’s on all of our minds: “Does Canada have any magic left here?”

1917 Thirty seconds left. The Americans are congratulating themselves, the Canadians have taken a time out. Why didn’t they do that ages ago?

1919 They’ve scored again from afar into Canada’s empty net. Oh dear

Its over: 4-1. First time back-to-back win for the USA… We’ve reluctantly just witnessed history in the making

The better team won, the Canadian team just wasn’t playing as well as the US. It pains me to say this. There need to be some changes – probably in the coaching, cause these ladies, many of them are veteran winners! They did have a good run, though. Silver is a good result and with the exception of the US, Canada destroyed their competition. Just extra impetus to tighten up and improve for Vancouver 2010. We’ll be watching, and cheering for Canada!

If you needed any more detail, you can check out the CBC's article:

Canadian women reach for gold…

Know those t-shirts some girls wear? Emblazoned with the immortal words: “Canadian girls kick a**!”? Tonight I hope we have definitive proof of how true those words actually are. Easter Sunday, 12 April 2009: Canada’s Senior Women’s Hockey Team face their southern neighbours and fiercest rivals, the ladies of the US of A’s Senior Team in the finals of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)’s 2009 World Women’s Hockey Championships. The American team are the defending 2008 champions. However… if the Canadian team’s 2-1 win over the US team on Friday April 10th is any indication, the Americans won’t be able to call themselves champions for much longer.

Based in London, I’m closer to the World Championship host country – Finland – and will be tuning in tonight at 1700 GMT. In Canada you’ll be able to watch our girls thrash those Americans at 1200 EST. Though I’m closer to Hameenlina, Suomi than the average Canadian, I’ll actually be watching the game on Canadian TV (TSN, to be exact) courtesy of the transatlantic broadcast power of a slingbox player.

I’m hoping this will be a fitting prelude to Women’s Ice Hockey Olympic Gold for Canada at home in 2010. Go ladies!

Oh also… Congratulations to the IIHF Championship host country Finland on their well-deserved Bronze medal finish. And to the American team, in advance, for their silver!

If you'd like to congratulate any of the Canadian players on their excellent efforts throughout this Championship you can actually email them invidually through the Hockey Canada website by visiting:

Stanley Cup Play Offs

There is a time in the year when my heart just blossoms with joy and happiness, and this time "The Play Offs". It does not matter is my team has made it or not, course it would be better if it had, but lets face it hasn't; one more time they've drowned before reaching the shore.
In my opinion the teams that have made it really deserved to be there, the Montreal Canadiens had a difficult beginning but surely showed their strength had got back to the game. Boston Bruins, what to say they've had a brilliant start and kept themselves there (very difficult task). New York Rangers they passed through the season as if in a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, but theve made it which proves that there were more ups than downs. The Canucks had a good overall performance but they still have to find out the best way to put their puck into the net, hope they do it for this season. And to make justice Detroit's performance was absolutely amazing, great chances of winning the Staley Cup, if I was allowed to say.
So the heat is on, the dice have been thrown and may the best win.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Tickets to watch The Montreal Canadiens X Toronto Maple Leafs on a Saturday night, $300.00, parking outside the stadium, $13.00, 1 hot dog with a coke $7.00, watching the Toronto Maple leafs being sacked by the Canadiens: WORTH 2 SHOULDER INJURIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For all the rest you can use the card of your choice.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Heat was on...and now it is off

Out of the Playoffs. One more season is about to end, and the hopes of every Sens fan are being washed down the plughole.

What to say at a time like this? Can we blame someone?? Could we say it was the coach’s fault??? We probably could, he is no longer coaching the team, but it would be kind of unfair. When a team is not doing well, chances are that it’s a group failure. With a team, there’s no such a thing as one guilty individual.
Looking back to the beginning of the season, when everything was possible, and everyone’s hope were high, the Sens started a little slow. Both games in Stockholm weren’t that brilliant, although a victory and a loss evened the odds and Fans kept their hope.
Back in Canada, things did get very dramatic; the team started wasting opportunities for scoring, some games were pretty disappointing. It was on every guy's face that the team was not synchronized anymore, they were not playing as a team. It makes me wonder, where the hell did we lose it, where is our skill, confidence, team playing and desire to win???? I try to spot the warriors inside those players and can't find it. But they were there last season.
Stuntman Stu commented on his blog the following "... Have the Sens fans been spoiled?" I think we did get pretty spoiled by the good performance of our team (in so little time), and that is why we, well at least me, were expecting a little bit more, if not victories, then at least a good battle. I wanted to see those guys really giving it, fighting for a victory and an engraved space on the Stanley Cup. So as a spoiled child my job is to complain, cry and complain again, fall into the floor and say: "Why God, why??????" The Senators reduced to Plebeians in the league. Although the good thing is, after the season is over, all I will have to do is take the whole awful experience and wipe this season from my memory - then hope, wish and pray that we do better in the seasons yet to come.
This was Nicholas Wright, your Ambassador for Hockey speaking from London.