December 30, 2008

WJHC - Days 4 and 5

Didn't have time this morning to give you an update of yesterday. I was off relatively early to the hotel for my volunteer shift.

But first, yesterday.

It was a slow WJHC day in our household. No volunteering - just the Canada - Germany game at SBP. Traffic was more congested than I expected and we got there just shortly before puck drop.

The atmosphere was great and both teams were up for the game. We had already seen Germany against the U.S. where it was obvious that they were clearly a defense-first team. They were pretty much unable to generate any real offense.

As already reported, it was a bit of a chippy affair. The Germans were good at getting in the way and frustrating the Canadians. They were also trying to play a North American game - physical, chirpy, attitude. It was interesting to watch the behind the play stuff. Had this been a CHL game, Della Rovere and Wolf would have had at least a couple of set-tos. IIHF rules are very anti "fisticuffs" (that's how the rules refer to fighting). Match penalty. Some post whistle pushing and shoving but no fights.

When Esposito was nailed behind his net and play stopped, Subban and others were chirping the Germans across the no-man zone between the benches. Boys on both sides were itching for a rukus. Canada clearly outplayed the Germans and the only thing that kept the score as close as 5 - 1 suggest is the stellar goal tending of Philipp

I had a Leafs fan behind me who was compelled to yell "Sens suck!!" intermittently. But we conspired to holler a lot of "let's go Canada" which left him little time to bring the NHL into the event.

Between the first and second period they paid tribute to Brian Kilrea. Bob Nicholson (Hockey Canada) and Dave Branch (CHL) presented him with a thankyou for his contributions to hockey. Fans received a replica on the way out.

This morning was spent doing my volunteer thing at the hotel. Had a chance to chat with a number of family members. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves both with the official events and their spare time. For some folks, this is their first time to Ottawa; others have been here previously for business or for the draft. It was fun speaking to one of the recent draftee dads. Everyone is super nice.

Someone mentioned that Igor Larionov was staying with his Bell Cup team at the hotel. I wouldn't know him to run him over but I saw someone with the comportment of an NHL Hall of Famer (not haughty at all or snooty - just athletic and confident). I googled his image when I got home and sure enough it was the man I saw at the hotel. He was not drinking a glass of wine like this picture suggests.

Then it was off to SBP for the GER - CZE game. We were expecting this one to be a close, well contested game. NOT! Germany had nothing left. Whatever they had, they left it on the ice last night. The little offense they managed to generate was thwarted by the Czech goalie. The Czechs blanked the Germans 6 - 0.

Did I mention that Martin Paryzek is wearing a letter for his national team? He is on the first PP unit and saw a lot of ice time.

We decided to forego the USA - KAZ game. The GER - CZE game was tough enough to sit through. The USA won 12 - 0. Glad we didn't stick around for that one.

Tomorrow (New Year's Eve) is the major hockey day. First we are going to the Sweden - Russia game at the Civic Centre and then we will make our way to SBP for the much hyped Canada - USA game that starts at 7:30. Then off to a friend's in Kanata for some bubbly to either celebrate or comfort ourselves.

I am nearly getting saturated with hockey at this point. Managed to listen to some of the Ottawa67s - Kingston game but could not last. Caught the last two minutes - the depleted 67s pulled out a 5 - 4 win in Kingston to extend their winning streak to 5 games. Here's the game sheet. Next up: Kitchener in Kitchener.

Welcome to Hockey Country!! It's only for the truely devoted (or is that demented??).

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