December 31, 2008

WJHC Day 6 - Cowabunga!!!

It was all about the games today. We took in the Sweden - Russia game at the Ottawa Civic Centre and then headed off to SBP to see the marque event, Canada vs USA.

The first game first.

All the talk has been about this really being a four team tournament with 6 other aspiring countries hoping to improve with the experience and perhaps pull off an upset. Today, we were going to see the 4 top teams play what were supposed to be the best games of the tournament.

The Sweden - Russia game was a major let down. Sure the Russians played the day before but it was an easy romp over the Latvians that should not have left them as gassed as they looked on the ice. In truth, it was the Russian goalie that let them down. Before long, it was 4 - 0 Sweden on 12 shots with the Swedes completely controlling the play in the first. The Russian goalie was finally pulled.

Russia seemed to get its act together in the second and played stronger although they could not score. They were broken in the third when Sweden scored its fifth goal of the game.

The Swedes certainly looked solid. The spousal unit commented that they looked a lot like the Spokane Chiefs from the Memorial Cup - really tight team focus and execution.

Like many, we left at the late commercial break in the third to get a head start on the exodus to SBP for the Canada - USA game.

Now THAT was a game!!!

During the warm-up I noted Tokarski's colourful pads and recalled the conversation we had with the Vaughn goalie equipment designer at the Memorial Cup. Tokarski needs white pads!! Sure enough, the Americans went up 3 goals really quickly. Canada was so tentative and unable to organize. I wondered why Tokarski was still in net after 3 goals on 8 shots.

Then Canada found its game and we all know the outcome so I won't try to summarize. TSN has coverage enough.

I will try to share the experience. The building was electric. Standing ovations and loud cheering for the warm-up.
The huge Canadian flag passed around the lower bowl. Stunned silence for the first, then second and then the unbelievable unanswered third goal (by Ottawa Senators prospect Jim O'Brien from the face-off circle). Then eruptions for the Tavares' powerplay goal, and then his even strength goal less than a minute later and finally the tying PP goal by Eberle with less than two minutes left in the period.

Man alive - we had a hockey game!!!

The first intermission saw three Traverses (we noted that with some rearranging it would be Tavares) won in the shoot-out but the million dollars was not won.

There were hits, good ones with roars of approval and bad ones. Nasty displays of unsportsmanlike conduct including DiDimenco getting the blade of a stick in the face as he skated by the US bench and Della Rovere chirping and gesturing the US bench after a nasty hit from behind that should have had him ejected. He's a bit of a hot head. Think he had his butt stapled to the bench after his antics. His bad penalties were also an issue in the last game.

There was controversy with the time keepers. A fight in the lower bowl. The police cuffed and removed a rowdy fan.

Game saving save by Tokarski!!!

The spousal unit thought that the US team came out flat in the third. I was sure they were going to tie up the game - I lost the bet (the bet is always for beer).

Hats on the ice for JT's hat trick!!

Two empty net goals? I was surprised that Rolston kept his goalie out after the first EN.

Fans standing and cheering during the dying seconds.

Another single game attendance record at over 20,000 fans!! Most of them still at their seats singing the national anthem as the flag of the winning team was raised!

The game sheets for all the games are here.

Some pics taken with a friend's little digital camera.

Team USA stacks the pucks before the warm up

Just two of the many enthusiastic fans

Welcome to Hockey Country and Happy New Year everyone!!!

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??).

December 29, 2008

WJHC - Day 3

This was my only assignment at SBP for the tournament (the others are at the hotel). I arrived early to ensure that all the banners and such were still attached to the walls. It's hard to find something strong enough to keep banners and posters attached to cement walls. Finally settled on carpet tape. That has to be the second most sticky substance known to mankind. There is probably something stickier, I just don't know what it is.

Some of the jerseys on display in the family lounge

The lounge is for families to use before and during the Canada games but mostly it's to allow them a few precious moments with their boys after the games. Security is very tight to give the families a safe, private space. Hugs, kisses, claps on the back, a cell phone passed around among family members connecting with those who did not make the trip, reliving the game, best wishes going forward.

Then all too quickly it's back to the dressing room for the young men and the buses for the families.

During the game, the volunteers hung out in the lounge and watched the it on the TVs and chatted. The broadcast delay was just enough to allow us to respond the auditory clues from the arena. We would hear the roar from the crowd and look up to the monitor just in time to catch what happened. After the 10th goal or so, we pretty much stopped looking up.

The goal judge at our end of the rink walked past us at the end of the game. I asked him how many he lit up. He thought it was five or so and then commented that his colleague across the ice (where Canada attacked twice) was much busier and probably tired. From his accent, we guessed he was from Sweden.

Former Ottawa 67s, Yakov Vorobyov is number 21 for the Kazakhstan team. If he didn't like his treatment in Ottawa before this tournament, he probably didn't change his mind as a result of what happened here. The IIHF has to seriously reconsider the qualification process (and the number of teams) for this Division. From the Division 1A and 1B tournaments that just concluded in Switzerland and Denmark respectively, Switzerland and Austria are promoted to the Top Division for next year. It will be interesting to see how they fare in Saskatchewan.

Pre-game: Tied at 0-0; as close as it would get

Our view

I stayed for the USA - Czech Republic game (had tickets). This was the best game we have seen all tournament so far. It was good to see current Ottawa 67s Martin Paryzek get the goal that put his team back into the game. The Czechs wasted their PP opportunities with too much passing around and not enough pucks to the net. That one soft goal by the Czech goalie was the difference. The Czechs seemed the more physical of the two teams IMO.

Here's the take from the IIHF site: Close call for the Americans.

The IIHF site has some interesting stuff including this article:Ottawa by the numbers - check out the whole site.

Canada versus Germany tonight. Think I'll give the USA - KAZ game a pass tomorrow.

December 28, 2008

WJHC - Day 2

Today was my first volunteer gig with the Team Canada Families. There is a lounge set up in their hotel for meetings and to provide an alternative to their rooms just to hang out, get information, etc. The Team Canada Family volunteers keep the room ship shape (with the assistance of the very attentive hotel staff) and help the family members when asked.

In their meeting with the parents, Bob Nicholson, other Hockey Canada executives and Dave Branch thanked the families for the long years of dedication, sacrifice and support. These parents here and the hundreds of thousands others across Canada are the bedrock of our national obsession and for that we are all grateful.

Chatting with several of the parents and other family members you really understand that they are just like hockey families across Canada. They have put in years of practices, tournaments, games, the ups, the downs, more than on kid, the whole business. They went a step further than most having sent their sons, in some cases as young as 16 and in some cases as far as three provinces away to someone else's care for months of the year. They take it all in stride.

Watching them standing and chatting - it could have been a group of parents at a community hockey rink for a tournament instead of being in the nations capital while their sons represent the country for a world championship.

I think it's a very big deal. And for their efforts we get some of the best entertainment value possible.

While I was hanging out with the families (and getting my butt kicked at some version of an NHL game on an X-box) the spousal unit was at the Civic Centre watching the Slovak - Latvia game. Despite the score he said it was a very entertaining game. The Latvian fans really made the atmosphere enjoyable (unless you were right in front of the drums I suppose) and despite being outplayed, there was lots of spirit. He observed that the Latvians seemed to understand the concept of hitting but they were still figuring out the execution. He seemed to enjoy the game more than the two blowouts at SBP the day before (although being comfortable at the Civic Centre rather than freezing at SBP might have had a lot to do with it).

Today's schedule has the spousal unit taking in the Russia - Finland game before heading to SBP for the USA - Czech game. I will be with the Team Canada Families for the Kazakhstan - Canada game. I hope to join my ticket buddies for the USA - Czech game once my duties are fulfilled.

I believe today is day 1 of the Bell Cup. Now we are really in the one and only Hockey Country!!

December 27, 2008

WJHC - Day 1

31 games, 10 teams, 1 city. If you purchased a full package you cannot physically see all the games that you paid for.

No sweat - we sat down and cherry picked the games we want to see and sold or gave away the rest. I will get to 14 games while the rest of our group takes in 16 (I chose volunteer shifts that keep me from the Slovakia - Latvia game today and the Russia - Finland game tomorrow). The 16 games chosen covers seeing every team at least once.

Day 1 had us camped out at SBP to watch the Germany - USA game and the marquee event - Canada versus the Czech Republic.

I won't go through game summaries as there are lots of folks who can do a better job of it than I can. You can check out TSN, the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun or Hockey Canada for stories, videos and pictures.

Here's how it was from my perspective:
  • The Germany - USA game looked like it might be close when it started. The German goalie, Timo Pielmeier made some outstanding saves to keep his team in the game. But the Americans got it together and started piling up the goals. All in all it wasn't a very exciting game - and not just because of the score. It wasn't nearly as skilled an fast as I expected it. The spousal unit commented that the Windsor Spitfires or the Ottawa 67s on a good day could have taken either team.
  • There seemed to be more fans supporting the German team (colours, flags, etc.) than the American team. I ran into a colleague all decked out in his German regalia. He was born in Germany and decided to cheer for his birth country.
  • Although reported attendance was over 18,000, there were not 18,000 butts in seats. But it was still a good crowd.
  • The second game started with much more excitement, of course. As Alan Panzeri reported in the Ottawa Citizen, up to now, there hasn't much to cheer about in SBP for a long while so there could have been some pent-up hollering that escaped from the excited fans.
  • This game was entirely different than the earlier game. I thought the Czechs were more physical, faster and more skilled than either of the teams in the first game. At least to start the game. After the first period it looked like it could go either way. But as we all know now, that didn't last long. Team Canada started asserting itself and basically took over all of the ice. It would be interesting to see the stats on puck possession but I would hazard a guess that Team Canada didn't share it too much with the Czechs.
  • I was really happy when Esposito got his first goal, and the third goal of the game. Finally!
  • Popular pre-tournament thinking was that Ryan Ellis would be used primarily for the PP but Quinn had him out there for 5-on-5 play as well. Results: a goal and an assist - both at even strength.
  • I hate it when the goalie leaves his crease for no good reason and when Tokarski took his little walk with two minutes left I knew something bad would happen. He had no idea that there was a Czech player in the slot. It was a perfect pass from the corner. I imagine he won't let his mind (and hopefully his legs) wander like that again any time soon.
  • It was really cold in SBP! Really really cold. Especially for the first game. I ran into Pete, a 67s regular and a pretty hearty fellow and he also noted how cold it was. We used our Canadian flag as a blanket across our knees to keep us warm. More layers next time.
  • With two minutes remaining in third period of the first game, the arena announcer announced it, except that he goofed at first and said "last two minutes of the first period". It took him a couple of tries to get it right. It probably didn't help that he was also getting information about a two minute penalty at the same time. We laughed at the mix up. Then Stuntman Stu did the exact same thing in the second game (including getting the period wrong). He is recovery was more graceful. There must be some requirement to announce the final two minutes of the game in international rules. For a moment I though that they might have had the NFL dancing in their heads.
  • When will politicians realize that hockey and politics don't mix. Making the player of the game awards for the Canada - Czech game were Eugene Melnyk, John Baird and some other guy. Melnyk and the other guy got warm applause when they were introduced. Baird got booed. Was he not paying any attention during the US election?? Guess the photo-op was too good to pass up.
  • A Maple Leafs hockey fan was a couple of rows ahead of us. He had taped the name "Tavares" on the back of his jersey. I didn't have the heart to point out Ottawa stands a better chance of snagging this draft pick.
  • It was good to hear that the ATU respected the terms the court set out regarding picketing at the Civic Centre.

This is just the start of the hockey madness that will grip the region until January 5th. The Bell Cup starts tomorrow so the city will be wall-to-wall with players, families and fans.

Welcome to Hockey Country!!

December 24, 2008

Only 2 More Sleeps...

...until the World Juniors start in Ottawa.

But preparations have been underway for some time. Now it's down to the final details.

Work already started at the Civic Center before the 67s - Petes game on Friday and resumed in earnest right after the game.

Flags were put up before the game and the usual press box was taken over by camera crews getting ready for the tournament. Right after the game, the advertising around the rink in front of the first rows were taken down as was all the glass around the ice.

Today, some of the Team Canada Family volunteers gathered at SBP to see the lay of the land and prepare the lounge where the family members of Team Canada players can, among other things, see their boys after the games.

It's down at the ice-level part of the arena and we had Team Canada banners, jerseys of past Team Canada gold medal captains and reminders of the long history of Team Canada success to arrange. If I may say so myself, the lounge looks pretty good. It will be a comfortable place for the families to wait for their brief meetings with their boys. Our job is to be concierges for the Team Canada family members both at SBP and at their hotel.

The Operations and Events folks at SBP were really helpful as we ran back and forth asking for stuff. Vlad was particularly helpful as he has set up this room on many occasions and knows what works in there. It's amazing all the stuff they have squirreled away in the nooks and crannies. I joked whether anyone has ended up down there for days. Vlad just matter-of-factly stated that it's one big circle - keep walking and you'll emerge somewhere.

There was a test game going on - a dress rehearsal for the goal judges, anthem singer, announcers and the like. They actually had a couple of teams of young men (about 12 years old I would guess) playing a game.

TSN has a huge collection of equipment and what looks like a studio on wheels at the loading dock and there is an area just for their crew.

Teams started checking in and we saw the Germans practice. They were at the Ottawa - Dallas game on Saturday so they saw the arena from the 100-level. Today they saw what it looks like from the ice. It probably will be a bit awesome (in the truest meaning of the word) when play their first game on Boxing Day against Team USA.

It was a beehive of activity that might look like random actions to the untrained eye but you could see order emerging. While watching these preparations are impressive, you know that for every bit of effort expended today, there have been days, if not weeks of preparation leading to this. This is quite the undertaking.

Looking forward as a fan and as a volunteer to help making this the best World Juniors ever!

Welcome to Hockey Country everyone. This is going to be great!!

December 21, 2008

In the 67s Dressing Room

If you read his book or know his history, you know that Brian Patafie has seen many a dressing room during his career so when he says he is proud of the 67s dressing room, he knows what a good dressing room looks like.

Brian allowed me to take pictures of the inner sanctum on Friday after he had set it up for the game. He must start early as it was all set to go when I arrived around noon. It was pristine - everything in its place and a place for everything. And surprisingly not stinky (an odd observation perhaps but I had a chance to tour the Senators dressing room once and it was pretty ripe).

You can see the pride he takes in ensuring that everything is ship-shape for the game. Brian and the players spend a lot of time at the rink so having a clean, well-appointed comfortable place would be important.

There were four players out of the lineup for the game so you might not see the stall of your fav. Here are some pictures, enjoy.

December 20, 2008

Make that Four in a Row!!

Team Canada is going with 8 defensemen. The Ottawa 67s won with only 4, three of whom are rookies.

The Peterborough Petes ran into weather and traffic congestion and arrived a bit later than they had planned to. Guess they missed the news about the snow storm and the Ottawa transit strike. The game started about 30 minutes later than scheduled.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Toffoli,
Nigro, Martindale, Nesbitt
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Carnevale
Sonnenburg, Anderson, Schinkelshoek

Birkhoff, Gibbons,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Courchaine

Scratches: Cuma (injury), Hanes (injury), Paryzek (WJHC), Demers (sick)

Ottawa didn't waste any time taking advantage of the Petes' bus legs. They completely controlled the puck and quickly got on the board with a powerplay goal on their 4th shot on goal just 3:10 into the game. With Jake Laplante in the sin-bin for roughing, Tyler Toffoli neatly tucked the puck behind big guy Jason Missaen after picking up a big rebound off Travis Gibbons' shot. Travis Gibbons and Logan Couture got the assists.

Ottawa continued to control the game to the point that the Petes didn't get their first shot on goal until almost 5 minutes had gone.

But the Petes slowly shook off the bus legs and with the taste of their 8 - 1 loss to the London Knights in their own barn last night they started getting into the game. The shots started getting through to Adam Courchaine but nothing got past him.

Peterborough had a good second period, bookending it with two goals. The first one came just two minutes into the frame and the second one with fewer 10 seconds left. They also survived a long parade to the penalty box with 6 penalties, including 2 5-on-3 stretches of over 1 minute each. Local phenom Ryan Spooner tied up the game early in the second when Adam Sedlak intercepted a clearing attempt and threw the puck to the net. Spooner picked up the pass as he drove the net and beat Courchaine. As the period ended, Tony Romano brought the Petes backn to within one goal with his unassisted goal off a late period face-off.

Ottawa scored on 2 of their 6 powerplay opportunities in the second. Thomas Kiriakou restored the Ottawa lead at the halfway mark during Ottawa's second 5-on-3 advantage. He had just joined the play and Thomas Nesbitt found him at the side of the net. Logan Couture had the other assist. Ottawa's third powerplay goal came when Zach Harnden was assessed a 4 minute penalty for inadvertently hitting Travis Gibbons in the face with his stick. Jon Carnevale tipped Thomas Kirakou's shot from the top of the face-of circle. Travis Gibbons got the second assist for his nifty behind the back pass to Kiriakou.

Back to within one goal with the late second period goal, the Petes tried to keep it close in the third but the hockey gods were agin them. On the up side, they didn't get any more penalties. But on the down side, the post saved a goal on Courchaine and they had a goal waved off as the referee whistled the play dead. And to make matters worse, Ottawa started finding the net. Anthony Nigro, Cody Lindsay and Thomas Kiriakou each scored a goal with assists going to Thomas Nesbitt, Travis Gibbons, Thomas Kiriakou (2), Brian Birkhoff, and Cody Lindsay.

The Petes got one back on the back end of the period but they were unable to close the gap.

Ottawa won 6 - 3 with total shots on goal 44 - 36 in Ottawa's favour.

Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67s as selected by the Team1200

Random Thoughts:
  • Whenever Peterborough is in Ottawa, there should be two refs on the ice. Although the Petes had to kill 7 penalties, they would have been assessed a lot more with an extra pair of eyes on the ice. They take liberties.
  • Adam Courchaine was definitely the 5th defenseman on the ice. He had to make some really good saves in the second and third periods to protect Ottawa's game.
  • Missiaen is really big - I mean really big. 6'7" in his socks - a giant in skates. The cross bar comes to his waist. Compare with Perugini where the cross-bar comes to his shoulders (well, perhaps an exaggeration).

  • Corey Cowick got into a dust-up with Adrian Robertson and he did the Chris Neil thing waving his arms to incite the crowd. I would council against incorporating that move into his repertoire. I like Chris Neil alot but that is not one of his more endearing habits.
  • Cuma must be teaching the new guys how to make sliding saves. Brian Birkhoff broke up a 2-on-1 rush with good hustle and a well-timed sliding block to take the pass away.
  • Kassian was awarded a penalty shot in the third period when Thomas Kiriakou was found to have intentionally knocked the net off its moorings. It was an uninspired effort that Courchaine easily defended.
  • Nice to see a former Ottawa 67s (Pat Daley) not make an impact. Not that I wish him any ill-will but it's a drag when a former player comes back to bite us.

The 67s close out the first half of the season on a four-game winning streak where they have racked up 27 goals from pretty much all over their shortened roster. Like last year, the rookies are getting all kinds of ice time and are using the time to contribute. Michael Latta is gone but Anthony Nigro and Travis Gibbons are having a great impact.

So they will briefly scatter to the four winds to celebrate the hoidays, rest and heal and return for a series of road games starting on December 30th.

While there won't be anthing to report on the 67s until then, I will do my best to post some insights from the WJHC if I have the time. We are planning to take in 16 games and I am volunteering as well so it will be hockey, hockey, hockey from Boxing Day through to January 5th.

Here's to a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or however you celebrate this time of year. Be safe.

Young fans

Pre-game focus

Cuma and Hanes on the outside looking in

Former Ottawa 67s Brett Liscombe returns for a visit


December 15, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Well, that was quite the weekend for the 67s! It started with a terrific 10 - 0 blowout of the Tavares-less Oshawa Generals. As good as Ottawa was, Oshawa was that bad. The black mark on the evening was the fractured ankle suffered by Ryan Hanes in an awkward fall after a fight with Oshawa's Tyler Taylor.

Then the 67s hopped on the bus for the trip to Sudbury. Apparently they ran into some bad weather and didn't roll into town until around 4AM. The game later that evening against the Wolves was pretty tight until all heck broke loose. It rained goals with Ottawa taking the game 8 - 3! Here's the game sheet. As with Friday night the scoring was spread around. Goals came from: Cody Lindsay, Julien Demers, Corey Cowick, Pieter Schinkelshoek (2), Anthony Nigro, Jon Carnevale, and Ryan Martindale. Assists came from: Pieter Schinkelshoek, Logan Couture, Derek Hartwick, Thomas Kiriakou (2), Martin Paryzek, Ryan Martindale, Dylan Anderson, Stephen Blunden and Travis Gibbons. The only guys not to register a point were Anthony Zanetti, Tyler Toffoli, Brian Birkhoff and the two goalies.

No time for celebration as they got on the bus again and headed for Sault Ste Marie for their 2:00 date with the Greyhounds. I understand that they ran into weather on that leg of the trip as well and didn't get into the Sault until quite late. I didn't see or listen to this game but suffice it to say that they won it. According to some Sault fans, their 'hounds were robbed by the ref. Here's where you will find that game sheet.

Finally it was time to return home. I would imagine that the ride was pretty quiet given the hours and efforts from the team in the previous 48 hours. 21 goals in three games, 52 points in total from all over the roster, 6 goals against, 5/22 on the PP, perfect on the 13 PKs, one short-handed goal scored, one penalty shot scored against. Gotta like those results.

Well done!!

December 13, 2008

A Bo Derek Night

A perfect 10 (a cultural reference that will be lost on the young). 10 - 0 Ottawa over Oshawa.

Well, not a perfect 10 in that Ryan Hanes was injured but pretty close to perfection.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Toffoli,
Nigro, Martindale, Nesbitt
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Carnevale
Blunden, Anderson, Schinkelshoek

Demers, Gibbons,
Paryzek, Zanetti
Hartwick, Hanes

Goal: Courchaine

Scratches: Sonnenburg, Birkhoff, Cuma

It took a few minutes for the two teams to get the feel of the ice. Oshawa had the first three shots on goal early in the game .......and then their feet went to sleep and the 67s took over.

Logan Couture opened the floodgates 5 minutes into the game when he spun around and fired a shot from the slot that beat rookie goalie Kevin Baillie 5-hole. Travis Gibbons and Corey Cowick assisted on what would eventually be the game winning goal. And within a span of just over 2 and a half minutes the 67s were up by three. Ryan Martindale notched his 13th of the year on a great pass from Anthony Nigro. Thomas Nesbitt assisted. And capping the first period scoring was Logan Couture with his second goal with an assist from his new winger, Tyler Toffoli. 3 goals on 7 shots.

And the 67s simply continued to dominate the entire game. And I mean the entire game. There was no backing off as the goals piled up. They outskated, outworked and out-everything'd Oshawa. While the 67s played well, the Oshawa Generals played equally bad. They had nothing. The only area where Oshawa dominated was in the lack of discipline - taking 13 penalties.

For their part, Ottawa only took 4 penalties and not only defended all of them quite handily, Thomas Kiriakou scored a short handed goal when he picked up the puck at centre ice after Anthony Zanetti broke up the Oshawa play. That put Ottawa up 5 - 0 and that was the end of the day for Kevin Baillie.

In the final analysis, Ottawa got goals from: Logan Couture (2), Cody Lindsay (2), Ryan Martindale, Corey Cowick, Thomas Kiriakou, Tyler Toffoli, Pieter Schinkelshoek, Julien Demers. Assists came from: Jon Carnevale, Thomas Nesbitt, Anthony Zanetti, Thomas Kiriakou (2), Tyler Toffoli (2), Anthony Nigro, Julien Demers, Corey Cowick (2), Stephen Blunden (2), Dylan Anderson (2), Travis Gibbons and Logan Couture. In fact, the only 67s who didn't get a point tonight were Derek Hartwick, Martin Paryzek, Ryan Hanes, (all defensemen) the goalies and the scratches.

I never thought of Oshawa as a particular dirty team but Tyler Taylor did not do his team proud when the 19-year tough guy basically blind-sided 16-year old rookie Ryan Hanes. Ryan did well enough defending himself which probably irritated Taylor even more as he felt it necessary to lay in a couple more shots to the head when Ryan was already down on the ice. In the process of falling, Ryan injured either his knee or his leg. It looked like he might be out for a while.

A great bounce-back from last weekend's play. That's what we like to see.

Three Stars of the Game as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67s: Julien Demers (I didn't get a picture of Julien during the game.)

Random Thoughts:
  • While the Generals didn't have JT in the line-up, that was not an excuse for their display tonight.
  • Michael Del Zotto had an abysmal night - minus 6 and some very usportsmanlike behaviour including one of the boldest runs on a goalie that I have seen.
  • The 67s were full value tonight - crisp passes, energy, hard work on the boards, making space in front of the net.
  • Great to have Thomas Kiriakou back in the line up. He contributes all over the ice.
  • It's also great to have a trade work out where the guy we get gives his former team fits. Corey Cowick has enjoyed success against his former team. Valliquette - not so much.
  • Tyler Toffoli sure is working out well on the top line. He's a fun player to watch.
  • Pieter Schinkelshoek has scored two goals that had muted celebrations. His late-game goal in the shellacking by Kingston wasn't much to celebrate and then scoring the 9th goal in this run-away game. I hope he gets one soon that he can really celebrate.
  • In the head-to-head numbers, Ottawa had won 3 of the last 4 and all previous games were 1-goal games. This one kinda blew that stat out of the water.
  • You don't want to see a team running up the score but you don't want the team backing off either. This has to be a coaching challenge. Killer responded by giving more ice time to his rookies.
  • Some players show the joy of playing all the time. Almost every picture I have of Tyler Toffoli either has him smiling or showing his intensity. It's easy to get great shots of him.

Let's hope the 67s have re-found their energy and excitement for the game.

Who knew reporters were so messy?

Ten goals hurt.

December 07, 2008


Why is this man smiling?
Because his league bottom dweller team just seriously schooled the Ottawa 67s in their own rink and got him his second win of the season.

This was easily Ottawa's worst game of the season.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nesbitt
Nigro, Martindale, Toffoli
Sonnenburg, Lindsay, Carnevale
, Anderson, Schinkelshoek

Paryzek, Cuma
Demers, Gibbons,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Blunden (healthy), Kiriakou (shoulder), Hanes (healthy)

Kingston started the game with energy, purpose and the bitter taste of a 8 - 3 loss in their own barn on Friday still in their mouths. Clearly Ottawa wasn't prepared for this encounter and they never recovered from Kingston's early pressure. You can read the game sheet as well as I can so I won't go into a scoring summary here. But note that game sheets can have their errors too - Hartwick was not the game's first star.

Except for a few brief moments early in the second period and perhaps late in the third, Ottawa really didn't bring anything to match Kingston's determination. The Front's forechecking was solid, their passing crisp and they just seemed to be in the right places at the right times.

The only place that Ottawa won was on the fight card but that doesn't do anything for the standings. First it was Riley Sonnenburg (!!?) taking recently traded Colt Kennedy in the second period followed by rookie Pieter Schinkelshoek taking on sophomore Stephan Francella late in the third.

Schinkelshoek and Francella

With Kingston up 5 - 1 going into the third period, I fully expected it to get really boring as Kingston worked to protect the lead. To give Ottawa credit, they didn't quit and in the process put 17 shots on Parks who was chased out of the net the last time he was in Ottawa. Several of them were good scoring chances that he stopped; only two got by him. His team mates didn't quit at all either and scored two of their own.

All in all a really stinky game by the 67s. Let's hope we don't see one of these again for a very long time.

Game's Three Stars as selected by the Team1200

Hardest Working 67s as selected by the Team1200: Corey Cowick

Random Thoughts:

  • The team really misses Kirakou's energy and face off skills. Come back soon Thomas!!
  • No OAs on the ice for Ottawa; they played with 7 rookies and 3 and two-thirds lines. Facts, but not an excuse for play that was THAT bad. No long travel, no heavy schedule.
  • Ottawa had several good scoring chances but were just unable to finish.
  • Kingston could have scored several more goals; Perugini was saved by the whistle, posts and luck on a few really good chances.
  • Kingston and Barrie traded players last week: Colt Kennedy, Brian Lashoff, and Mitch Lebar went to Kingston; Josh Brittain and Peter Stevens went to Barrie. These five players scored a total of 3 goals and 12 assists against Ottawa since the trade with 2 goals and 10 assists from today. Guess that trade was bad for Ottawa!
  • Pieter Schinkelshoek scored his second goal of the season (first at home) late in the third period but there really wasn't any celebrating.

I have a conflict on Friday. All the WJHC volunteers received free tickets to the Team Canada Red and White game. Oshawa is in town against the 67s. Haven't made up my mind which game I will go to. It might be decided by my agenda on Friday and traffic.

Couture's goal

The Great Escape

Touque give-away

December 05, 2008

Barrie Colts Trot Off with a 4 - 1 Win .

Traffic tonight was nuts from just about everywhere from what I hear. The Barrie bus must have been caught up in it as they just arrived at 6:30 or so for the game.

Ottawa had no excuse for their sluggish play. This one rates as a stinker.

Forward Combos:
Cowick, Couture, Nesbitt
Nigro, Martindale, Toffoli
Blunden, Lindsay, Hanes
Sonnenburg, Anderson, Schinkelshoek

Paryzek, Cuma
Demers, Gibbons,
Hartwick, Zanetti

Goal: Courchaine

Scratches: Carnevale (concussion), Kiriakou (shoulder), Birkhoff (mono)

When I'm tired from a long week (and facing more work this weekend) I look forward to a really good game from the team to get me energized. When that doesn't happen, I find it hard to write these game updates. Tonight is one of the uninspired nights.

The first period was flat-out boring. No flow, no organization to speak of and Ottawa played nearly half of it a man short. And that was just the beginning. Here's the game sheet. For a team that was among the lowest penalized teams in the league, they certainly got bad really quickly. 11 penalties tonight. Without their best penalty killer.

Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200:
1. Stefan Della Rovere
2. Michael Hutchinson
3. Anthony Nigro

Hardest Working 67s as Selected by the Team1200: Riley Sonnenburg

Random Thoughts:
  • Not that the officials lost the game for the 67s, but the refereeing was atrocious tonight. I don't recall seeing this Luxmore fellow before but he seems new. Probably should not be flying solo just yet.
  • The 67s just could not organize anything tonight for the few minutes they were playing at full strength. I'm sure that in some small way it had to do with the PP guys getting a bit pooped with all that defending.
  • Speaking of the PK, three of Barrie's four goals were on the PP. As noted in the past, Ottawa left the front of their net rather unprotected. At least two of the three goals against were from someone standing almost in the blue paint. For their part, Barrie collapsed in front of their goalie really well.
  • They really missed Kiriakou and Carnevale. Hope they are both well soon.
  • Hanes benefited from Carnevale's injury - he saw lots of ice-time on the third line.
  • Sean Ryan has been let go from the team. So long Sean. Thanks for your contributions here in Ottawa (I am not being sarcastic) and best wishes in your future endeavors. Take advantage of your educational package - not too many kids get this kind of deal.
  • I'm too lazy to do the arithmetic but I suspect that Ottawa's team was a fair bit younger. 7 rookies according to Walt's lineup sheet and no overagers.
  • Almost 600 pictures taken and not one that I feel like posting. Glad I don't have to do this for a living.
  • I don't normally second-guess the broadcast crew in their selection of game stars but I didn't agree with Hutchinson as the game's second star. Did he have to make any really hard saves? Even though the 67s threw 31 shots to the net, very few of them were serious scoring chances.
  • Martin Paryzek will be returning to the Czech Republic on December 15th to prepare with the national team for the WJHC in Ottawa. Congratulations Martin!
  • Speaking of national teams, Cuma was invited to camp; Couture was not. Congrats Tyler! As for Logan, this has to be tough. Remember, that what does not kill you only serves to make you stronger. Not many adults would be able to suck it up and lead their team in the face of this kind of disappointment. Logan looked like he was using this disappointment to play harder tonight.
  • Was in Washington for a couple of days (returned late last night) so I missed the camp roster announcement and most of the Avery shenanigans. Despite watching lots of ESPN, there really wasn't much hockey news to be had. The town is getting ready for the inauguration in January. It's hard not to get caught up in this historic event - I bought an Obama t-shirt (made in Honduras, printed in Mexico).
  • On the upside, picking up my credentials and uniform for the WJHC in December. This town is going to be crazy in a few weeks! I can hardly wait.

See you at the game on Sunday!!

December 01, 2008

Ice It Down: A Look at Pro Hockey Through a Trainer's Eyes by Brian Patafie

Book review time!

For those who don't know, Brian Patafie is the trainer for the Ottawa 67s and after being in the business for over 30 years he finally did what folks had been suggesting he do for a long time - he wrote a book about his experiences as a pro-hockey trainer.

I bought it on Saturday at the 67s game and finished it by Sunday evening.

When asked about the book, Brian is quick to note that it's not for kids. Affirmative on that. I kept thinking about those notices that show up for certain TV programs:
This book contains mature content and coarse language. Reader discretion in advised.

It's a trip through Brian's career as told in about 140 vignettes; you can read as much or as little as you want in one bite. It's not like there is a complex plot to keep track of. It's more like sitting around, drinking beer and swapping stories.

Many of the stories had me laughing out loud. He really put this foot in it on more than one occasion. Others were poignant. He encountered some pretty incompetent guys in his time and he clearly didn't (and I presume still doesn't) suffer fools easily. He formed some important and long-lasting relationships and he's generous with praise for these people. Through it all, he used his sharp wit and much sharper tongue with friends and foes alike.

It's an interesting lens through which to see some of the behind-the-scenes workings of pro-hockey. If you are thinking of gifts for any literate, adult hockey fans on your shopping list, I would recommend this one.

It's available at Ottawa67s games, from the book's website, Lacroix Sports and Chapters

But mind the warning: reader discretion is advised.