Hockey Headlines

Monday, 31 December 2007

Gold In Switzerland

While the title of this article may seem like something out of a financial prospective, it actually is reflective of Team Canada's entry at the Spengler Cup. I was up extremely early today to watch this game in its entirety live on Rogers Sportsnet, and it certainly was a pretty good hockey game. Canada squared off in the Spengler Cup final against Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Russian Super League. The Russian club had posted a 3-1 record in the round robin to advance to the final against the Canadian squad, who had a 4-0 record.

Kirby Law and Ryan Keller scored in the second period to lift Canada to a 2-1 victory over the Russian club. Both Canadian goals were somewhat lucky. Law poked the puck across the line after it had appeared to be frozen by Ufa goaltender Alexander Eremenko. The referee indicated that he could still see the puck after the Simon Gamache wraparound, and the goal stood after a video replay.

Keller's goal was the result of a lucky bounce. His inital shot was deflected wide of the Russian net, but the puck took a weird bounce off the end boards towards the Russian crease. The puck ended up hitting Eremenko's leg and wound up in the back of the net.

Alexander Perezhogin, the former Montreal Canadians forward, scored the Russian goal for Ufa. Off a turnover at the Ufa blueline, Perezhogin streaked down the right on his off-wing, and fired a laser of a wrist shot over Curtis Joseph's right shoulder for the only Ufa goal.

With the Spengler Cup win, Canada now has 11 Spengler Cup gold medals since 1984 when it began play in the tournament, and their first championship since 2003. It was the second victory over the Ufa club team by a one-goal margin for the Canadians in this year's Spengler Cup.

More Canada News: The Canadians resume play at the World Junior Championships today after their loss to Sweden. The Canadians play Denmark today at 12pm EST. You can find live streaming audio sites for the game by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the article.

However, the Canadians will finish second in their pool if they defeat Denmark as Sweden defeated the Czech Republic today 4-2 in the early game. Canada will have a playoff round matchup with Finland in the medal round with the win. The Czechs will meet the Russians, while the USA and Sweden enjoy byes into the semi-finals.

Cold Air Hockey: Tomorrow is the first day of 2008, and there's no better way to bring in the new year like spending time watching the NHL bring us some old-time hockey. Buffalo and Pittsburgh meet in the first outdoor NHL game since the Heritage Classic, and I'm excited for it.

Ty Conklin, who shut out the Barney Rubble Hairpieces on December 29, gets the start for the Penguins. Ryan Miller will start for the Sabres. One player who will miss the game will be the Penguins locker room leader Gary Roberts. Roberts got tangled up with Buffalo's Tim Connelly on Saturday night and broke his left leg.

"The young players are going to have to step up," said Penguins coach Michel Therrien to SportsNetwork.com, commenting on the loss of Roberts. "There's no doubt, Gary (Roberts) was doing a great job as a true leader for a lot of guys. The young players on the team will have to compensate for the leadership that we won't have from Gary Roberts and we don't know for how long."

The Penguins also lost defenceman Mark Eaton earlier in the week to a torn knee ligament. Eaton is out indefinitely, while the initial prognosis on Roberts would be a 6-8 week layoff.

Happy New Year, everyone! Take care tonight, and please don't drink and drive. Have a wonderful night, and we'll see you in 2008!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

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