The 2008 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship kicked off yesterday with five games, one of which featured Team Canada. Canada squared off against Italy in their first game in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and it was expected to be a fast, exciting affair. It took six minutes for the scoring to open, and by the time the dust settled, eleven goals had been scored. The only problem was that Canada skated to a shutout.
Paul Rosen, the Canadian goaltender, made three saves in the shutout. That's right: three saves. Canada basically dominated the puck-control game, and even had several spectacular scoring chances while shorthanded. The Italians were, for the most part, overwhelmed in this game by the Canadians, and the scoreboard showed the results with Canada winning the game 11-0.
Canada's Hervé Lord opened the scoring six minutes into the first. At the 11:27 mark, the Canadians went up 2-0 on Greg Westlake's first goal of the game. Westlake pushed the score to 3-0 with his second goal of the game at the 21-second mark of the second period. Billy Bridges made it 4-0 with his first of the game on the powerplay at 9:47 of the second, and Marc Dorion scored unassisted 47 second later to make it 5-0. The onslaught continued with Bridges notching his second of the game at the 4:27 mark of the third period. Todd Nicholson scored at the 7:13 mark, and Hervé Lord scored his second of the game 37 seconds later. Raymond Grassi scored on the powerplay at 11:44, and Graeme Murray followed that goal up with one of his own at 12:21 to make the score 10-0. Bridges capped off the hat trick at 13:37 to give Canada the 11-0 victory.
Canada faces Germany tonight at 7pm EST. The big victory over Italy should give the Canadians much needed confidence against the Germans, and is hopefully the first step in securing a gold medal.
Playoff Watch: If I read this correctly, we'll have no Los Angeles, no Tampa Bay, no Atlanta, no St. Louis, no NY Islanders, no Columbus, no Florida, and no Toronto.
And in case you're keeping track, that's the order from worst to somewhat-terrible in terms of lottery balls in the draft. Los Angeles is two points ahead of Tampa Bay in the race for the first overall pick, and Tampa Bay has a game in hand. Prevailing rumours out of Los Angeles say that Lombardi is seriously looking at Drew Doughty as the first overall pick if his team secures that draft position.
I'm all for the Kings drafting Doughty, but, if I'm the Kings, I'd look to swap down with whomever selects second. Why? If I can draft Doughty or even Alex Pietrangelo with the second or third pick while acquiring some decent talent via the trade, I'm already ahead. However, the Kings also have Dallas' first-round pick this year, and with Dallas free-falling in the standings, it might be a great idea to go after a solid, defensive defenceman like Luke Schenn as well.
If Lombardi is serious about improving his team significantly at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he certainly has a lot of options to consider. The two defencemen of the OHL, Doughty and Pietrangelo, bring a lot of skill. However, Lombardi was criticized for passing up a warrior like Karl Alzner of the WHL to select Thomas Hickey. Luke Schenn, who is a better defensive defenceman than Alzner in my opinion, should end that critics' whine in spades.
As much as it pains me to suggest packaging Cammalleri and the draft pick for a top-level centerman and a lower pick, it should be examined in detail. Cammalleri has shown great potential in terms of his talent, but he never seems to fulfill that potential due to injuries. If the draft plays out the way it's supposed to, I don't see why Los Angeles can't swing a deal for a top-notch goalie or a smart, offensive centerman. However, since I'm not the GM, I can't tell you how this will go.
I'm missing Pittsburgh and the Rangers square off right now, so I'm taking off. Have a good one, and there will be more fun this week as playoff spots are settled!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!