I've got a pounding headache tonight, and I think it's because I'm tired. I'm feeling a little rundown, and, despite people telling me to "take two and call me in the morning", I'm going to make this a quick entry. Personally, I'm against medication unless needed, and by "needed" I mean that I'm basically on death watch. Work was rough today, and I really don't want to spend too much time building arguments and coming up with sound reasons for various topics. So I won't. Instead, this entry will be a quick update to all things that I've taken an interest in over the last few days. Giddy up!
- Team Canada is putting the world on notice that they are gearing up for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The women are currently playing in Hameenlinna, Finland at the IIHF Women's World Championships, and Canada has cruised through their pool with a 2-0 record. They hammered China 13-1 on Saturday, and then defeated Sweden by a 7-0 score on Monday. Canada advances to the Medal Round where they will face Finland on Wednesday and the Americans on Friday. The two teams with the best record will square off for the gold medal, while the third-place team will battle the winner of the Qualifying Round for the bronze medal.
- In one of the bigger upsets of the opening round at the Women's World Championship, the Kazakhstani women shocked Switzerland with a 2-1 shootout victory. Alena Fux, whose name is slightly eyebrow-raising, scored the shootout winner. Kazakhstan, ranked #10 in the world, advanced to the Qualifying Round due to their victory. Switzerland, ranked #5 in the world, drops to the Relegation Round. A shock? Like Belarus over Sweden.
- Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson has been selected as the head coach for the American Men's Olympic Team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Do I like this selection? Personally, no. I think that both John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette have a better résumé than Wilson, but I wasn't on the selection committee. Specifically, I point to Tortorella's recent success of turning the Rangers around as a perfect example of what he can do in a short time with a team, but that's just me. We'll see what happens, I guess.
- The NHL announced today that it will be staging a celebrity pro-am poker tournament in association with Pokerstars.net during the NHL Awards Weekend. No offence to the NHL, but holding this kind of event still doesn't guarantee Mats Sundin any sort of hardware or anything. If anything, it's just another early-round exit... much like what Sundin will experience this April. Notice how his stack of chips in that picture are smaller than his neighbours' stacks? Yeah, exactly what I'm talking about.
- The Montreal Canadiens received some devastating news today as they found out their blueline lost two key cogs. Key acquisition Mathieu Schneider's season is done after it was discovered that he'll need season-ending shoulder surgery. Andrei Markov is also on the shelf after his left knee was diagnosed to need three weeks to recover after the hit by Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski. Schneider's presence on the Montreal powerplay awakened the stagnant unit, while defensive leading-scorer Markov was essential in all zones. With four games remaining, Montreal's outlook for the playoffs is still pretty good, but going into a series against either the Bruins or Capitals seems bleak.
- The Canadian Olympic teams will look different next year in Vancouver as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Hockey Canada came to an agreement over the outlawed Hockey Canada logo and jersey. The new sweater would feature both the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) logo and the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) logo. While Hockey Canada's new sweater will lose the hockey player on the front, it will keep the traditional maple leaf. It, along with the COC and VANOC logos, will appear over the five Olympic rings. The official unveiling is expected some time in the next two weeks. The new design is being rushed to Nike for manufacturing. It isn't known when the new design will be available for purchase by the public.
- The inaugural World Deaf Hockey Championships are taking place in Winnipeg starting on Friday, April 10, and I'll be profiling the sport this week. There are a number of things that are done differently in the hearing-impaired game, but the innovations and science that go into the game make it distinctly unique. I'm hoping to attend the game and take some photos, as well as bring you a first-hand experience of the event. More info to follow this week! For more infomation, check out the Canadian Deaf Ice Hockey Federation's website, as well as the World Deaf Ice Hockey and Curling Championships website!
- Fantasy hockey has me down 9-3-0 to Tugnutt with only one week to play. I've made a couple of changes, dropping New York Ranger Markus Naslund for Montreal Canadien Alex Tanguay. I also let injured Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco go, replacing him with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Cristobal Huet. I was getting nothing from either player this week, so I cut ties. Hopefully, I can begin the long climb back into this series!
- Lastly, it's the final week of the regular season in the NHL, so the last seven playoff spots need to be decided. Some teams are hanging on by the smallest of margins while others are looking to lock up a spot. It should be a good week with lots of action as we gear up for the NHL Playoffs!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!