Monday, 26 December 2011

Where Speling Realy Counts

Pictured to the left with his stick in the air is the celebrating Brett Connolly. As you may be aware, Connolly is normally a full-time forward with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but GM Steve Yzerman thought it may be prudent to send his talented forward to play on the international stage with Team Canada at this year's World Junior Championships. Connolly scored a beautiful goal against Finland today, and Canada really shone in an 8-1 victory over the normally-feisty Finns. While Connolly played well, there was actually something else that stood out about him.

While watching replay after replay of the goal, I noticed that Brett Connolly was missing something vitally important. It's not a piece of equipment or a sign from a teammate or anything that would change the way he plays the game in the slightest. Instead, Connolly's name was misspelled on the back of his uniform as he only had one "L" in his name, meaning that the equipment guys for Team Canada made an "oops" when preparing his game uniform!

That kind of mistake doesn't happen often, especially on an international stage, for Team Canada, but Brett Connolly was officially "Connoly" for one game in this tournament. What makes this even stranger is that Connolly played in three pre-tournament games, and his name was spelled right each time in those games. It seems that someone was just asleep at the wheel for the Finland tilt.

The other NHL player who joined Team Canada was Anaheim's Devante Smith-Pelly. Smith-Pelly was loaned to the team in order for him to gain some international seasoning as well, but his tournament came to a crashing halt in the first game as Smith-Pelly fractured the first metatarsal bone in his foot after blocking a point shot from Finland's Teemu Pulkkinen. The injury will keep the Anaheim Duck out of any lineup for 4-6 weeks.

"Heartbreaking way to end my tournament, but I know the guys will do the country proud regardless. Thank you everyone for your kind words," Smith-Pelly wrote on his Twitter page.

Canada will move on to play the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The Czechs showed some moxie in the pre-tournament games by running with Russia before falling by a 5-3 score. Goaltender Petr Mrazek, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, is most likely to get the start with his OHL experience as a member of the Ottawa 67's. Finland will play the USA on Wednesday, and will have to beat the highly-touted Americans if they hope to finish in second-place in the pool.

Canada got a great start in this year's tournament with the big victory over Finland, and I have to say that I was impressed with the fans in Edmonton. They were loud, they were passionate, and they gave Canada all the support they could ever have wanted. If the fans remain this loud for the remainder of the tournament, Canada has a big advantage in its seventh-man.

And it needs to be said: GO CANADA GO!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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