Friday, 29 December 2017

Outdoor Garbage

I can already hear people saying it: Teebz is a sore loser. I thought today's game between the US and Canada at New Era Field was absolute trash. The game, when it was played, was a decent show of talent between the Canadian and American players, but it's time for this gimmick to stop when there are important games on the line. Granted, Canada did get an all-important point out of the shootout, but this is a game that should have been played indoors.

If the road to hell was paved with good intentions, the planning for this game had all the right intentions when it was announced. As the Canadians and Americans practiced yesterday, it was noted that "chunks" of ice were breaking off the ice surface as the players dug in with their skates. The weather forecast, which had the day predicted as -8C and sunny early in the day, is now looking cloudy and snowy with a high in the mid-minus-teens. This might have been hockey weather on the ponds back in the 1950s and 1960s, but it's not the kind of weather one wants for a high stakes game at the World Junior Championship.

Rather than giving in to sensibility, the organizers pushed ahead with the game today, and we got to watch hockey in a snowstorm as the ice crew got more TV time than some of the players did. Some will say that the organizers can't control Mother Nature, and I agree with that. Where the organizers do have control, though, is by heeding the forecasts that meteorologists give when it comes to Mother Nature's effect on these games. The snow was coming, and it made for a gong show of a game.

The other thing about these games I despise are the stoppages in the third and overtime periods to allow teams to switch ends. Again, no other game has this "feature" which makes it, at best, an inconvenience and, at worst, a momentum-killing break in the action. It's an awful feature, and that's why these games need to be retired here and now so we don't see them happen in Vancouver and Victoria next season.

As an aside, what was happening with TSN's broadcast position at this game? It looked like they were filming the game from the concourse rather than in a position where the play was easily seen. As the broadcast rights holder, that only irritated me more as I watched this debacle unfold. But I digress.

These types of games were unique when they happened once per year, became a spectacle and circus when they moved to six times a year, and are now passé when it comes to their attraction. Sure, everyone says it's fun, but when you can't see the puck and have no idea who is on the ice because you're a million miles away on your seat, these types of games need to move to a better venue or be disposed of entirely.

Congratulations to Team USA who battled through the snow and stoppages to find a way to erase two two-goal deficits and earn two points via the shootout in a 4-3 win. Casey Middlestadt was absolutely deserving of his Player of the Game award as he took his play to another level. Unfortunately, he had to do it in an environment that limited the play of most other players.

Enough with the gimmicks. It's over.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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