Jan 062010

WJHC 2010 500px-Logo_Edmonton_Oilers.svg

Before the Canada vs. USA World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal game and the Edmonton Oilers vs Phoenix Coyotes NHL games were even started I was already thinking about how this article would look. It had the premise of Canada wins gold for a 6th straight year and the Oilers sucked as usual.

Then when the games started I had to start reconsidering what I was thinking. After the first period with the game tied at 2 it was still going to be Canada winning gold but I was very impressed by the USA team speed and determination and was going to have to add that in somewhere. Over in the other game the Oilers were doing what I expected at this time; losing 1-0.

1 minute into the second period the USA scored to go up 3-2. Just less than 3 minutes later Canada tied it up for the second time. It was at this point that the USA won the gold medal in my opinion. They pulled their starting goalie, Mike Lee, and replaced him with Jack Campbell. That change seemed to buoy the American team and until the last 3 minutes of the third period, Campbell stoned the Canadians at every chance they had. On the other side, Canadian starter Jake Allen was equally as shaky as Lee and finally was replaced after the 5th USA goal at 6:23 of the third period by Martin Jones. With under 14 minutes to go in a gold medal game was too late to be making that change. Canadian Coach Willie Desjardins threw a cold Jones to the wolves so to speak and I think Jones was at least partially at fault on the OT winner by the USA’s John Carlson. Goalies in any sport are coached with the understanding that nothing beats you short side. You have to at least have that covered. The winning goal went short side. I give a hat tip to USA coach Dean Blais for making the change he did when he did. Congratulations to team USA for a great tournament. We look forward to beating you next year when the tournament is on your home soil.

Edmonton Oiler’s prospect Jordan Eberle pulled some more heroics out of his bag to score 2 late goals and send the game to overtime. Many individuals are considering Eberle to be the next saviour of the Oilers and expect him to be able to pull the team out of the funk that they have been in for the last 3 years. Unfortunately the same people were also heralding Robbie Schremp the same way. People have to sit back and remember that junior hockey and the NHL are 2 different levels of the game. Jonathan Willis over at Oilersnation did a good post comparing Eberle to various other Oiler draft picks that is good.

So the Canadian lost and it was back to the Oilers and Coyotes game. The Copper and Blue must have been inspired by Jordan Eberle because they scored 2 goals in 2 minutes half way through the second to tie their game at 2. Unfortunately, as has been the case most of the year so far, the gracious hosts decided to fall asleep at the wheel and give the Coyotes 2 more goals before the second period ended and trailed by those 2 goals to end the period. The Oilers again came to life just before the mid point of the third period and scored 2 goals in 49 seconds to tie the game back up. Just like the junior game, unacceptable or questionable goaltending at either end was to at least partially to blame for a couple of goals. Shane Doan then scored the OT winner to again send the Oilers down to defeat. Yes, this is the same Shane Doan who is the captain of the Coyotes and who, along with Jarome Iginla, Peter Sykora, and a host of others still playing in the NHL was passed over in the 1995 NHL enrty draft by the Oilers for Steve Kelly who ended up only ever playing 27 games with the Oilers and 147 NHL games total.

So the night ended up with both the teams I was cheering for losing in overtime. I am torn though about which result was the hardest to deal with. Yes it was sad that the Canadian juniors lost but after 5 straight wins, the law of averages had to catch up to them and for international junior hockey it was probably the best result…at least I will keep telling myself that until I feel better about the loss. I think what was worse though was the Oilers got a point in their loss. Unless they turn it around right freakin now, that was a useless point in the standings and could cost them a higher draft pick. That is not to say that a higher draft pick will be better necessarily (see the Steve Kelly note above), but at least the higher picks are usually better in the NHL…and I do mean usually not definitely.

Technorati Tags:


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Reply