The two semi-finals (USA-Czech Republic; Canada-Russia) were both even and entertaining. The Czech Republic got a very early goal by Michal Sivek against Team USA, and then showed off their defensive skills to keep the americans from tying the game. The Czech defense was easily the best of all the teams. With two goals seperated by only a minute and a half in the second period, the Czechs killed all american dreams of a place in the final. Still the americans fought bravely, and managed to get a goal early in the third period, but the Czechs scored the winning 4-1 goal in the empty net after a very foolish attempt to dribble on his own blue-line by american defender Jeff Jillson. Team USA owned the game, but the result wasn’t unfair, as the Czechs played an outstanding defensive game, and had a great goaltender in Zdenek Smid, who won MVP honours for his performance.
Canada vs. Russia was the second semi-final, some considered it to be the “real” final, saying that the team that won this game would have no trouble at all defeating the Czech Republic in the final. The game was the best of the tournament. Brilliant technique from the russians faced off against the physical Team Canada. Valeri Khlebnikov scored the important first goal for the russians after a magnificent display of technique. Oleg Smirnov made it 2-0 on a breakaway, but the canadians refused to give up and clawed one back by Dany Heatley, brilliantly assisted by Brandon Reid. 3-1 to Russia came early in the third period and decided the game for the russians. It finally ended 3-2. Read more»
The Czech Republic won the goldmedal after a penalty-shootout in the most
boring game ever played in the Skellefteå Isstadion. Congratulations to the
Czechs for winning, but seeing two teams prioritize defense above all and in
doing so decide not to forecheck, not to hit, not to attack with more than
two forwards at the time is so boring that I, and surely most of the people
attending, wished that I had just stayed at home and watched a Jeopardy
rerun. The highlight of the game was when the music-guys played
Elvis-impersonator Eilert Pilarm during a stoppage of play.
The bronze game was more entertaining, with Canada pulling off a
well-deserved win after a shootout. The Canadians looked disinterested in
the first period and didn’t have much emotion after the Americans had earned a
1-0 lead after the first period. Checking winger Willie Levesque scored the
goal shorthanded after Canada made some sloppy plays during their powerplay.
The Canadians looked more fired up for the second period, and they started
hitting the Americans more frequently, but also ran into penalty-trouble.
The Canadian penalties in the first period came from laziness and not being
up for the game, but those in the second period came from being aggressive,
though it should be noted that Swedish referee Christer Lärking sent
Canadians to the penaltybox for clean hits as well. The Americans got their Read more»
Team USA beat Sweden with a great team-effort in the quarterfinals, but could for some reason not find that game in the semis. The Americans are very good when they are playing with the lead, but not so good when they’re behind, and today they fell behind almost right away. Defenseman Pat Aufiero (Rangers) made a poor pass along the offensive blueline which was intercepted by the Czech’s and powerful center Milan Kraft (Pittsburgh) was sent in on a breakaway. Rick DiPietro made the initial save, but could not control the rebound which was jammed home by winger Michal Sivek (Washington). The US then had to put the pressure on to tie the score, and the offensive game has not been the strength of the American team this tournament. Energy, teamwork and dedication has, but the US even lacked this quality today. There were players who had their worst games of the tournament, already mentioned Pat Aufiero, goalie Rick DiPietro among many others, and few players who raised the level of their game. Winger Dan Cavanaugh, a Flames pick, got into the tournament on a banana-peel after defenseman John Liley injured his shoulder in the final exhibitiongame before the tournament. Cavanaughs icetime has increased every game, and he was given a chance to play with USA’s top offensive weapons – center Jeff Taffe and winger Barrett Heisten (Buffalo) today and did not disappoint. Cavanaugh was the Americans best forward showing good teamwork, good skating ability and very good passing ability. Cavanaugh got the Americans only goal on a rebound after setting up the play with a nice f Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings recent slide has overshadowed what has been a great season to-date. The Kings started the season playing over their heads and are currently playing below their ability. That is not unusual- teams go through slumps. The part that may be somewhat distressing is that when the Kings could use a spark from the farm system, some peek at a great prospect that will reinvigorate players and fans alike, the best the Kings could do…
No offense to Len Barrie. He plays hard and with grit and he is an excellent minor league hockey player, but he would likely not crack 75% of the NHL teams fourth line. It was this move that lead to a look at the system. The fact, while hard to swallow, is that the Kings do not have an impact player that is even remotely ready to play in the NHL.
The Kings seem to be on either side of the prospect fence. They have prospects like Pavel Rosa and Jason Podollan who posses promise but a call-up would likely expose the holes in their games and impede on any potential movement in regards to expansion. Both of these guys, along with Donald MacLean, Nathan Lafayette and Rich Brennan can prosper in the minors, making themselves more appealing to Columbus or Minnesota.
BIRTHDATE: APRIL 23, 1973
BIRTHPLACE: OTTAWA, ONTARIO
During his stellar junior career with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario
Hockey League, Derek Armstrong was drafted in the fifth-round of the 1992
National Hockey League Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. Now in his
seventh professional season, he has played 82 NHL games with the Islanders
(1993-94, 95-96, 96-97), Ottawa Senators (1997-98) and New York Rangers
(1998-99), totalling 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) and 56 penalty
minutes. In 359 minor league games with Salt Lake (1993-94), Denver
(1994-95), Utah (1996-97) and Detroit (1997-98) of the International Hockey
League, and Worcester (1995-96) and Hartford (1997 ? present) of the American
Hockey League, Armstrong has 108 goals, 182 assists and 328 penalty minutes.
In 1995, he was a member of the IHL Turner Cup Champion Denver Grizzlies. He
is a two-time AHL All-Star (1999, 2000), who was the Bauer Canadian Player of
the Game in 1999. His 105 assists and 162 points for the Hartford WolfPack
are all-time club records, and last season’s 80 points (29 goals, 51 assists)
are a single-season club record, as well as a personal high.
Armstrong is the WolfPack’s first-line center, as well as a regular Read more»