Monday, September 06, 2004


...but does this mean bratwurst does, too?

This one got mighty interesting. Finland didn't play their best game, but managed to get by Germany by a score of 2-1 to advance to the European semifinal round.

The Finns had a monkeywrench thrown into the mix when Janne Niinimaa walked out on the team due to some personality conflicts with Finnish coach Raimo Summanen. Other players said off the record to the CBC that the conflict got personal, and that they didn't blame Niinimaa for bolting.

Once again, times are approximate.

The Germany startegy to make up for their skill disparity was once again to clog the neutral zone with a 1-4 scheme and stop the play as much as possible to keep the Finns from getting any sort of flow going. Having Olaf Kolzig stand on his head in net was also a key factor if the Germans wanted to win. Miikka Kiprusoff was in net for the Finns.

19:02 Stefan Ustorf's long shot was gloved by Kiprusoff
18:35 Niko Kapanen's shot from the slot was pad-saved by Kolzig
18:22 Kolzig put a pad save on Kimmo Timonen
18:07 Teemu Selanne was also victim to a pad save

Early on, Finland was failing to get many power play shots.

16:19 Kolzig came up with a big chest stop on Kapanen to the left side
13:52 Tomas Martinec's slapshot from the left circle was foiled
12:51 Mikko Koivu had his shot deflected up into the netting by Kolzig
12:46 Ossi Vaananen was stopped from the right circle
10:38 Niklas Hagman had his shot from the left circle stopped by Kolzig
9:21 Kolzig got the glove on a Timonen shot from the blue line
7:23 On a Finnish power play, Toni Lydman got in close on the left side and his backhand shot on the wraparound was stopped by Kolzig
6:20 Olli Jokinen on the power play had a shot from the right circle Kolzig'd
2:57 Lydman had a shot on the power play through traffic, which was pad-saved
2:43 Teppo Numminen had a long shot saved

Kolzig had nine saves on nine shots in the period.

19:01 Marcel Goc logged his first shot of the tournament for the Germans, a wraparound shot stopped by the stick of Kiprusoff. Goc sat one game in the preliminary round and was centering the top line for the Germans, which pretty much lets you know about the talent crevasse between the German teams and the rest of the teams in the tournament.
17:20 Klaus Kathan's shot from the right side found the pads of Kiprusoff
17:05 Daniel Kreutzer was also stopped by the pads
16:33 Kiprusoff challenged a German scorer whose name I didn't get on a 3-on-2 breakaway

The Germans had successfully held off the Finns in the first period and were dominating the flow (or lack thereof) of play in the early part of the second period, as the Finns were basically asleep.

13:42 Marco Sturm had a shot from the right circle meet the pads of Kiprusoff
13:09 Sami Salo (Canuck) had a shot from beyond the right circle stopped by Kolzig
10:13 Jokinen's shot from just inside the blue line was stopped by Kolzig's chest
9:34 On a Finnish power play, Jokinen had a goal form the left side waved off as about three people crashed into the net and knocked it off its moorings as the puck went in
**9:10 Good side-to-side puck movement caused Kolzig to move side to side. Kapanen and Timonen had their names on the goal by Niklas Hagman, who had a wide open net and buried the shot after Kolzig overplayed on Timonen to his left, who passed the puck (FIN 1-0). Finland overcame some semi-listless play early to get themselves a lead and feel at least temporarily relieved
7:52 Kolzig stopped a Lydman shot from the left circle with his chest
6:15 Goc was unsuccessful on a sharp-angle shot from the right side
5:41 Robert Leask (Canadian-born) rolled snake eyes from the left circle
1:29 Jochen Hecht had a great opportunity to tie the game for the Germans, but fanned on the puck in close
0:08 Numminen was stopped from beyond the left circle
0:02 Salo's long shot met the pads of Kolzig

18:26 Jokinen's wraparound attempt was stick-saved and covered by Kolzig
16:30 Jere Lehtinen's shot from near the right hash marks was stopped
15:08 Vaananen was unsuccessful from just inside the blue line
14:12 Andreas Renz was stopped from the right circle
13:50 Marco Sturm literally crashed the net, first having his shot stopped and then bowling over Kiprusoff as well as the net
13:44 Christian Ehrhoff was stopped in close
12:50 Hecht's shot from the right circle hit the side of the net
12:40 Dennis Seidenberg's shot from the right point was stopped
7:27 Ustorf was gloved from just beyond the circles on a shot that Kiprusoff always stops, i.e., the shot he sees all the way. Isn't that how it should be, though?
**6:02 Numminen gave away the puck at the blue line and Sturm found the five-hole on Kiprusoff from the left hand marks to tie the game at 1-1 and scare the living crap out of the Finns and the fans in their arena
5:13 Kiprusoff made a key save, stopped a redirect from Tomas Martinec off a shot by Renz
3:25 Kapanen was stopped from beyond the left circle
**3:22 Jokinen won the faceoff and got the puck out to Timonen, who slapped one toward the net, and Mikko Eloranta had his stick on the ice and redirected it past Kolzig to the far corner (FIN 2-1). Relief was had in the Hartwell Arena...more of it would be had if the Finns could hold off the Germans for the remaining 3:22
2:17 Seidenberg got the kick-save treatment from the right circle
2:05 Seidenberg got the glove treatment from the right circle
0:48 Kolzig got the pads on a Jokinen shot in close

It was a valiant fight by the Germans today, and they nearly pulled it off. In a tournament where the Germans decided to go with mostly German-born players instead of stacking the team with players carrying German passports (i.e., foreign players that play professionally in Germany), I'd have to say they did fairly well. Compare this to the Slovaks, who have Hossa, Gaborik, Satan, Chara, Demitra, et al., and still couldn't manage to really get anything going in their three games. Granted, they had non-NHLers in goal, but still.

Sean Burke said after the game on the CBC that the Finns just stopped skating in the game, allowing Germany to jump back in it. He said this game wasn't exactly a confidence-builder for the Finns, as it definitely wasn't their best game. He also said Marco Sturm was making plays all game long, and that he was the Germans' best skill player. Agreed. Though Jochen Hecht did have his fair share of chances.

CBC's three stars: Mikko Eloranta, Niklas Hagman, Marco Sturm

The Germans go home while the Finns will play their next game either in Toronto or St. Paul, depending on how the rest of the quarterfinal games shake out.

As for the rest of the quarterfinal round...

Tuesday the 7th: (E3) Czech Republic at (E2) Sweden, from Stockholm
Tuesday the 7th: (NA3) United States vs. (NA2) Russia, from St. Paul
Wednesday the 8th: (NA4) Slovakia at (NA1) Canada, from Toronto

Keep having a non-laborious Labor Day out there, and sit tight until the Mariner game, which takes place in about five hours.

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