Thursday, September 02, 2004


Germany played a decent game today, but the talent disparity between their team and the Finnish team was simply much too huge, as Miikka Kiprusoff pitched another shutout to lead Finland to a 3-0 win over the Germans.

The CBC crews once again this midday were Oake/Burke in the studio and Wittman/Millen at the game. The arena and crowd in Cologne drew some rave reviews, as the facility was well-kept and the crowd was insane. Standing-room-only tickets are sold behind each goal at the arena for $35 Canadian, and these areas were the center of chanting, singing, and the pounding of floor toms with mallets/drumsticks, the sounds of which echoed throughout the arena for the duration of the game. Greg Millen at one point suggested that the people in charge of game presentation (play stoppage music, scoreboard crowd-rousing graphics) should just go home so as not to take away from the atmosphere. If the Germans would have scored a goal in this game, the fans would have probably blown the roof off the place.

What didn't draw rave reviews was the rink itself. The glass was lower than North American standards, and the players' benches extended out to the hash marks of the faceoff circles. Not only did this provide some logistical monkeywrenches for line changes, but it also gave the defenseman a lot less opportunities to, well, clear the puck off the glass and out of their zone. In this game, there were a lot of pucks flying into the bench leading to a lot of stoppages in the play and a lot of faceoffs in the zone that the defenseman was trying to clear the puck from in the first place.

Two short notes before the recap. One, the most interesting advertisement on the boards was that for LEGO Sports. Two, the CBC (in BC at least) is airing these commercials featuring a computer-animated and semi-anthropomorphized bowling pins-being-attacked-by-ball situation. The ad ends with a tagline of "Get with the game! Go Bowling!" The ad is beyond cheesy, but that goes beyond saying. What I'm left asking myself after I see the commercial is who the hell is sponsoring these ads? Seriously, there's no indication of who put the money behind the advertisement at all. I could tolerate the commercial a little more if I found out it was backed by the PBA, but this commercial infuriates me every time I see it.

Germany was having trouble early in the faceoff circle, but Finland wasn't doing too well a job of using their speed.

On an early power play, Saku Koivu one-timed a pass to Jere Lehtinen, who was stuffed by Olaf Kolzig. About halfway through the period, Lehtinen battled for the puck in the corner and Teemu Selanne gota hold of the puck and passed to Kimmo Timonen, who beat Kolzig from the edge of the faceoff circle (FIN 1-0).

A Niklas Hagman-to-Niko Kapanen scoring opportunity was thwarted by Kolzig.

The crew agreed that other than the Germans' NHL line (Jochen Hecht, Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc), no one other than Dennis Seidelberg (property of the Flyers) was really adept to generating scoring chances.

About seven minutes in, Hecht tried to roof a shot past Kiprusoff, but it was gloved even as Kiprusoff was falling down.

A short discussion of goaltending by the crew generated tidbits such as how the Finns are cranking out much more goaltenders, and that Sweden is barely generating any goaltenders lately. Semi-ironically, goaltending is the biggest weakness right now for the Swedish team.

The Finns were playing a little more slowly in the second period as opposed to the first, and this led to more faceoff wins and scoring chances for the Germans. Tomas Martinec was on the doorstep in front of Kiprusoff, but was robbed. Stefan Ulstorf was stopped by Kiprusoff on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The Germans got a 5-on-3 power play and a Hecht-to-Mirko Ludemann play was also quashed by Kiprusoff.

About 11 minutes into the period, Kimmo Timonen connected with Teemu Selanne from the point, who scored with six seconds left on a Finnish two-man advantage (FIN 2-0).

The Finns almost scored again when Mikko Eloranta raced in from the penalty box, got an outlet pass, but Kolzig was up to the challenge.

The Finns were now playing with a lead, and started clogging the neutral zone to keep the Germans from doing anything offensively.

Olli Jokinen and Ville Peltonen were stopped early by Kolzig, who was trying to keep the game close for the Germans.

Eduard Lewandowski and Peltonen nearly came to blows late in the period.

Lehtinen had the puck on inside the blue line on the right side and moved inbetween the circles with a quick backhand that beat Kolzig high to the glove side to cap the scoring for the game (FIN 3-0).

There was a fascination with the crowd from the crew throughout the game, and in the 3rd period the camera looked toward the crowd. Actual Millen quote: "Look at the size of that beer!"

CBC's three stars: Miikka Kiprusoff, Olaf Kolzig, Jere Lehtinen

This afternoon, it's Russia and the United States from St. Paul. Keep in mind the Russian team does not feature Nikolai Khabibulin and Evgeni Nabokov, and instead will feature Ilya Bryzgalov in net.

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