Thursday, September 02, 2004


That's the best post headline I can come up with tonight, and that'd only happen if two players off the Slovakian team got together and formed a limited liability corporation. That and I saw their last names were anagrams of one another.

Tonight it was the stacked Canadian squad against Slovakia. Though the Slovaks don't have an NHLer in goal (Rastislav Stana), they still have players like Miroslav Satan, Marian Gaborik, Zdeno Chara, Jozef Stumpel, Marian Hossa and a few more NHLers. Richard Zednik, however, came down with food poisoning the night before the game and did not play for the Slovaks.

The two teams started the game with a furiously fast pace. Just past three minutes in, Joe Thornton picked Zdeno Chara's pocket in the Slovakia zone and beat Stana from the faceoff circle (CAN 1-0). I'm sure all the Boston Bruin fans out there love how Thornton is showing up approximately three months late.

A mere 1:41 later, the Canadians tallied once again. Adam Foote kept a puck from squirting past the blueline and passed to Ryan Smyth, who camped behind the net for a while but then scored on a semi-wraparound after Ladislav Suchy took the bait and tried to pursue him behind the net (CAN 2-0).

With about seven minutes left in the period, Martin Brodeur stopped Marian Gaborik on a breakaway (outlet pass from Stumpel) and stopped Miroslav Satan (I think it was him) on the rebound.

Shots in the first period were eight apiece for the teams.

I jotted down some short notes from the CBC crew (Ron McLean, Brian Burke, Kelly Hrudey) at the intermission. Kelly Hrudey said the period was pretty much even, but Brodeur outplayed Stana (why wouldn't he?). Hrudey noted that Marian Hossa was quiet in the period, and that Chara was sort of nonchalant on the giveaway play (or before it, handling the puck) that led to Canada's first goal. Brian Burke said Chara's teammates should have communicated with Chara because there's no way he could have seen Thornton coming. Burke also thinks Gaborik was the fastest skater in the game, and possibly the fastest skater in the tournament.

If you're hoping that the recap ends soon, your prayers are answered because I fell asleep (not enough sleep the night before) about halfway through the second period, and didn't wake up until there were about five minutes left in the game. Here's a summary of what I have written down.

Canada had a scoring chance when Vincent Lecavalier centered a pass down low to Smyth, who was stuffed twice by Stana. Stana also stopped Kris Draper on an open-ice shot, and Shane Doan also was stuffed after being fed with a quick pass.

Martin St. Louis got a hold of a Slovak turnover and had an outmanned rush with Simon Gagne. St. Louis centered the puck, and it was deflected by Chara's stick right to Simon Gagne, who beat Stana just short of five minutes into the period (CAN 3-0).

Canada had two other scoring chances I have written down. Shane Doan was along the end boards and teamed with Brad Richards racing in off the bench for a one-timer that was stopped by Stana. Lecavalier found Jarome Iginla on the doorstep, but he couldn't pound it in, and still is without a point in the two games (that'll change though).

Then it was revealed that Canada/Vancouver Canuck defenseman Ed Jovanovski has a 2nd degree MCL sprain, which usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal. Unfortunately, I just read a postgame article, and apparently he's also got a cracked rib. Great. Scott Hannan took Jovanovski's spot in the game, and Jay Bouwmeester will take the roster spot. Keep in mind the Canadians lost Rob Blake and Chris Pronger before the tournament.

I'm not going to try to make a bunch of stuff up here, so I'll leave it to these words from Nick Libero of NHL.com...

St. Louis notched his second of the night 58 seconds into the final period when he teamed up with Tampa linemate Brad Richards and one-timed a gorgeous cross-ice pass from the lower right circle.

Slovakia finally broke the shutout when Tampa's Martin Cibak scored at 4:53 of the third to make it 4-1. Smyth added the fifth goal of the game at 7:11 and narrowly missed a chance for a hat trick with a minute to play.

CBC's three stars: Martin Brodeur, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis

The CBC crew heaped some praise on Brodeur because he has the ability to make stops consistently even after long periods of inactivity, something most goalies have trouble with. This would explain all those 19- or 20-save shutouts that Brodeur walks away with each season. Brodeur has stopped 47 of 49 shots over the first two Cup games.

Also, it was revealed that Canada/Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden left in the 2nd period with the dreaded "upper body injury." If there's anything you need to indicate that Ed Jovanovski is done for the tournament, it's that his injuries are a cracked rib and a 2nd-degree MCL sprain, not "lower body injury" and "upper body injury."

For the second night in a row, Canada maintained its high level of intensity; last night against the USA and tonight against Slovakia. They have also been quite adept at protecting the lead.

Tomorrow it's Finland and Germany from Cologne in the morning, and Russia and the United States from St. Paul, MN in the afternoon, during the Mariner game.

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