WC Game Six: Canada 2 Czech Republic 3
Another international game, another game without heart from Canada's team. This has been an atypically sloppy and undisciplined affair, but watching it in Czech (the language, not the country) has provided an even greater challenge to stay motivated to watch. My plan was to be in Praha this evening in time to watch with the locals, particularly given that it is beer-fest time, but Polish train system is a bit like Polish Komputer; not always reliable. Sadly, the only train out is tomorrow, but it doesconnect in Pardubice. Maybe in the 90 minutes between my trains, I'll try and track down Momma Hemsky, but somehow I can't see that working out. The Czechs need this game badly to keep there medal round hopes alive, while the Canadians need the win to avoid a quarter-final match up against the undefeated Russians. With stakes this high, one would hope Moose and MacT's troops would show up ready to fight. Once again the story has been shaky early goaltending from Chris Mason and not a lot of jump in the offensive zone, even with the return of Steven Stamkos. More after the jump.The Czech team seems to want this game a lot more than the Canadians do; their players are skating harder and faster, and, much to Oiler fans delight/dismay, Jaromir Jagr is still a force on the ice, dominating many of his shifts and looking generally better than most players his age. Most of Canada's forwards looked pretty listless. The Czech commentators have made John Tavares appear practically invisible, and Stamkos clearly isn't quite ready to be back. The lone bright spots have been Corey Perry and Ray Whitney, whose power play goal in the first gave Canada an early lead. The Czechs clawed back and responded with a couple ppgs of their own. It's actually almost unbelievable watching the Canadians hack and whack at the faster Czech players. The lack of discipline has really been the decisive factor of the game, which is unfortunate given how well Mason managed to recover after a really substandard second period. Canada took a couple of late penalties in the third and Mason managed to give them a fighting chance, only to see his counterpart Thomas Vokun equal to the few challenges he faced.
The game got chippy as it wore on, with several scrums in front of the Czech net. Matt Duchene's late goal was as close as Canada would get in this one. To be honest, there really isn't all that much that needs to be said about this game; Canada just didn't look like they wanted it as badly as the Czechs, and they'll back into the quarter-finals riding a 3 game losing skid. Hopefully the team will start to gel when it matters, but my optimism is beginning to fade.
My next report should be live from the quarter finals, where Canada will face either Russia or Finland. Either way, I hope to get a better experience live then I've had in Poland. A Canada/Russia game in person should be an incredible experience either way, and a perfect end to my Eurotrip regardless of the score. On the other hand, it would be better if Canada could pull out a win...
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Goals by period:
CAN ...... 1-0-1 = 2
CZE ....... 1-2-0 = 3
Shots by period:
CAN ...... 4 - 10-16 = 30
CZE ...... 11-13-12 = 36
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Official game sheet
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Next up: Russia, Thursday May 20, 12:15 MDT (Quarterfinal)