The quarters are over. 3 of the 4 games were 1 goal affairs. I was wrong on almost all my predictions.
Canada lost to Switzerland in an amazing upset. Actually, that didn’t happen. Canada was losing to the Swiss after 59:59 though. They scored with .4 seconds left to take it to 3 on 3 OT. Mark Stone sealed the deal with an amazing pass from this kid named Dubois. You may know the name because, about 3 years ago, we couldn’t believe Columbus selected him and left us with Jesse! 3 years later and Dubois is an established Top 6 Centremen and 1C for Team Canada. Jesse is not quite there yet.
The US put up a great fight but lost 4-3 to the Russians who are now 8-0 and keep on winning. They have the best roster and the best results. I’m curious if anyone can stop their party?
The Finns beat Sweden in OT as well. Normally these games are 50-50 and this wouldn’t really be that big an upset. However, in this case, this was not a typical Finn team. Name your favourite NHL Finn because they’re not there. They didn’t have NHL players or an NHL goalie. They played amazing and won through hard work and grit. The Swedes bow out despite sending a very strong team. As a sidenote: I got the impression that Swedish fans can’t stand Loui Erikson and all the minutes he got. I only mention this because we might have Erikson as an Oiler next year after a hail mary trade for Lucic.
Drai is also out. Phillipe Grubauer was simply okay in his game and Drai didn’t get a point against the Czechs. The score was 5-1 but that is not even close to reflecting the quality of the match. It was 1-1 going into the third and Germans executed their game plan perfectly. It all fell apart after 50 minutes with Voracek taking matters into his own hands. Then Kubalik (remember this name, he’s a Blackhawk next season and is an old school slap shotter) scored a laser that he later described as ‘lucky’. This is the first time I can think of an Extraliga goalie (Patrik Bartosak who could’ve also been used in Shona’s article) winning a quarter final game.
The IIHF changed the rules and there are no longer brackets. Everything gets reseeded for the Semi’s.
Russia vs Finland
I feel like Finland is the ‘next big thing’ in international hockey. They are slowly putting together a roster that should terrify the other ‘big 5 nations’. However, this team doesn’t have any of those guys on it. Russia has sent an all star team that looks unbeatable. To put it simply, this is the Russian A team playing the Finnish C team. Russia should win. Will they? I don’t know. These Finns skate like crazy and don’t quit. Their team spirit is amazing.
Canada vs Czechs
Another Semi where there is a clear favourite. Canada is deeper at every position and, simply put, a better team. The Czechs have led the tourney in scoring (and got 5 more yesterday) and have a very balanced attack. They keep winning and I’ve loved watching it but they are overmatched here. Of note to Oiler’s fans. You will get to see first round pick (and total stud) Darnell Nurse match up against 2nd round pick (and bust) David Musil. I’ve loved Musil’s game as he is a stay at home guy who makes zero mistakes. He won’t get many points but his D partner will. Nurse is on top pair ahead of guys like Chabot. I simply can’t take any ‘trade Nurse’ conversations seriously. He has improved by leaps and bounds. He’s a 40 point scorer who never gets injured and can pull out a can of whoopass if needed. If there was a best on best tourney coming up, he might even make it as the 7D. Nurse is what dreams are made of.
I’ll pick the Czechs to win 4-3 simply out of pure, unprofessional bias.
However, this is Canada’s to lose and we seem set for a Canada vs Russia final!