Thursday, May 12, 2005

World Championship Quarter Finals

Today the four quarter finals in the World Hockey Championships were played. Every one was a close game.

Russia 4 Finland 3 (shootout) - First, I would like to say that shootouts are an awful way to end a game. Finland took a 2-0 lead on goals by Petri Pakaslahti and one creditted to Jukka Hentunen that the Russians put into their own net. Alexander Ovechkin and Sergei Gusev tied it up. Kimmo Timonen put Finland up 3-2 with a power play goal. Pavel Datsyuk tied it up again with a short handed goal. They played out 60 minutes. Then 70 minutes. Then a shootout which Russia won. Did I mention that shootouts are an awful way to end a game?

Sweden 2 Switzerland 1 - The Swiss took an early lead on Martin Pluss's goal. Niklas Kronwall tied it up and assisted on Daniel Sedin's game winner.

Czech Republic 3 USA 2 (shootout) - Once again, I would like to point out that a shootout is an awful way to end a game. Mike Modano and Mark Parrish gave the US a 2-0 lead with Brett Hauer assisting on both goals. Marek Zidlicky and Jaroslav Spacek tied it up. Rick DiPietro played a strong game facing over 50 shots. The Americans were lucky to get to overtime and a shootout tied, but they lost the shootout. If this had been a highly watched, highly anticipated game that the US lost on a shootout, it might have been enough to kill the NHL's plans for shootouts. Unfortunately, nobody watched since it wasn't even broadcast in USA. Shootouts are an awful way to end a game. Unfortunately, nobody in the US market even noticed that one occurred.

Canada 5 Slovakia 4 - Slovakia jumped out to an early lead with Marian Gaborik scoring in the first minute. The teams alternated goals to end with a 2-2 tie at the end of the first with Dany Heatley, Michal Handzus and Ryan Smyth all scoring. In the second period Simon Gagne gave Canada a 3-2 lead and Pavol Demitra tied it up. Demitra put the Slovaks in the lead in the 3rd, but Simon Gane and Joe Thornton scored to give Canada the lead and the win. Rick Nash had 3 assists in the contest for Canada. Lubomir Visnovsky had 2 assists for the Slovaks.

Four games all decided by one goal or less. Czechs and Swedes will meet in one semi final and Canada and Russia in the other.

Did I mention that a shootout is an awful way to end a game? I wish the American fans had a chance to see that firsthand. I wish the backlash from the shootout was enough to stop the NHL from bringing them in. Unfortunately, that won't be the case.

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