Friday, December 23, 2005

World Junior Hockey: Russia vs Canada Exhibition

Well I watched the World Junior Hockey Championship Exhibition game between Russia and Canada last night. Before I go on, just, let me catch my breath. Man that thing's a mouthful.

The game started off as a nailbiter I mean, this was a classic matchup. There's been a rivalry between Canada and Russia in hockey for, well a really long time. A good example of this is the 1972 Canada, Soviet hockey series. My mom and grandmother even went to see one of the games. I'd have given my other left toe to see Paul Henderson score that famous goal. Okay seriously, I really would have liked to see that game.

Also, if you picture the country's symbols it's difficult to see a Beaver as evenly matched with a Bear. It's even more difficult to see the Beaver beating that Bear to a pulp and using it as a throwrug but that's exactly what happened last night.

Sure the first goal wasn't scored until the first period was almost over but when the second period started, things started to pick up. Canada started to score goal after goal and I began to wonder, what were the Russians doing? They're known for their speed so that explained why there wasn't a lot of checking going on. But the Canadians couldn't seem to pass to save their furry little tails. More times than I dare to count, the puck stayed still while the player kept skating. In the end, the score was 8-1. I really wanted to see a good game, where the best were pitted against the best. So while the Russians got thumped, I'm not sure we deserved to win, or at least win by that much.

Maybe this was because Evgeni Malkin, the star player of the team was watching from the stands that night (too tired to play after arriving in Canada after a long plane trip); maybe the team ate some bad burgers; maybe, my mom says, they decided to play possum.

And just in case you don't know what that means, (I had to look it up) here's an explanation.

Possums are famous for "playing dead" when threatened, but this isn't quite accurate. They are not "playing" dead at all: the possum goes into shock when particularly stressed. While not dead, it can be found lying on its side with its legs extended and is, in fact, limp and unconscious during this time, like a person who has fainted.

~ from A Moment of Science Library

If they were I'm a little pissed. Are the Russians trying to deliberately build up our confidence and make themselves look like a weak team so they can crush us the next time we meet? Did they just consider it a meaningless game because it was exhibition? Did Brent Sutter care what the Russians did? Yes, Brent Sutter, one of the Sutter brothers, is coaching the team. And his answer? “I don’t care what they do. I don’t care whether it’s an exhibition game or not. It’s important to gain momentum.”

So did the Russians lose on purpose? Did the Canadians play a good game? I think I'll leave those answers up to the experts because as hockey goes, I know beside next to nothing. Which isn't very much at all.

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