Sunday, August 22, 2004

World Cup 2004 Warm Ups

Eight countries considered to be the elite Hockey countries will be the big thing now for us Hockey fans is the upcoming World Cup series to be played out in late August. According to these articles from the Tournament's official page (organized by NHL.com) Team Canada and Team USA soak up the rivalry hype and Team Slovakia off to a rough start against the Swedes.

First I'd like to start off and talk about my Slovaks. Getting shut out in exhibition play is not a good sign that they're ready just yet. I hope my guys are taking it serious enough that their national pride is just as a stake as all the other countries are. To not put on at least a good effort is to halt the growth the program has made in this era of hockey. The Slovaks were expected to perform well with the line up of all star NHL forwards and defencemen. I suppose it takes a bit to adjust to the other teammates since camp just opened this past weekend. Good luck, Slovakia - getting shut out 2-0 to the Swedes (who may also have something to prove) is just as gaudy and disappointing as all of the advertisements on your uniforms!

Team USA and Canada are also ready to begin action. They'll be scheduled to hold a series of camps and a scrimmage in Columbus, OH on Monday night. The top two superpowers of hockey are the ones that have the most pressure of being the kings of the mountain. Defending 1996 Champion USA beat Canada in the inaugural run, but Canada is still has the edge winning Gold at Salt Lake. Canada has it's top two lines already figured out with a Iginla-Sakic-Gagne and a Richards-Lemieux-St. Louis. They also know that Martin Brodeur is the starting goalie. All I see about the Americans is that they don't know who will emerge after the Mike Richter legacy. Maybe they're keeping their readiness for a surprise!

America and Canada play a "home and home" series with the Columbus, OH in the Nationwide Arena Monday night and Kanata, ON on Corel Centre Tuesday night.

Oh this is going to be a great tournament!
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