Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Canada dominates USA and Slovakia in Prelims

Canada is off to a great start in the 2004 World Cup. Since aligned in the North American pool, the preliminary matchups made for really exciting rivalry hockey.

The first game on Canada's list was playing the Americans in Montreal, Quebec in primetime TV on ESPN 2. This game was a goalies battle at first, but it was Martin Brodeur that stood taller. I think Canada should give him a collective pat on the back. He's the reason Canada is undefeated so far. He looked in the same form that he did 2 seasons ago while leading the Devils to the Stanley Cup Championship.

The worst part of the ESPN broadcast was the embarrassment of Jeremy Roenick added to the "A Team" broadcasters of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement. He was a shill for the Americans and at times he got so excited for his friends on Team USA that he abandoned any professionalism.

Team Canada does have a few worries, though, besides the critically maligned "gold colored" Team Canada jerseys, Ed "Jovo" Jovanovski, suffered a sprained rib muscle and had MCL damage in the USA game. Speaking of professionalism, did anybody see Mario Lemieux rough up Steve Konowalchuk in the slot for a skirmish in front of Canada's goal? I wonder if it's just a new attitude on Mario!

Tonight, Team Canada played a primetime TV game against Team Slovakia on ESPN 2. Again, Brodeur looked strong even when Team Canada scored just minutes into the game. Brodeur frustrated the Slovaks so bad that phenom Marian Gaborik was seen breaking his stick on the ice. He gave it his best shot, but Gaborik was left shut out of the scoreboard. The Slovaks put Rastislav Stana (a Washington Capitals prospect) in the net tonight. ESPN's "B Team" said that he had the ability to save a game or two, but he was inconsistently streaky.

It's already been an exciting series for the World Cup, leaving a full week of Hockey action covered on ESPN and ESPN 2 (and on CBC in Canada). I can't wait to see the rematch of Team USA v. Russia... then Friday the Americans face team Slovakia in another primetime matchup.
Post a Comment