Saturday, July 01, 2006

Canada Day Championships 2006

This has become a tradition since starting my blog in 2002 where I've simulated a hockey tournament via the latest edition of EA Sports NHL video games. But the hobby is to mix around the rosters so that the teams are current, but forgiving players on the IR.

Divided into East and West pools to determine the preliminary rounds, each team played their regional rivals twice (home/away). From there, they were matched into tournament play. The teams participating in the tournament are all 6 Canadian franchises with Winnipeg and Quebec City seen with their throwback sweaters.

I'm probably the only person in America that commemorates the holiday like this. I suppose that I should take up the slack that a National Post article had talking about the reluctance to celebrate the country's history.
In an international poll of national pride, Canadians ranked sixth of 34 countries, just below Australia and just above the Philippines. The United States ranked first.
But the Vancouver Sun gave us 139 reasons to love Canada.

At the end of the round robin, Montreal almost ran the table winning 5 of their 6 games. At the bottom of the pile was Ottawa, simulated with a 2-4 record. As the prelims ended, Zednik and Iginla had posted 10 points to lead all players in the tournament. As the tournament played itself out, it was a Battle of Quebec as both the Nordiques and the Canadiens played at the Bell Center. Quebec started with a 1-0 lead but, Andres Dackel tied it up at 1 late in the first period. Quebec would not be easily intimidated by the 23 Coupe Stanley banners (+1 Coupe Fate du Canada) that hung in the rafters. The second period had newly acquired Tyler Arnason building a lead for the Nords, but Montreal doubled them up to go into the locker room with the 4-2 lead. Perhaps Theodore had his mind a certain someone. The third period saw Arnason making up for the loss of Tanguay, but with their goalie pulled, Montreal stopped a late rally to hold on to win the Canada Day Cup game 4-3.

Other notables: Saku Koivu was presented with the teams second Canada Day Cup victory. Dackell took home the #1 star from the game. Milan Hejduk became the leading scorer of the tournament with 16 points (11g-5a) and Markus Naslund came in 2nd with 14 points (8g-6a). On the goalies side, Andy Raycroft put up a 1.73 GAA for Toronto with Kiprusoff and Hasek close by with 1.99 and 2.00 GAA respectively.

Previous Canada Day Champions
2002: Toronto Maple Leafs
2003: Edmonton Oilers
2004: Quebec Nordiques
2005: Montreal Canadiens

Happy Canada Day 2006 everyone!
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