Saturday, January 6, 2007

Holiday Pride

The holidays are officially over and man is there a lot to talk about. It probably was not the best idea to start this blog during the x-mas break. Things like this tend to happen, but fear not I am back with a vengeance and I think this picture tells the whole story.

Team Canada Wins the Under 20 World Junior Championships for the 3rd Straight year. This feat would be amazing under normal circumstances if Team Canada has not made history winning 5 gold medals in the mid 90’s. Now not taking away anything from this team or the previous two medals but is it too early to say they can make 4 or even make it to tie for 5? Well the bottom line is this, what an effort by Team Canada. They opened up the tournament with a shaky win against Sweden. And it was shaky the defence stank and it featured 4 star returning players from last years gold medal team. Their next match against the USA was better but there were still weaknesses that were evident. At least Staal and Parent learned all about the big European ice and learned how to use it effectively. A 6-3 win is a 6-3 win, especially over the American squad that is heavily favoured to at least take home a bronze medal. The next game features the Germans and the Canadians in a battle for top spot in Group A. Not much to be said about this as they pull out a 3-1 victory and they then move on to meaningless game against Slovakia, where Carey Price posts a shutout in a game that was really b
ad and boring to watch. Onward and upward to the semi-finals where another meeting with the American squad is needed and this one is at least interesting as many side stories develop. Steve Downie and Erik Johnson are the targets and each play pretty important roles and take some penalties as expected. The Americans strike early and then play a good trap against the Canadians. Canada breaks through and it is a tie game that has a mediocre overtime with the USA getting the best chances in OT. Off to the first shootout of the tournament and Jonathan Toews shows just how good he really is by scoring 3 shootout goals to help the Canadians win and move to the Gold medal game. Toews will undoubtedly be making the Chicago Blackhawk’s next year and join former Team Canada World Junior medallists winners Brent Seabrook, Cam Barker, David Bolland, Mike Blunden and Dan Bertram and fellow American Jack Skille who picked up a Bronze this year. You think Chicago will be a strong force in a few years??? I give them 2 before Detroit loses top spot in the Central. But Maybe Columbus will move up a bit as well. I would love to talk about the Gold Medal game where Canada looked to be in trouble with a 4 goal lead but I haven’t gotten around to watching anything but the highlights and analysis yet so what else is there to really say about the gold medal game except see you for 08 in Czech Republic.

So I touched on the NHL briefly with Chicago and Detroit and that brings me to this guy. Stevie Y. or Steve Yzerman. Can this guy be any more Canadian? Grows up in Nepean, Ontario and is another great Canadian boy to come out of the Peterborough Petes from the OHL. Plays 22 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, captains them for 20 Years and his statistics speak for itself. In the argument of who the best Canadian Hockey Player is in the top 5 if not in the top three, Steve Yzerman has to be mentioned. Wayne is number one on most everyone’s list, then even Bobby Orr or Mario Lemieux places number 2, but how can you ignore this man and what he has accomplished. 692 Goals and 1,755 points in 1514 games. Not to mention that if the Red Wings made it passed the first round Stevie Y racked up the points galore. Having 70 goals and 185 points in 196 playoff games. Now if you are thinking how does all this make him Canadian, well beside the fact he is an amazing hockey player. This is the reason why he is Canadian. If you watched the ceremony did any one noticed how he talked. After 23 years of giving interviews he was the same old Yzerman. I am paraphrasing of course but his speech went something like this. “I am honoured but I am not this great player, I played with great players, I am just a man who went and played. All my teammates deserve the credit for this not me. And I apologize for this taking so long, I apologize to the Red Wings and the Ducks and hope that this wont ruin the game.”

All his career he never stood on that podium and said I am the man on this team, I am the reason we are here, I have lead us to victory and will do it again and again. His leadership was quiet and he spoke on the ice with his Sherwood stick then to an Easton synergy and amazed us with the puck and his ability to find the holes, to make the passes, to make those shots that we will remember. So that is the ultimate question. Just like with Mario and Bobby and even the Great one Himself what is the one defining moment that you will always think of when you hear the name Steve Yzerman? For me that is easy. Double Overtime against St. Louis. Too bad for Curtis Joseph and co. but that was a blast that you have to see to believe.

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