Tuesday, January 06, 2015


Tic Tac Tao, Baby!

Darnell Nurse quoted his coach, Benoit Groulx, at the end of the IIHF World Junior Championship game on Monday night in Toronto. The entire Canadian nation heaved a huge sigh of relief as the seconds ticked down to the end of the game against Russia. Coach Groulx made the slip of the tongue in the early part of the tournament, and the “tao” part of the expression simply was a mispronunciation. It refers, of course, to a quick passing play, effective in any language.


It was a game full of momentum shifts, right from the drop of the puck to start the game. The sponsors certainly benefited from the drama. No one in this house moved away from the television set in the third period. And yet, with the barrage of goals in the first two periods, no pucks entered the nets in the third.


Canada started the final period up a goal at 5-4, and that’s the way it ended. There were chances, but no conversions. Throughout the game, the checking was fierce. It was truly a magnificent struggle between two great teams. As a case in point, Nurse battled behind the Canadian net with a larger, much stronger opponent for several seconds. But he stayed with his man, and eventually won the battle.


The Canadian boys advanced to the final game with a win over a spirited squad from Slovakia. They had trounced the Slovaks 8-0 in the preliminary round, but had to play three solid periods to earn the right to play for the gold medal. Nicolas Petan led the way in that game with a hat trick. But the real star of the game was the Slovak netminder.


After each game in the tournament, awards are given for outstanding performance. Even before the name had been announced for the “Player of the Game” for the Slovak team, the fans began a chant of “Goalie, goalie”, recognizing the play of the Slovakian netminder. When another player was chosen, they continued their chant. He acknowledged their cheers with a cute little pirouette, waving his catching glove in recognition. Slovak fans raised their sign, “In Godla we trust”.


The Slovaks defeated the Swedes to win the bronze medal, a bit of an upset. After the final game, Godla was chosen as the best goalie in the tournament. Max Domi won the award as the best forward in the tourney. He certainly played spirited hockey. He is a spunky player, and deserved recognition. He will now return to his junior team, the London Knights.




Most of the players head back to their junior teams; however, some will resume their professional careers at all levels, including the NHL. Connor McDavid, the sensational kid from Newmarket, returns to the Erie Otters to complete the season. He had been sidelined with a broken hand for several weeks. He will be joined by Remi Elie and Jake Marchment. They were traded to the Otters on Monday from the Belleville Bulls. Elie was one of the last cuts from the Canadian Junior roster. Marchment is a strong young player who cut his junior hockey teeth with the Wellington Dukes.


Many of the players from the other squads will also continue the season in the Canadian Hockey League. Naturally, most of the European players will head to their teams in Europe, at the junior or at the professional level. Several American players will return to their colleges.


Canada has a history of coming up a little short in important games against the Russians. The Russians never show their best in the preliminary rounds, then turn it up a notch for the big games. Unfortunately for the Ruskies, they didn’t crank it quite enough.


Exhale Mabel. The kids won the gold! Get some sleep!


January 6, 2015.



Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?