September 27 2016 02:45PM
It may not be the most perfect narrative, but it certainly could have been worse. In one corner, we have Canada, a team that everybody expected to be here, with a suffocatingly high level of talent and execution of their system that has found a way to make greatness seem almost boring. In the other, we have Team Europe, a group of players who are old, wise, have never really played together, and may never play together again, looking to upset goliath on their own ice.
It's not very likely at all, but hey, let's make the most of the occasion.
September 27 2016 09:43AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
Every year, a panel of voters scribbles on a ballot and decides, in their infinite wisdom, who the best coach in the National Hockey League was for the season that just concluded. The winner of those ballots picks up the Jack Adams Award, which basically guarantees them a job in pro hockey as long as they want one. Often, their choice creates a ton of debate, due to the recent history of picking whoever coached the team that made the biggest standings leap.
Now, the season hasn't started yet, and I don't think it matters to him all that much, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where the ballots spit out a winner other than Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. Here's my reasoning:
September 26 2016 06:18PM
Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY SPORTS
The World Cup of Hockey still has two or three games left to go, but as far as the Toronto Maple Leafs' players are concerned, it's over. Mike Babcock remains, but the rest are waiting for tonight's game in Halifax to pass before joining their team in camp. We didn't see much of the goalies; Jhonas Enroth watched from the sidelines after getting shelled in his first exhibition game and Frederik Andersen went from Europe's projected starter to the IR. But we did get to see seven skaters play in preliminary, round robin, and in one case, knockout games; here's how they did.
September 24 2016 11:09PM
Photo Credit: Kevin Souza/USA TODAY SPORTS
Canada vs. Russia on a Saturday night. Can anything top that? Well, one could argue that a lot of things could in 2016. While the two giants comprised what used to be hockey's greatest international rivalry, today's game didn't carry that vibe. In fact, it didn't really carry much of a vibe; while the lead had a changeover that gave the illusion of competitiveness, Canada maintained a staggeringly lopsided level of control in a 5-3 win that felt even bigger.
September 19 2016 09:50PM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamlton/USA TODAY SPORTS
We wanted fast paced, high energy hockey, and boy, did we ever get it. This was a game that not only lived up to expectation but pulled up the rest of the games surrounding it to really drive home the World Cup of Hockey's entertainment value, if not its oft-debated "legitimacy". A quick run of goals for the Russians gave the young North Americans the chance to attempt a comeback for the ages, and they almost pulled it off but fell just short in a 4-3 defeat.