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Swedes knocked out of Olympic hockey

AFP/The Local · 25 Feb 2010, 08:23

Published: 25 Feb 2010 08:23 GMT+01:00

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The Swedes, who had enjoyed an undefeated run through the preliminary round to claim a bye into the final eight, were stunned by a Slovakian squad that will now face hosts Canada in Friday's semi-final.

Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who had not conceded a goal in the Olympics after preliminary-round shut outs against Finland and Belarus, surrendered four from only 14 Slovakian shots.

Slovakia took a 3-2 lead with 48 seconds remaining in the second period when Pavol Demitra blasted a shot past Lundqvist into the far corner of the goal.

Slovak defender Michal Handzus blocked Lundqvist's view of Demitra on the play until the shot was already past him.

Tomas Kopecky tapped in a rebound to put Slovakia ahead 4-2 with 10:59 remaining, but just 38 seconds later, Daniel Alfredsson answered for Sweden, who kept up the pressure to the finish could not net the equalizer.

Marian Gaborik, who shares fourth place among this season's National Hockey League goal scorers with 35, and Andrej Sekera, scored 37 seconds apart early

in the second period to give Slovakia a 2-0 lead.

Gaborik became the first player in the Olympics to put the puck past his NHL New York Rangers teammate, aided by a screening move from Handzus just 7:34 into the period.

The Swedes answered with two goals of their own that were 37 seconds apart.

Patric Hornqvist slotted the puck past Jaroslav Halak at 13:49 and Henrik Zetterberg followed when his backhand centering pass deflected into the goal

Story continues below…

off Slovak defender Milan Jurcina.

Slovakia played without forward Lubos Bartecko, still recovering from a concussion suffered in Tuesday's 4-3 first-round playoff victory over Norway.

Sweden has thus failed in its bid to become the first team to defend an Olympic gold since the Soviet Union in 1984 and 1988 (with a unified team consisting of six of the former Soviet republics winning in 1992).

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:40 February 25, 2010 by Muad'Dib
We have won!!!

Greetings from Slovakia...!
08:48 February 25, 2010 by Craptastical
What a disappointment. I was hoping for a Canada vs Sweden showdown for gold.

At least the women's team is still in the hunt for a medal... Women's hockey Sweden vs. Finland later today.
08:51 February 25, 2010 by canam
What happened Sweden??? I'm from Canada but would have loved to see a Canada - Sweden match-up.
09:13 February 25, 2010 by J.Darling
Such a disappointment! I was really looking forward to the Canada vs Sweden showdown !
09:46 February 25, 2010 by Localer
damn Slovakia !! i was up from 5am just to catch the match, damn it
09:51 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017
I work in an office of 6 people; 3 Englishmen, 2 Swedes, and a Finn.

We English don't give a hoot about ice-hockey, but we agree that it would be nice to see the Swedes get to the final.

The 2 Swedes are sitting in stoney silence, as if they've lost their loved ones and all their possessions.

The Finn is laughing so loudly that the rest of us have to wear headphones to block out his noise.

Thank God this is only every 4 years!!!

Anyway, us 3 Englishmen have now decided to "heja på" (unsurprisingly, perhaps) Canada & USA, mainly because at least we'll be able to understand what they say in the post-match interviews!!
10:12 February 25, 2010 by Lemon1987

if u dont know most of all Slovakia players speak English fluently cause they are playing in NHL so dont panic :)
10:39 February 25, 2010 by gplusa
Sure. Like all Swedes speak fluent English, right ? According to them, anyway.
10:59 February 25, 2010 by Lemon1987
Indeed.But I think you still dont get the point. After the end of the game players regularly do interviews with flocks of English speaking reporters so if someone is concerning about the fact whether is it possible to understand anything about post-match interviews I say yes because they speak English.
11:09 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017
Guys, guys.....for chrissakes, stop the bitchin', the thrust of the comment that I made was that Canada & the US are English speaking countries, and I'm fully aware that all international ice-hockey players speak a decent standard of English.

Lemon1987, you're right, I will understand the post-match interview (not that I ever watch it) without problems - unless of course they give it in their native language!!
11:24 February 25, 2010 by Rick Methven
"We English don't give a hoot about ice-hockey"

Strange to relate that a lot of English men do give a hoot about Ice Hockey. I hold a coaching licence from the ENGLISH Ice Hockey Association and coached ENGLISH kids in the UK to play one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

about 85% of the Swedish players are in the NHL so they live and play in North America and their English is quite good
11:32 February 25, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
Slovakia deserved it

Keeper of Slovakia saves the day. You need to score to win the game.
12:37 February 25, 2010 by manolo
to Mackan > funny :) I can imagine that .

Anyway, the globe is rounded, so guys get over it, there are teams with long history, but they were never chalenged cos of the political systems of the past.

It reminds me, and makes me laugh when the USA in its baseball championship played only within the states , and the winner is "so called" World Champion :)
12:41 February 25, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Mackan2017...You Brits really feel that you own the world dont you?
12:42 February 25, 2010 by manolo
johnyrebel> we might not like it but they pretty much do.
12:45 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017
Rick, quantify "a lot" for me, please?? Talking in terms (obviously) of those Englishmen you know in Sweden??

Honestly, I must know or be casually aquainted with well over 100 Englishmen here, and I can tell you that only 1 of those is even remotely interested in ice-hockey, and that's only because he has the chance to gamble on the results (Yep, he's a gambling man, big time).

Congrats on your coaching badge. I'd never of known that it was one of the fastest growing sports in England. Truthfully, I've never met 1 single kid back home who's ever expressed an interest in it. I'd have it down as a very minor minority sport.
13:13 February 25, 2010 by davidmc
I always associate icy hockey with countries outside the US. NASCAR is the biggest US spectator event followed by baseball, football, and basketball. A European woman is breaking into NASCAR. NASCAR's first woman driver. She is new this year but is expected to be a pole setter in upcoming seasons.
13:24 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017
johnnyrebel......what's your angle, exactly?? What are you babbling on about, ???

This thread is about Sweden's unfortunate and untimely loss in the OS ice-hockey. What's your point, if indeed you have one??

No, neither I nor any other Brits I know think that we own the world. Far from it, in fact.

Are you really as dumb as you sound??
14:05 February 25, 2010 by CanadianEh
I was really looking forward for a Canada v Sweden match....oh well...Gongrats to the Slovaks they deserved the win they played exceptionally well and deserve to be in the semi-final.

I predict a Canada v United States re-match for the final.

Go Canada Go
14:13 February 25, 2010 by jose_s
it would be easy for me to say thart brits would care about hockey or any other olympic sport if they had a chance of coming close to wining a medal but that would be too easy and ignorant..... which would be followed by someone else's rant on americans who think too much of themselves and blah, blah, blah.... too bad for the swedish team or anyone esle who did not win a medal... they participated in the olympics abd that in itself is great.... as long as they played fair and gave it a shot congrats to them.... i really try to think the best of people... i have faith that most of you smart and sensible but why do you have to turn a thead like this into a stupid anti brit one with stupid comments? why?
14:21 February 25, 2010 by Rick Methven
Rick, quantify "a lot" for me, please?? Talking in terms (obviously) of those Englishmen you know in Sweden??

I am not talking about just about Brits in Sweden, but Brits in the UK and elsewhere.

My son learnt to skate and play Ice hockey in the UK before we moved to Sweden. There is a thriving Ice hockey culture in the UK and the same sort of structure as Hockey in Sweden from 6 year olds up to Senior and professionals as well. The lack of ice rinks and the cost of rink hire is what hinders the development of the game in the UK. To make throwaway remarks like the English don't give a hoot for hockey is just stupid. Until I moved to Sweden I spent 10 years very much involved in English Ice Hockey and I know thousands of English who are as passionate about the game as the Swedes or Finns are. Even in a small rink in England we would have 2500 spectators to see a hockey match every week.

Just because YOU do not appreciate it do not put your label on all Brits.
15:13 February 25, 2010 by pjtaipale
BTW, Britain used to be big in ice hockey. E.g. they won the gold medal in 1936 Olympics. They still could be big.
15:21 February 25, 2010 by Mack
What an upset. Congrats to Slovakia. However, if Canada plays like they did last night against the Russians, I don't give the Slovaks much of a chance.
15:28 February 25, 2010 by Rick Methven
What an upset. Congrats to Slovakia. However, if Canada plays like they did last night against the Russians, I don't give the Slovaks much of a chance

Canada where awsome, the Russsians most probably still do not know what hit em. I switched on the TV to watch a bit before going back to sleep and ended up watching the whole match. Best one so far. With that performance Canada is 99.999999% certain of Gold.

Now I need an early night yawn
15:46 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017
Now now Ricky, keep the toys in the pram.

YOU may not be talking about Brits in Sweden, but I AM. Please don't try to impose your parameters on me. Try to keep the exchange civil, there's a good chap.

If you'd taken the trouble to read my post properly, you'd have seen that I was refering SPECIFICALLY to those Englishmen that I work with (here in Sweden) and those others that I know (here in Sweden). And because you seem to have some difficulty comprehending it, I repeat.....none of THEM give a hoot about hockey. If you think that's a stupid statement, you need to get out a bit more. It's simply the truth as I know it.

At no point did I say "The English don't give a hoot for hockey". If you're going to lie, or twist my words, you'll have to do it a bit more subtley. However, reading between your lines tells me that that might be beyond your capabilities.

Obviously some Englishmen do like hockey....but I don't know of any, nor care. If you do, bully for you. Great. Fantastic.

You know thousands of English who are as passionate about the game as Swedes or Finns?? OK....right...fine.

As you'll see if you read my original post again (perhaps I hope in vain?), I don't seek to put any labels on anyone, least of all Brits. Nor would I ever.

Skärp dig, Ricky.
16:12 February 25, 2010 by Rick Methven

You wrote: "We English don't give a hoot about ice-hockey."

At no point did you say where the "We English" where located. The way you wrote it, any competent English reader would understand it to be Global, that is the English as a nation.

Actually this is quite typical of the English, attributing their own minority views to the rest of their countrymen, which is why i am happy to be a Celt who only went to England to exploit the dumb natives.

PS you have to know me for a long time to be able to call me Ricky. That is a privilege I reserve for friends
16:49 February 25, 2010 by bravedave
Im English, love hockey and am very disapointed with the exiting of Sweden from the Olypmic Games. Canada v Sweden in the final would have been epic.

As Hockey is a minor sport in England and doesnt getting the commercial and financal backing, like other countries around the world, we (GB) will be without a hockey team in the Olympics for some time. I therefore heja på svenskarna!

Lets look forward to the world cup.

Has anyone read afttonbladet, the Finns are loving this and are happier about Swedens exit than their own team going through to the semi-finals!
16:53 February 25, 2010 by Mackan2017

Oh dear. Suddenly you're a Celt. Mmmm, sounds about right.

You'll have to do a lot better than that......and we both know that that'll take a tad more mental dexterity than is currently in your locker.

Give up, geezer. You know exactly what I meant.

You've made an error of judgement in picking a fight, and you've lost. You're boring me now.
16:58 February 25, 2010 by sebseb
FAn!!! Henrik Lundqvist may be a star in Sweden, but back in Canada he would only be a good goalie in a garage league.

Only Alfredsson, Backstrom and Forsberg played. Overall, Sweden played 30 minutes. The rest of the time was figure skating. Lindstrom played ok, but was definitely lazy on the 4th goal from Slovakia.

Otherwise, the res of the team was a real SHAME.
17:20 February 25, 2010 by Tado
Come on they are still the best in the world, it wasnt just their day..or night..
17:39 February 25, 2010 by Rick Methven
@macky baby

I did not know exactly what you mean and neither would other readers on TL

You are obviously either a new troll that us hands here love to bait or just another Union Jack waving lager lout LOL

I have just made a mental note to keep you in my sights. watch out for the barbs little boy
18:32 February 25, 2010 by Shue
Greetings! The defeat of Sweden is a shock. Certainly the Canadians and Swedes are the strongest teams in the tournament. However, in such a brief tournament, the best team doesn't always win. Sweden's exit clears the way for the Canadians to claim the Gold! However, don't count out the USA - a collection of sold players that have already defeated the Canadians. But, beating the Canadians at this point will be a tall order. The Finns will give the Americans all they can handle in the meantime. The Swedes will certainly contend again...

PS - American baseball is called the "World Series" because the game was exclusive to the United States when it originated in the early 1900's. The term is historic and not a reflection of the perceived American ignorance that other nations play the game.
19:06 February 25, 2010 by RKman
YES - it is because of this very perceived notion why during Canada's pounding of Russia last night I became so excited by the chance that Canada may FINALLY play Sweden in an elimination game that matters. It would have been perfect - Canada crushing arch rival Russia en route to finally showing the “defending champion” Swede's what it takes to be a real winner when it counts, and then marching on to show the American's (once again) what Canadian heart is all about on the ice. I was so PISSED this morning when I hear that Sweden blew their quarter final game last night!

Even though I live in the west I'm quite aware that Sweden perceives itself as "the" premier hockey nation. I can't help smile and I further cannot understand how their hockey fans can fool themselves into thinking such. According to the IIHF, Sweden is ranked #3 in the world. I will be the first person to point out that the IIHF's scoring method leaves out a ton of relevant competition when they determine world rankings. I mean, has anybody ever heard of the annual world junior hockey championships??? In 33 years of tournament history Canada and Russia claimed 27 of the gold medals - Canada leads all time with 15 gold; Sweden? You might have a hard time finding out how many golds Sweden has won.

Anyways, getting back to the Olympics it would have been so picture perfect for Canada to meet Sweden in the semi-final after many years of missing each other... I remember the disappointment in Salt Lake when Sweden beat an out of place Curtis Joseph in net in the very first game and then failed to survive elimination to meet Canada again in a game that counted. I guess in this respect it is easy for Swedish hockey fans to argue that they are number one for beating number one, as they sit and watch championship games from the sidelines

When I think back I cannot remember a single game - of championship or any significance - where Sweden ever defeated Canada in hockey. Torino was a disaster for Canada, and when I say disaster I mean first of all b/c they did not win gold (but also b/c we placed an all time low 7th overall). I blame the entire Janet Gretzky illegal gambling accusation the week or so prior to the games for negatively overshadowing our players. You don't see The Great One responsible for Team Canada this year. I don't think hockey fans in other parts of the world realise just what kind of expectation is on our athletes. People don't see that "hey, we have a good team and a real shot at winning" is nowhere near the attitude of Canadian hockey players, Hockey Canada, and fans; for us, anything less than winning Gold is a failure. A silver medal which for many nations is considered a significant achievement is a bitter defeat for Canadian hockey. I can't help think back in recent memory to the teams Canada actually lost championships to – or who we defeated in championships – and have to say that Russia, The U.S., and the Czechs were the other real contenders in international hockey. I'll admit that the Czechs seem to be falling in the last 5+ years and Sweden seems to have some of their best talent entering their prime. But in terms of consistency and legacy, no other country except Russia has demonstrated the kind of success that Canada has. The American's have quickly become a hockey powerhouse and I'd put them up before Sweden any day. Many U.S. players are growing up in the Canadian major-junior hockey system and with such close proximity (with Canadian's coaching in so many major U.S. academic institutions) its not a surprise their game has developed tremendously over the years.

There are not doubt many great Swedish players who play in the NHL, and I'd have to admit most of my real glimpse into Swedish hockey comes from the NHL (b/c the Swedes never seem to make it to where things matter in international play). Having said that, I have yet to see any Swedes lead a team to a Stanley Cup championship (and I don't mean by just wearing the "C"). Ok, maybe Forsberg? But I can't remember what he actually did for the Av's in their cup wins; plus they had Joe Sakic on the team also. One of those Sedin twins is leading the league in points right now but I'd like to see his significance, determination, and performance transpire deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Until Detroit's cup win two years ago, there had only been one team in NHL history to win the cup with a non-Canadian captain. I had to watch the Leafs put Sundin up for nearly 10 years and sure that guy could score and was talented but he was never capable of leading the Leafs to a Stanley Cup. I just wish the team could have recognized him years ago and traded him – or traded to get a real leader. Anybody who thinks Mats Sundin was a “superstar” is out to lunch. But I digress, and its lunch.

Why Canada remains the greatest hockey nation in the world is because any one of our players on the bench can lead our team to victory. Our winning attitude – our heart – makes us win when it really matters. Also, Canada is number one considering the fact that no other country in the world could field TWO full hockey teams at once with each having a real shot at winning a championship. That's depth for you. Canada is never waiting a few years for future stars to blossom, and with any international tournament there is always controversy over which players did not make the team (these Olympics is no different).

Its amazing to think that a guy like Steve Yzerman – Team Canada's current Executive Director for the 2010 games – his only international appearance for Canada was in the 2002 Salt Lake games. The guy lead Detroit to 2 or 3 Stanley Cups and is like 3rd on the all-time NHL scoring list. He never made the cut until 2002.
20:15 February 25, 2010 by RKman
Ok my bad - Lidstrom captained Detroit to the cup two years ago. Only the second non-Canadian captain to win the Stanley Cup. I still think of Detroit as having Stevie Y.
23:26 February 25, 2010 by Shue
Calling all Canadians! What is the pulse of the Canadian public regarding Gretzky becoming an American and holding dual citizenship? I remember a few years ago many Canadians were aghast when The Great One turned. As an American I was surprised that the Canadians would have him light the Olympic flame. Go USA ladies! And may the best team win tonight...
23:38 February 25, 2010 by Greg in Canada
Gretzky can call himself whatever he wants, but he's still a Canadian product. He's living in the USA and married an American so taking out US citizenship was a logical thing for him to do.

I'm sorry to see Sweden lose. Iwas looking forward to Canada vs Sweden. Canada vs USA final should be epic however.
01:15 February 26, 2010 by trula
I hope Canada will smash Slovakia. It is a pitty Sweden lost
02:01 February 26, 2010 by canam
@RK - Your post was too long but I only saw this "When I think back I cannot remember a single game - of championship or any significance - where Sweden ever defeated Canada in hockey." Try LILLEHAMMER. Forsberg has a stamp for crying out loud.

Dude I grew up in Canada and played hockey at UWO but give Sweden props. They've got some serious talent for a small country. I wouldn't doubt they start beating Canada more in the future.

@sebseb - "Prince Hendrik" is not just "a garage-league goalie" according to Brendan Shanahan. He was interviewed by SVT 1 and he said that he was the "best goalie in the tournament". It's late and I'm tired because I'm watching the women's gold medal game so maybe I sound a little harsh, but how about you "Canadian's" that claim to know so much about hockey just settle down for a bit and give the Swedish hockey program some respect. You're making Canada look silly.
03:21 February 26, 2010 by AlbionKyle
I am not rooting for any team in Ice Hockey because I think it's an elitist sport for upper middle class people... Only way to play this sport is either live somewhere that weather really sucks for 6 months a year, or being rich to afford ice rinks membership and equipments.

I saw the game last night, I felt that Swedish Team didn't do their best... I don't think the medals matter, if they did their best.
04:44 February 26, 2010 by Greg in Canada
"Why Canada remains the greatest hockey nation in the world "

Dude, you're embarrassing us. You're starting to sound like that idiot Don Cherry.

And I hope at least some Swedes realize that not all Canuks are a bunch of loud yahoos that drink only Molsen Canadian or Labatt's Blue and act is if hockey is the most important thing on the planet. A lot of us do, but not all Canuks are like that.

The reality is that at times Canada has not always done well in international competitions. This was one of the few times we beat the Russians at the Olympics for example.

We might get the gold at these Olympics but don't award any medals until they've been won.
12:06 February 26, 2010 by canam
A little off topic but I was watching the woman's gold medal game on SVT 1 last night and the commentators kept talking about how Wayne Gretzky and Michael J. Fox were watching the game. The camera kept panning over and they must have mentioned it about a dozen times. What they forgot to mention that in the middle of the two was Stephan Harper the Canadian PM. Apparently American's aren't the only ones who have zero idea who operates the gov't in Canada.
12:55 February 26, 2010 by CanadianEh
@ canam

LOL... Ignorance is bliss...
14:44 February 26, 2010 by Rick Methven

Ice Hockey is not an elitist sport in countries like Sweden, Canada or Finland it is the NATIONAL sport and is open to everyone with modest outlay. Even in the UK where Hockey clubs pay for Ice time from private rink owners it is still not prohibitively expensive for working class people. I never had the chance to play hockey a when I was young -there where no rinks in the welsh mountains, although it was cold for 6 months of the year.

I got into hockey when my son showed a natural talent for the game and took out a licence to became a junior league coach. Hockey is a great game that requires much more skill and stamina than pussy soccer players would ever have. My biggest regret is that I was never able to get into the sport earlier.

Regarding the Swedish teams performance, The problem was with player selection. The concept used was the Olympics was going to be a matter of our NHL players are better than your NHL players rather than be a real national team. The best players in Canada and the US are naturally in the NHL that is their home league. In Sweden we have the Elite Serien which is our home league but the Swedish line up was overwhelmingly drawn from Swedes who play in the NHL and play the hard tackle game. There are many very good players from Elite Serien that should have been selected . If they had then the result could have been different IMHO
17:18 February 26, 2010 by RKman
[quote name='canam' date='26.Feb.2010, 01:01 AM' post='506819']@RK - Your post was too long but I only saw this "When I think back I cannot remember a single game - of championship or any significance - where Sweden ever defeated Canada in hockey." Try LILLEHAMMER. Forsberg has a stamp for crying out loud.

Dude I grew up in Canada and played hockey at UWO but give Sweden props. They've got some serious talent for a small country. I wouldn't doubt they start beating Canada more in the future.

Wow, I had to google Lillehammer b/c I couldn't even remember that far back. 1994 Buddy, our NHL players didn't start competing at the Olympics until 1998. SO, your demigod Forsberg - the guy with the stamp in Sweden - and his powerhouse Swedish squad won in a shootout and defeated the likes of Canada's Todd Hlusko and Greg Johnson? etc. LOL. Sweden's best barely defeats a band of second string players (more like third or fourth string - see my last or second last paragraph from my "long" post above ).

If Peter Forsberg had been a Canadian hockey player he might have been on a few McDonalds hockey cards they give away free with kids happy meals. Anyhow, I don't think I implied anywhere in my rant that Sweden isn't good in hockey. These days there are many teams that are good and who have come a LOOOOOOOONG way in the past decade. Look at the Swiss – they played two extremely tough games against Canada and the U.S. I'm proud of the fact that their team's head coach at these 2010 games is a Canadian, and at least one of their players is/was/is? a Canadian, who won a Gold medal with Canada's world juniors in '97 I think, went over and got hitched with a Swiss broad and now players for/in Switzerland. I also heard that the top 5 hockey clubs in whatever league exists in Switzerland are all coached by Canadians. Hey, they're learning from the best so that's nice to hear.

Sweden is a strong hockey nation. I won't doubt that. Point of my post was that those stamp obsessed fans over there are smoking some heavy crack if they think they are THE best hockey nation on the planet. I would put Russia and the U.S. ahead of Sweden any day. Small country? Ok? (I don't know – what is their pop I'm too lazy to google – 10 million?). Canada is relatively small compared to either the U.S. or Russia but we're still better them.

Like I said… I still am so upset Sweden didn't make it to the next round to face Canada. Such a shame. Oh well. If those Swedes keep playing well then sooner or later we'll run into each other. BTW, as for your prediction of Sweden starting to beat Canada more in the future, I won't loose any sleep until I see Sweden start doing something at the world junior championships. Those kids are the ones to watch for in the future.
17:28 February 26, 2010 by Mack
@ Greg

"And I hope at least some Swedes realize that not all Canuks are a bunch of loud yahoos that drink only Molsen Canadian or Labatt's Blue and act is if hockey is the most important thing on the planet. A lot of us do, but not all Canuks are like that."

I couldn't have written it any better. Hats off to you.
17:40 February 26, 2010 by RKman
And I don't know why you are embarrased to hear someone say that. I personally don't think Don Cherry is an idiot. He may dress like a fruit but the guy knows hockey. What's so wrong with saying Canada is number one in hockey?

The beers you mention are not my cup of tea. I will say that if hockey is not the most important sport in Canada just what is? Hmmmm??? WHAT is wrong with believing hockey is the most important sport to Canadians? (you must clearly have something up your ass if comments or views like that offend you so much).

The salt lake games were the first time Canada won olympic gold in some 50 years. And Wed's defeat of russia was the first time Canada beat them at the olympics in 50 odd years as well. I know Canada has not performed well at various international tournaments such as the olympics or world championship (I won't even mention the spengler cup as we always seem to get killed in that tourney), but to be fair these results are in large part because our top tallent is busy locked up in the NHL. Or has been I should say. That's why the world cup is a great idea (the evolution of the Canada Cup matches). In a way I personally think its a bit of a shame that pro's are now competing in the Olympics but consider the fact that Russian players and many others were pros playing in the olympics for years. They were amateur players from russian army forces who's only job was training and playing hockey lol. So things are on a much more level playing field now at the olympics.

I'll conclude by pointing out (as someone who read my entire initial post might have picked up on) that I am a life long Maple Leafs fan who suffered as a child in the 80's watching the dreadful Ballard era teams... who now, unfortunately, has been watching the club paint an even more pathetic chapter in their history by missing the playoffs for 5 straight years. So I will not excuse myself "Greg from Canada" for being completely pumped up about these Vancouver Olypmics. I've been waiting for this tournament for 4 bloody years! YEAH!!! And I will be the first one to say the gold medal is completely up for grabs. I did not like at all hearing this morning that Stephen Harper and Barack Obama have already wagered on teh gold medal game. That's STUPID!!! Nevertheless...

17:50 February 26, 2010 by RKman
To Greg and Mack,

IF Canada makes it to the finals then down to Casey's bar on Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto - south-west corner of York St. and Front St and I'll be happy to get each of you a nice pint of Creemore, or Steam Wistle, or perhaps Stella if that's your thing (even though Stella is whoring itself out like crazy these days). I'll be the guy wearing the home (white) #19 Yzerman jersey.

HOwever, if you don't want to see & hear me along with about a hundred other fans jumping up and down and making lots of noise, then its not the right venue for you.

Kind to think of it, you both remind me of the preppy, uptight business snobs at the Leaf games sitting in the $240 plantinum seats right behind the bench - the same "spectators" I should say that don't take their seats until 5-10 minutes of a period have expired, and who get MAD at fans who actually stand up and cheer when a goal is scored or a big hit is dished out or when a key pentalty is killed.

Meh, but to each their own.
18:13 February 26, 2010 by canam
Now I get it. You're from Toronto. I too am from that area, but I got out of the bubble that thinks the world revolves around hockey. I think what Greg, Mack, and I were saying for the others that may browse this board is that fans like you are why Canadian's are considered arrogant and obnoxious when it comes to this sport. While I'm a fan, I'm also mindful of all of the disappointing failures the Canadian international program has produced. Get out of Yorkville and broaden your horizons. Toronto is not the center of the hockey universe but it is where all of the Canadian weirdo fans are located. Most of whom can't even skate.

BTW - is you are ever in a well-rounded hockey culture such as Stockholm/Sweden I'll buy the rounds of stor stark and we'll debate this issue. Once your out of TO your head might clear.
19:01 February 26, 2010 by RKman
Thanks for the offer! I don't know how I'd actually go about taking you up on that but I gladly would if I ever happen to pass by that country. I got pretty close last summer when I went to Gdansk, Poland (just on the other side of the baltic). There were actually two salesmen from Sweden riding on the train with my wife & I. But I won't wait until going to Sweden to try that "Stor Stark" beer. I'm sure my buddy has, had, or can get that at his bar (Smokeless Joe's - on John St. just south of the old ChumCity building).

I may be from Toronto but believe me the only "Center" Toronto may be is of the hockey trade rumours. That and the hockey hall of fame - big deal. I learned to follow other teams many, many years ago - the '87 Flyers that lost to Gretzky's Oilers are probably my all time favourite. Hextall was at his best.

I can't help but get curious though over your comments about "well rounded hockey culture"; what does that mean - sportsmanship on the ice? in the stands with parents?? Is everyone in Sweden a PhD sophisto that drinks expensive beer that comes in a fancy custom bottle? I think you guys have been away from home for a long time. Labatt is owned by Inbev - you hardly see their commercials these days, and Molson/Coors together with Labatt have a fraction of the marketshare they had 10-15 years ago. The microbrewery industry (here in Ontario anyways) has been rolling along strong for a long time now. If you've been to an LCBO or Beer Store in the last few years you'd have to look up at the big board for probaby 2 minutes before even finding the name & sumbol for Molson or Labbats beers

Its funny how this discussion and has focused so much on beer. I resent being called a Canadian or Blue drinking slob. I don't even drink beer that much anymore and if I had to choose a stable I'd have to go with either Moosehead or something from Brick. Am I cocky? Well, I'll talk the talk with anyone out there who thinks Sweden has THE best hockey players or team in the world. Won't apologize for that. And you Canadian's living abroad shouldn't feel the need to apologize for me saying that
19:16 February 26, 2010 by Mack

"IF Canada makes it to the finals then down to Casey's bar on Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto - south-west corner of York St. and Front St and I'll be happy to get each of you a nice pint of Creemore, or Steam Wistle, or perhaps Stella if that's your thing (even though Stella is whoring itself out like crazy these days). I'll be the guy wearing the home (white) #19 Yzerman jersey. "

Rkman... Creemore would be just fine although I would rather stick with the beer I was drinking during the Russian game... McAuslands Pale Ale (from Montreal). But then again maybe I should be drinking Baltica now that Russia is out of the way. :-)
19:16 February 26, 2010 by canam
Just email me if you're ever around. I do prefer Canadian beer but the beer here is good too.

Have fun tonight. Whatever has been said earlier, you are absolutely correct about actually watching the game in Canada. The bar atmosphere in Toronto tonight (and hopefully Sunday) will be insane and great fun.
23:57 February 26, 2010 by Greg in Canada

Thanks for the invite but I avoid Toronto as much as possible. It's the place the rest of the country loves to hate, including the Leafs, and I fall into that catagory. I lived there for eight years of my life. That was enough.

I'll definately be watching the final and will be drinking a few pints of good Canadian beer from one of our smaller microbreweries.

BTW, I still think Don Cherry is an absolute idiot. His philosophhy that fighting belongs in hockey will eventually be the downfall of Canadian hockey as the Euros surpass us in technical skills. If I want to see fighting I'll go watch boxing matches. What's that old joke about the NHL - "I went to watch the fights last night but a hockey game broke out".
15:45 February 27, 2010 by RKman
I'll end on canam's comment about enjoying the game and having fun. Thanks - hope everyone else does too! I watched last night's game vs. Slovakia at home and didn't even stay up till the end. Woke up to learn we won 3-2 and barely in regulation. After the U.S.'s beating of Finland, Sunday's tilt with Canada is looking to be insane. I think regardless of how well Luongo plays if Canada can't crack Ryan Miller definitively then we are in serious trouble. That U.S. squad is looking unbeatable right now.

To Mack, McAuslands is indeed fine beer. My wife still sometimes sleeps in the St. Ambroise t-shirt I picked up from the very first of second Toronto festival of beers at olde Fort York waaay back probably in 97 or 98. Back then we stumbled upon a number of great microbreweries like Amsterdam, Brick (when they were tiny), Creemore (before Molson sadly bought them), Camerons, Oshawa's Church Key, etc, etc. Whatever your fancy, if you should just so happen to be downtown Toronto Sunday afternoon you can find me in that Casey's and I'd be happy to buy you a pint. Canam is right that the bars are going to be packed this Sunday. The cameras will be mostly on Gretzky's but you'd have to line up early morning just to get in. Loose Moose just down Front St. from Casey's is a sports staple in Toronto. The olde Peel Pub was my favourite place and playoff central back when the leafs actually made noise in the post season in late 90's early 00's... I watched Canada win gold in 2002 at that very same Caseys then walked up Yonge st ahead of probably 100,000+ fans after the game. Hope to be able to do the same tomorrow :)

Greg, Toronto is a big place. And saying people hate Toronto doesn't bother us. If it did we certainly wouldn't be able to hack it here. FYI I live 50+ km's from Toronto - I take a GO train downtown everyday b/c quite frankly that is the economic heart and financial capital of Canada, and thats where I make my living. I can work from home but when it comes to networking and business interaction downtown is where its at. So, I'll extend a local offer to you. There's not much around in the north-west GTA pocket where I live but my best friend lives just next door in Georgetown, so if you'd like to get a pint in a nice small town, main street-ey type of place its on the table. I think Georgetown would be right up your alley Greg. BTW - you don't live in Waterdown by any chance do you? :P

Don Cherry may talk out of his ass but I agree with him, as do the players and coaches in the NHL, that "fighting" is part of hockey. I'll never forget Marty McSorley's goonish attempt in game 1 of the Conference final in 1993 to take out Gilmour in the 3rd period, and Wendel went right after him and gave him a black eye. How could you ever eliminate that from hockey? (WHY on earth would you want to??)

I've thoroughly enjoyed our debate. CHEERS guys, and Go Canada Go!!
23:09 February 27, 2010 by Greg in Canada
"I live 50+ km's from Toronto"

I'm in rural eastern Ontario. I know Georgetown as I lived not far away in Guelph at one time.

Go Canada Go. Beat the Americans.
17:53 March 2, 2010 by RKman
What a game. Hope everyone enjoyed. Just wanted to post this final update.

In the latest International Ice Hockey Federation world rankings that were tabulated after the Vancouver Olympics, Canada moved back to No. 1 from the second spot. The rest of the top 20 is as follows: 2. Russia; 3. Finland; 4. Sweden; 5. United States; 6. Czech Republic; 7. Slovakia; 8. Switzerland; 9. Belarus; 10. Latvia; 11. Norway; 12. Germany; 13. Denmark; 14. Austria; 15. Italy; 16. France; 17. Ukraine; 18. Slovenia; 19. Kazakhstan; 20. Hungary.

Now, time for me to move on to pravda's online forum where they are posting unimaginable garbage about Canada hockey team, about the Vancouver Olympics, and a bunch of crap. This should be fun.

Later folks!
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