Canada sneaks past Team USA

[Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette]

[Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette]

Malcolm Subban silenced his critics with a dominant performance against Team USA, shutting the door in a tightly contested game.

Canada would eventually win 2 – 1 on the back of Subban’s 36 saves and a pair of goals from Ryan Strome and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the first period.

Captain Nugent-Hopkins continued his impressive form for Canada, opening the scoring and adding to his tournament leading point total.

Strome doubled the lead soon after, scoring his fourth goal in Ufa, after Brett Ritchie dished a pass out front from behind the net.

It was a definite goaltending duel, both goalies keeping the game scoreless in the second period, while the referees seemed intent on letting the teams play; just four minor penalties in the first forty minutes.

Jacob Trouba made things interesting in the third as he scored midway into the final period on a powerplay with Strome in the box for a delay of game penalty.

But the game turned sour in the final 10 minutes, Jake McCabe given a penalty for Checking to the head and a 10-minute misconduct, before Tyler Bigs and Trouba also ended up in the box.

Ryan Hartman continued the parade to the box for Team USA, going off for another checking to the head minor and a 10-minute misconduct, but with extended 5 on 3 opportunities Canada was unable to break past USA goalie John Gibson.

Wasting their chance, it was Canada on the backfoot for the final minutes as both Jonathan Huberdeau and Nugent-Hopkins found themselves penalized, but Subban was able to stand tall in the final moments for a 2 – 1 Canada win.

Gibson made a number of key saves and continued his strong performance in UFA, he had 30 saves in the loss.

Subban and Gibson were players of the game for their respective teams, underlining the strong goalie performances of the pair.

Mooseheads Watch

Jonathan Drouin & Nathan MacKinnon [2 Shots] – The two of them started on the second line with Ryan Strome, but Head Coach Spott mixed things up throughout the game. The two played well and had bright spots, but it was a very quiet game by their standards. Just two shots mustered over 60 minutes between the two.

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.


Frk’ing Horrible Day in Moose Country

Although the Halifax Mooseheads were 4-3 winners Sunday night in their pre-season game against Saint John, they recieved some terrible news for the future:

Martin Frk is not coming to Halifax this season, unless Bobby Smith takes the option of buying the young Czech stud out of his contract.

As released by the IIHF this weekend,

Czech 16-year old prospect Martin Frk has a valid contract with Karlovy Vary and can therefore not transfer to the Halifax Mooseheads of the Canadian Hockey League. This has been determined by the IIHF.

The Czech forward was selected third overall in the Canadian Hockey League’s so called Import Draft earlier this summer after he had 55 points and 184 penalty minutes in 38 games at the Czech under-20 level last season. But Frk’s Czech club Karlovy Vary challenged the ensuing transfer request from Halifax stating that the player has a valid and binding contract.

After an investigation the IIHF concluded that the professional player contract was validly signed by the player’s parents and the contract was not terminated according to the terms in the contract, a mutual agreement or a just cause.

As it is determined that a valid professional player contract exists between the player and Karlovy Vary, the player has committed a breach of the contract by leaving the club and going to Canada with the intention to play in Halifax.

According to the IIHF Transfer Regulation section II article 4.5, the IIHF General Secretary, on behalf of the IIHF, decided that the player’s International Transfer Card is not approved.

The Mooseheads had taken a gamble on the young player by choosing him high in the European import draft. Now with Frk not coming to Halifax, not only do the Moose miss out on a young scoring forward they must now plan to fill a void left by former captain Tomas Knotek who went back to Europe after last season.

The only positive in this situation has been the stellar play of forward Gabriel Desjardin’s so far this preseason and the prospect of seeing the likes of Darcy Ashley, Luca Ciampini and Matthew Boudreau in the line-up this season.

The next big question of the Mooseheads is which goalie they will keep for the future, with both Peter Delmas and Mathieu Corbeil fighting for the number one spot.

It appears that Peter Delmas is the safer choice as he can still be moved after Monday, however, if the Moose choose to keep Corbeil they would have to wait until December to move him.

Another Bandwagon, CROSBY BASHING!

With the Stanley Cup in full swing and the playoffs down to just four remaining teams, it would make sense that even with his team out of the playoffs that the “Lets Bash Crosby” bandwagon would still be in full effect.

Heck, let’s ignore the fact that the Blackhawks have a two game lead over the number one team in the league, or that the Habs just came back in a huge way against the Flyers with a 5-1 win tonight.

Instead, let’s do what hockey fans do best and bash on a young talent who has done nothing but give his heart and soul to the NHL, Canada and hockey fans across North America.

The kid is just 23 years old and this is what his resume looks like:

  • Silver World Junior Medal (2004)
  • Gold World Junior Medal (2005)
  • Art Ross Trophy (2007)
  • Hart Memorial Trophy (2007)
  • Lester B. Pearson Award (2007)
  • Stanley Cup Finals (2008/2009)
  • Stanley Cup Ring (2009)
  • Olympic Gold Medal (2010)
  • Rocket Richard Trophy (2010)

I won’t get into the countless records he’s also broken, but in his first five  years in the NHL he has played 371 games, scored 183 goals, made 323 assists and in total has 506 points.

But somehow fans still find the need to bash on the Canadian Hero who won  helped make the dream possible in Vancouver and win the country Olympic Gold.

When groups like the IIHF come out and bash Sidney Crosby for not going to their World Championship, it’s clearly not about the hockey. The IIHF World Championship has only ever drawn North American attention when it is hosted in North America, without big names coming to play when it is held overseas they lose out. I can only assume this is the reason for their recent media temper tantrum.

As sports fans we need to understand that athletes are human too and they need time to recover, relax and refocus. In the last 12 months he has won the Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold and the Rocket Richard trophy, not to mention six rounds in the NHL playoffs (losing just one matchup).

Sid will win Canada plenty more Gold at the international stage and hopefully add to his already overfull trophy case, so give the kid a break and let him enjoy  summer off.

While you’re at it, how about we focus on hockey that’s being played and enjoy a playoffs that has been full of excitement, upsets and big games.

**Editors Note: The IIHF has since come out and apologize for including Sidney Crosby in their press release bashing players for not coming to the IIHF championship.

Henry Whitfield is an avid sports fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world, while focusing on hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield.