We'll start with the caveat. And that is that it's just the Worlds, it's not the Olympics. NHL players, and those from other leagues as well, whose teams are still competing are absent from the rosters, others decline the invites, the significance of the tournament is less... But that doesn't mean the significance is nothing. I mean, Team Canada is still icing a pretty strong contingent.
Which makes France's victory over them this past weekend quite the impressive feat. But of course it was just a fluke. Cristobal Huet kept them in it, got them to overtime, and of course anyone can win in a shootout. And sure enough France went out and lost to Italy in their second game, as if to prove the point.
But then it got interesting. For yesterday, France were losing 3-1 to Slovakia, ranked 8th in the world, with ten minutes remaining. But then they scored on a 2-man advantage, and 24 seconds later Antoine Roussel scored to tie the game. And then with 6 minutes remaining France had to kill off a nearly 2 minute 2-man advantage for Slovakia, did so, and then scored the game winner a minute later.
Our favourite Frenchman added his second of the night into an empty net to cap a second upset for the French.
They may not be challenging for a gold medal any time soon, although perhaps I should wait to see how they perform against Sweden on Thursday before I say that, but they've already shaken up the natural order of things. And for that, I'm a fan.
Oh, and on the subject of the World Championships, am I the only one that didn't know about the existence of Divisions I, II, and III? How could I have missed the showdown between Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates last month?!
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The Boston Bruins had a chance to close out their series with the Montreal Canadiens last night. They emphatically did not do it. Not by a longshot. In fact, it was so bad, the Stanley Cup of Chowder recap talks about ice cream rather than the hockey game. Which makes it well worth a read. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Funny enough, and this is a strange thing about sports, the Habs bloggers were loving the opportunity to write about the game. [Eyes on the Prize]
In the other game from last night, man but the Kings have been streaky! They began the postseason with three straight losses to the Sharks, then reeled off six straight wins over the Sharks and Ducks, and now they've lost another three straight. Time for a six game run of wins now? [NHL.com]
It's almost a recap, but really everybody just go here so you can vote for Corey Perry to spontaneously combust. [Jewels from the Crown]
Puck Daddy's Ryan Lambert is a big fan of Antoine Roussel. That, and the rest of What We Learned. [Puck Daddy]
Dion Phaneuf and Jason Spezza as possible trade targets? [Sportsnet]
Think Barry Trotz could get Alex Ovechkin to play a more defensive role? [Washington Post]
The existence of this article amuses me. "NHL Playoff Struggle Watch," or "Biggest Postseason Letdowns," or "Players Who Suck Right Now." [Grantland]
And lastly, these masks kinda make me want to start playing goaltender... [Puck Daddy]