World Cup of Hockey Recap: Radek Faksa Injured as Canada Defeats Czech Republic 6-0

I think we can go ahead and call off this whole tournament now.

It was announced earlier today that Tyler Seguin's actual foot/leg injury is a hairline fracture in his heel, but that may not end up being the worst injury the Dallas Stars have to endure as a result of the World Cup of Hockey.

Radek Faksa did not return to the bench after the first period of the Czech Republic's game against Canada, and this is the first thing we heard:

Nothing else came to light during the match, but Team Czech Republic is expected to update Faksa's status soon.

I re-watched his last shift in the first, and I saw two things: One, a weird collision with Ryan Getzlaf (with whom he had had some chippiness earlier) away from the puck, and Two, a blocked slapshot at the blue line that Faksa promptly took back up the ice after the puck dropped at his feet. Speculate if you want, but I'm going to go ahead and wait before drawing any conclusions* or anything. He did skate back to the bench without any noticeable difficulty (from what I could see on the ESPN camera angles).

*Except for the fact that the World Cup should be canceled forever. I have already drawn that conclusion.

As far as the game goes, there's not much to say other than this: the Czechs got pasted by Canada. Shots on goal ended up 50-27 for Canada, and that's despite the fact that the Czech Republic spent 12 minutes on the power play. This looked, felt, and was every bit the best team in the tournament going up against a team with Andrej Sustr and Jakub Nakladal as their top defensive pair. When the Czechs had the puck, they were able to generate some good chances, but the Canada defense kept most rebounds to a minimum, and you're usually going to need some of those to beat Carey Price.

As far as the Stars players, Radek Faksa played well in the first period, and that was fun while it lasted. Ales Hemsky led Czech forwards in ice time after the first, and he ended up mid-pack with 17 minutes. He saw a good chunk of power play time on (I think) the 2nd power play unit, where he unloaded a couple of shots (three total in the game) as well. He had a turnover, carried the puck well the handful of times his team actually had it, and looked like one of the NHLers on a subpar team.

Here are some things that I saw when I watched the game. As usual, these are not necessarily insightful or informative things. I should stop adding self-deprecating prefaces to these bullet points:

  • Sidney Crosby had a sorta ugly first goal on a shot that he banked in off Neuvirth, but you know, that is what Hart Trophy Winners and Playoff MVPs Do, Is Lead Their Teams to Victory in Clutch Moments.
  • Brad Marchand tipped in a Brent Burns shot to make it 2-0 in the first, but the goal was awarded to Burns at first. I am guessing most folks would prefer to see Burns get the point than Marchand, but that is mostly because Marchand is a guy who Plays With Some Sandpaper and Stuff.
  • Canada got a dagger of a third goal at the 19:59 mark when Sidney Crosby went line dancing, do-si-do'ing his way into a turnover. Hey, would you like to talk about whether Antoine Roussel would have been called for a penalty on this play?
  • The Czechs went 0-6 on the power play. Either Canada's penalty kill is really good, or the Czech power play is not. Or--wait for it--both. I know, I know. And to think, this internet web site is free.
  • Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton had a pretty little combo for the fourth goal. I have to grudgingly admit that Joe Thornton is approaching Lovable Old Curmudgeon territory for me.
  • Michael Neuvirth may have suffered a groin or knee injury late in the game on a netmouth scramble, which is a shame. Neuvirth really played well tonight, but his team allowed Canada to put 50 pucks on net.
  • Here is the best thing Neuvirth did:
  • Blues fans may also be holding their breaths after Alex Pietrangelo blocked a shot (accidentally) with his hand, but he returned to score a goal, so probably he is not going to miss like half the season because of it. Congratulations to the St. Louis Blues for not having one of their better players get hurt in the World Cup.
  • Team USA and Team Europe also played a hockey game Saturday, and the USA more or less sat good players (not including the ones they didn't even bring) and played very badly en route to an embarrassment of a loss. It is hard to feel too bad for Dean Lombardi, John Tortorella and his staff, given what some see as hubris surrounding their grit-first mentality. This piece is a pretty good look at an ill portent for the USA's hopes in the tournament.
  • Personal closing anecdote: I was at a Seattle Sounders MLS game today, and I sat next to a kind fellow from the Czech Republic who once got Calgary Flames tickets from Michael Frolik, who is from his same hometown north of Prague. Michael Frolik was briefly playing on a line with Faksa and Hemsky today. The Sounders won 1-0, but the Czechs lost one of their most important players. Please light a candle with all of us as we hope for a quick and full recovery for Radek Faksa.