with Matthew Ryder

Czech Mate!
Lecavlier OT Winner Sends Mario Jr. and Co. Packing; Canada/Finland in Tuesday Final
Matthew Ryder

It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was uglier than The Incredible Hulk, but Canada will play for the World Cup Tuesday night against the upstart Team Finland.

For the first time in the tournament, the Canadians were the second-best team on the ice all night. Despite holding leads of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, and 3-2, it was clear that if not for Roberto Luongo’s heroics, the Canadians would have to explain to an entire nation exactly what went wrong.

The Czech Republic, led by superstar Jaromir Jagr, who was lethal despite being held pointless, beat Canada at their own game for much of the night. They got the puck deep, cycled like it was the Tour de France, and bullied the Canadian defense. Guys like Jagr and Milan Hejduk were aggressive, often initiating contact themselves, while the smaller guys like Martin Havlat and Patrik Elias provided offense with slippery dangles and quick feet.

It was a relatively uneventful first period, as the most curious thing to occur was Roberto Luongo taking to the Canadian net. He started for Martin Brodeur, who was hampered by a wrist injury to the point that he could not compete. It wasn’t entertaining early, though it was obvious the Czechs had come to play, as they repeatedly beat Canada to the puck, outworking them to an edge in play after twenty minutes, but nothing to show on the scoreboard.

The second started much the same, with the Czechs hemming Canada in and working them for full shifts at a time. Then the muck line of Thornton, Draper, and Doan, poked it loose and carried it into Czech territory, getting it out front. Big defenseman Eric Brewer was coming hard, and he shoved the Draper pass in to make it 1-0. About three minutes later, Canada was swarming Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun on a powerplay, and Mario Lemieux potted his long-awaited first goal of the tournament, assists being credited to Vinny Lecavlier and Brad Richards.

At 2-0, memories of the Slovak romp were creeping into heads across Canada. However forty-two seconds after Lemieux scored, Petr Cajanek told Canada to hold their collective phones, banking a puck in off Adam Foote to make it 2-1.

The third began the same as the first two periods, with a WHOLE lot of Czech buzzing, and a crumbling Canada holding on like grim death. Havlat broke through after Lecavlier was sent to the box on a questionable holding call, as a Tomas Kaberle point shot (yes I said he shot from the point, apparently he DOES know where to ACC nets are located) hopped off Luongo and landed like a saucer pass on Havlat’s tape. He buried the PP marker to make it two-all.

For the rest of the third, the Czechs peppered Luongo and owned Canada, imposing their will all over the ice. That was until Kris Draper, who shadowed Jagr perfectly all game, broke away on a partial 2-on-1. He kept, and it was a good decision as he wired the biscuit top cheese to make it 3-2. Draper and Joe Thornton had two points each for the muck line.

However if you blinked, you missed it. In what I can honestly say was the fastest turnaround I’ve ever seen outside of a game produced by EA Sports, the Czechs knotted it at three when Patrik Elias fired a loose puck by Luongo only six seconds after the Draper goal. It was somewhat of a soft one to allow, though Scott Niedermayer posed a slight screen to the Canadian keeper.

Overtime saw Canada collapsing like a poorly-made cake in their own end, spreading their coverage thin and taxing their defense that much more as a result. However just when you thought the Canadian meal ticket was nearing it’s expiry, they cleared the zone and Vinny Lecavlier brought the puck in over the Czech line. Despite losing it, he stayed in the play and weaselled away from Marek Malik in front. Ryan Smyth put the puck on goal, and it bounded off Malik, giving Lecavlier two whacks at it. In spite of a swinging strike, Lecavlier regained control of the puck on the icing line with Vokoun sprawled and badly out of position. He deposited his second chance in the proper receptacle to give Canada a thrilling but disgusting 4-3 OT win. It can safely be said that tonight the Czech Republic deserved to be moving on, as they outplayed Canada tenfold. Sometimes the lesser squad wins it, and tonight that was very much the case.

Luongo put up 37 saves in replacing Brodeur tonight for his first win. He says he’ll be ready to go in the championship if they need him, but it’s suspected Brodeur could be good to go by then. Tomas Vokoun looked shaky, and probably could have been exposed if Canada didn’t lay such an egg. He made 20 saves in taking the loss.

The championship game will see Canada and Finland lock horns in Finland’s first ever final in a best-on-best tournament. That game will go 7et on Tuesday at the ACC in Toronto.

Iginla and Linemates Combine to Blow Slovakia Out of World Cup

Canadians thought he might never score again. Then he did. But it was waved off. And Canadians believed once more that he may never score again. But then he did again, and it wasn’t waved off. Thus Wednesday night crafted a story in which goal-scorers were scoring, playmakers were making plays, and Canada moved on in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Jarome Iginla carried his team to their best game of the tournament, as everything gelled perfectly to see Canada walk all over the Slovak national squad by a final of 5-0. Iginla, much maligned for his lack of production despite fantastic chances, exploded for two goals and an assist, while his linemates, Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic put up two assists and a goal and two assists respectively, giving the line an eight-point night. Coming into the game the line had put up only two goals and one assist between them, but things change fast in hockey, as was the case in the quarter-final.
The game was clogged like a kitchen sink in the first, as the Slovaks looked content to be sent home by a 1-0 loss moreso than they looked to be attempting to win. However this strategy proved unstable when Canada got their legs in the second period, and Vinny Lecavlier put Slovakia down 1-0 on a powerplay goal at 2:28. This was very much a sign of things to come.
Iginla banked one off the far goalpost from the right wing less than three minutes later, shortly after which Ryan Smyth went hard to the net like few can to tip in a pass from Lecavlier, who is playing the best hockey many have witnessed from him in his young career. Nineteen seconds after the Smyth goal, a spectacular tic-tac-toe play saw the nicest goal of Canada’s tournament come from sniper Joe Sakic, as Lemieux found Iginla, who slid a neat pass back to the trailing Sakic. Sakic firmly planted his patented wrist shot under Slovak goalie Jan Lasak’s arm, putting the red and white up four. Lasak was pulled, though through little fault of his own, as the Slovaks looked disorganized and weary from the outset of the second, losing as a result.
Rastislav Stana played well as Lasak’s replacement, but was rarely tested as the classy Canadians were content not to bomb the Slovaks further. Slovakia proved to be willing participants in the World Cup, but a thin defense and injuries to guys like Ziggy Palffy and Petr Bondra proved too much to overcome. As the third neared a close, Iginla netted his second of the game, a near mirror of his goal in the Stanley Cup final, as he streaked down the wing and ripped a shot low blocker side on Stana to complete the shelling.
The crossover round now begins, as Canada draws the Czech Republic Saturday (6:30 et) and Finland will meet the USA Friday (7et). The winners advance to the championship game Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.


Oil Spill!
Smyth Marks a Pair; Canada Exposes Weak Slovak D on the Way to 2-0 Start
Matthew Ryder

In a one-sided affair, Team Canada trounced Slovakia by a final of 5-1. The Canadians had been seen all along as the tournament favorites by all who comment on the game, and the performance at the Bell Centre in Montreal this evening truly cemented that.

The Canucks exploited the questionable Slovak defense time and time again, dominating them throughout the night with ease. All five Canadian goals were a result of suspect defensive lapses or generally poor errors that cannot be made in a tournament of this magnitude.
Canada jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes on goals by Boston Bruins’ captain Joe Thornton and Edmonton Oilers grinder supreme Ryan Smyth, his first of two on the evening. Thornton’s goal was particularly impressive however, as he doggedly yanked at big Zdeno Chara from behind, finally lifting his stick and pulling the puck away to tally his first of the tournament. Smyth simply walked out from the end boards untouched and beat Slovak goalie Rastislav Stana, who’s defenders were nowhere in sight.

From there, the second period’s lone goal was another defensive lapse, as the little man that can, Marty St. Louis picked a pocket, stepped in over the line, and saucered a feed over to an awaiting Simon Gagne. Gagne finished off the 2-on-1 with a nifty redirection despite the puck nearly being deflected away by Zdeno Chara, who was somewhat of a goat tonight.

The third saw Lightning striking all over the place, as Tampa Bay gunner Brad Richards fed his teammate Marty St. Louis a tasty dish, making it 4-0. Within minutes however, another member of the Stanley Cup champs, Martin Cibak, got one back for the Slovaks. Notwithstanding, Ryan Smyth finished the scoring the only way he knows how, mucking in a rebound, and the final was on the board at 5-1 red and white.
Canada absolutely dominated Slovakia tonight, repeatedly taking advantage of the weak defense and dangle-happy nature of the Slovaks. Slovakia’s snipers such as Hossa, Demitra, and Satan were nowhere to be found, and as a result Marty Brodeur had an easy time in making 24 saves. Poor Rastislav Stana had a harder time making 30 saves in the Slovak net, and really got an undeserving loss, as his defense left him hanging like so much laundry in the summer breeze more than once.

At the same time, a night of positives for Canada still had a huge negative. Ottawa Senators’ defender Wade Redden went down with an upper body injury late in the first, making him the second casualty on the defense core in as many nights. He’ll be re-evaluated at a later date.

Slovakia moves across the border to play the USA in St. Paul, Minnesota Friday (7pm/et). Canada is off until Saturday, moving to Toronto to finish out the preliminary round against Russia Saturday night (7pm/et).


Quick-Startin’ Martin:
St. Louis Scores Early, Adds Assist in His Canadian Debut; Canada 1-0
Matthew Ryder

If you walked in on a conversation about tonight’s game in mid stride, you’d almost think the Bell Centre was on fire early in the evening, but authorities got it under control. You would certainly hear a remark to the effect of “ was explosive early, but it kind of died down later on...”. There was no fire, however. Only a hockey game that saw Team Canada (1-0-0) defeat the USA (0-1-0) 2-1 in what had all the makings of a donnybrook that only these two teams could have.

Canada came out like a team possessed early on, at no point taking ‘no’ for an answer. They beat the States to every puck, or simply hammered them into submitting the biscuit willingly. Shane Doan and Brenden Morrow looked to be serving a purely physical purpose up front early on, while Robyn Regehr and Eric Brewer punished American forwards on Canada’s back end. The vicious Canadians took the US to school in every aspect in the first 25 minutes of the game, at one point having out-chanced them 18-0 (yes, that’s a zero, not a typo). As a result, they held a 2-0 lead , as Marty St. Louis had his first two points as a representative of his country and the star-studded powerplay was 2-for-4 at the midway point when Joe Sakic added a goal.

However the USA weathered the storm and saw Bill Guerin reply to pull his team within one. The score stood at 2-1 after forty minutes, and there it would stand after sixty minutes as well, due to an uneventful third period that saw Canada slog it and the US fail to break the defensive wall quickly being laid in the Canucks’ zone as time ticked away.

Robert Esche (0-1-0) was the busier netminder, and looked very sharp, only being beaten from the top of the crease and also on a deflection on his way to a 30-save night. Martin Brodeur (1-0-0) had a relatively easy time, only scrambling to make a save once during the night and he can thank his defense for their impeccable work on this, a 23-save night for him.

Both teams had key losses, as the US lost Mike Modano in the first due to an undisclosed injury that was believed to be lower body and Canadian defender Ed Jovanovski also left in the first after landing awkwardly with his leg tangled in Eric Weinrich. Neither Modano nor Jovanovski returned, and both will be re-evaluated at a later date.
It was a rugged affair that lent itself nicely to the NHL rules, seeing the normally-mild Scott Niedermayer drop the gloves with the moderately more spunky Jeff Halpern, not to mention Mario Lemieux going haywire on Steve Konowalchuk after he got involved with Martin Brodeur. There was little doubt that these teams had a dislike boiling over from 2002 and the two exhibition meetings, and it all came to a head tonight.
Next up for Canada is Slovakia, Wednesday at 7pm/et, while the USA will be tangling with Russia on Thursday, also at 7pm/et.


World Cup Preview: The Overall Scheme of Things

For the first time since 1996 and the second time in hockey history, 8 prime hockey nations will gather and battle for hockey supremacy in the World Cup of Hockey 2004. Canada, Czech. Republic, Russia, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, and the defending champion USA will attempt to prove that they are the greatest hockey nation in the world, and this best-on-best tournament will go a long way in proving such a claim. To complete my pre-tournament columns, today I’ll be finishing up with how I see the grand scheme of the tournament shaping up.

For those of you who may not have read my prior columns, I have predicted the team records for both pools, and obviously the divisional seeding at the end of round robin play. They shaped up as seen below:

European Pool
(1) Czech. Republic - (2-0-1)
(2) Sweden - (2-1-0)
(3) Finland - (1-1-1)
(4) Germany - (0-3-0)

North American Pool
(1) Slovakia - (2-0-1)
(2) Canada - (2-1-0)
(3) USA - (1-2-0)
(4) Russia - (0-2-1)

The setup for the playoff bracket see the (1) seed play the (4) seed of their own pool. Hence my predictions see the matchups as:
European Pool

(4) Germany @ (1) Czech. Republic
In what will surprisingly not be a massive blowout, look for the tight-checking Germans to stick to bread-and-butter with their smart defensive stylings. However the end is likely to see the Czechs run it up a bit with a few late goals, possibly in the vicinity of 5-1. I can’t see Germany coming out on top here.

(3) Finland @ (2) Sweden
Always a good watch when these teams get together, I had the Swedes to beat the Finns in the round robin. I don’t think Finland will be fooled twice, and I’d see them coming out ahead in what will likely be the second close game these two have in the tourney.

North American Pool
(4) Russia @ (1) Slovakia
In what WOULD be a battle of skill and speed if Russia was playing with a full deck, I expect to see the Slovaks have an easy time with whatever man-sized question mark Russia nets on that particular day. The speedy forwards will attack hard and score often, while Slovakia’s somewhat thin defense will have their easiest time of the tournament with a forward core that has little threat outside of Kovalchuk and the largely unproven Ovechkin.

(3) USA @ (2) Canada
A rematch of the 2002 Olympic Championship should provide a great deal of drama in a tight game. The USA knows how to play Canada, but Pat Quinn will have his boys up for this one. I think the goaltending will tell the story, as Marty Brodeur almost has more big games under his belt than the platoon of young Yankee netminders have shots faced at the NHL level. Not to say the American starter between the pipes won’t be up to the task, but I see another big output from the likes of Iginla and Sakic that will sink the US in OT and put Canada through to the next round.

European Pool Championship
(3) Finland @ (1) Czech. Republic
In what will be one of the better games in the tournament, I really believe Finland will beat the Czechs when it counts. I think the earlier tie will only give the Finns momentum, and I also believe there will be mistakes they make in the round robin tie that won’t be made again. For the Czechs, I think it will mark another disappointment on a big stage, because the team is there. Something just tells me Finland is too much like the Calgary Flames for Mikka Kiprusoff not to stand on his head.

North American Pool Championship
(2) Canada @ (1) Slovakia
I don’t expect Canada to let an earlier blip on the radar throw them off again. When it counts, Canada has proven more as a big-game nation and have more guys who’ve proven big things as individuals. While I gave Slovakia the win in the round robin, this was accounting for a possible rest-day for Marty Brodeur. With him between the pipes, the Slovaks will be stymied and Canada will ride an ability to match the Slovaks fast pace and keep up their own grind-it-out style to a big W and a shot at all the marbles.

World Cup Game
Euro (3) Finland @ NA (2) Canada
The ACC will barely hold together for the noise in the building when Team Canada takes to the ice. It will, however, pale in comparison to the noise made when Mario Lemieux accepts the World Cup on behalf of his country. In what will be a fast-paced, mean-spirited affair, the Canadians will prove to be too much for the Finns by a couple of goals. The Finns will play their chippy, frustrating style, likely striking first only to be overpowered at their own game by the bigger Canucks. Canada will throw more bone-jarring hits, and the Finns style of play will be seen as one that awoke the sleeping giants instead of one that left the European pool licking their wounds. Canada will play it’s best game defensively in this one, and leave the battered Finns to accept the consolation prize.

So the overall scheme of things as I see it would be as follows:
8th - Germany - (0-4-0)
7th - Russia - (0-3-1)
6th - USA - (1-3-0)
5th - Sweden - (2-2-0)
4th - Slovakia - (3-1-1)
3rd - Czech. Republic - (3-1-1)
2nd - Finland - (3-2-1)
World Cup Champions - Canada (5-1-0)
(Placing is decided by (1) round eliminated, (2) overall record, then (3) goal differential)

Thus my World Cup preview is completed. Hopefully I’ll come out of this looking like a genius, but if I don’t I’ll willingly accept any hate-mail or other comments at (Subject: Column). I’ll be posting reports on Canada’s efforts on days after games beginning with the USA to be posted September 1. Thanks for reading, for, I’m Matthew Ryder.


World Cup Preview: North American Pool

For the first time since 1996 and the second time in hockey history, 8 prime hockey nations will gather and battle for hockey supremacy in the World Cup of Hockey 2004. Canada, Czech. Republic, Russia, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, and the defending champion USA will attempt to prove that they are the greatest hockey nation in the world, and this best-on-best tournament will go a long way in proving such a claim. To complete my World Cup pool previews, I’ll be breaking down the North American pool and looking at how I see each team stacking up in the grand scheme of the tournament.

The tournament’s biggest surprise is likely to come in the form of an abysmal showing from the Mighty Red Russians. With the losses of Nikolai Khabibulin and Evgeni Nabokov, Russia’s goaltending is suspect at the absolute best, with the unproven Ilya Bryzgalov likely to be the #1 man and two nobodies in Alexander Fomichev and Maxim Sokolov joining from Russian club teams, the goaltending is likely to be pathetic on a good day. The defense is okay, though no one man stands out as a leader despite the addition of a steady former NHLer in Oleg Tverdovsky. The forwards see an aging Alexander Mogilny dress for Russia for the first time since his defection, as well as the best young player in hockey Ilya Kovalchuk and the supposed next “big thing” Alexander Ovechkin all trying to pull Russia in the right direction. Unfortunately a lack of either Bure brother, coupled with the loss of the savvy Alex Zhamnov and the forever-dangerous Sergei Fedorov is going to see Russia on the outside looking in when the round robin is done.
Slovakia is a team that is much like the Swedes in that they are incredibly difficult to judge. On paper, they have a lethal forward group that is going to score almost at will with the Marians, Hossa and Gaborik, as well as Pavol Demitra, Miro Satan, Richard Zednik, and a budding superstar in Ladislav Nagy. The defense is good, but not great, as the Slovaks will be leaning heavily on the 6'9" frame of Zdeno Chara to get them big minutes in all situations. Also, former NHLer Richard Lintner and another underrated defender out of LA, Lubomir Visnovsky will form a solid group, if unspectacular. The defense (aside from Chara) is one without any real superstars, and it will be interesting to see how they come together. The goaltending is the most questionable in the tournament without a doubt, as no team’s goalie is carrying more than Jan Lasak. If he stands on his head the Slovaks will be a lethal squad, but if he hits the skids at all they’ll tank before the fifteen minute mark of their first game. These guys are nothing to take lightly, and I believe that as long as the goaltending stays no worse than marginal they can contend.

Team Canada has to be seen as the favorite going into this year’s World Cup. Even with the losses of top tier NHLers Steve Yzerman, Chris Pronger, Ed Belfour, and Rob Blake, they fill the holes with guys like Vinny Lecavlier, Jay Bouwmeester, Jose Theodore, and Scott Hannan as though they were coming off of an assembly line. The fast-paced skill of guys like Sakic and St. Louis mingles perfectly with the fluent playmaking of a Brad Richards or a Mario Lemieux, while the hard-nosed gruntwork will be handled by the muck line of Doan-Draper-Maltby. Throw in Jarome Iginla who’s the best power forward in hockey today and steps it up when it counts, and no one should derail the Canadians. And that paragraph doesn’t even contain the word ‘Brodeur’.

Team USA has kind of become the 21-year-old guy who’s still the first one at the high school parties. It was a good run, but their time has passed. Despite being one of the most respectable players in the modern era, Brian Leetch is not capable of putting this defense on his shoulders without the help Derian Hatcher would’ve been. Ken Klee, Chris Chelios, and Jordan Leopold are all good NHL defensemen, but not great, and therein lies a problem. The forwards have stellar areas but very little grit, which is the North American game. Guys like Gomez and Modano will provide some spark, but the collection is a modest group of guys who have been prone to a good year occasionally, and that makes it hard to think of them with the World Cup hoisted proudly in the air. The goaltending is strong in theory, but unproven in reality. Ty Conklin has half a year as a platoon starter to his name, ditto for Rick DiPietro. Robert Esche has been revealed by Toronto and Tampa Bay as being easily rattled and shaky on shots from outside forty feet. All in all it doesn’t look good between the pipes, and even if good goaltending sprouts up from this average trio, the age and lack of grit is something that should ground the States.

Below I list how I see this division shaping up after the round robin is completed:

Slovakia 2-0-1
Canada 2-1-0
USA 1-2-0
Russia 0-2-1

I’ll have one more column before the tournament outlining the medal round and my predictions for a winner and the 2 through 8 placings.Also I’ll be reporting on Canada’s efforts throughout the tournament in their quest for the World Cup. Any questions or comments I’ll happily respond to, so please e-mail me at (Subject: Column). Thanks for reading, for, I’m Matthew Ryder.


World Cup Preview: European Pool

For the first time since 1996 and the second time in hockey history, 8 prime hockey nations will gather and battle for hockey supremacy in the World Cup of Hockey 2004. Canada, Czech. Republic, Russia, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, and the defending champion USA will attempt to prove that they are the greatest hockey nation in the world, and this best-on-best tournament will go a long way in proving such a claim. In this my inaugural column, I’ll preview the European Pool and briefly look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses.

Aside from the Germans, every team has a legitimate shot at taking it all. And even Germany with an intelligent, thinking-man’s style of play and stellar netminding may surprise hockey prognosticators such as myself. I predict they’ll be the eighth place squad at this year’s tournament, but I’m fully willing to eat my words if they prove me wrong.

The Czech Republic is reeling after not medaling in the Olympics, so look for a sound showing from Jaromir’s team. Perennial NHL bum turned international sniper and probable captain Robert Reichel will boost his homeland incredibly as his inspired play on the big ice is something Leaf fans had begged for during his entire tenure in blue and white. The always- enigmatic Roman Cechmanek standing in the blue ice won’t hurt the team’s chances if his awkward style keeps teams guessing, but even if he comes up lame Tomas Vokoun is primed to step in and become the next big Czech-born thing to make a living stopping rubber. Nothing this team does will be surprising unless it’s lose a lot and get blown out of the European division. Always a threat, and now with Robert Lang as a real-deal scoring threat behind Jagr, the Czechs shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sweden is always a team on the cusp of greatness, and I think this year is no different. The potential loss of Peter Forsberg is something that no team anywhere could recover from, so for their sake and the sake of entertaining hockey, I hope he’s good to go. A team built on stellar forwards such as Sundin, Naslund and the Sedins, and a sound defense core that is led by multi-Norris man Nicklas Lidstrom and the rugged but underrated Mattias Norstrom, the Swedes could come out of this division easily. The goaltending is a massive question mark however with the Belarus-shell shock still gripping Tommy Salo, and without a capable netminder the Swedes are a hard team to judge.

Across the border, Team Finland prepares for another run into the upper echelon of hockey greatness, and they may finally be poised to do so. They play a controlled chaos style of game that sees the scrappy, physical play of the Swedes mingle with the smart (though far less defensive-minded) style Germany takes to the ice. They have a pool of talented forwards that can score and won’t back down in the Koivus (Saku and younger brother Mikko), Tuomo Ruutu, Teemu Selanne among others. The goaltending for maybe the first time in my lifetime is not a question mark in Finland, as Mikka Kiprusoff has proven quite capable of holding the fort and giving the Finns a shot to win every night. If there’s a weakness the Finns have it’s the defense, as Teppo Numminen can’t play sixty minutes a game and once you get past him, Joni Pitkannen is #2 on the depth chart. However Kiprusoff is good enough to cover up such problems, and if he’s on the Finns could be the sleeper of this tournament.

Below I list how I see this division shaping up after the round robin is completed:

Won Loss Tied
Czech Rep. 2 0 1
Sweden 2 1 0
Finland 1 1 1
Germany 0 3 0

I’ll be back with my preview of the North American Pool before the tournament starts on August 30th, and I’ll also be reporting on Canada’s efforts throughout the tournament in their quest for the World Cup. Any questions or comments I’ll happily respond to, so please e-mail me at (Subject column). Thanks for reading, for, I’m Matthew Ryder. 

The opinions expressed on this page are of the author, and in no way reflect the views of the NHL, it teams or players. All material in World Cup fo Hockey Journal copyright (C) 2004 Spector's Hockey. Reproduction of this material in whole, or in part, without consent by the author or Spector's Hockey is prohibited.