As the 2012 International Ice Hockey Championship sets off tomorrow, it will be a stiff competition between 16 teams, divided into two groups. The top four teams of each group will be advancing to the quarter finals. For our celebrated Jets’, Ladd, Kane and Slater, they will illustrate all of their talents come Friday in Helsinki, Finland.
In the world’s largest rink, it is a great opportunity for our boys to showcase their skills as already exemplified in exhibition games this past week. Ladd and Kane teamed up for a goal in their first game against the Swiss, taking them down 4-2, but it was Slater with only 1:55 minutes into the USA/Sweden game who shot up the net scoring USA’s first goal. Kind of makes you wish this Jet was with us – doesn’t it?
As rooting for Canada should be an easy one with Ladd and Kane joining great Canadian competitors like favorites Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Tavares, and Duncan Keith, it’s our team’s potent centre Slater that seems to be dominating the ice; for our rival USA, which unfortunately makes it a little more difficult for us to choose.
Like fellow Jet Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien also passed on his chance to play for Team USA, as he blames a bruised bone in his knee. But perhaps it is due to his impending impaired boating trial in Minnesota that has him a little tied up. I think as long as he stays off Lake Minnetonka, his bruise should heal just fine. At least big Buff is exploiting his antics this off-season; not like the very obvious Predators Radulov and Kostitsyn, who were rightfully suspended for last night’s game 3 against Phoenix. It turns out Nashville does not even need its ‘top scorers’ to win 2-zip.
As IIHF pre-championship ranking has Finland, Sweden, and Russia listed above Canada, I have a feeling Canada will take out Russia in the quarter finals. It’s a good thing Russia does not have Alex Ovechkin contending amongst our Canucks, although he has been spending more time on the bench than on the ice. And after lasts night 3 OT’s and then a loss, I think he may need his rest.
Canada’s first game will be against France at 9 am eastern; although Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Suban is out due to a knee injury from a pre-tournament game Sunday, but Skinner, Sharp, Emberle and Phaneuf will be sure to pick up any slack if need be.
So as difficult as it may be for us to pick our favorite Canuck representing us in the World Championships, we should be blessed that we have such esteemed athletes representing our city and that we can call Winnipeg Jets players!
The highly anticipated match-up will be Saturday at 10:45 am when Canada hits USA, a crazy game that awaits all Jets fans, as it’s Ladd and Kane vs: Slater in Finland.
I can’t wait!