The 2011 World Hockey Championship ended over the weekend as it awarded medals and crowned new world champions. The tournament was 17 days of great international hockey with some of the world’s best hockey players participating in the tournament. There were many story lines to come out of the tournament and tons of fallout from certain teams results. Let’s recap this year’s edition of the World Championships.
And the Gold goes to ….
This year’s new champions and gold medalists are team Finland. Battling team Sweden for the gold, Finland showed their dominance as they won gold off their 6-1 beat down of the Swedes. With a record of 8-1 in the tournament, Finland had an arguably easier path to the gold than most teams. With their toughest competition being team Russia and the Czech Republic, Finland was able to ride their positioning in weaker groupings in the first few rounds to get to the Semi’s. But Finland did prove their worth as they beat Russia and Sweden convincingly. Not having won a World Championship since 1995, the Finns can celebrate their countries second world title.
Returning home to Finland as champions, Pasi Nurminen, the assistant coach of Finland celebrated a little too much on the plane as he made a grand and memorable entrance.
Happy with 2nd place
Earning the silver medal was the young Sweden squad. Even though they wished to go home with the gold, they should be proud with silver as they had a young and very inexperienced line-up. With many veteran Swedish star hockey players choosing to bypass the tournament this year, Sweden took this tournament as an opportunity to test out some young and up-and-coming Swedish players. The new Swedish sensation is goalie Viktor Fasth who was named the tournament’s best goalie and tourney MVP, and St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund who had a breakout tournament with eight goals and ten points.
Bronze is better than nothing
Winning the bronze medal was last year’s champions, the Czech Republic. Even though it was a disappointing result for the veteran Czech squad, they still earned a medal and proved they are still a threat on the international stage. Roman Cervenka had a great tournament as he ended up tied as the tournament lead scorer with ten points which has led to interest from a few NHL teams for his services.
Goal of the Tournament
With the goal of the tournament (and probably the year), Finland’s Mikael Granlund scored an amazing goal in the Semi-Final game versus the Russians. Check it out and be amazed.
Going home not happy
This tournament always has a few surprises with upsets and disappointments. With Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic winning gold, silver and bronze respectively, nobody can call these teams results surprises. However, with team USA, Russia and Canada all failing to medal, these countries results are seen as a disappointment. Team USA won silver in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and nearly took Canada’s gold medal. They have looked to take a step in the right direction with a younger team philosophy. But in this tournament, team USA just could not get it together and be a consistent threat.
Russia also had a bad tournament by their standards as they usually are the team to beat at the World Championships. But this year, coming off a disappointing Olympics, Russia failed to medal for the first time in five years. Even with big guns Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, Russia seemed to lack team chemistry and it showed in their lack of finish. With the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics not too far off, Russia needs to re-evaluate their national program to get back on track a be a world power again.
Team Canada maybe were the biggest disappointment of the whole tournament. Coming off a seventh place finish at last year’s tournament, Canada looked to regain their title as the world’s best hockey nation. With their fifth place finish in this year’s tournament, Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson voiced his frustration with Canada’s result. Nicholson stated,
“It’s a few key players. This team was good enough to win, but with one or two more players (it could have been different). You know what, Hockey Canada and Canada have been pretty good to those players through the under-18, the juniors and an Olympics Games. I thought they would have thought about that before refusing to come this year.”
Nicholson is not happy with a number of players that were invited to come after they were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs but decline with what he thought to be ‘lame’ excuses. With the Sochi Olympics around the corner, many players hoping to be on the team will likely have to participate in the Worlds to earn their spot on the team.
And the Awards go to ….
The tournament handed out its awards at the end of the gold medal game. Here are the winners:
The Tournament Directorate also named its stars as follows:
Tournament MVP: Viktor Fasth (SWE)
Best Goalie: Viktor Fasth (SWE)
Best Defenceman: Alex Pietrangelo (CAN)
Best Forward: Jaromir Jagr (CZE)
The media All-Star Team was also announced tonight:
Goal: Viktor Fasth (SWE)
Defence: David Petrasek (SWE), Marek Zidlicky (CZE)
Forward: Patrik Berglund (SWE), Jarkko Immonen (FIN), Jaromir Jagr (CZE)
As for your Ottawa Senators
With a total of six players representing your Ottawa Senators, three of them came away with medals. Ottawa’s Swedish prospects, David Rundblad and Jakob Silfverberg earned a silver medal as both had a good tournament. In the four games Rundblad played in, he had one assist and showed great mobility with the puck. Silfverberg played in all of Sweden’s games and recorded one assist in nine games and played a solid two-way game. Milan Michalek was the other Senator to earn a medal at the Worlds as he took home the bronze medal with the Czech Republic. Michalek had a good tournament as he had three goals and five points in the eight games he suited up for.
As for the rest of your Senators representatives, Stephen Da Costa had one assist in five games for France. Ryan Shannon had four points in seven games for team USA as he continued his strong second half of the year. Shannon was also named as one of the three best Team USA’s players at this year’s tournament. Jason Spezza was the most productive at the World’s of all the Sens at the tourney. With four goals and seven points in seven games for team Canada, Spezza saw his trust from the coaches grow as he was moved up to center the first line half way through the tournament.
Team Canada’s head coach Ken Hitchcock also had a good tournament as he proved he can still be effective behind the bench. Except for a five minute hiccup against Russia in the Quarters, Hitchcock brought this team together rather quickly and had them battling for each other. With Hitchcock looking for work, and seeing the positive affect he has had on Ottawa center Jason Spezza, maybe ‘Hitch’ might be the right guy to run Ottawa’s vacant bench? He does bring a pedigree and a Stanley Cup ring to the table so we’ll see if he is in Ottawa’s future plans.
Now its your turn. Let us know what you thought about the World Championships.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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