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05-18-2008, 11:18 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Somerville, MA
Country: United States
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made the trek thursday night to catch friday's semis and, wow, what a trip. this was my 2nd trip to quebec and it ws just as beautiful as i remembered. i got in late thursday and stayed at the first place i stopped at on grand allee. turned out it was the home hotel for swedish fans (the first photo was taken at 9am on friday!) and, i'm guessing, the team. on friday morning, old quebec was full of fins, swedes and russians (as well as other fans) wearing jerseys and wigs, ready for the games. the atmosphere in town was great but when i got to le colisee, it was like hockey heaven; chanting, flag waiving, intense competition.

my first impression during the first few minutes of the rus-fin game was that it looked like these guys didn't have enough room out there. it was as if they were trying to play a euro style but hadn't quite adjusted to the size of the rink (which looked smaller than an nhl rink, thought it might just be the fact that the arena is so tiny). olli looked just as he looked with us all year - clueless. tried to do way too much, esp on the PP but the fins couldn't seem to get him the puck near prime scoring areas. eventually, he took stupid penalties out of frustration. in short, he was a non-factor, even on the wing.

the can-swe game was fantastic. i didn't want it to end. though i paid for a gallerie seat, i ended up finding a seat the loge level and sat next to some impt folks - the guy leaning forward in the shot of the crowd produced the past 10 years of the championship in europe. on the other side was a guy from hockey canada. i didn't talk to him but he was on the phone with and texting the top guys up in the hockey canada booth, relaying reports from the locker room. at one point, a man and kid visited and the guy told the kid "your father did a great job", referring i'm guessing, to the roster, or the event. i didn't get a good look at him (he was directly behind me and i didn't want to gawk) but he must have been someone at the top of hockey canada. at the final buzzzer, he made a jubilant call and proclaimed "we're dancing!". i chatted with the producer a bit about what the championship is like in europe and came away from the experience seriously considering a trip to switzerland for next year's tournament. it's a party, as he said.

unfortunately, jay didn't look like he was on top of his game. i was at ice level for the warmups and he looked nervous and wasn't really participating in the shootaround, just skating back and forth in the neutral zone. he did land one big time check that brought a roar from the crowd but didn't get much time at all until the 3rd and, though the play that period was on the other side of the arena and not as easy to see, didn't appear to have a big impact. today, he was caught between stepping up and backing off on kovulchuk's game tying goal and ending up screening ward. a few minutes early, he coughed the puck up right beside the goal in what could have been a fatal mistake.

wrapping up, my little taste of this tournament was a real teaser - the two games were great, the atmosphere fantastic. like i said, i'm already considering a trip to geneva next year!

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