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Posts Tagged ‘Marian Gaborik’

Finland wins Bronze, Their 4th Medal in last 5 Olympics

February 28, 2010 4 comments

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Team Slovakia was not given much of a chance to win coming into the Olympics, even though they have NHL superstars such as Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, and Zdeno Chara, so having a chance of winning the bronze medal, which would have been the first medal that the country had won in Olympic hockey, was very surprising to a lot of people, everyone except team Slovakia themselves who had already upset Russia, eliminated Sweden, and had given the Canadians a scare.

The Slovaks, who lost to the Americans in the semi finals, took the ice against the Finns, who lost to the Canadians in the semi finals, in the consolation game to win the bronze medal. The Finns, who won the silver in Torino and have three medals in the last four years, have a few NHL superstars of their own including Mikko and Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Olli Jokinen, and goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff and they were looking for blood after being embarrassed by the Americans in the semi finals losing 6-1.

The Finns took an early 1-0 lead with a goal by Sammy Salo on the powerplay after a great hit by Mikko Koivu that prevented Slovak forward Michal Handzus from clearing the puck out of the defensive zone, Salo took the puck and blasted a slapshot passes Slovak goalie Jaroslav Halak. This score would stand for the first period but things started to open up in the second.

Marian Gaborik started the Slovak scoring in the second on a powerplay, ripping a wristshot passes Kiprusoff and knotting the game at one. Marian Hossa scored the next goal on a five – on – three powerplay collecting a loose puck in front of the net and burying it putting Slovakia up 2-1.

The turning point of the game was when Finnish forward Olli Jokinen was clipped in the side of the face with a stick, which was originally missed by the referee but not by the line judge who made the call at the next whistle. It was a four minute minor for high- sticking and it looked like the Finns were set to tie things up. That is, up until Salo decided to make a blind, behind the back pass to nobody. The puck was taken by Marian Hossa in open ice creating a two on one with teammate Pavol Demitra who accepted a beautiful saucer pass from Hossa and deflected it passed Kiprusoff making it 3-1 Slovakia.

With only a minute left in the period this score would carry over into the third but not for long as the Finns would score on the carry over four minute minor powerplay cutting the deficit to one. This is when Olli Jokinen, the player who was clipped and took exception to it, took over. He scored his first goal about a minute after the powerplay goal was scored on a wristshot that eluded the out of position Halak and a minute later he split the defense and skate din on a mini breakaway in which he slid the puck through Halak’s legs for which would eventually be the game winner.

The Slovaks made things interesting at the end of the third, as they did against Canada, but for the second straight game it proved to be too little too late as they fell to the Finns by the score of 5-3 after a lat empty net goal.

This is Finland’s fourth goal in the last five Olympics and they have silently made a reputation for themselves in international play, whereas the Slovaks, who were not expected to make it to any medal game, will have a solid team for years to come.

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Why is Chris Drury getting such a bad rap?

February 23, 2010 3 comments

Chris Drury celebrates after scoring a goal.

I am a big fan of the New York Rangers, I watch every game and like most Ranger fans this year I am very frustrated with the teams inconsistent play. But one thing that has always bothered me about people regarding the Rangers, which has now been brought to an international view due to the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, is the little respect that Rangers captain and Team USA forward Chris Drury gets for his play. People have been criticizing Drury ever since his first year on Broadway because of his lack of offense which contradicts his reputation from when he played with the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. Chris Drury has always been known as a clutch player, someone who would always rise to the occasion in a big moment, and when he came to the Rangers his offense ceased. Is this completely his fault? I don’t think so, I think it is the Rangers coaching staff’s fault. Should he be considered another Broadway bust, along with fellow free agent center Scott Gomez who signed a big contract with the Rangers the same day as Drury?  I don’t think so, not at all.

Moments after the Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the third annual NHL Winter Classic held at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day, the roster for team USA in the upcoming winter Olympics were announced. After seeing Chris Drury being named to a team that seemed to be going with a youth movement angered many people who did not hold back their criticism. Chris Drury was by far the least popular choice on the team and people couldn’t believe that they chose him for veteran leadership instead of big time scorers like Mike Modano, Bill Guerin, and even Scott Gomez.

During the first few games of the Olympics Chris Drury has played great and, in my opinion, has been the most noticeable player on the ice. He even scored two goals, one against Norway and the other the game winner in team USA’s thrilling defeat against Canada. Now some people have rescinded their earlier comments about Drury and publicly apologized, Jeremy Roenick. But I couldn’t help but to notice many people who still badmouth him on blogs and in comments on blogs, many of which are frustrated Rangers fans. I read one comment that said “Does anybody want Drury now that his stock is high?” I am here to set things straight for all the Chris Drury haters in the world.

Chris Drury had his best year with the Buffalo Sabres when he scored 37 goals, a career high in the 2006 – 2007 campaign. When Drury played on the Sabres he had Maxim Afinogenov and Thomas Vanek as line mates, and if not one of them Drew Stafford, Tim Connolly, or Jochen Hecht. All of the named players are very talented and when a player, such as Drury, is centering such talent he is bound to score goals, and to his credit he did. He would just skate around the zone, become invisible to the opposing team and then suddenly show up in front of an open net with the puck on his tape, and he would bury it 100% of the time. He did it to the Rangers all the time.

Since coming to the Rangers his offense has steeply decreased there is no debating that, but who has he played with? When he first came to the team they let Scott Gomez play with the great Jaromir Jagr and when that didn’t pan out Tom Renney, Rangers coach at that time, let rookie Brandon Dubinsky play with Jagr. Drury spent his time on the second or third line in which the best player he could play with was Brendan Shanahan, who was already well up there in age and couldn’t get around the ice to set up plays as well as Jagr could. Last year Jagr and Shanahan were gone, Gomez stayed on the fist line and Drury was given line mates such as Markus Naslund, like Shanahan another past his prime sniper, or young Ryan Callahan, who is one of my favorite players but lacks offensive talent. Let’s fast forward to this year, Drury started on the line with Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins, neither of which are still on the team due to their offensive doldrums, then he was on with Callahan and Enver Lisin, and finally Ranger’s coach John Tortarella moved him all the way down to the fourth line to play with Brian Boyle and Aaron Voros.

Why hasn’t Drury been given the opportunity to play with Ranger’s leading goal scorer Marian Gaborik? Or the very underrated and talented Erik Christensen, or even recently acquired goal scorer Olli Jokinen, even Sean Avery would be a good fit with him because he plays great on the boards and he gets the puck to the net. Chris Drury is a great goal scorer when he has great players around him, as we have seen in the Olympics, but Chris Drury is always a great player. By this I mean he’ll willingly give up his body multiple times a game, he will hit when somebody needs to be hit, he will take a hit when a hit needs to be taken, he will fight when he needs to stir his team up, he is the definition of a captain. Now Ranger fans might be spoiled by having two of the greatest goal scorers in history as their last two captains, Mark Messier and Jaromir Jagr, but not every captain is a goal scorer. There is no question that the Rangers are Chris Drury’s team, it was proven two weeks ago when he got in a fight against Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the team rallied around him and squeaked out a much needed overtime win against a division rival.

Chris Drury is just as valuable to the Rangers as Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lunqvist, I know that sounds crazy and you are free to call me names and question my hockey knowledge, but if you sit there and tell me that Chris Drury is a bum, a bust, and overpaid hack, then I have to question your hockey knowledge.