TampaBay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Video Coach Nigel Kirwan will be sending diaries from the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland for fans on TampaBayLightning.com. There will be a new diary each day during the tournament which begins on Friday.
Things are a little different at the Worlds this year as we had to head across the ocean as opposed to the games behind held in Canada in 2008. The team met Sunday night at JFK Airport in New York for an American Airlines flight direct to Zurich, Switzerland. The flight was originally scheduled for 5:38 p.m. but the wheels actually went up at 6:10 p.m.
The entire team flew business class complete with seats that electronically spread out to beds. That is the only way to fly. There were mass quantities of Ambien being passed out on the flight to help everyone get acclimated to the time change. I chose to watch the movie “Hancock” to start the flight. Afterwards I took half an Ambien and woke up as we landed in Zurich at 7:30 a.m. Zurich time (1:30 a.m. EST). Wheels up to wheels down the flight took about seven hours and 20 minutes. We had a team lunch at noon and then jumped on a bus for a 4 p.m. practice.
Yesterday we had an early skate. I spent most of the day trying to get the Swiss television people to get me a useable feed of the games I could use. What is a video coach supposed to do without video? What normally is a one-time request, and usually takes an hour at the max, took about six hours as I was passed around between people handing off responsibility to someone else. I did get the issue resolved for the start of the night’s exhibition game against Team Switzerland resulting in one very relieved video coach.
It was a sell out crowd of 7,500 people for the game against the home Swiss team. Only 36 hours after landing, icing only three lines (nine forwards), we took to the ice and jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on two goals by the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown. His second was scored shorthanded while facing a 5-on-3. Our fatigue started to show though as the Swiss got two in the second period to tie it.
Switzerland added two quick goals in the third and we didn’t have the gas to mount a comeback, eventually dropping the game 5-2.
Our first game of the tournament will be Saturday against Latvia.