May 18, 2012
Final Entry - Tournament Over for Team USA
The tournament ended on a bad note.
We were just starting to come together as a team and we had some bad luck and lost the game in the last seven minutes after being up heading into the third. I’ve got to give the Slovaks credit though, they hung around and waited for their opportunities then made the most of them.
Steve Yzerman was over here too with Team Canada, so it was nice to sit and chat and catch up with him about our experiences over here and about this past year in Tampa too. It seems that most guys on the team changed their flights and got out of town today. My family and I are leaving tomorrow and plan on heading back to Newfoundland for a few days before coming back down to Tampa.
Although it ended in disappointing fashion, I must say I had a great time in Finland. The people here are super nice and very friendly. The weather isn't as nice as Florida, but it wasn't too cold at all.
Hope you all enjoyed following along as much as I did filling you in with my experience.
See you guys back in Tampa real soon.
P.S. Read Tom Mulligan's final Team USA diary entry here.
May 10, 2012
Day off to prepare for Finland
We had the day off today, which allowed all of us to get some much-needed relaxation.
We are starting to play better as a team, which is always a good sign and which is to be expected after getting used to playing with each other. Team USA played well against us and it was a good wake up call for us early. We responded well against France and Switzerland, who gave us a tough game yesterday. Tomorrow we play the Finnish team so we expect that one to be a good battle as well. It should be fun playing them.
Our families arrive today and we have a big meal planned with everyone tonight. I was joking around with Coach Boucher that I’ve been killing penaltuies over here and that I'm going to be showing that video to Dan Lacroix this summer so he can put me on the penalty kill unit next season.
Ha! We moved hotels too, so we aren't downtown anymore, but we are about five minutes away by the harbor. It seems really nice down here.
Thanks again for checking in and I will continue to send updates as the tournament moves along.
May 3, 2012
Learning to speak Finnish
After playing two exhibition games and spending a few nights in Zurich, Switzerland, we finally arrived in downtown Helsinki.
It’s a nice area with a lot of stuff to do around here. We are actually staying in the same hotel as Team USA, where we saw Nate, JT and Christian, Bubba and Tommy. It was great to see them all and catch up with them. We are switching hotels though when our parents come.
The rink is nice and seats about 10,000 people. We had practice this morning which turned out to be a good warm-up for our game tomorrow against Slovakia.
Tonight we will go out for a team meal and have a meeting to serve as our final preparation for the game. We also play Team USA the day after, so a few of us Tampa guys will probably put a friendly wager on the line with the loser having to buy lunch or dinner.
I’ve also been trying to learn to speak Finnish while I am here at the Worlds, but being out of school so long, my memory is fading and I forget how to pronounce a lot of the words already.
I’ll be glad to check in later with everyone and fill you in on all the action.
May 1, 2012
Getting to know the guys
After a lot of travel, I am finally starting to feel settled in over here in Europe.
Before heading over to Finland for the official start of the tournament on Friday, me and the rest of Team Canada are staying in Zurich, Switzerland for a few days for a pair of exhibition games against the native country here.
So far I’ve really enjoyed my time here, as Zurich is a very beautiful city. Upon my arrival, there was a lot to do between checking into the hotel and becoming accustomed to not only my new teammates and coaches, but also my surroundings.
DAY 1: World ChampionshipsA sharp contrast from Tampa Bay's beaches, here's the view from Lake Zurich.
Before we got down to business though, it was also a lot of fun getting to know all of the guys. The whole group headed to downtown Zurich and had dinner at a place that was right next to the lake. It was really cool.
Plenty of hard work ahead:
Today we will play in our second exhibition game before traveling to Finland to kick off the real action on Friday. We played Switzerland once already in an exhibition game yesterday in Fribourg, beating them 2-1 in a shootout and we hope to follow that up with another victory here this afternoon.
The atmosphere in the arena, about an hour and a half outside of Zurich, was crazy. There were about 7,000 people in attendance, all standing, to watch our first exhibition match against the Swiss, so it was definitely a cool crowd to play in front of.
Even though we won, there is still a lot of work for us to do. It’s almost as if it is a totally different game over here in Europe. The rink dimensions are bigger and I think that is going to take a little bit of time to get used to. The wider surface area causes us all of us to skate a lot more and skate harder, but it also serves a good indication of how much our team needs to improve positionally in order to compete with a lot of these teams in the tournament. It will definitely be a good test to see how conditioned we are too, but being that it is just a few days in, I think we will figure it out.
I’m glad to be checking in with you all periodically while I’m here and let you know what’s going on and what I’m up to. I’ll come back with another entry soon, so stay tuned.