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The Breakaway: CTN's love of the tough

by Shawn P. Roarke

* Here's another reason CTN loves hockey. Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday because of a broken fingernail. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn took the ice for practice Wednesday just two days removed from taking 50 stitches around his eye, which was swollen shut for almost 48 hours. Coburn was talking about playing in Game 4.

* Despite the fact that the Flyers lost Game 2, you have to tip your hat to the Flyers defensemen left to fill the gap left by Coburn. The five-man unit held a powerful Pittsburgh team to just two goals Sunday in a 2-1 loss.

* The grandfather of the three NHL-playing Staals passed away this week. Eric, who is playing for Team Canada, left the World Championships to attend the funeral. Jordan, who plays for the Penguins, was excused from practice to attend Wednesday's funeral in Thunder Bay. Crashing the Net extends it deepest sympathy to the entire Staal family.

* Pavel Datsyuk may have scored a hat trick in Game 3, but Henrik Zetterberg was the best player on the ice in that contest. The move he made to score his shorthanded goal was amazing.

* Zetterberg's ability to slip around four Dallas checkers to hit Datsyuk for a one-timer to cap Datsyuk's hat trick that same night was even better.

* CTN still feels horrible for Kimmo Timonen. He's one of the class acts in the NHL and to see his dream postseason ended by a freak injury on the eve of the Eastern Conference Finals was a cruel blow. Timonen, though, handled it with the grace that has defined his career.

* CTN will certainly miss watching Stephane Robidas if Dallas is eliminated. The Stars' defenseman plays the game the right way and has earned everything he has gotten this postseason. It's always fun to watch a player when he is in the zone.

* Plus, Robidas' series-long feud with Dallas Drake has been an interesting plot line to the Western Conference Finals.

* CTN doesn't think that Tomas Holmstrom and Steve Ott will be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon. Their crease battle in the final minute of Game 4 looked like an MMA cage match.

* It's always sad to see somebody get fired, but it didn't seem like the Sharks had much of a choice when they let Ron Wilson go. He had taken the club as far as he could and had three chances to get over the second-round hump, failing each time. He probably won't be unemployed for long, though.

* At the other end of the spectrum, CTN was chuffed to bits to see Jacques Lemaire invited back for an eighth season with Minnesota. He is the perfect coach for that team in CTN's humble opinion.

* The AHL Toronto Marlies erased a three-games-to-one deficit in the North Division Final, ousting the Syracuse Crunch. The Marlies also won a Game 7 in Round 1 and are turning in a playoff to remember.

* For those of you that bemoan how long video replays sometimes take in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, maybe you should watch a replay of Finland's first goal against the Americans in the qualification round of the World Championships. Just a suggestion.

* It's almost inconceivable, by the way, that the Americans have failed to advance to the semifinals for the ninth time in the past 11 World Championships. That is simply mind-boggling.

Shane Doan continued his strong play by scoring two goals against Finland for Team Canada at the World Championships.
* CTN was pleased to see Shane Doan score a pair of goals against Finland. Everybody in a Canadian uniform is being overshadowed by Dany Heatley's performance, but Doan deserves some headlines for his continued strong play with Team Canada.

* Congrats to the Humboldt Broncos, the best provincial Junior A team in Canada. Humboldt, from Saskatchewan, beat Camrose, from Alberta, in the RBC Cup final this week.

* Are the Red Wings ever going to stop finding good Euro talent? This week, they signed 24-year-old free agent Ville Leino out of Finland. All Leino did this year was score a team-leading 77 points (in 55 games) for Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League. Talk about an embarrassment of riches!

* It hasn't been all bad news for Dallas this week. At least they signed Fabian Brunnstrom to a two-year deal. The Swedish free agent was much sought after with Detroit, Vancouver and Montreal also highly interested.

* Almost half the coaches at the World Championships are Canadian. Obviously, Team Canada has a Canadian coach in Ken Hitchcock, but Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Switzerland all opted to place a Canuck behind the bench. It really is amazing when you think about it.

* Evgeni Malkin has answered a few more questions about his character in the third round. The Flyers are giving him a hellacious physical pounding, but he hasn't gone away.

* This year's Survivor was the best in recent memory. CTN still thinks that Amanda should have won the final tribal council, however.

* One of the best stories at the World Championships is that of German goalie Robert Mueller. This young man had a malignant brain tumor, yet stared that death sentence in the face without blinking and returned to the national team to play in this year's tournament. Now, that's tough!

* Speaking of German goalies, it's sad to hear that Olaf Kolzig will never play for the Washington Capitals again. He is such a big part of that team's history and suffered through so many down years. He deserved a better fate.

* The assertion that the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing a trapping style of game is laughable. Yes, they are playing conservatively when they have the lead (who doesn't in the playoffs), but to suggest they have turned the clock back to the stifling ways of the mid-90s is folly of the highest order.

* CTN favorites Mastodon are part of the Rockstar Mayhem Fest tour, sharing the main stage with Disturbed, Slipknot and DragonForce. It looks like CTN knows how August will be spent.


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