From now until the conclusion of the 2019 IIHF Men's Ice Hockey World Championship, Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei will be documenting his experience on and off the ice as he competes in the tournament for the first time alongside fellow Blueshirts Chris Kreider and Adam Fox. Follow along with his journey right here, and on Twitter (@NYRangers) and Instagram (@nyrangers).
The 2019 World Championships are officially in the books. It obviously was a bit of a frustrating experience for Team USA, and the way it ended with a loss to Russia in the quarterfinals was not the way we had pictured it. That game was actually a really good game - unfortunately we started out down early, which hurt us, but we managed to fight back and make it a close game in the end. Our start hurt us, and Russia is a great team, so there was definitely some frustration after that game for sure because we weren't able to accomplish what we came to Kosice to accomplish.
When it was all over, Coach Blashill was frustrated, too, because we all knew we were better than what we showed against Russia, but he thanked us for taking the time and coming out to the tournament. Everyone was putting forward a good effort; it just didn't come together like we wanted to, which happens sometimes in international tournaments like this.
I definitely want to congratulate Finland on taking home the gold medal. Whenever we play them in international tournaments, they always seem to play really well defensively, and they play a certain way where once they get up a goal or two, it's really hard to generate any offense - they kind of pack it in, and they don't give you much. They were really good. They worked hard. They obviously don't have a ton of NHL guys on their roster, so for them to win the tournament - and for them to go through Sweden, Russia and Canada in their final three games to do it - it's definitely a pretty good accomplishment for them.
Any time you play in a tournament like this, whether it's World Juniors or U-18s or the World Championship, the best part is always getting to catch up with guys you maybe see once or twice throughout the year. I knew basically all the guys coming into this year's tournament, so just going to dinner, hanging out with them at the hotel, seeing old friends - that's what you remember more so than what happens on the ice. Just seeing old friends and being able to play for my country was the best part.
Right now, I'm actually on a train to Vienna - I'm taking a week off to just travel with my girlfriend, so that'll be nice. Then I get back home to Minnesota on May 30th, and I'll probably start getting back in the gym a week from today. I don't even know what day it is right now, but that's when I'll start slowly getting back into it. I'll probably be back in New York in the middle of August - training camp starts Sept. 15th, so I'll get a month in New York before camp starts and then should be good to go.
Until then, I don't have any crazy plans for the rest of the summer. When I get back from Europe, I have three weddings to go to, so that'll be fun, and other than that, I'll just try to relax and take some time off until it's time to get going again.
Thanks for following along with me here during the tournament! See you back in New York real soon.