At the IIHF World Championships in Switzerland, one Sharks player advanced and one fell in the quarterfinals. Marc-Edouard Vlasic
and his Team Canada topped Latvia, but Milan Michalek and the Czech Republic were toppled by Sweden.
For Vlasic, like Team U.S.A.’s Joe Pavelski
, his team is just two wins away from winning the championships. If that happens, it will be well earned after a long trip to Europe.
“The travel day was long, about a day and a quarter,” Vlasic said. “The hotel and the city (Bern, the fifth-largest city in Switzerland) are nice.”
And there’s one item that would make it NHL-worthy.
“The view (of the mountains) is better than any in the NHL. It’s really nice,” Vlasic said. “The Arena is nice, though not as big as the NHL. We met the mayor yesterday. The town is thrilled to have us.”
Vlasic has been paired with Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn. So far, the pairing has been good.
“I’ve been with Braydon and it seems to be going well,” Vlasic said. “It’s easy with the guys on our team. It’s a very nice group. I came in five days ago and fit right in. They made it easy for me.”
His teammates were an easy adjustment, but the larger international ice surface (15 feet wider than the NHL surface) is a bit different.
“The biggest adjustment is the bigger ice,” Vlasic said. “You’re positioning has to be a lot better.”
This trip has two firsts for Vlasic: his first European trip and his first time representing his country.
“It’s very cool,” Vlasic said. “It’s a great honor to be on Team Canada. “It gives me an opportunity to show myself for 2010 (the Winter Olympics in Vancouver).”
Vlasic may be in Europe, but in some ways, he may think he’s back home in Montreal.
“The Canadian flags are everywhere in the arena and on the sides of restaurants,” he said.
Vlasic hasn’t encountered a language problem. In Switzerland, people speak numerous languages and English and French are among them.
However, Vlasic hasn’t had much of a chance to explore Switzerland. Ever since he arrived, most of his time has been on the ice.
“I played last Sunday and Monday, had two days off and played tonight and will play tomorrow,” Vlasic said. “Then we’ll play Sunday.”
That’s five games in eight days, hectic even by NHL standards. Vlasic’s busy schedule has partially taken his attention from the on-going Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It’s nice to be on the ice, but I’m disappointed it’s not in San Jose,” Vlasic said.
Vlasic and Pavelski could possibly meet in a medal game very soon. But no matter how the tournament ends, the experience has been special for Vlasic.
“I’ll have a lot of memories when I go back,” Vlasic said.