Team Canada is one game away from winning the World Cup of Hockey after defeating Team Europe in Game One of the Finals on Tuesday night, but there was something noticeably missing in Toronto: a loud crowd.
Canada won 3-1 against Team Europe’s “best game of the tournament”, despite playing “nonchalant” according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. However, the lack of a natural rivalry between them and a mixture of eight smaller European countries, combined with the relative ease with which Canada has rolled through this tournament lead to empty seats and a less-than-enthusiastic atmosphere.
Canadian defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told Greg Wyshnyski that “once the game got going, the excitement was there. But you play against the Americans, you play against the Russians, and it’s obviously different.”
Steven Stamkos noticed it too, saying the team’s other games had “away fans that were creating some noise. This was probably the team that had the least amount of support, just because of the makeup of the team in the tournament to start with.”
It’s unfortunate to see the relative lack of interest surrounding the final, especially after the buzz generated by Team North America earlier in the tournament.
In other news from around the hockey world:
- Newly-acquired Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw has only played one game for his new team, and is already garnering attention from the NHL Department of Player Safety. Shaw hit Capitals’ rookie Connor Hobbs from behind after feeling he was slew-footed by Caps forward Jay Beagle. Shaw subsequently fought another rookie in Nathan Walker, and tried to pump up crowd mid-fight before landing the decisive blow.
- With the news that Jacob Trouba has wanted out of Winnipeg since May, many analysts have wondered why the Oilers didn’t move Taylor Hall for Trouba, instead of Adam Larsson. However, Bob McKenzie gave TSN 1050 two reasons why a trade centered around Hall for Trouba didn’t materialize (transcribed by Chris Nichols from Today’s Slapshot). First, the Jets weren’t interesting in spending $6MM on Hall when they knew they would have Nik Ehlers, Patrik Laine, and Kyle Connor patrolling the port side for a considerably lower cost. Secondly, McKenzie believes the Oilers like Trouba, but doesn’t believe they are one of the frontrunners for his services. He points to Oilers coach Todd McLellan’s usage of Trouba at the World Cup for the U-24 team; Trouba didn’t crack the lineup until Aaron Ekblad was injured. The Oilers clearly rank Larsson as a better NHL defenseman today.