Хроника Хоккея


Canada, U.S. class of tourney; European squads a big disappointment
02.01.2004. Toronto Star. Campbell, Ken

One NHL scout offered his assessment of the world junior championship by saying, "Great. I came all this way to watch the Canadians play the U.S."

It's folly to guarantee a Canada-U.S. gold-medal game, but there's no doubt the teams from North America are the only ones to have shown any consistency in the tournament.

The European teams have been a huge disappointment so far. Russia, which has won the past two gold medals, is a far weaker team with a suspect defence corps and little support for star forward Alexander Ovechkin. The enigmatic Czechs were noticeably shy in their game against Canada. Finland came off a terrible effort in its first game to finish a respectable second in Group B and the Swedes, who can finish no better than seventh, are paying a huge price for their stubborn insistence on playing defensive hockey.

The consensus among NHL observers is that the hockey in what is often called the best tournament in the world has not been that good. Of the 20 games played in the round-robin portion of the tournament, 10 ended in ties. Slovakia's 1-0 win over the Swedes would have ended 0-0 had Sweden not pulled its goalie late in the game.

A total of 128 goals were scored in the 20 round-robin games for an average of 6.4 per game, but that statistic is deceiving. If you remove the eight games that involved Austria and Ukraine, who were outscored by a combined total of 67-2, there were just 4.92 goals per game, which is even lower than the dead-puck NHL that almost everyone finds dull as dishwater.

Ukraine's coach admitted his team was out of its element here. Being outscored 43-1 did nothing for the development of his country's program.

The play of Austria and Ukraine has illustrated the need to return to an eight-team tournament. One of the problems is that the Austrian and Ukraine teams competing in the A pool this year barely resemble the teams that were the top two in the B pool last year. One way of rectifying that is to have the qualifying tournament early in the same season so the players who help a team qualify are the ones who play in the championship.

Another problem, many scouts contend, is that the 200-by-100- foot ice surface and absence of a red line do nothing to open up the game. Without a red line, teams with a lead often dump the puck in and line up in the neutral zone. A slapper from the top of the circle, usually a dangerous shot in the NHL, is a routine stop for most goalies in international play.

"People want bigger ice and no red line and this is what you get," said one scout. "And they think (the NHL) has problems."

Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2004 года
Подгруппа А - подробнее
Россия, Словакия, США, Швеция. Австрия
Подгруппа В - подробнее
Канада, Финляндия, Чехия, Швейцария, Украина
За 7-10 места - подробнее
Швейцария, Швеция, Австрия, Украина
1/4 финала - подробнее
Финляндия - Россия
Словакия - Чехия
1/2 финала - подробнее
Канада - Чехия
США - Финляндия
Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Россия - Словакия
За 3 место. Финляндия - Чехия
За 1 место. Канада - США
Страничка статистики

Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2004 года.