Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Top 5 Tuesday
As we get set to watch possible classic match up between Canada and the U.S.A at the World Junior Championship, I thought I would share my top 5 favorite moments from one of the best events around.
5. John Tavares Goal vs. Finland 2009
We don't have to go very far to find this one.
Against Slovakia in pre tournament action this year, Tavares morphed into his Uncle John Tavares the lacrosse legend. It's simply amazing that Tavares not only had the sense to bat the puck after he missed on the first attempt, but that he batted it back in front so he could put it in. John Tavares will score a lot of goals as a pro as he's deadly 12 feet in, but there might not be a better goal off his stick than this one.
4. Canada Vs. Slovakia 1999
This game is on my list because it was the first and so far only Canadian game I have seen live, and the goalie in me loved it. Roberto Luongo started for Canada and an unknown Jan Lasak was opposite him for the Slovaks. Neither goaltender disappointed the sold out crowd at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. Time after time the pipemen made spectacular saves as the game ended 0-0. Of course Luongo has gone onto become one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, while Lasak later that year in June was snagged by Nashville in the 2nd round. He would play only 6 NHL games before heading to the Czech Republic where he's been the main man for Pardubice HC for the last 5 seasons. But for one day in the land of Wheat Kings, Lasak was equal to the great Roberto Luongo and team Canada, and would eventually lead his country to a bronze medal.
3. 2007 Semi-Final Shoot Out
Canada Vs. U.S.A, 3 years after the Americans upset Canada for gold in the final, the two countries met with a spot in the 2007 final on the line in Sweden. Nothing was settled in 60 minutes or overtime so a showdown was needed. But not just any showdown, one that was so filled with drama, they could make an opera out of it. The 3 stars of hte show were Peter Mueller of the States, Carey Price of Canada and Jonathan Toews, also wearing the Maple Leaf. Toews was selected to shoot 3 times, and incredibly was perfect each time. Mueller was also tapped 3 times. The then Everret Silvertip scored his first 2 times in on his WHL opponent Carey Price, but the Tri City tender stopped Mueller on his final shot to send Canada to the Gold Medal game where they knocked off Russia for their 4th straight championship. To relive the entire shoot out, click below.
2. Punch Up At Piestany 1987For your viewing pleasure, courtesy of you tube.
Canada needed to beat the Soviets to win gold. A win by less than 5 would earn them silver, and a loss still left them with bronze. The Canadians were up 4-2 in the second when all hell broke loose, as you can see on the video. In a conversation I had with Theoren Fleury one time he told me when the lights went out, everyone was swinging and hoping it was an opponent. Both teams were disqualified from a medal, however the next year, a Theoren Fleury led team won gold over the Soviets. This is my most vivid memory and I think when I started watching the tournament.
1. John Slaney Game WinnerThe 1991 tournament was held in Saskatoon and there was no shortage of star power. Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure and Doug Weight represented their countries, but it was John Slaney from St. John's Newfoundland who played the role of hero. Canada needed to beat the Soviets in their final game to win it's second straight gold. The Soviets just needed a tie to claim gold. Skip to the 3rd, the game was tied at 2, when Slaney, a 1st round pick of the Washington Capitals, send a shot from the point that somehow found it's way home and Canada won on home soil for the first time. they have since won 2 more times in Canada, with hopes of another this year in Ottawa. I'm thinking Slaney should be the honourary chairmen for next year's event when it heads back to Saskatoon.
We all love this event, so what is your top 5 moments?