Swedes win first WJC gold since 1981 in style


Sweden has pumped out some world-beating talent over the last few decades, but that hasn’t manifested itself in glory during the World Junior Hockey Championships. As shocking as it might seem, the Swedes haven’t taken home a gold medal in the annual tournament since 1981, but that all changed thanks to this sensational overtime game-winning goal by Mika Zibanejad:

That ended up being the only goal scored in the game, as Andrei Makarov (57 saves) kept Russia in the game while Johan Gustafsson only needed to stop 17 pucks to earn a shutout.

Here are the full highlights from Sweden’s 1-0 win over the Russians, who received little love from a Canadian crowd that was still smarting over the fact that the “brash” Russians sent their boys to the bronze medal consolation round:

And just because it’s fun to watch college-aged Europeans go nuts over dramatic victories, here’s the trophy presentation too:

Not sure if you can ever top last year’s (possibly already drunken) celebration by the Russians, though.

Canucks could complete a rare run of top-level hockey in Vancouver with Stanley Cup win


On the heels of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg talk, Damien Cox discussed the idea that Canada might be entering another hockey “golden era.” That is an intriguing point to make, but perhaps the most interesting developing story is the rare two-year run of hockey in the city of Vancouver.

While it’s far too early to assume that the Canucks will win the Stanley Cup in 2011, they’re only six wins away from doing just that for the first time in franchise history. That would put a silver cherry on top of the greatest regular season in the club’s history, with a Presidents Trophy win and players such as Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler earning major award nominations.

That run would be impressive enough, but when you combine the first quarter-plus of 2011 with the highest moments of 2010, it’s clear that Vancouver is having a hot run of heady hockey play that may never be duplicated. Let’s not forget what happened in the 2010 Olympics: Team Canada won the gold on its own soil in Vancouver as Sidney Crosby scored that iconic overtime goal. The Canucks’ own Luongo was in net for that gold medal win, capping a dream-like scenario for Vancouver hockey fans.

While their postseason ended in disappointment against the Chicago Blackhawks, the 2009-10 Canucks boasted some high points that this year’s team is building on. Henrik Sedin earned the Hart and Art Ross Trophies and ultimately sealed his fate as the Canucks’ captain. For all the talk about choking during the last two seasons, I’ll never forget the way the Canucks fought through a 14-game road trip caused by the Olympics.

No doubt about it, the San Jose Sharks could make a series out of the Western Conference finals with a win in Game 3 tonight. Even so, this stands as the Canucks’ best chance to win a Stanley Cup since Mark Messier buried their hopes in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals. It would be a memorable span either way.

That being said, if this Canucks team does manage to win the Cup, it might be time to christen Vancouver hockey’s “Gold and Silver City.”

Maclean’s magazine names Sidney Crosby ‘Newsmaker of the Year’

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(My old journalism professors who always cringed or griped when sports made it on the front page probably should look away from this story. Then again, I’m not sure why they would be reading a hockey Web site this late anyway, so let’s just move on.)

Judging from this video and common sense about the passion for pucks above the border, it was obvious that Sidney Crosby’s Olympic gold medal winning goal was a big deal in Vancouver and Canada overall. Canadian magazine MacLean’s thinks that moment was big enough to name Crosby its “newsmaker of the year.”

We’re not talking about sportsman of the year (like Sports Illustrated and other publications name every 12 months), but rather all news categories. The power of Crosby’s goal apparently towers over stories about war, politics, science and everything else.

NHL.com has the story.

Maclean’s says the 23-year-old native of Cole Harbour, N.S., native was chosen for his gold medal-winning goal against the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. The Canadian magazine said Crosby’s overtime goal was on a “higher plane” than the wars, natural disasters and political upheavals of 2010.

Maclean’s says the goal united Canadians and dwarfed Crosby’s other achievements, which include a Stanley Cup and a host of personal awards.

Does this mean Canadians love hockey more than Americans love football? Perhaps.