Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Slovenia Tournament

Feel like I should give a quick update here as we prepare for our tournament in Slovenia. Last weekend we won all 3 games, to give us the Trophée des Alpes. Nice to win, but we know we will be facing still competition this weekend in Slovenia with some Austrian teams there. In the 3 games we won by a combined score of 26-2, as we began to see players emerge from the group with big performances.

We will board the bus today at 8:15pm, and drive all night to arrive in Bled for breakfast and a morning skate. Since the seats on the bus fold into beds, it will be a little easier to sleep than if it were simply reclining chairs. We get started at 4pm tomorrow against KAC Klagenfurt from the Austrian League.

This is an exciting time right now, we will play 3 games in Slovenia with some stiff competition, before returning home for our final pre season game at home against Villard on Sept. 5th.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

France vs. World

I am just getting ready for my pre game meal right now for our 3rd game in 3 days as we will be heading back to Gap again to finish up the Trophée des Alpes. Since we chose to leave our equipment at the arena in Gap, we did not have a morning skate this morning and elected to play a game of soccer (football).

We played 9 on 9 with the teams divided into France vs. The World. With steady goaltending by Finland's Timo Seikkula, Team World cruised to a 5-1 victory. The Canadians were major contributors offensively, unfortunately for the fans, their low skill level in the sport did not serve justice to the beauty of the game. An example of this was clear when a determined F.-P. Guenette stormed down the field after a loose ball and with a nifty play, poked it through the legs of the French goaltender Gary Leveque. In a post game interview, Guenette said "I actually tried to put it over his head, but it just trickled through his legs."

Strong defending by the Hungarian Victor Szelig proved instrumental in Team World's transition game with his size 49 (14 shoe) eliminated many cross passes, allowing Captain Edo Terglav (Slovenia) to move the ball forward to the Canadian strikers.

The weak link in the French defense was surely their goaltending, or lack there of, as they rotated a total of 4 goaltenders throughout the 15 minute game. The shortest time spent protecting the goal was by Damien Raux, who fumbled the ball, before falling backwards, on an easy play early in the game, allowing Team World to take an early 1-0 lead. Damien later said "Je ne sais pas ce qui est arrivé, je suis descendu pour attraper la ball et finalement elle est tombée par terre, et moi avec."

Though we were separated this morning in the soccer game, we will be in full force tonight for our last game of the tournament where we will look to go 3-0 as we face the host Gap team.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Underway in Briancon

Now that I have the internet, I can get some good updates going here from Briancon. Training camp officially started on August 10th with 2 practices per day and 1 gym session and we have been rolling along with that plan everyday since. Most of the guys arrived the week before and with optional ice sessions, most players made it out there for a few skates before the official first day of camp.

For a change in the routine, yesterday instead of an afternoon practice, we took a hike way up into the mountains of Briancon. Prior to this hike, the longest hike I had ever done was probably in Vancouver on the Grouse Grind or the Chief, both being under an hour, maybe even 35minutes 50 secs if I was lucky ;) Needles to say, I was not anticipating a 4 hour roundtrip hike!

I am a big believer in team building and working together with physical activities outside of hockey, but this was a bit extreme! Now that I am finished, I must say it was a great experience and I think every player on our team would say the same thing, but about 1 hour 45 minutes in to this mental battle, most guys were cursing in French, English, Swedish, Finnish, Slovak, Hungarian and I may have heard a few slovanian curse words haha. In the end, we climbed to an Altitude of 2377m.

I am feeling pretty good about our team and our work ethic and as we are set to open our exhibition season, I believe we have a team that can do some damage this year. Our first goal is September 12th as we will head to Mulhouse to face Grenoble for the Trophy of Champions. We want that title!!!