GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany – What a way to start the 2010 World Championship for the host country. With a loud and boisterous world record crowd of 77, 803 looking on at Veletins Arena, Felix Schutz tipped a shot into the USA net 21 seconds into overtime to give to Germany a 2-1 victory in the opening game of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s annual showcase event on Friday.
Germany and the USA are in a group with Finland (ouch!) and Denmark. Russia and Slovakia headline a group with Belarus and Kazakhstan; Canada faces off with up and coming powers Latvia and Switzerland, and oh, uh, Italy; and the final group holds powers Sweden and the Czech Republic and also-rans France and Norway.
The IIHF site has a cutesy listing of the teams involved and a sideways look at their chances.
RUSSIA Mother Russia is the greatest! Soon the gold will be ours.
CANADA Must win gold. Must win gold. Gold and getting better each day, that's all we think about.
SWEDEN It certainly would be nice if we won gold, wouldn't it?
FINLAND Why do we never win gold? Something always goes wrong...
CZECH REPUBLIC It's so depressing when we don't win gold, like a Kafka novel
USA Man, these European cities are beautiful!
SLOVAKIA If Peter Bondra came out of retirement, we'd win gold
SWITZERLAND If we didn't have so much gold in our bank vaults, we'd probably want gold more
BELARUS Hey, we'll take any old medal...we're not picky
LATVIA If we win gold, our fans will go insane! If we play relegation, our fans will go insane!
NORWAY We're known more for black metal than for gold
DENMARK Hans Christian Andersen's Happy Prince was covered with gold -- unlike us
FRANCE With our great literature, cuisine, and romantic prowess, we 'ave no need of this vulgar...'ow do you call it?...gold
GERMANY As the hosts, we're guaranteed a berth in the gold medal game...wait, we're not???
ITALY What's gold?
KAZAKHSTAN Yeah, we were wondering about that too
Anyway, I'll update this more as we go along. At least tomorrow -Saturday- we only have a nooner instead of the Twelve hours they were threatening us with. On that subject, here's a little personal note: Everybody, knock it off!!! You really don't need any patio cushions, you're old ones look just fine! Spend that moldy money of yours on something usefull, like beer to drink while you're sitting on your patio! I would really like to get back to having a normal life, and how can I do that if I'm putting in 70 hour weeks to make your damn cushions!! STOP! RETHINK! Put your wallet away and save for your retirement! PLEEEEEASE!