Ok, so Saturday, the USA finished off with a 10-0 rout of the Kazakhs, and added to that Sunday a 4-0 blanking of France of which score IIHF said "flattered France", i.e. it could've been much worse. France then beat Italy on Saturday 2-1, but the Italians beat the Kazakhs 2-1 on Sunday. Thus, anything could still happen in the Relegation round- although the worst that could happen for USA is a four way tie that would be broken by goal margin and we're +14. In the main rounds, Russia beat Germany 3-2 on Saturday and followed it up with a 6-1 rout of Denmark. Evgeny Malkin had a goal and an assist as the Russians continue a 23 game world cup win streak. The Swiss claimed a 3-2 win over the Czechs on Saturday; also on Sunday, Latvia broke open a game that was scoreless through 2 periods with 2 empty-net goals to beat struggling Norway 5-0. Belarus finally got another win, though probably too little too late as it went to OT when the Germans scored with less than a minute left to tie and were trying to win with time running out in OT and coughed up the puck and the Latvians scored on a 3-man breakaway. But the difference between a regulation win and an OT win is 3 pts to 2 pts, and that point will likely mean the end of the Belarussians. Finally the Swedes won a lackluster 3-1 game over a disappointing Canadian group. Russia now leads one group with 12 pts, double that of second-place Finland and Denmark. Germany's 4 pts lead a trailing group of Slovakia (3) and Belarus (2); in the next round, the bottom two from each group are out and the top 4 go on. In the other group, Switzerland and Sweden each have 9 pts, but the Swiss have a game in hand. Canada is third with 6, and the Czechs, Latvians, and Norse all have three.
I decided to see what all the divisions in the IIHF look like, and here is what I found. The bottom group, division 3, consists (or will next year) of Luxembourg, the UAE, Greece (who were supposed to host this years division 3 shindig but amazingly couldn't find the money- go figure), South Africa, Mongolia, and Armenia, along with Turkey and Israel, who got bounced out of division two . Then comes division 2, with Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Mexico, Romania, China, Iceland, New Zealand, along with Ireland and North Korea who rise up from division three and Serbia and Croatia, who fall from division one. Division one then is Ukraine, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, the UK, South Korea, along with Spain and Estonia coming up from division two and whoever loses the relegation round after Tuesday's last games.
Those two losers will then be replaced amongst the big-boys group by Austria and Slovenia.
The Blackhawks Knocked off San Jose 3-1 today to open the NHL semis. I'm hoping they can find a way for both teams to lose in the other semis, but I guess I'll have to root for Montreal because, being a New York Islander fan, I'd sooner cheer for space aliens come to exterminate the entire planet than the Philadelphia Flyers.
Got the weather center up and running with a lot of very appreciated help. Very cool. And one last note: the Reds beat the Cards again today 7-2 and took over first place in the NL Central. What a very nice weekend.