Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Turing Attention to the Worlds

*Photo from USAHockey website. (Even they're using Okposo to promote!)
While the playoff race is heating up in the NHL, the National teams are preparing for the World stage this year in Germany. Granted, for those of us in North America the World Championships are basically a hockey footnote, but when you're a hockey fan without a horse in the Cup race it's not such a bad idea to pay attention to the International competition that is around the corner.

The 2010 U18 Team USA has already taken Gold in Minsk for the second straight year after beating Sweden 3 - 1. The most notable thing about this Gold Medal team is that there were two players from California, one from Arizona and one from Nevada. It also heralds the quality of the USA Hockey program.

When the USA team took on Team Canada, they downed them 5 - 0. I'm not sure if Canada medaled in this tournament or not. I'll have to look further and don't have time right now.

But let's look at the Men's National team which boasts NY Islanders Kyle Okposo and Jack Hillen. This is Kyle's fourth time representing his country. As an Islander fan, I'm smiling at that fact. But add Jack Hillen and Scott Gordon into the mix and I'm downright proud.

Also on the roster is a young man who calls Syosset, NY home. That would be Eric Nystrom. Nice, right? Could this be a way for Gordon to get a good look at how well he works with Kyle and Jack? Could we be seeing Eric in an Islanders sweater come next season? I know... dreaming... dreaming...

But at least those of us here in Islanders Country, who have their eye on the Stanley Cup playoffs, also have something to look forward to for two weeks in May.

Here's to wishing the Men's National team has as much success as the U18 Team. If they come home with hardware, unlike the Olympics, I'm hoping Scott Gordon gets to come home with one of his own. But that's something else I'll have to check out.

Congrats also to the Bruins for advancing to round 2, even though I feel really, REALLY bad for Ryan Miller. I also feel really, really bad for the Nashville Predators. They put on quite a show last night but just couldn't get it done. Nashville has a great fan base and every time I hear some yodel saying Hockey doesn't work in the South I tell them to look towards the Preds. It works alright. Don't doubt it.

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