Well, that’s it. The Ice Hockey season is definitively over and Finland is the 2019 World Champion!
First of all, congrats to the Finns for the well deserved title. As you all know by now, we’re not particularly into the “Finnish” style of play… but the guys coached by Jukka Jalonen put a fantastic team spirit on display. They played at the Worlds without NHL stars, they were able to make a virtue of necessity, and turned out to be the worthy gold medalist.
Canada on the other hand, tried everything to win back the title after two years of break but didn’t make it. As usual, the Canadians brought in a lot of emotions and were so close to become World Champions.
Finally, Russia – the Red Machine – won the last medal. The bronze one. The “Sbornaja” travelled to Slovakia with every intention to win the gold… but as we all know, things can’t be expected to turn out right every time. Therefore, it’s wrong to say that the bronze medal is a disappointing achievement.
Anyway, the World Ice Hockey Championship is defnitively over. Thank you so much Slovakia for gifting us with two weeks of fantastic hockey!
Now it’s time for weighing things up… or rather, it’s time for our oscars!
We want to award oscars in our own way. There is no particular criteria… some of them are serious ones, others instead are less serious… let’s get started!
OUR 2019 WORLD ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP OSCARS
The oscar for CHAMPIONS goes to…
Are your surprised about this one? 🙂 Finland won the gold medal for the first time after 2011 when the Worlds were also held in Slovakia! We mean, it’s definitely good omen for the Finns to play the World Ice Hockey Championship in Kosice and Bratislava. Perhaps the Finns’ hockey was not champagne… but they proved to be the best “Team”, with a captial T. Therefore, congratulations!
The oscar for MVP goes to…
Kevin Lankinen saved 94.2% of the shots at the 2019 World Ice Hockey Championship. Only Andrei Vasilievski (Russia) did better. Most and above all, however, Kevin played a crucial role for Finland during the semifinal against Russia and the final against Canada. If you want to be successful in hockey, you need to have a great goalie. If you want to win a title then, the goalie plays a very crucial role. And that’s what Kevin Lankinen did. The 24 years old played mainly for the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) last season. But if he keeps it up, he’ll make the NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks very soon.
The oscar for THOSE WHO NEVER GIVE UP goes to…
Canada won the group stage’s game against Slovakia thanks to Mark Stone’s goal scored less than 2 seconds to the end of the third period… then, they equalized against Switzerland in the quarterfinal thanks to Damon Severson at 0.4 seconds to the end, before winning the game in the overtime period and make it to the semifinal. During the final against Finland finally, things went south… but the Canadians sold their lives dearly during each shift until the very end. If there is someone out there who never gives up, well… that’s Canada.
The oscar for BIG NAMES DON’T WIN YOU TITLES goes to…
On paper, Russia was the strongest team of the tournament. And let’s face it, the Russians were a show to watch. Then again, as they say, big names are no guarantee of success. The “Red Machine” played a great tournament, but finally they travelled back home with a bronze medal. And now, the gold medal is missing since 2014.
The oscar for WE HAD FUN BUT WE TRAVELLED BACK HOME EMPTY POCKETS goes to…
Czech Republic travelled back home as fourth placed which is the harshest position. The Czech played almost at home and tried everything to win a medal for the first time after 2012. To note, moreover, that the Czech lost two times the bronze medal game in 2014 and 2015. We mean, obviously the bronze medal game goes straight through Czech Republic.
The oscar for FALL FROM GRACE goes to…
Sweden is the perfect example that you can’t take anything for granted in ice hockey and that each tournament has its own story. The Swedes were coming off two consecutive gold medals and brillantly finished at the top of Group B at the end of the group stage. Then, however, they lost against their Finns “cousins” at the quarterfinal stage and their tournament came to an end. It can’t be right every time, of course. But no one can take away from them the oscar for “Fall from grace” 🙂
The oscar for SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR goes to…
What are 4 tenth of a second? Nothing. Yet, Switzerland saw vanishing a semifinal qualification right for 4 tenth of a second! The Swiss went so close to win the game against Canada even though the third period turned into an ordeal… one thing is sure though, as written in the “Power Ranking” of the IIHF, Patrick Fischer’s troops are still swearing in all four official languages 🙂
The oscar for MAXIMUM RESULT, MINIMUM EFFORT goes to…
Italy’s target was to survive. Therefore, mission accomplished! The Italians lost clearly all the first six games of the tournament… but then won the most important game, the one against Austria, thanks to an impressive commitment. Well… why someone should give the 100% during each game when it’s enough to give it all in one – the key one – in order to reach the target? 🙂 As written in the comments after the game that the Azzurri won against Austria… it was a tactic! Then again, maybe next year something more must be done in order to survive…
The oscar for HOME SWEET HOME goes to…
Slovakia organized a fantastic tournament… but the Slovak National Team was very unlucky. Or naive, up to you. The Slovaks missed the quarterfinals. Also because of two painful defeats. Firstly their suffered a 5-6 defeat against Canada when they conceded the game winning goal at less than two seconds to the end. Then against Germany, the Slovaks were 2-1 ahead in the score until two minutes to the end… but then, one way or another, they suffered a heartbreaking comeback and lost 2-3. We mean, so much for… home sweet home 🙂
The oscar for BEST HORROR MOVIE goes to…
FRANCE & AUSTRIA
France and Austria, unluckily for them, are relegated. It happens. Every year, like it or not, there are two teams who are forced to wave good-bye to the top division. Both teams lost their last game against the direct rivals… it hurts like hell. In fact, for France and Austria, the two games played against Great Britain and Italy turned into some real horror movie!
The oscar for THE BEST TWEET goes to…
The last oscar of our article goes to Great Britain. The British made fall in love the whole world with them (apart from France, ça va sans dire…) thanks to their commitment. They played in the top division for the first time since 1994… and were able to survive thanks to the amazing overtime win earned against France at the end of a remarkable comeback from 3-goals down. The British’s joys was seriously contagious. And the person responsible for the “British Ice Hockey” twitter account, wrote exactly what he thought after Ben Davies’ game winning goal scored during the overtime period…
— British Ice Hockey 🏒 (@BritIceHockey) May 20, 2019
We didn’t catch the last word… but this tweet says it all 🙂
It transmits all the emotions that ice hockey can gift the fans with!
And then, thank you to all the 16 teams who for two weeks entertained us. And once again, congratulation to Finland… 2019 World Champion!