Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Way to Solve the Big Freeze Issue in England

The big freeze has wrecked havoc on the Premier League this weekend. Five of this weekend's English Premier League fixtures have been postponed because of concerns for the safety of spectators making their way to grounds in freezing conditions. Saturday's Fulham v Portsmouth, Sunderland v Bolton and Burnley v Stoke matches were all called off on Friday, as was Sunday's Liverpool v Tottenham match at Anfield and the game between Hull and leaders Chelsea after heavy snowfall in Hull and more postponements might be comings. With all of the games being called off the rest of the season is going to look like a busy festive period fixture list.

I know this is going to sound out of line but maybe the Premier League and its clubs should follow the model of Ajax and build stadiums with retractable roofs. I know what people are thinking how is that going to work. I'm not saying domes, I'm saying when planning for these new stadiums maybe the clubs should take a page out of the Amsterdam Arena's book and build something with a roof that can be opened and close. The roof does not have to stay all of the time and will not, it will only be closed in the case of extreme weather, like what has hit England this weekend.
People who consider themselves traditionalist will say this will take something away from the game and that there is something that can be said about playing a game at Hull City in a snow storm. Sure that is great but we have already crossed that bridge and we are not coming back. Just go back to when the World Cup was in the United States. Games for the showcase where played in the Silver Dome in Detroit, yes indoors. So if FIFA says that it can be played in doors what is the difference if we have retractable roofs on some of these stadiums. This way we will not have a weekend like this where the showcase game of the weekend Liverpool vs. Spurs is canceled because of the weather.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Top Plays of the 2010 World Junior Championships

The final was epic, the rest of the tournament was ok, but here are the top 10 plays from this years World Junior Champions. I promise this is the last post about the tournament.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What a difference a year makes

A year ago, the United States World Junior Championship team was getting ready to play in Ottawa with dreams of unseating Canada as the top U-20 team in the world. Colin Wilson, Eric Tangradi, James van Riemsdyk, and Thomas McCollum comprised one of the more talented teams that this country has sent to the showcase, but things unraveled quickly. First there was the mess that was the New Years Eve game against Canada in which the Red White and Blue led 3-0 before blowing the lead and getting their doors blown off. After that mess the team then went out in the quarterfinals and ended up finishing up fifth place. Not the result a team with that must talent should have.

After the tournament USA Hockey had to take a long look in the mirror and figure out what happened. One of the things that came under attack was the US National Team Development Program. The National Team Development Program, based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is made up of a select group of players that have tried out and been selected as the most talented in the nation. The NTDP consists of two teams; the U.S. National Under-18 Team, and the U.S. National Under-17 Team. The criticism was that the program produced good players, but players that did not play for the front of the shirt.

Fast forward a year and their is a different tone surrounding USA Hockey. First the U-18 goes out and wins the title in the age group. The U-17 teams goes out and wins the title in that age group. Then on Tuesday night, the biggest of them all the Junior Team goes out and beats five time defending champion Canada in the final. Sure the Canadian team was more talented but this USA team had something that the team last year did not have: heart and toughness. Sure they blew a two goal lead in the final, but this team would not take no for answer and came back and won won in OT.

The best thing about all of these titles is that they beat Canada or some type of Canadian team in the final. So much for being the a step under Canada, the United States has all of the trophies now.

With the Olympics a couple of weeks away, I hope the men's team shows that the heart that the junior team did this week, if so maybe they can shock the world like the kids have done over the last couple of months.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Cover Story: Oh Say Can You See

Last night a spunky group of kids from the United States took down the big bad hockey power. No this is the not the Miracle on Ice, but it might be just as important the national Junior Team defeated five time defending World Junior Champion Canada in epic 6-5 overtime game. Newspapers north of the border are not taking the loss well.

Here is how the newspapers in Canada covered the epic game:

The Windsor Star

Ottawa Sun
The Gazette

The Calgary Sun