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Christian Hanson plays in front of 78,000 at the Worlds and more on Luongo’s struggles

Leafs fans with an eye on the World Championships over in Germany will know that Christian Hanson is part of Team U.S.A.

Yesterday, in the opening game of the tournament, Germany downed the American side in overtime, 2-1. The game was played in front of almost 78,000 fans, with various media reports suggesting the atmosphere was like a World Cup soccer game. For his part, Hanson was involved in the only U.S. goal, though he wasn’t given an assist because the goal went in off a German defenseman.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it will be noteworthy to see how much of a role Hanson will earn at this event. It should benefit him to play against some of the world’s best, though many players are absent from this tournament because of the NHL playoffs.

Playing in front of 78,000 fans was likely a daunting experience, but a memorable one, for Hanson and his teammates.

I’m guessing there’ll be a lot fewer people on hand when Canada plays Italy today (Saturday).


Yesterday, I wrote that it was time for Roberto Luongo to lead the Canucks in these playoffs. As I mentioned, if you want to be -- and are -- paid as the best in the world, you eventually need to consistently play that way. The way Patrick Roy did. That way Martin Brodeur has for so many years.

They aren’t always “on”, but more often than not, when big games are on the line, they give their team a chance to win- and sometimes they simply steal a game.

Last night had to be a disappointment for Canuck fans. Two home games against the Hawks, and the Canucks, who are supposed to have a big edge in goal, give up 11 goals (not including last night's empty-netter) in those two games on a total of 68 shots.  Vancouver is struggling on the penalty kill, but analysts are always fond of saying that a team's best penalty killer is their goalie.

Chicago is a highly skilled team. But just like great pitching can often shut down great hitters, standout goaltending has often limited top offensive teams for as long as I can remember in playoff hockey. That's what great goalies do.

It’s not over yet, but Vancouver is not getting that kind of goaltending from a guy who is paid to deliver exactly that.  Toronto Maple Leaf hockey blog

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