Friday, May 18, 2007
U-S-A! U-S-A! Memorial Cup action starts tonight
My patriotic fervor is climbing... my love for the red, white and blue manifests itself through the glow all over me and the love I have for our country.
Hey, all of Canada is tuned into CBC and TSN and are all of a sudden rooting for their beloved Senators and their fellow countrymen, guys like Daniel Alfredsson and Anton Volchenkov, to bring home the Stanley Cup to the place where it rightfully belongs, right? So tit for tat - I and all of America are gripped with Memorial Cup fever. And not one, but TWO American based franchises are representing Old Glory in this year's tournament, which begins tonight at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Four teams participate - the winner of the three major leagues in Canada - the WHL, the OHL and QMJHL. The fourth entrant is the host team, which this year is the Vancouver Giants.
The Medicine Hat Tigers won the WHL, but it was the Plymouth (MI) Whalers taking the OHL crown, while the Lewiston (ME) Maineiacs became the first American based team ever to win the Q. So we have two shots at bringing the Memorial Cup to American soil.
The teams play each other in a round robin format, with the top two finishers then facing off in the championship game, set for Sun May 27 at 4PM at General Motors Place. Would it not be awesome if those two teams end up being Plymouth and Lewiston? What would Don Cherry then have to say? Oh, how the Canadian hockey purists would howl!
I am no expert analyst at junior hockey, just someone who loves the atmosphere and feeling of attending at game at this level. But my pick to win it all is the Lewiston Maineiacs... they swept Val D-Or in the QMJHL finals and did so in impressive fashion. All of French Canada is still horrified asking themselves how this could have happened, and in the next 10 days the rest of their country will be pondering the same question.
Complete Memorial Cup schedule (all times EDT)
Fri 5/18 9pm VAN 4, PLY 3 OT
Sat 5/19 4pm LEW 3, MH 1
Sun 5/20 4:30pm VAN 2, LEW 1
Mon 5/21 8pm MH 4, PLY 1
Tue 5/22 8pm PLY 2, LEW 1 OT
Wed 5/23 10:30pm MH 1, VAN 0
Thur 5/24 10:30pm tiebreaker game PLY 5, LEW 1
Fri 5/25 8pm Semi Final VAN 8, PLY 1
Sun 5/27 4pm Championship VAN v MH