Slant Pattern Livestreams the Spengler Cup

Occasionally, I try to get back into hockey. I used to be bigly into it, but most years it lags behind the sports you see me write about regularly. So what better way to reignite my hockey interest than with a somewhat obscure event?

The would be the Spengler Cup, which is probably unknown by most filthy casuals but, I'm guessing, familiar to hockey fans that are at level semi-hardcore and higher, especially in Canada.

The Spengler Cup is an annual tournament held in Davos, Switzerland. It always includes the local team, HC Davos, Team Canada, and four other invited teams.

Team Canada this year (and I assume most years) consists of Canadian players playing in European leagues. They win a majority of Spengler Cups.

Nonetheless, I bet on yesterday's game between Canada and Sparta Prague on the Czech side. This was a purely an emotional bet for just a dollar — as a red-blooded 'Murican, I always root against English and Canadian sports teams.

It paid off, as Sparta won, 3-2. It was Canada's first loss in the Spengler Cup group stage since 2016. Today they play the hosts, HC Davos. I note that Canada fell behind 3-0 yesterday before nearly coming back to win, and every Canadian player they interviewed talked about how, basically, they are still learning about each other and gelling as a team.

Noting that, and seeing how much better they played the last two periods than the first one, it would be a fool's errand to bet against them again, right? But, I note the HC Davos has had a lot more success in this year's ongoing Hockey Champions League than Sparta, and they are at home. Most importantly, red-blooded 'Murican. So I bet against those Canadians again.

I was not able to tune into the game until late in the first period, and, rejoice! Davos is up 2-0! I will also note that Team Canada's coach for this tournament, former Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green, is the most milquetoast-looking figure in sports.

Nonetheless, maybe he was looking to fire up his team after falling behind 2-0 by getting them fighting, as a fight is what I was greeted with when I turned on the game today, after 0 fights in yesterday's game against Sparta Prague.

We pick up the action in the 2nd period, with Davos going on the power play.

10:50 left, 2nd period: Alas! The Davos power play comes to nothing.

7:21: Great stat put on the score bug just now: Canada gave up 2 goals all tournament in 2019. They've given up 5 in a game and half into this edition.

2:40: GOAL, CANADA! Brett Connolly, from quite a ways away, and off the calf of a Davos defensemen. Like yesterday, Canada playing great in the second period.

2nd intermission: One reason I call this tournament "obscure" is because it is going on at the same time as the World Juniors, which is definitely getting a lot more press and fan attention.

2nd intermission: Brett Connolly has all three goals for Canada this tournament. He plays for Swiss club HC Lugano, but has played for five NHL teams, as well. I have been most impressed, however, with the play of Chris DiDomenico of SC Bern, who has also played a handful of games for the Ottawa Senators.

15:12 left, 3rd period: Plenty of shots of "Hitsch," HC Davos' mascot, who appears to be a goat.

12:12 left: I think one of the refs may have alopecia. He does not seem to have eyebrows.

10:09 left: They have nothing to show for it yet, but Canada is ... well, not dominating, but whatever is one step down from dominating, this third period.

6:12 left: Davos going on the power play, and man, they need it as a reprieve from the relentless Canadian attack.

4:05 left: Good pressure from Davos but they do not score on the PP.

2:07 left: Canada going empty net.

Final: Davos hangs on! They scored both of their goals in the first two minutes of the game, and it was enough. The first goal was scored by Andrew Rowe, a got-damn American. This is the first time Canada has lost their first two games in this tournament, which they have been participating in since 1973.

Some great saves down the stretch from Davos goalie Sandro Aeschlimann, who plays his club hockey for ... oh, right. Davos.

It's worth noting that all six teams in the tournament qualify for the knockout round, with the top two teams earning byes to the semifinals. So Canada is not done, and it would be very much like Canada to roar back from this pitiful start to win the whole tournament. It's something they often do at USA's expense.

Looking forward to the rest of this tournament. Happy hockey!

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