Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed watching some of the games, but it just has not had the wow factor I was expecting. For one thing, the tournament seems a bit campy to me.
For those who are unaware, the tournament involves eight teams, including Team Canada, USA, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, North America and Europe.
Team North America is a collection of players, 23 years of age and under, from both Canada and the United States. This team was mainly created because the depth of talent in both countries was not being represented on the international stage. Team Europe is a collection of players from other European countries not represented by their own teams in the tournament.
With this format, this tournament sort of reminds me of the EA sports games. Like many EA fans, I was one of those people that created multiple teams and had them face off. After a while though, I would abandon those teams because the interest was just not there anymore. This World Cup is like taking those teams and putting them in simulation mode, watching who will win. It is kind of fun, but there is not enough excitement to sustain the interest.
The lack of excitement could also be due to the amount of players that have dropped out because of injury. Hockey players sometimes jump through hoops in order to represent their country, so the fact that this tournament has lost so much talent is very telling. The extensive list includes David Krejci, Sean Monahan, new Leafs goaltender Frederik Anderson, Henrik Zetterberg, Duncan Keith and Jamie Benn.
I admit, the main reason I watched the first game was to get my first real glimpse at the Leafs new star Auston Matthews competing against NHL ready talent. That first North America versus Europe game was up-tempo and quick, but I haven’t yet felt the amount of patriotism or excitement the Olympics and even the World Junior Hockey Championship provides.
Now, my blasé feeling towards this tournament might also be the fact we are still in the exhibition portion of it, but I’m not really sure I will ever get excited about any of these teams.
I guess the best way to sum up my thoughts is through the words of former Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. It has been “Okay. Just okay.”