Canada Conference Loss Creates Controversy

Goals aplenty in the annual All-Star Classic, and an evening to remember for one fan.
by Marcel Cormier | March 4, 2013, 12:15 PM ET

It was a 2013 Continental Cup rematch of sorts as Philadelphia Fire Ants GM Norm Donovan's Team World took on Acadia Golden Bears GM Guy Flaming's Team Canada. Their last meeting ended in a 4-game sweep in favor of the Golden Bears but this time Donovan's club showed up and came away with the victory, a 22-20 goal fest that destroyed save percentages and sent fans home blinded by flashing red lights. 

Team World scored a ridiculous 15 goals in the opening period beginning with Steven Stamkos' marker just 1:02 into the game, his first of 12 points on the evening which earned him game MVP honors.

The World onslaught in the opening period led an unusual series of coaching decisions from Team Canada which rotated all three of its netminders. In the end, Fredericton 's Pekka Rinne ended up playing 50 minutes and allowed 14 goals, half the total that have gotten past him all season long.

Vancouver Island's Jonathan Quick was thrown into the game just 3:35 into the first period, was beaten four times and was yanked in favor of Carey Price at 12:13. The Whitehorse goaltender was completely overwhelmed and saw four pucks get behind him in just over a minute and immediately Rinne was back in net, this time to stay.

At the other end of the rink, Team World stuck to tradition and swapped out their three goaltenders at the beginning of each period.

Team Canada scored eight consecutive goals at one point in the second period which narrowed a huge World lead to 18-16 heading into the final 20 minutes. In that third frame both teams scored four times and the contest ended in a 22-20 score.

London's Alex Ovechkin was named the game's second star as he recorded 10 points on the evening including a game high double hat trick, 6 goals of which 5 came in that crazy opening period.

Team Canada's postgame media availability turned into a bit of a circus as GM Guy Flaming tried to answer questions ranging from the make up of his team to the odd coaching decisions made throughout the contest. Unfortunately for reporters, actual answers were few and far between.

When asked about the revolving door in net during the game's opening 14 minutes and the decision to stick with just one goalie the rest of the way, Flaming chose to pass the, er, puck.

"I wasn't on the bench, you'd have to ask the coach about that one," he said, "It's definitely unorthadoxed not to play each goalie for a period. I can only speculate that the coach felt that Rinne wouldn't give up 14 goals in 50 minutes since he'd only been scored on 29 times all season."

The coaching staff for Team Canada was not made available to the media so Flaming continued on with his tactic of deflecting questions for as long as he could.

Acadia's star forward Claude Giroux went pointless but Flaming stunned the collected media horde with his explanation of why that was.

"Claude didn't play," he said simply.

Contrary to the game sheet which said Giroux skated for 12:36 and went a -3 on the night?

"I told you, he didn't play," Flaming insisted before dropping the bombshell.

"You all know that he was injured in Acadia's game two nights ago right? Well, we petitioned the league to have someone take his place because he is under doctor's orders to rest his knee," Flaming explained. "I submitted to the league that Patrik Elias should take his place tonight but that obviously didn't happen."

So if that wasn't Giroux on the ice... who was it?

"Her name was Consuela Alvarez," said Flaming, "With Giroux out and the league not allowing us to replace him with Elias, we decided to quietly hold a silent auction for the right to dress in Claude's place. She won."

As crazy as it sounds, it's the only logical explanation as to why the top scoring center in the Canadian Conference would only play twelve and a half minutes and fail to contribute offensively in a game that saw 42 goals. 

Flaming was then asked to explain his choices for additions to the team which didn't include either Kari Lehtonen, the number two rated goaltender in the league, nor Niklas Kronwall the far and away +/- leader among SICHL defensemen.

"I didn't think it was fair to take both goalies from the Express," said Flaming, "And it's not like anyone expected Carey [Price] to suck as bad as he did tonight. He's only lost 1 game in regulation this year and has a 1.51 goals against average. Did anyone here really think he was going to get scored on every 25 seconds tonight? Of course not."

"As for Kronwall, he's just not nearly as good as his stats line suggests," Flaming insisted, "He owes that plus/minus rating to Rinne and Lehtonen and everybody knows it. I went with Nikita Nikitin because he's having a hell of a year for the Canons and he deserved to be here more than Kronwall did. I also went with Tom Gilbert from my team in Acadia which people will look at and snicker about but he had 5 points in 13 minutes, was named third star of the game and he and Nikitin were both +6 tonight so... I was right."

Up front Flaming added Dustin Brown, Jordan Eberle and Jordan Staal, the trio only played 7:26.

"I was stunned that the two Jordans, both with 50 points this year and the top two right wingers in Canada, weren't voted to the team," said Flaming, "I had to right that wrong. They deserved to be on this team and they deserved to play a hell of a lot more than 7 minutes I can tell you that much."

Sounds like the media isn't the only one who wants to talk to the coach does it?

Finally, Flaming had some parting words for rival GM Norm Donovan who was victorious on this night at the head of Team World. 

"Congratulations to Norm of course," Flaming began, "It was a nice change to see him coming out on the winning end and I hope he feels good about beating 20 men and one Mexican mother of twelve."

Game Notes

  • Sidney Crosby (VAN) led Team Canada in scoring with 6 points while James Neal's (WHI) 4 goals were a team high.
  • Only four players failed to earn a single point in the game; Brent Burns (AMS) and Tyler Seguin (HAV) from Team World, Staal (WHI) and Alvarez (MEX) for Team Canada.
  • Price's (WHI) GAA average for his 1:18 of action was roughly 184.62 with a save percentage of .200. Thanks for coming out.
  • Alex Edler (VAN) and Mark Giordano (CGY) led all skaters tonight in ice time with 17:31.
  • Zdeno Chara (OTT) and Erik Karlsson (OTT) were both -5 on the night for Canada. 

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