Footie: Canada vs. Estonia

Tonight is the year's first fixture for the Canadian Men's national soccer (hereafter known as football) team. The Canadian team, comprised primarily of European-based players, face Estonia at the rather humourously named, A.Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.

According to http://www.canadasoccer.com/eng/bootroom/viewArtical_csa.asp?Press_ID=3104 a web cast will be available on CBC.ca. I've yet to find a link.

The two teams met March 29, 2003, also a friendly, with Canada losing 2:1.

Facing the small Baltic land of Estonia in a friendly should be an accurate test for the Canadian side. A convincing win, with a spice of strategy and a side dish of team building would go a long way to justifying their 4th place ranking within CONCACAF and 56th in FIFA. Plus, disposing of the 124th ranked Estonians would lend well to upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Caribbean minnows like Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (ranked 130).

After the under-23 team came within a game of the Olympics, hope for Canadian football has become a bit rejuvinated. A loss tonight would be just plain annoying.

PREDICTION: Canada 3: Estonia 1. Goals by Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Paul Stalteri

In other matches:

  • Jonathan de Guzman (brother to Julian) most likely will not play his first match for Netherlands in Vienna versus Austria. Jonathan gave the proverbial finger to Canadian football à la Owen Hargreaves-style. If you can read or understand Dutch, read more here.
  • Sweden relives the 50th anniversary of their only World Cup final appearance by facing Brasil in a friendly at Emirites Stadium in London.


UPDATE: Canada loses 2-0 (one was an own goal) on a snowy pitch. Ugh! Meh!


William Quist - the (Nybro) Viking?

The above picture is a so-called Eastern Viking. I admit up front that I have not researched whatsoever the gangsta stylings of North/South/West or Central Vikings, nor can I say what kind of widespread war and pillaging might be sparked by magically placing Oiler prospect William Quist in this shot. Nevertheless, if rumours holds true, Quist may soon join the eastside gang of Vikings in Nybro.

Nybro, located in southeastern Sweden, is home to an Allsvenska team going by the name of the Nybro Vikings. Mr. Quist grew up in the Nybro program and is from the region.

According to a recent interview conducted by CrossChecking.se's Jonas Gustavsson, William could well make a return to the Viking clan.
To quote the 18 year old:
  • They (Nybro) called today (March 7) actually. Prior to today, I had been hearing rumours about everywhere except Nybro. It feels like many of those around me are discussing it, but it was only first today that they called. Though it hasn't been any more than that. We will have to see what comes of it.

  • When asked about his short and abruptly-ended stint with Linköping HC's junior team he added:

  • It began rather messy and I didn't feel at all comfortable. I took the decision to return to Tingsryd and there I got to play at an "A" team level [professional as opposed to junior] and I must say it has worked out really well for me.

  • There is a huge difference between Division 1 [pro] and Junior20 SuperElit. Pro hockey is much more structured and organized and that has been very beneficial.

  • Gustavsson also asked Quist about what contact he has with the Oilers:

  • Yah, I do have contact and I was at their camp back in the fall.

  • Regarding his type of play:

  • I am a rather big player so I try and make use of my size. I tend to also be pretty good at finding the net [Ed.: assume this to mean both scoring and creating traffic].

  • Finally, with close ties to Nybro, Quist is also familiar with current Nybro coach Lenny Eriksson:

  • He was the head coach in Nybro during 3 years when I was younger, so I have gotten to know him a bit. He is known for pulling together a team and getting them to buy into a team system.

  • -----------------
    This interview scratches the surface, and is top quality "hockey player" answers.  If anything, it is yet a further element of the jigsaw puzzle that was jumbled when William Who? was selected at #157 in the 2007 draft.  

    Oilers prospects guru, Guy Flaming posted a thread over on Hockey Futures detailing a bit of insight into Quist and his contact with the Oilers organisation. Perhaps his turning point this season also came thanks to some choice words fromVP of Hockey Operations, Kevin Prendergast.

    The Oilogosphere had quite an affinity for former Djurgården and Norwegian national Patrik Thoresen. With that mighty viking now in Philadelphia Flyers silks, might it be time to proclaim a new viking warrior?

    It is far to early to give young William that type of status or moniker, but shall the Nybro Vikings be his new home, we might have added reason to believe the Oilers have a new warrior in the makings.


    Oilers Prospects in Limbo

    Both Södertälje SK and Luleå HF have survived.  But only just.

    The two Elite Series teams finished 9th and 10th respectively and both avoid a relegation series. Both also miss the playoffs. 

    This means that both Oilers properties in the Elite Series, Björn Bjurling and Linus Omark, are done playing hockey for the season.  Bring on the golf clubs!

    Luleå finished tied for 10th with Mora IK  but thanks to having a small goal differential (2 less goals against), came out on top. Oilers prospect, Linus Omark scored in Saturday's decisive 4-2 victory over Timrå.  He finishes the year 3rd in team scoringwith 11G+26A and 46 minutes in penalties.  Most notably, the diminutive left winger was one of only 4 Luleå players to appear in all 55 games.  He did not receive a lot of prime ice-time, but his point totals speak well of how he made use of what he received.

    Bjurling had a surprising break-out/come-back year.  He finished 2nd in Elite Series save%, 8th in GAA, and appeared in 30 of Södertälje's games. SSK, as a team was rarely brilliant, but as I outlined in an earlier blog entry, the duo of Bjurling and Enroth often saved Södertälje's metophoric butt.

    Tingsryd IF played well down the stretch in division 1 (Allettan Södra) and William Quist got solid playing time.  He scored 12pts (6G+6A) and had a mere 6 penalty minutes in 12 games (post-Christmas); a positive development after what was a bizarre and unproductive autumn. Clearly he will need a higher level of competition next year to further his development. 

    Finally, Västerås IK (featuring former Oilers prospect Kalle Olsson - drafted #147  in 2003) is playing a best-of-three against the Växjö Lakers (featuring former University of Alberta Golden Bear Kevin Marsh).   I have not found the line-up from the annual Golden Bears vs. Oilers Rookies game in 2003, though thought this may very well be a sort of rematch.  Time to go wander the internet...


    Brett Hull's Secret Plan

    I think I found Brett Hull's cheat sheet! 

    A week after the NHL trade deadline and I have come to realise something, Brett Hull is plagerizing his former team (so-to-speak) and making his Dallas Stars a whole lot more scandinavian.

    Make way for IKEA Poang chairs in the Dallas Stars' dressing room because that is the new direction.

    Dallas made a big splash a number of months ago by firing their long time General Manager, Doug Armstrong, and instead hiring the relatively unexpected duo of Les Jackson and Brett Hull.

    Last week, in their first trade deadline day, the Stars made a deal with Tampa Bay that netted them Brad Richards and Swedish goalie Johan Holmqvist.  

    To the chagrin of Oiler fans everywhere (Edm has been booted out of the playoffs by the Stars too often) Dallas has added fire power and goaltending depth.  They are now better and more Swedish.

    The arsenal of Scandinavians now in the big D are Loui Eriksson, Niklas Grossman, Mattias Norstrom, Joel Lundqvist (NY Rangers goalie Henrik's brother), Holmqvist and not to mention their 3 Finns!  This is comparable to the 7 swedes in Detroit (Holmström, Zetterberg, Lilja, Lidström, Kronvall, Samuelsson, Franzen).

    Perhaps it is the simplicity of Swedish design which has led to this new hockey philosophy.  Like the calming aura of a glimmering hard wood floor, offset by birch-coloured furnishings, so too can a whole starting line-up of towering scandinavians with cropped blond hair win hockey games.  

    Or, so hopes Brett Hull.