It’s Windsor, Ontario vs. The World

I know, I know, I just took the trouble yesterday to tell you I probably won’ t be blogging for a little bit, and now here I am.  What can I tell you, I’m in a good mood after the Leafs shellacked the Atlanta Thrashers tonight.  Positively giddy because of a five-goal second period outburst, I logged on to the computer for a moment to hang out in the post-game thread over at Pension Plan Puppets.   Okay, truth be told, Chemmy had promised (threatened?) to tell a really off colour story, and I was unable to turn away…

Anyway, in the process, I got a hot tip tonight about the rosters for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.  The U.S. and Canada recently announced the players that will be invited to audition for spots on their respective teams.  The DEFENDING MEMORIAL CUP CHAMPION Windsor Spitfires will be well represented at these camps.  Four Spits have been invited to try out for team Canada:  forwards Taylor Hall [you may have heard of him,  I think he’s draft eligible this year or something], Greg Nemisz [Calgary] and Adam Henrique [New Jersey] and Ryan Ellis [Nashville].  That means that four of the thirty-six players invited to camp will be carrying Spitfire equipment bags (and a little bit of Memorial Cup bling) into the room.  Oh yeah;  Hall and Ellis may bring along their 2009 World Junior Gold Medals for good measure.

Two other Spitfire players have been invited to camp for Team U.S.A. – defenceman Cam Fowler and goalie Jack Campbell.

Oh, and forward Richard Panik is expected to play for Slovakia, as well.

All told, that’s SEVEN current Spitfires that will be vying for ice time at the upcoming World Juniors.  If that doesn’t tell you that this team has a real shot at the unheard of – repeating as Memorial Cup Champions – I don’t know what could.

Keep in mind, too, that there are others on the team who could have been chosen.  According to a recent Windsor Star article, Leafs’ prospect Kenny Ryan is said to be upset that he was not invited to Team U.S.A.’s camp, believing that his decision to bolt from Boston University and join the OHL Spitfires may have caused him to be passed over.

It says here he’s not missing anything;  Hall, Ellis, Nemisz and Henrique – along with a few other good Canadian lads – are gonna bring home the gold again from this tournament.

The Goal

The Windsor Spitfires beat the QMJHL champion Drummondville Voltigeurs last night 3-2 in overtime (the link goes to my live blog of the game).

The OHL Champion Spitfires dropped their first two games of the Memorial Cup tournament (to Drummondville and Rimouski) before beating Western powerhouse Kelowna to force a tiebreaker on Thursday night vs. Rimouski.  The Spits were down two goals entering the 3rd period in that game, but Leaf prospect Dale Mitchell scored 3 goals in 3:33 of the third period to propel the Spits into the lead;  Windsor won the game 6-4 to earn a berth in the last night’s semi-final vs. Drummondville.  In other words, the Spits have taken the hardest possible road to get to the Cup Final.   A physically large and very talented Kelowna Rockets club has been waiting since Wednesday night, watching the other 3 teams clobber each other in an effort to get to the Final.  If the Spits win the Memorial Cup, they will be the first team to do so by going through the tiebreaker procedure in the history of the tournament.

Here’s Adam Henrique’s winning goal from overtime last night: