Thursday, February 18, 2010

2004 Switzerland Martin Gerber Jersey

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy the 12 teams were placed in two groups of six, with the top four in each group advancing to the Medal Round.

Switzerland was not among the top eight ranked teams in the 2004 IIHF World Rankings, and therefore did not have a reserved a place in the tournament, forcing them to participate in the Qualification Tournaments for the chance to earn one of the four remaining spots in the field of 12.

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The Swiss were placed in Group A with Japan, Denmark and Norway, and completed their group schedule with a 3-0 record to advance to Torino.

Once in Italy, they were placed in Group A with #1 ranked Canada, #4 the Czech Republic, #5 Finland, #8 Germany and hosts Italy.

The Swiss opened their tournament with a resounding loss to Finland by a score of 5-0 on February 15. The very next day, they pulled off a stunner, defeating the Czech Republic by a score of 3-2. Switzerland opened the scoring at 5:11 of the first period on a goal by Thomas Zigler, but Jaromir Jagr tied the game for the Czechs at 2:55 of the second. Switzerland again took the lead at the midway point of the second on a shorthanded goal by Theirry Paterlini and the period would finish 2-1.

One minute into the third the Czechs pulled level on a goal by Marek Zidlicky. NHLer Mark Streit would score on the powerplay for Switzerland just under six minutes later. After killing off a penalty with nine minutes remaining, the Swiss held off the Czechs behind the goaltending of David Aebischer to complete the upset victory.

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Switzerland held off the Czechs for a surprising win

Two days later, on this date in 2002, the Swiss would face off against the top ranked Canadians.

Sixty minutes later, the greatest Olympic upset in Swiss hockey history was complete.

Paul DiPietro scored the first goal at 18:19 after Canada had gone 0-5 on the powerplay during the first period.

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The second goal came while Canada was down two men after penalty calls just 47 seconds apart. DiPietro capitalized on the golden opportunity just 10 seconds into the two man advantage at 8:47 of the second to put the Swiss up by two, but with the crowd still expecting the Canadians to come roaring back at any moment.

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DiPietro's second goal eludes a desperate Brodeur

The Swiss started the third having to kill off a Canadian powerplay three minutes into the period, which they did successfully. Then Martin Gerber's controversial save on Rick Nash while on the powerplay prevented Canada from not only scoring their first goal that many felt was inevitable, but also robbed Canada of some much needed momentum that a goal would have certainly generated.

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Martin Gerber

Canada would have an opportunity to go on the powerplay one final time with exactly two minutes remaining, only to have a penalty called against them just seven seconds later, negating Canada's last, best chance.

The frustrated Canadians would finish the game 0-11 on the powerplay and, as hard as the shutout loss was for the Canadians to grasp, what made it worse was that the goal scorer DiPietro was born in Canada! Gerber had 49 saves for the Swiss, who fielded a team with just two NHL players on their roster and managed only 18 shots in the victory.

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Paul DiPietro shakes hands with Martin Brodeur following
Swtizerland's memorable upset victory

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber jersey as worn during the 2004 World Championships.

Gerber began his career with several seasons in the Swiss league and one in Sweden before joining the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. After two seasons there and the lockout season of 2004-05, Gerber would join the Carolina Hurricanes and get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, the second Swiss player after fellow goaltender David Aebischer to earn the honor.

In the 2008-09 season Gerber would move to the Ottawa Senators for two seasons. During the third season in Ottawa, Gerber would be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. For 2009-10, Gerber signed a contract with Atlant Moscow of the Russian KHL.

Switzerland 2004 WC jersey photo Switzerland2004WCF.jpg
Switzerland 2004 WC jersey photo Switzerland2004WCB.jpg

Here is Gerber making an astounding, and controversial, save against Rick Nash during his shutout of the Canadians during the 2006 Olympics.

And finally, the last minute of the game as the Swiss players celebrate their upset victory, something they will be looking to repeat in Vancouver.

Dasherboard: Once again, the favorites took care of business on Day 2 of the Olympic hockey tournament as Finland rolled over Belarus by a score of 5-1, a larger margin than we anticipated. The best dressed game of the tournament saw Sweden defeat Germany 2-0 in a typical German low scoring "soccer on ice" game, as the Germans do what they can to keep the games close and the score low, hoping to capitalize on any mistakes by their opponents. In the best game of the tournament so far, the Czech Republic defeated Slovakia 3-1 in the first game where the outcome was in doubt going in. There was a buzz in the air as the teams played some fast paced hockey during the first period and Jaromir Jagr did his best to remind everyone in North America that he's still alive and well by scoring the game winning goal.

Today's games are the United States against Norway (USA) followed by Switzerland versus Canada (CNBC) in Group A, and the game of the day and your night owl game, a Group B matchup between Slovakia and Russia (CNBC), with Russia having the advantage of an extra day of rest.

Both the US and Canada are expected to win, although history suggests that Canada not look past Switzerland, another team that realizes it's limitations and will play to keep the score low and the game close, hoping that Jonas Hiller in goal can steal one for the Swiss, or at least get them to overtime which would gain them a point in the standings which would help their final seeding for the Secondary Round.

Like Switzerland, Slovakia will be of course looking to win the game, but taking the Russians to overtime would gain them a valuable point in the standings.

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