Jamie McLennan in Beijing and AL semifinal mini preview
Posted by simon c on 2008 February 22日 Friday
Some interesting observations from Jamie about the Asia League. I’ve seen games in Korea but not in China, so first hand reports like this are neat (from his blog entry at The Hockey News):
Secondly, in 17 years as a pro hockey player I’d like to claim I’ve had many experiences and would say I’ve seen it all when it came to what this game has to offer. But I broke out laughing in amazement six minutes into the game when I spotted the goal judge behind the net, smoking, with an ashtray on the boards and carrying on like he’s watching the game from his living room couch.
It was awesome. I’m not condoning the smoking issue, but it was a very unique sight to see someone involved in a sport actively lighting a dart while the play is on. There were plumes of smoke everywhere around him, like he’d actually see a goal if it went in. It was so crazy; I thought it was worth mentioning. It was one of those things that if you didn’t see for yourself, you wouldn’t believe.
Haha, pretty funny stuff. The level of professionalism really varies throughout the countries in this league. Looks like Jamie was needed in the second game though, as the undermanned Cranes managed to somehow lose to the lowly China Sharks by the score of 6-5 (who only won 3 out of 30 games all season to finish dead last).
The Cranes just swept Anyang Halla in 3 games (best of 5 series) to advance to the semifiinals of the AL playoffs. But all 3 games were decided by one goal, so it looks like the series could have gone either way (I didn’t get to see any games, but shots on goal were fairly even). Now I’ll get to see McLennan, Nash, and Co. in action against the Seibu Prince Rabbits when they open the semifinals here in Tokyo on 1 March.
The other semifinal features Oji, who handily swept the underpowered Bucks, against High1, the first non-Japanese team to finigh the regular season with such a good record (2nd). Both Seibu and High1 had byes in the first round, they should be well prepared for the semis. The Cranes fortunes rest on McLennan’s shoulders, as the team’s been inconsistent all season and Seibu is a solid squad with no obvious weaknesses. Oji – High1 should be a very even and interesting series. I’d like to see High1 win and become the first non-Japanese team to make it to the AL final, but this series is a real tough call.