Nigel Kirwan Diary: 3rd Installment
Friday we had a 2:15 bus to the rink in Berne for a 3:30 p.m. practice. The rink is still going through a remodeling and is not yet finished. Our set up is very good however, with plenty more space than we had in Halifax last year. The guys had a great practice. We had a big scare when Peter Harrold (LA Kings) got kicked in the head pretty hard following a collision behind the net. Thankfully he was not cut by the skate blade. He was certainly a bit woozy though.
Jason Blake (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators) arrived today to give us some much needed depth. David Backes and TJ Oshie of the St. Louis Blues are expected to arrive as well now that the Blues were knocked out of the playoffs.
Later on I walked across a bridge into downtown Berne for dinner. The view was spectacular. Ate at an Italian place again, food was excellent. It is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel across the bridge into downtown. The weather has been perfect during the day and has been getting a little chilly at night.
The tournament began on Friday although we don’t play until Saturday. We had a practice from 11 a.m. until noon on Friday. I’m having the same technical difficulties with the TV feed here in Berne as I did in Zurich. I’m getting a much better response here though compared to Zurich.
Backes and Oshie arrived late this morning. They were able to get dressed and on the ice for the last half of practice. Spoke to former Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist, he’s playing for Sweden. He wants to get back to the NHL. I hope he does and you have to root for him. He is such a class act and a true gentleman. Lightning forward Martins Karsums (Latvia) also stopped by to say hello.
After practice I took the No. 9 streetcar/tram from the hotel to the rink to catch the Germany/Russia game. The No. 9 does a very short loop from the arena to downtown Berne with stops in both directions from the front of our hotel. It makes about four stops between the hotel and the rink. It is about a seven-minute ride. Our tournament credentials allow us to travel for free for the next three weeks.
Russia put on a clinic against the Germans, winning 5-0. It could have been a lot worse though. Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal for the Russians.
Previous Diaries from Nigel in Switzerland:
Previous Diaries from Steven Stamkos in Switzerland: