Zurich wins 2-1 and celebrates like they just won the Stanley Cup.
I want to say this is the first time a European Club team has beaten an NHL team...at least that is what I thought they said on the NHL Network last night.
Hawks fall in Victoria Cup finale
September 30, 2009
BY ADAM L. JAHNS, Sun-Times News Group
A day before shipping off to Europe, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville referred to the match-up Tuesday with the ZSC Zurich Lions as a ''meaningful'' game.
In many ways, he was right.
Not only was the Victoria Cup at stake, but many of the Hawks' regulars got one final chance to tune up before the regular season starts. Injured players Dustin Byfuglien (groin) and Kris Versteeg (upper body) also got a chance to play for the first time in more than a week, while on-the-bubble players such as Jack Skille and Radek Smolenak got one last chance to make an impression.
But perhaps most important, the Hawks received a much-needed wake-up call in a humbling 2-1 loss before the opener Friday against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.
''We tried to probably make too many fancy plays early in the game, and then we were in a real hockey game,'' Quenneville told chicagoblackhawks.com. ''They got some speed. They got some skill, and they worked hard. It's kind of like what we would like to do as a team.''
The New York Rangers won the inaugural Victoria Cup last year with a 4-3 victory over Russia's Metallurg Magnitogorsk. With the Hawks playing many of their regulars, the NHL was expected to go 2-0.
But the game against Zurich, the defending European club champion, was nothing like the Hawks' 9-2 rout Monday of HC Davos. Although they were outshot by the Hawks 35-22, the Lions, who have players from Canada and other European countries, took advantage of the larger international ice, played physical and capitalized on their chances.
As a result, the Hawks closed the preseason with a 2-3-1 record.
''They're the champions of their league for a reason,'' Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. ''They played well as a team. I think they played a little better of a team game than we did. And that was the difference. It was clear that they wanted it more than we did today.''
Cam Barker scored the lone goal for the Hawks on a shot from the blue line at 6:13 in the first period. Zurich tied it six minutes later on Patrik Bartschi's breakaway.
Lukas Grauwiler notched the eventual game-winner in the second on a rebound in front of Hawks goalie Cristobal Huet (20 saves).
Zurich's Ari Sulander made 34 saves for the victory.
''(The loss is) definitely tough to swallow,'' Hawks winger Patrick Kane said. ''It's something we have to move on from and learn from.''
The Hawks depart today for Finland, where the Panthers had a shock of their own Monday. They lost to Finnish Elite team Tappara 3-2 in a shootout despite putting 50 shots on goal. Like the Hawks, the Panthers had some of their regulars in the lineup.
''We've got bigger and better things ahead with the regular season starting now,'' Kane said. ''We've got to gear up for Florida.''