Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh, Canada.

It wasn't Brodeur's fault.

Got it? Good.

Was Miller the better goalie last night? Maybe.

Was the US team the better team? Definitely.

People like placing blame on one scapegoat, but Marty isn't the right target here. Sure, he wasn't "Martin Brodeur", possibly the greatest netminder in the history of the game, but he was hardly a rank amateur flopping all over the place either.

The team let him down. The Canadian hockey ego said, as it did with Switzerland, that offense is the best defense. Sadly, Team Canada excelled at neither last night. Again.

45 shots. Whoop-dee-doo. 45 shots from the point, bad angles, or on the fly, on the ice. Could they not get the puck up? Could nobody position themselves to get a rebound or tip in? When you're facing a goaltender like Miller, who has been consistently solid ALL SEASON, and a US team that is hungry to beat you, then you need the ugly goals, and the opportune goals. You need to PUT THE PUCK ON THE NET and HAVE SOMEONE THERE TO MAKE SURE IT GOES IN. No screening, no grit.

No heart.

I'm not even going to get into the amount of dump-and-chase our guys played.

And in our own end? Please. Scattershot. Uncoordinated. A mess. Did they draw straws to see who would go in the corners? Did they sometimes forget to include a short straw? How about collapsing around your own net to protect the goalie? You know, like the US team did EVERY TIME THEY WERE IN THEIR OWN ZONE?!

Sure, having faith in your goalie lets you take more chances. But that doesn't mean you abandon him.

Marty had NO support. Not until Canada realized that they were in serious trouble and that another goal would kill them. THEN they started blocking shots and chasing the puck like it meant something.

Even then, Seabrook practically gifted the crazy empty-net goal to Chicago teammate Kane in the dying minutes. Kane literally breathing down his neck and his stick is OFF THE ICE? He should have stepped up the hustle and shot that puck away from the net instead of letting Kane flop down and knock it between the pipes. That's how you lose a game.

Maybe it'll be a wakeup call to the team. Maybe they'll remember that they aren't the only ones stacked with NHL superstars and quality goaltending. Or maybe they'll think the extra game they now have to play against Germany will be a cakewalk and get their asses almost handed to them again.

Regardless, it's better for them as a team to take this loss now and have to play the extra game. It SHOULD bring them closer together as a team and force them to face their egos and errors and right this ship.

If the outcry continues, expect Steve Yzerman to say or do something mildly controversial to draw the heat away from his guys.

It ain't over yet.


KenP said...

I could really give a rat's...

That's if either Canada or the USA win. The Olympics moved from the amateur realm years ago. Call this what it is: NHL all-star series.

I'll give hockey the fact that their highly paid stars aren't as obnoxious as those in similar sports.

Canada has a great amateur, youth program with deserving people who'd have been seen on the world stage. Yes, when that was tried, some stack that deck but that's really what the Olympics are all about.

The only good thing that's happening with the Olympics and poker players blogging about it is that I've learned more about hockey than I ever hoped to. You and Bammer -- the McKenzie brothers of hockey fan boys.

Memphis MOJO said...

Maybe this was the wake-up call they needed.

Astin said...

Ken - Which is why the NHL doesn't have an All-Star game in Olympic years.

But unlike every other major league sport out there, men's hockey isn't completely dominated by a single country.

Yes, Canada is the one to be feared, but the US, Russia, and Sweden all have top-quality teams as well. For a while, the Czech Republic was a major force as well. Heck, even Finland gets a few superstars now and then. Any number of former Soviet-bloc countries have at least a couple top-tier NHLers on them.

And since these aren't best-of-7 series, having the right players can make the difference. A goalie can win you enough games to make a difference. A sniper or two on top of that can make you a force. Even the right coaching can make a difference - look at the difficulties Switzerland is creating.

If Baseball went pro at the Olympics, it would be dominated by the US, and maybe the Dominican Republic. Basketball showed the divide between the largely-US NBA players and the rest of the world.

That said, I'd rather see the kids play too, but at least with hockey, there's still some intrigue as to who can win.

VinNay said...

Despite my "Suck it Canada" Facebook status, I have a lot of respect for Canadian Hockey, and that was one hell of a game to watch.

I wonder if the Canadian team has too much Superstar power, and not enough grit - it sure seemed that way. Maybe the team is just built wrong, or at least build poorly to match up against a gritty team.

I expect Canada to crush Germany and the following Canada/Russia game will be a great high-scoring matchup, but it's kinda of amazing that one of those teams will not be getting a metal at all.

We (USA) totally lucked out on the bracket we drew with the #1 seed, and I hope we don't blow it to some chump team like Belarus now.

VinNay said...

One more thing - the last two Gold metal winners didn't get bye games, so it's not over yet.

I would love to see a USA/Canada Gold metal game so we can win it on your soil like you did to us at Salt Lake.

Schaubs said...

Aren't there pros in almost every Olympic event now?

Define pro.