Blog Entry

Showdown is set

Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:25 pm

Granted the gold medal isn’t on the line. Not directly anyway. But it won’t make the heavyweight match everyone wanted to see any less compelling.  Even if it will play out to what amounts to an undercard.

That doesn’t matter. It’s Russia versus Canada. The two most talented teams in the world. And even better, it’s Sidney Crosby against Alex Ovechkin.  A matchmaker’s dream for these Games between hockey’s biggest Stars on its biggest stage. Winners go on, losers go home.

Team Canada set up the quarterfinals matchup and kept is medal hopes alive without really sweating. They probably did enough of that after spending a couple of days feeling the heat from a country in distress after the preliminary round loss to the Americans, but Canada showed no lingering effects from that disheartening episode and annihilated a ridiculously overmatched German team 8-2.

Truth is the game really wasn’t even that close despite the fact that Germany has a half a dozen NHL players on their roster. They are not front-line players and there’s not much talent around them, which forces Germany to play prevent defense from the opening facing and an overall game that relies less on trying to beat teams than hoping they might somehow beat themselves.

That didn’t happen in the preliminary round for the Germans who were shut out twice in their three losses. And it was pretty clear from the outset that it wouldn’t happen against a Canadian team that came out desperate to prove they are not done yet. In essence Team Canada made this game look like a glorified scrimmage, using the first period to figure out ways of breaking through Germany’s fallback positions and then blowing things open in the second and third periods.

Canada’s dominance went far beyond the scoreboard to the shot clock, faceoff circle and overall time spent in the offensive end.  That made it an easy night for goaltender Roberto Luongo, who took over from Martin Brodeur for this one, but didn’t really get a chance to show if he’ll give Canada a better chance to win in a big game. Still, it was probably a pretty good tune-up for Canada because it essentially got a chance to refine the areas it has struggled with in this tournament under game conditions.

Canada didn’t really expect to have much trouble with the Germans, but it didn’t take any chances either. The Canadians played a more basic north-south game, avoiding the tendency to look for fancy plays and  firing shots at every opportunity. That’s something Canada was hesitant to do at times in the opening round, but this time they fired 39 shots on German goalie Thomas Greiss and at least that made that went high or wide.

More important, Canada dominated the boards and got the kind of traffic it in front of the net it will need against the Russians. But its biggest boon may have been finally finding the wingers that fit with Sidney Crosby, who has played with different linemates in every game so far. One of them was Jarome Iginla in the first game, and with the Calgary Flames captain back on the wing and joined this time by Eric Staal on the wings, Crosby’s line produced three goals and three assists and created several good chances.

Still, Canada’s best line was the newly assembled trio of Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews and Brenden Morrow, each captains of their respective teams who were put together to be an energy line. They were tenaciously effective, coming up a goal by Richards, and important creating the kind of pressure that kept Germany bottled up in its own end whenever they were on the ice.

Look for them to come over the boards whenever Ovechkin’s line does for Russia.  And look for a great game too.


Category: NHL

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:17 pm

Showdown is set

"Don't chant anything!  Maybe if your going to Chant..chant c-a-n-a-d-a not we want Russia, cuz really I don't think you do and the canadiens fans won't admit, but they don't either!"

Dude, I know its late (as in after the game), but my response would have been the same during the game.

WE ALWAYS want Russia.  Its a rivalry you cant begin to understand, so dont try.

Also, we WANT to play the best.  Notice during the Game we started chanting "We want Sweeden".  We didnt say "We want Slovakia" ,because we arent rooting for upsets to give us an easy path to the gold medal (like we had in 2002).

We get slovakia anyway, but we would rather watch sweeden

Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:53 pm

Showdown is set

bruintodd: to the question i posed the other day, did the Canadians find themselves against Germany?  I think it is safe to safe that today, we can say they did.....

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:26 am

Showdown is set

Could be worse, if the favored Canadian women lose to the American team. Than who will own the podium???  Go USA!!!
Do you know how even it has been for years between the canadian and american women? No shame if they lose to the americans.

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:58 pm

Showdown is set

maz_ 1021: Oh Canada, hold their collective breath's. Get all your excuses ready, but maybe, you should order, a few more crying towels, just in case: GASP, Mighty overrated Canada loses to Russia. Seems to me, most Canadian posters, a bit overconfident. Thats ok, though. Many ESPN sportcasters, will also have to wipe the egg, off their faces. After the underrated USA hockey team win the Gold Medal. Could be worse, if the favored Canadian women lose to the American team. Than who will own the podium???  Go USA!!!

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 9:26 pm

Showdown is set

So will see Bruintodd again if Canada finishes this one off?

Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2010 8:38 pm

Showdown is set

OK, bruintodd, you can take your Ovechkin.  I'll take the Canadians.  And if your USA team runs into a Canadian squad that is playing the way they're playing against the Russians you'd better hope Miller has not only the best game of his life but his next three lives as well, because it will be your only hope in hell of winning.

Since: Jan 3, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 6:36 pm

Showdown is set

OK, I sat back long enough.  I read all the blogs on here in regards to Canada squeaking by the Swiss 3-2 in a shootout and the Americans beating them by 2 goals 3-1.  Wow way to go North America for beating an up and coming Swiss Team!  Like many teams in the NHL that are heavy favorites such as a game consisting of say San Jose Sharks versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, you always see the favorited team step back and take the game in stride, thinking its an easy win.  We have seen this mentality in the Olympics alot this year, Russia underestimating Slovakia, and Czech underestimating Latvia, sure the Czech came out with the win but....and most importantly both Canada and US underestimating the Swiss. Today we witnessed the difference of the Swiss and US, just as we witnessed Canada vs the US and it came down to goaltending.  The game today with Canada and Russia will be the best game this Olympics.  It has all the hype and making of a historic game to be talked about in years and Olympics to come... My prediction Canada 6 - Russia 5... Coin toss if this will be decided in OT or not?  Russia doesn't have Miller as their saviour.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:58 pm

Showdown is set

Hey "BruenTodd".  Don't they teach you how to spell in "Allan Park"?  Is Miss South Carolina your sister or something.  You don't set a very good example for other "Americunz"...

Anyhow, tonight's game just sets the table for team Sweden to beat whoever comes out alive and then the Blue and Yellow will continue to grind their way to the gold. 

Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:56 pm

Showdown is set

Bring on Russia. THey are considered the best team in the tournament! live by the sword die by the sword, if we want gold we have to do it the hard way. Bring it on! and bring on the US in the final game too!! Losing in a single elimination format to good teams doesn't mean Canada is any less dominant in hockey. It means the rest of the world is getting better, which is great for the sport and it's fans. So bring on whoever is next!!!

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:54 pm

Showdown is set

Uhhhh, I believe Miller is on the American team and they did NOT dominate in THE most important area of the game. If you know hockey, teams will not go anywhere far without great goaltending. Besides the Canadians shots on goal were not great scoring chances. The US had better scoring opportunities and capitalized. They lost to a better TEAM that night....including the goaltenders.

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