Blog Entry

Showdown is set

Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:25 pm
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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.

 

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Category: NHL
Comments

Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:46 pm
 

Showdown is set

Shots that miss the net don't count as a shot on goal. So yes the Canadian team had over 40 shots on the goalie that didn't miss or get blocked. Miller played lights out and the USA capitalized when they were given the opportunities. Canada has to play smarter against Russia even if they dominate the puck they can't have bad turnovers or sloppy defensive zone play because the Russians can and will score from almost anywhere on the ice. That being said I think Canada holds the edge physically, and can roll 4 lines against Russia. If Canada can weather the Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin storm they should come out on top. Russia has world class skill on 2 lines. Canada has top level talent sitting on the bench. Luongo has to be steady. He can give up two goals and Canada should win the game. Russia doesn't have the goaltending or defense IMO to keep up with the Canadians so they will have to rely on constant offensive pressure from there top two lines. i believe they will tire by the third period and Canada's depth will prove too much for them to overcome. Toews as a fourth liner has 5 assists. Look for Canada's third line to get some good matchups tonite and maybe be the difference.



Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:44 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!




Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:44 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!




Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:44 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!




Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:40 pm
 

Showdown is set

First off Yes I want the Americans, but its actually more gratifying seeing the canadiens lose, in what they call there game..I mean was there game!  I will root for the Russians because I will take somebody like Ovechkin or Datysuk over Crosby anyday.  Same as Sweden with Zetterburg or Lidstrom.  And if they stumble and lose to a Swiss..OK no biggie, they beat Canada and that is AWESOME!!  A loss tonight and Canada just might melt all there ice and only enter curling tournaments from now on!



Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:34 pm
 

Showdown is set

redwings1969, the US already holds an advantage over the Swisses. believe me, lightning will strike twice. as for the Russians-Canadiens showdown.and sadly, one of these superpowers are leaving empty handed.



Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Showdown is set

Its not about shots on goal, it's about quality scoring chances. Whatch the game again and you'll see Canada out chanced them 2 to 1!



Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:08 pm
 

Showdown is set

What do you think your chances will be of beating us twice? 0! You guys got lucky, your goalie stole one. You only beat the Swiss 3-1. Take care of your own backyard, will take care of ours.



Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2010 1:51 pm
 

Showdown is set

Give me a break.  The USA may have showed more heart, but they were badly outplayed for almost the entire game.  They got two good bounces for goals and a couple in their own end, Canada got none.  The same game story will end up with Canada winning most times, Miller or no Miller. 

Don't get me wrong, they didn't play badly, but very clearly the better team lost and the better goalie won.  The US could win this tournament, but they would have to play a lot better to support their goalie, the only real reason they are in the position they are in.



Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2010 1:33 pm
 

Showdown is set

Big G you clearly don;t know anything about hockey. The USA went into a lull in teh second period and Miller bailed them out but the USA outplayed the Candadianss in the second and third periods. Canada out shot them but the majorty of the  shots were poor shots that either missed entirely or were routine saves for Miller. Miller played well but he hardly stood on his head, he didn;t have to the Canadians made sure of that with sloppy shots on goal. Meanwhile the USA shots were fewer but they were all quality scoring chances throughout. IT was no fluke that Team USA won that game, theyw ere the better team on that day and not just because of Miller.


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