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: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 12:56 pm

Showdown is set

Bruintodd, you realize it was play russia or be eliminated right? Russia was the only team canada was going to play if they beat Germany.

So did you want the crowd to chant we want elimination?

Since: Feb 24, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2010 12:31 pm

Showdown is set

Lost to the Americans ? You mean lost to Miller ! They totally dominated the American's in every area ! There were times when the Americans couldn't even get the puck out of their own zone for minutes at a time.......unless Nabokov has the game of his life, Canada wins this game......

Since: Feb 18, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2010 12:00 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 11:11 am

Showdown is set

The draw most definitely favors the Americans to reach the gold medal game at this point.  They've got Switzerland followed by the winner of Finland-Czech Republic (probably Finland).  Canada has Russia followed by the winner of Sweden-Slovakia (probably Sweden).  I like the Americans' chances to win those two games.  Canada has a very tough row to hoe with arguably the most talented team in the tournament (besides themselves) and an undefeated Swedish team that's starting a goaltender (Lundqvist) that hasn't given up a goal in the tournament yet.  But if they make it through to the gold medal game, they certainly deserve to win it.

Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2010 11:05 am

Showdown is set

I truly believe that if Canada should get past Russia (and they will be a formidable team) they will get the gold. Canada has struggled to establish an identity and if it is to be truly established, it can be done so through Russia. Canada has the greatest weapons of any team in the tournament, yet they year in year out struggle to gel together as a team. Other countries seem far more prepared and in position to battle.

If and when Canada gets through Russia, they will be the ones wearing gold. I promise that.

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:55 am

Showdown is set

I don't know, but i would assume that the higher seed is the "home" team, which would make the canada v. russia game interesting.  Can you imagine if they got the PA announcers to introduce the teams like they do in the NHL.  "AND NOW... Yooooooooour TEAM RUSSIA!!!!! and also team canada."

Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:37 am

Showdown is set

Not necessarily.  Like I asked, is it by seed or some other method as it affects the line changes.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:33 am

Showdown is set

I dont know, Nabokov (like Luongo) doesnt seem like a "big game" goalie.  How many times has he been out of the first round?  okay, second round, with the talent he has had in San Jose? 

I agree.  Both Nabokov and Luongo have been disgustingly massive dissapointments in the playoffs for their respective teams over the years.  Their stats may look good but when they need to come up with big saves they most often don't.   People can say all they want that Ozzie on the Wings has had great teams in front of him but I know one thing for sure.  He carried us to the Stanley Cup finals 3 times in the last few years and in 2 of those cases we won the cup.  The last 2 seasons he was the main reason we got there and won at least 1 cup... he makes big saves when he needs to.... .

I'm going very high scoring today... 7-5 Canada.....

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:29 am

Showdown is set

bruintodd.  You seem pretty cocky actually...  do you understand that your american team hasn't even qualified for a medal yet?  That win over Canada meant nothing... actually less than nothing.   You THINK you have it easier then Canada because in reality you don't understand the game of hockey.  The russians are very talented but haven't played well at all including that check game I watched.  And your team is playing a Swiss team they beat 3-1 last time but only had a whopping 24 shots against and really barely outplayed them.  You better hope Hiller doesn't get hot or it's all over for the U.S in hockey this year.

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2010 9:57 am

Showdown is set

superheavyweight match to undercard. one of these talented squads will not medal. the canucks are led by sid the kid, vets, iginla, richards and morrow. and goaltenders, brodeur and luongo. the russians are led by alex the great. i sure feel sorry for the loser of this game here. i say canada barley survive on a late goal. 

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