Blog Entry

Canada makes a statement

Posted on: February 24, 2010 11:47 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 8:27 am
 

What a dud. Not from Canada’s perspective of course, because any Olympic win is a good thing. And a blowout one against Russia, well, that calls for some dancing in the streets. Especially because it tells everyone that the host country is back, its gold medal  still very much alive and well.

For anyone with a less vested interest though, this had to be a monumental disappointment. It was supposed to be a clash of the titans between Sidney Crosby’s Team Canada and Alex Ovechkin’s Team Russia, but that never came close to materializing thanks to a 7-3 butt-kicking administered by the home town heroes.

Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. The last time hockey’s two best players met in a much-hyped one-game showdown was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last spring. Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins blew out Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals then too, and with the kind of authority Team Canada showed in the Olympic quarterfinal.

Funny thing is that this time, neither superstar was a factor in the outcome. In Crosby’s case however, it didn’t really matter because six different Canadian players scored, three of them for the first time in the tournament. Ovechkin meanwhile, failed again to lift his team in a critical situation, going pointless with just three shots, while ending up a minus-2.

Ovechkin took a fair bit of pounding as well, mostly from defenseman Shea Weber, but it was not nearly as bad as the drubbing suffered by Russia’s starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov. The San Jose Sharks netminder had an awful night once again in a big situation, mercifully getting the hook four minutes into second period. By then, he had taken his team out of the game by giving up six goals on 23 shots.
That was more than enough for Team Canada that got its groove back after creating a national trauma earlier and in some quarters being counted out by losing a preliminary game to the United States .

The Canadians got back on track by easily dismissing Germany in a qualifying round game the night before, and against the Russians looked like the team that was widely predicted to win gold for the first time in the tournament.  Canada was a team possessed and shell-shocked the Russians by scoring early and all but putting things away by grabbing a three-goal lead soon after.

“They played a great first 10 minutes,” was all that Ovechkin would concede to a television interviewer.

Truth is, it was a lot longer than that. This was really as one-sided as it could be between teams of this caliber and it made for a relatively comfortable night for Roberto Luongo. The Canadian goalie was tested a few times among the 25 shots he stops, but not enough to matter because his team played its game, controlling the boards, winning puck battles all over the ice, and forcing the surprisingly disjointed Russians into several costly mistakes.

“We talked a lot about having to play sound defense and we got rewarded for that,” said Canada’s captain Scott Niedermayer, who partnered with Weber as the shutdown defense pair against Ovechkin. “We got into some good positions and got some turnovers and the good thing we created goals off those turnovers.”

Canada created goals off several different types of plays as well, which suggested it has finally found the chemistry it has been looking for since the start of the Games. And that’s not good news for anyone else heading into the medal round.

“Confidence is important for anybody especially when you’re putting a bunch of new faces together to trust each other and trust is the game plan, all those things are important,” Niedermayer said.  “The last couple of games we’re starting to play better.  Hopefully that trend will continue.”

 

Category: NHL
Comments

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:36 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

I believe that at the time that was posted it looked like canada was going to play Sweeden.

That being Said, there is NO defense of Nabokov in this game.  He was awful.  Ilya should have started anyway.

The russian game plan did not translate well on the smaller rink.  They basically had 4 forwards out there all night and kept trying the stretch pass.  It failed.  Canada would not have picked such a big physical team had the game been played on international sized ice.  We would have added faster more finesse guys like the Tampa Trio (Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos).  THIS game is exaclty why we tok guys like weber, morrow, and richards



Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:21 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

Canada does not have a tougher road to the gold at all, I think that USA has it tougher with Finland than Canada has with Slovakia



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:18 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

Good game by Canada but did anyone think they wouldn't score at least 5 goals against a Russian defense that is headlined by Sergei Gonchar?  People thought that the Russians would be a dominant team in this Olympics but few took into account that this Olympics are being performed in an NHL hockey arena rather than an Olympic rink.  The IOC gave Vancouver a waiver that allowed them to utilize an 85X200 rink rather than the standard 98.5X200 rink for the first time,at least that is what I've read, in Olympic history. 

So although the hockey games have been entertaining we are seeing games won by toughness and grit rather  than skill and speed.  If anyone doubts that then look at some of the stars thus far: Boyle, Drury, Zednick, Hagman, and Corey Perry.  With the more open Olympic ice rink we may have seen the talents of Crosby, Malkin, Selanne, and Forsberg taking center stage.



Since: Feb 25, 2010
Posted on: February 25, 2010 2:56 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

7-3 win against tournament favourite Russia, however, looks like the Canada we thought we'd see going into the tournament. I didn't think I would see Canada stomp on Russia like that. The first and second period were brutal. The score could have been more like 12-3. The commentators kept dissing Nobokov when he was the only piece holding it together. At 4-1, he had one bad goal and one marginal goal. He also had several outstanding saves as Canada had like over 20 shots in the first period. I thought as the coach did to leave Nabokov in - I guess the guys in the booth saw something I didn't...
Canada has a tougher road to the gold than USA and if they can get to the final and perform like that again, then they have it wrapped up for sure. My heart is with USA, but they will need a big horseshoe to get Gold this time!



Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2010 2:44 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

Im hoping for a USA-Canada rematch in the Gold Medal Game, it would be a great thing for the game of hockey, I personally think that the US havent played their best game yet and Canada looks to be on a mission since the loss to the United States.  The atmosphere for an US-Canada Gold Medal game would be off the hook.  Good Luck to Canada the rest of the way and GO USA!!!!!  and btw thank god for olympic hockey because the rest of the winter olympics are boring to me.



Since: Nov 19, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2010 1:44 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

Whoooooooooosh.
He means that this was the first time they looked like the team they were predicted to be: the champions. I'd have to say I wholeheartedly agree; 8-0 and 8-2 over Norway and Germany isn't very impressive when it took a shootout to beat the Swiss and the team lost to the USA. A 7-3 win against tournament favourite Russia, however, looks like the Canada we thought we'd see going into the tournament. 



Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:34 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

What he meant is that for the first time in THIS tournament Canada looked like a team that was predicted to win gold medal.  I guess it just doesn't translate well north of the border, eh?



Since: Feb 25, 2010
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

I'm sure that's not what he meant.
Try this-  "For the first time in this tournament, they (Canada) looked like the team that was widely predicted to win gold." 
Since they hadn't really looked like it thus far, and now they do.
At first glance, someone could easily misread it.



Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Canada makes a statement

Wes is saying that for the first time in this Olympic tourney they looked like the team that is favoured to win gold.



Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2010 11:38 am
 

Canada makes a statement

Hold on Wes, I don't understand. You say that the Canadians, "against the Russians looked like the team that was widely predicted to win gold for the first time in the tournament." Unless I'm reading this wrong, are you saying that Canada hasn't won gold in the Olympics before? Because they've won a number of times. Maybe it's me, but that line doesn't make any sense to me.


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