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Monday, February 22, 2010

Team Canada 2010

I watched last night and though I was bitterly disappointed with the result I maintain that Team Canada 2010 is a great team, well thought out and despite the ability to debate team selection I maintain that every player on the squad deserved a position. Last night's game was exciting and Canada was by far the better team (last half of the 1st period, most of the second period-up until the last few minutes and for bursts in the 3rd). Three consecutive penalties to end the 2nd and start the third, face-off tanning, two puck mis-handlings by Brodeur in the opening half of the game and the stellar play of Ryan Miller (which was to be expected and could have been overcome had it not been for the three things mentioned above) were the differences.

The expectation heaped on all of the Canadian athletes at this Olympics is silly and stupid. The viewing public and media should concentrate on the task ahead not just the gold medal-we are distracting our own athletes. This is a great team that Stevie Y put together but so are all the rest of the teams. This tournament is not the NHL and the media and our collective hockey obsession has raised our expectations such that we can't even face reality. Having said this though, the performance by the team has been spotty-they don't seem to be able to keep sustained pressure, Crosby/Nash have yet to get on a roll (I mean one shootout goal after he failed on the first and one regular goal aren't going to cut it Crosby), Martin has looked a little shaky (still good but not hot and we need a hot goaltender to win).

I've loved the way Toews has played this whole tournament. He's so plucky and has been creating a bevy of chances-I look to him to get rewarded soon for his play. I like him on every line Babcock puts him on. I also like the Staal/Getzlaf/Perry line though all three of them took dumbass penalties last night (how terrible do you think Perry felt after Kessler out-hustled him on the empty netter) they're intensity is great but they have to play a far more disciplined game. Scott Niedermayer really stepped up last night and Drew Doughty played well after a lackluster first two games (Weber has been good too but needs to shoot the puck more). Also, enough with the complaining about Babcock's line juggling-you knew this was going to happen-it's his style and some of our best offensive chances came from his unorthodox line pairings-it also happens that the 3rd American goal seemed to come at the expense of a sloppy line change due to siad juggling but I digress.

The men's hockey team has quite the hill to climb. Good luck against Germany I (and just about the entire nation) fully expect you to go through to the quarter-finals where Russia awaits you. Adversity is good-it will make the gold taste that much sweeter. Play 60 minutes of smart, solid hockey like we all know you are capable of and nothing and no one will stop you.

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