Saturday, February 27, 2010

The 2010 Olympic Do-Over

I don't know why I'm bloggin about this.... I'm too emotionally involved to give you any kind of logical, rational prediction.

I want Team Canada to win.

I need Team Canada to win.

Team Canada MUST win.

Team Canada WILL win.

They are playing the most consistent team in the tournament (USA). They are playing the best goalie in the tournament (Miller). Team Canada themselves, arguably the most inconsistent team in the tournament. (Exhibit A; they smoked Russian like they were Pee Wee Rec leaguers but barely get by the Swiss and Slovakia). They start every first period (except Russia) like they are Pee Wee Rec Leaguers.

Yes, player against player, we have the absolute best of the best. If this was a one-on-one skills tourney tomorrow, we'd win gold. But it's not.

Maybe picking superstars isn't the best idea. Maybe there are too many leaders and not enough followers. Lord knows they haven't gelled - at least not enough.... not like the Americans.

But we've already played the USA once and it was by no means a blowout. And now we know what they've got...and what they don't. More importantly we know what we have to bring - effort, skill and determination-wise - in order to win. Also, the goalies made the difference in the last match-up and we've got a new goalie.

So you know what?

Team Canada will win.

Because they are capable of a win.

Because we need them to win.

Because we want them to win.

Because they want to win.

Team Canada will win the Mens Hockey Gold Medal.

I believe.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Facts on the fight for medals

Random facts about the fight for medals in Men’s Hockey

  1. There are Canucks on every single one of the four final teams: Slovakia has Pavol Demitra. USA has the Canadian-hating Ryan Kesler (so hot but so stupid to make that statement before the US-Canada game). Finland has the fragile but fast when not broken, Sami Salo. And of course the Canadians have Roberto Luongo.

  2. Slovakia surprised many by making it past Sweden but when you breakdown their team - maybe the world simply underestimated them. They do have 2 of the NHL's top scorers in Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa. Apparently the key in Slovakia to getting the puck in the net is naming your male child after the mom on Happy Days.

  3. Of all the goalies left in the tourney; Miller (USA), Luongo (Canada), Kiprusoff (Finland) and Halak (Slovakia) the strongest so far has been Miller. But who is the best in the NHL? So far this season out of the 4 goalies, Bobby Lou sits the highest at #5. Miller is #7, Kiprusoff #9 and Halak down at #23. To add to Canada's statistical odds all our goalies are in the top 10 this season in the NHL. Brodeur is #3 in the NHL right now and our back-up, back-up goalie (who will only see ice if Luongo spontaneously combusts and Brodeur breaks every bone in his body) Marc-Andre Fluerry is #8. But sadly, in the Olympics statistics mean diddly. Proof? Evgeni Nabokov is the #2 goalie in the NHL and he melted down against Canada.

  4. Hossa, Heatley, Toews are all tied for the most points in the entire tournament. So we've got 2 tournament stars and Slovakia have 1. Good sign. Better sign? Sidney Crosby did not get on the board against Russia. That doesn't happen often and that doesn’t last long. He should scores some this game.

  5. In Olympic hockey, nobody loves an underdog. Let's face it, the best possible outcome for NBC, CTV, every single bar/restaurant in North America would be a Canada-USA Gold Medal Game. The ratings on the host networks would soar, the money would flow at bars and restaurants, the scalpers would be able to retire off the money they could make. If it were Finland-Slovakia - scalpers would have to pay someone to buy the tickets. The bar and restaurant industry in Vancouver would be able to call it Black Sunday or worse - they might have to lower their jacked-up food & bevy prices back to pre-Olympic pricing just to get people in.

  6. Last but not least, Canada is the hottest team. They came out in the first period against Russia like it was the last seconds of the third and they were behind. All they have to do is do that again. They have the hopes of a host nation riding on their shoulders in a sport that matters more than any other. We forgave Jen Heil and Melissa Hollingsworth for missing gold. We celebrated bronzes for Joannie Rochette and Kristina Groves but we won't accept it for Men's Hockey. We just..... can't.

  7. Oh yeah, and did I mention we have the hottest team? Crosby is absolutely freaking gorgeous. Toews is adorable. Brodeur makes up for in pretty blue eyes what he's been lacking in on-ice saves. Iginla is pure brute hot and Luongo (did he get hair plugs? Where's his bald spot?) is sexy as all hell. The only thing that would make them hotter are gold medals around their necks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Canada vs Russia Vancouver 2010

We knew this day would come. Canadians and Russians alike wanted this day to come. But wait... there's no medal on the line?!

Today - February 24 2010 - Team Canada and Team Russia will battle for a chance to make it to the semi-finals. Yep, this do or die game tonight, is only a quarter final game. That means one of the two biggest, greatest forces in hockey won't make it to medal contention.

And the question echoed around the world is "How the hell did this happen?"

My answer is Babcock. Mike Babcock is not coaching this team effectively and his decisions have been questionable at best.

Starting Luongo was okay in Game 1 because Norway wasn't a threat and it was Luongo's home ice. Both Brodeur and Luongo were in a slight slump in the NHL at the time the games were halted and they began this Olympic quest. Lou nailed a shut-out.

But we started slow against Norway - slower than we should have. The lines were being juggled but I understood, babcock was just trying to find the best fit. And he did when he lined up Crosby with Iginila. We took off. Iginila scored a hat trick! By the end of the game I felt like Team Canada had found their legs and lines. That we were starting the long haul for gold on the right foot.

Then is game 2 against Switzerland.... I couldn't find the Crosby-Iginla line that had worked so well. Babcock was mixing it up yet again. Why?! And Brodeur was in net. We started slow again. Too slow. It's like they're 3 year olds Babcock has awoken in the middle of the night and thrown them into skates and it's not until the 2nd period that they realize they're in the middle of a game. We took too long to get started and Jonas Hiller was too good. More importantly Brodeur was not good.

One of the 2 goals scored by Switzerland to tie the game, should never have gotten in. It was cheap and easy. Luckily Brodeur did stand on his head in a shoot out and Sidney Crosby - the best player on the face of the planet right now - finally woke up and scored on his 2nd shoot out shot. We won, but a tie isn't worth full points. Luckily, miraculously for us, Russia on the very same day also ened up in a shoot out with Slovakia and some how Alexander the Great, Number 8, didn't find the net. Russia lost.

My thoughts at that point were, okay, we'll kick the USA's Ralph Lauren wearing asses (really? Giant polo horses on your Winter Olypic gear makes sense?!) and move ahead of Russia and let them struggle for a medal shot.

But Kesler announced he hated Canadians (way to go douchebag, you still have to play IN Canada when this is done, for a team whose fans know ow to hold a grudge) and he wasn't kidding. The Americans came out full force and Ryan Miller was on fire. Babcock was switching lines like the players were icons on slot machines in Vegas. Crosby-Nash-Staal, Nash-Iginla-whatever. it was a gong show. Babcock had the nation fuming.

Brodeur sucked. No other words for it. Brodeur totally sucked. He spent the majority of the game flailing like a fish. And his "incredible puck-handling skills" landed a puck on the stick of a USA player who promptly put it in Brodeur's net. He should have been pulled after the 1st period but Babcock didn't do it. After a loss of 5-3 that shattered a nation's dreams, the chants could be heard throughout Vancouver.

"Luongo! Luongo! Luongo!"

Canada wants Bobby Lou. And as we fought German for a chance to stay in it, we got Roberto Luongo and he did great! His size, his flexibility and his experience in hard situations came through. For those who aren't a Canucks fan, here is why Luongo is the best goalie choice now that we're under the gun (why he should have stayed #1 goalie the entire series so far). Team Canada hasn't been playing to the best of their abilities. Luongo has consisitently gotten the Canucks to the playoffs and kept them in the playoffs - standing on his head, making save after save while the Sedin Twins fall asleep and the rest of the team shits the bed. It happens every freaking year. And he comes through.

Luongo is used to it. Luongo can do it.

Babcock seems to finally be sticking with what works. Crosby & Iginla were line mates once again against Germany and it worked. Luongo worked. Hell even Niedermyer showed up and made his presence known.

But Russia... was what we did against the Germans going to be enough against Russia? I can't say for sure. I know Russia has it's own weaknesses - defence primarily. I know that Ovechkin has had off days too in this tournament. I know Crosby has beaten Ovechkin more than once and can definitely do that again. I know Ovechikin is a dirty, sneaky son of a bitch who checks hard and dirty (Jager). I know if he pulls that again, we may actually have him ejected. Olympic rules are no purposeful hits to the head or neck. And no fights.

If Ovie doesn't get kicked out for an illegal hit, our boys (Pronger, Weber, Nash, Crosby) better keep their heads because Ovechkin will be pushing buttons as much as he will be making slapshots. No fights Pronger. No fights.

My dream would be that Ovie gets carried away and does something illegal and gets kicked out. That we come out and start the first period the way we've started the 2nd and 3rd in other games. Hard, fast, dominating. That Crosby and Iginla keep scoring together. That Luongo stands on his head. That Russia shits the bed.

That we win. Please hockey Gods may we win.

We can do it. It's going to be a dog fight but we can do it. I believe.