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George Zoran
Top Prospect

55 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2006 :  09:36:56  Show Profile
This weekend was a rough one for Canadian hockey fans. Going into the tournament as favorites, Canada rolled over Italy 7-2 and Germany 5-1 in the first two games of the tournament and things were looking good. We beat the teams that we were supposed to beat and Switzerland was another one of those teams. Even though they upset the mighty Czech Republic, with only three NHL players on their team (two of them goalies) we still should have rolled over the Swiss. Martin Gerber stood on his head and stopped all 49 shot fired his way, and we lost 2-0.

I for one was not worried about the loss to Switzerland. We ran into a hot goalie – these things happen, right? Wrong. Yesterday’s 2-0 loss to Finland confirmed that Canada has got to come together soon, or this tournament will come to a premature end for the defending Gold medalists. Two games without a goal from these players is unacceptable. This is not meant to discount the Fins – they are a very strong team. But Canada is stronger and should beat them.

There have been a number of excuses tossed around from jet lag, to the large ice surface, to lack of chemistry. Personally, I don’t buy these excuses and feel it all comes down to effort. The last time I checked, pretty well 85% of the players playing on the seven contending teams (CAN, USA, RUS, SWE, SLOV, FIN, and CZE) in these Olympics are NHL players. They all came over to Italy at the same time – give or take a day, so that negates the jet lag excuse.

Same goes for the large ice surface. The majority of the players have been playing on NHL sized rinks now for a while and should all have the same difficulty adjusting – not just the North American teams.

A lack of chemistry may be the only valid excuse, but is still a weak one. I can understand that team Canada had very little time to practice together, but again same goes for every other team. Sakic, Iginla, and Gagne played together last tournament so they should be used to each other; The Tampa Bay line of St. Louis, Richards, and Lecavalier have no excuse; Joe Thornton and Rick Nash played together in the World Cup and with HC Davos during the lockout; Foote, and Blake played together in Colorado. There is definitely some chemistry between these players. They just need to start playing together rather than individually.

I may sound like I have hit the panic button, and I admit I am close to doing so. A solid effort accompanied with a win against the Czechs will reverse my fears. Beating the Czechs will reconfirm our dominance as a hockey nation. Going into the elimination round with three straight losses will be disastrous.

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PickupHockey Pro

398 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2006 :  08:33:35  Show Profile
Ya even with the win against the Czechs I am still in a bit of a panic. If it wasn't for Brodeur we would have lost this one. I totally agree with the poor excuses and feel that if Canada loses today they will start making more of them.
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