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Recap: America (Fuck Yeah) 5 – Canada 3

February 22, 2010

Well this is a tad bit embarrassing.  Yesterday I picked against my home country in favor of our friendly neighbors to the north.  However, it feels like I picked the British in the Revolutionary War.  So I just want to get this out there first.  This game wasn’t the 1980 or 1960 games.  Last night was no miracle.  Was the United States an underdog last night? Yeah probably (Brian Burke would probably be screaming “YESSSSS” at me right now if he could.)  But only to the extent that a roster of pros making $85,212,499 this year can be considered underdogs.  There was nothing “do or die” about it.  It wasn’t an elimination game.  It was the last game of group play, which everyone advances from.

So let’s give that game credit for what it actually was, a fucking amazingly entertaining hockey game (According to Edzo it was “tremendously tremendous”.)  Someone from NBC should probably be getting fired as you read this for the colossal mistake of putting that game on MSNBC.  Anybody know how the ice dancing went?  I’m sure it was fantastic… I actually can’t wait for the ratings on these to come out so we can see MSNBC beat NBC.

There are usually two universal truths when it comes to Olympic hockey: teams shouldn’t take any player who is hurt and is playing less than 100% and the team with the hottest goalie during the tournament is usually wearing something very shiny at the end.  And last night was definitely a story of two goaltenders.  Marty Brodeur, the best goalie of all time, gave Canada reason for panic.  Ryan Miller, arguably the best goalie in the NHL right now, gave the US hope and stability.

Brodeur is catching a ton of heat today and for good reason.  He can easily be blamed for 3 of the goals he gave up.  He got beat by a bit of an unlucky bounce off of Crosby’s stick, but how can you explain the baseball swing attempt at a clear?  Failing to clear that left his whole team out to dry.  Brian Rafalski said his experience playing on a team with Brodeur led him to jump up to the middle of the ice and pick up the attempted clear.

On the other end, Miller was incredible.  And he needed to be.  He’s going to need to have another performance like that if the US wants to take the gold.  Canada had superior puck possession and ended the game with 45 shots on goal.  Miller’s best moments came late in the third where it felt like Canada got about 8 shots on goal before the defense could clear the zone.  His huge saves right there won the game.

Hawks in the Game

Coach Q said he didn’t have a rooting interest last night. He was just watching to see how the Hawks players were doing.  He had to be extremely pleased.

Toews was the best player for Canada. Of course I can’t find official stats for the life of me anywhere. But I know he ended up with 2 assists and was definitely in the +.

Keith led Canadian skaters in time on ice and looked pretty solid paired up with Doughty.  They were on the ice for the home run swing goal against, but can they really be blamed for that?  I’d understand if they had been playing with Brodeur for an entire season already, but who would expect THAT after playing together for less than a week?

Kane was held off the scoresheet, but he had a solid night.  It was the usual “Patrick Kane has the puck until he decides he doesn’t want it anymore” style of play.  When he had the puck, everything slowed down.  And that’s something to note because these weren’t exactly scrub defenders he was playing against.

Seabrook wasn’t too noticeable, but did pick up a secondary assist after Toews set up Eric Staal.

What’s Next?

The United States gets to wait until Wednesday when they play the winner of Switzerland and Belarus.  They should have an easy go of it in that game.  After that they’ll play either Finland, Czech Republic, or Latvia.  The only thing that would stop them in there could be a ridiculous game from Vokoun for the Czechs.

Canada plays tomorrow against Germany, who is 0-3 with 3 goals for and 12 goals against in the tournament.  That should be an easy win.  They’ll play Russia on Wednesday.  It’ll be an interesting matchup.  Russia is facing a bit of an injury problem. Zinoviev is out for the remainder of the KHL season, so Russia is going to have to double shift some of their centermen.  I bet they’re regretting carrying 8 defensemen right about now.

And not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if both teams win out, Canada and the United States would play each other in the gold medal game.  That, my friends, would be a ridiculous game.

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