Canada vs. Norway Postgame

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As expected, the Norwegians couldn’t put up much of a fight against the high-powered Canadians.  The 8-0 win was pretty much as expected after a slow start; Pal Grotnes was pretty good early and when he was replaced after allowing four things went downhill in a hurry for Norway.  They did manage a few quality chances, however, mostly on the power play, and early in the first Patrick Thoresen dumped Drew Doughty and stole the puck to get a good shot away in close.

The broadcast crew – notably Pierre McGuire and Nick Kypreos – sounded nervous after the first as Canada failed to convert on two power play chances, and the audience was reminded repeatedly that the poor power play was the bane of the Turin team.  That concern disappeared quickly as the Canadians started scoring.

Despite the score, things were a long ways from perfect.  The Canadians took several lazy, undisciplined penalties – Eric Staal was exposed on the penalty kill and took a tripping minor, Sidney Crosby retaliated in a moment of anger, earning a roughing penalty, and Dany Heatley took perhaps the stupidest slashing call I’ve ever seen in a fit of pique.  The Norwegians had chances; Roberto Luongo may have only had to make 15 saves but some of them were quality and in close.  Given the talent disparity between the two clubs, that was surprising. 

On a less serious note, while Pierre McGuire is capable of being an insightful commentator, this tournament could get very long very quickly if he doesn’t tone it down a little, apply something resembling a filter, and possibly stop downing a half dozen Red Bulls prior to the game.  When it’s 7-0 Canada, nobody needs to hear about how brilliant the coaches are, how wonderfully talented the players are, and how amazing each and every little play is.  Some calm analysis and possibly even a bit of a critical commentary (not to be confused with hand-wringing after Canada goes 0-for-2 on the power play or Sidney Crosby passes rather than shooting) would go a long way towards making it easier to listen to the game.

I think my favourite player comment came at the second intermission, from Jarome Iginla, who finished the game with a hat-trick.  Asked whether the Canadians needed to shoot the puck more, Iginla injected some reality into the situation, saying “we can’t just shoot from bad angles.”  I’ve watched enough hockey to know that every analyst’s solution to offensive woes is to simplify and shoot the puck more, and while sometimes that can be a good idea Iginla is exactly right: a little bit of patience, and a little bit of intelligence in finding prime shooting areas can be a lot more effective than just blasting the puck on net and hoping for the best.

Three Stars

1. Jarome Iginla.  The Calgary Flames captain hasn’t had a great season by his lofty standards, but he was the best player on the ice tonight, scoring three goals.  His first goal was a perfect shot from the high slot that put Canada ahead 1-0 and seemed to relieve some of the tension after Norway held things close early on.

2. Sidney Crosby.  Leaving aside the silly penalty, Crosby managed three assists while centering Canada’s top line, and also won 60% of his face-offs.  He played the game we’re used to seeing from him in the NHL – cerebral and effective in all three zones.

3. Roberto Luongo.  The temptation here is to name either Nash, who was very effective as the third member of Canada’s top line, or Heatley, who scored two goals, but Luongo actually had to make some very good saves en route to his shutout. 

Next matchup: Thursday at 4:30 PT vs. Switzerland.

Comments (8)

  1. Watching the first period of the game it reminded me a bit of the USA-Switzerland game in parts of the first and third period. I’m hoping the Yanks can make a statement against Norway which I feel they failed to do against Switzerland. Jonas Hiller cannot be under-rated, though.

    Also, couldn’t agree more with the Pierre McGuire analysis. I’ve got non-hockey friends who love to wake up on a Sunday and just hang out, which the NBC 1 PM game is perfect for. They always say if the announcers would just shut up for a minute watching the game would always be more enjoyable, and I couldn’t agree more. If I hear the phrase “active stick” one more time I might begin to bleed out my ears. As a current hockey player its a natural instinct to attempt to get stick on puck, not a coaching or strategic point.

    Take a page from Soccer, NHL announcers. Just let the game flow at points, because half the time people are talking amongst themselves or doing other things while watching TV, not listening to you.

  2. Well that was sort of eh game. Can’t really tell anything by and we won’t know where this team is really at till they play the States. But comparing the game the states had to the one the Canada had I’d say Canada is definetly the better team. The US just looked flat at a lot of points. Canada will have to watch Ryan though if it wasn’t for him the States might have actually lost that game somehow. Should actually get interesting when they face off until then we’ll have to settle for Canada playing sub par competition.

  3. >>>Dany Heatley took perhaps the stupidest slashing call I’ve ever seen

    Big call, coming from a guy whose favorite team employs Ethan Moreau as its captain. :)

  4. I caught some of the live stream of the US-Switzerland game online and McGuire was awful. He and Ed Olcyzk spent most of the latter half of the second period lavishing fawning praise on the US national development program. This despite the fact that the American team was looking less than impressive and there were surely angles to explore as to why. Doc Emrick also took the opportunity to speak to his audience as though they were all ten year olds who’d never seen a hockey game before. Thankfully, Eurosport picked up the third period so I watched it on my TV with Dutch commentary, which was actually far more enjoyable. I couldn’t stay up for Canada-Norway, though. The 1:30 am mid-week game starts in this time zone are tough, I’m going to have to pick and choose what games I catch.

    Anyway, thanks for the recap, particularly because the ones on the CTV Olympics website are garbage. And would it kill them to actually do a proper box score? Surely somebody out there must be tracking player’s ice time. At the very least the number of shots a player took in a game would be nice.

  5. Matt: Nice!

  6. Pierre should have been out a loooooong time ago, he is predictable in his broadcasts and says exactly what he thinks people want to hear, not an opinion, its sickening how many bandwagons he jumps on and off in a game

  7. Pierre McGuire = John Madden on speed beans… captain obvious at an incredible rate of stupid, served with a healthy portion of annoying.
    Love the dynamic of the first line through two periods of play together… Norway obviously not much of a measuring stick but it’s nice to see that late game intesity, right to the last whistle. Canada matches with anyone talent wise, which is all fine and dandy, but it’s a lunch box mentality that will win us this tournament. Having said that, I don’t mean (as Iginla said and Jonathan has reinforced) that we should be wheeling pucks at the net from all angles, rather than creating the quality chances our talent will allow us to. Game against Swiss is perfect example of a team we could force our offence, double or triple them in SOG, and lose a close scoring game to a hot Goaltender. Making opportunities count will eliminate the chance for that to happen, important to play better thurs in first period, and I expect they will with more chemistry developed.

  8. it was a good game . but the first 20 mins where slow :)

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