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On the heels of a lop-sided 8-2 victory over Germany, Team Canada continues its quest for gold tonight with a quarterfinal game against Russia at 4:30 Pacific Time.

I chose the photo above because it’s a fine representation of Canada’s dominance against Germany, but also because of the player on the far right: Jonathan Toews.  Prior to the tournament I quibbled with the selection of Toews; I was willing to admit he was a fine player but I didn’t think he deserved to be on this team over some of the other options.

I was wrong about that.  Toews has been excellent despite rather limited ice-time, and he currently leads Canada in plus/minus with a plus-7 rating.  He also has five points (all assists) which puts him behind only Dany Heatley and Sidney Crosby for the team lead.  I haven’t run the numbers, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t Canada’s best scorer relative to ice-time.

I hope he gets more ice-time against the Russians, who could end Canada’s medal hopes.  There are some players – mostly veterans – underperforming, and Toews would seem a logical choice to move up the line-up if one of them gets shuttled down.

In net, Roberto Luongo didn’t shut the critics up with a perfect game (and in honesty, even in a perfect game he would have heard ‘it’s just Germany’) but he’ll have his best chance to do so tonight.  His game against the Germans wasn’t bad – the goals scored against were the result of some ugly defensive breakdowns, particularly the last one, a 2-on-0 breakaway.  The true measurement of him – and indeed, the rest of Team Canada -  will start being taken tonight.

As with yesterday, we’ll be live-blogging the festivities, and I invite everyone to join us.

Comments (13)

  1. Sooo, first off I would like to thank Babcock for growing wise as the tournament progresses.. finally leaves Sid and Iggy together, which sorry to point out but I have been saying since this tournament started that Iginla is the best fit on his wing. Obviously last night was an ant hill and now tonight we go mountain climbing… but it feels like we are back on the right track.. in terms of converting chances not creating them! And as stated by many previously, it almost seems better to have the extra game to mesh and didn’t seem to have to spend to much gas on Germany… but I guess we will see tonight. Also regarding the lines, the picture above is exactly the unit I have wanted as the “energy line” since the tournament began, and based on their play they probably deserve as much ice as any of the units do (especially Toews as Jon has pointed out above). Hard to hide excitement on days like this, going to be a long day at work!

  2. Now the real test comes. Last nights blow out was all well an good and the top line and everyone else looked good. But that all means squat if they don’t play well again against a strong Russian squad. It’s fine for Iginla, Stall and Crosby to light things up against Norway and Germany but unless they can do it against a good team we’re going down. The one key factor here will be Nabokov. We’ve all seen him play well when the games don’t matter but like the rest of the Sharks he seems to break under the pressure. Canada will need a lot of luck and a lot of prayers that one of Malkin, Kovalchuk, Semin, Datsyuk and let’s not forget Ovechkin don’t really show up tonight and torch poor Luongo and our D by themselves.

  3. This is going to be a lot of fun.

    The scariest part about this game is that Canada can play very well and still lose; these two teams are so closely matched.

  4. There’s Luongo playing defense and ref again. for the first goal he went out his way and out of his crease to clear a German player, resulting in a goal. Earlier he tried to call a whistle when the puck hit his mask. I wish the Germans had scored. He doesn’t learn. Put Fleury in please. He hasn’t the Olympic baggage but he does have a fresh Stanley Cup ring.

  5. I hope Team Canada was inspired by the crowd chanting “WE WANT RUSSIA”. The’re gonna have to pull out there “A” game cause we all know the Russians will. I’m pretty sure if there was one team that they really want to beat it would be the Canadians and they have their chance to do it tonight. Canada has the tools to beat Russia, lets just hope that they all put in an effort. As for Sid, he is going to have to play his ass off tonight and make some magic. Too me this will be the biggest game he has ever played and more important then winning the Stanley Cup last year. So buckle up your seat belts boys and here is hoping we put those fuckin’ Russians in there place!

  6. Can’t believe all the excuse making for Luongo (not here so much but elsewhere). He sucked. He looked as stiff as Brodeur. Germany? Two goals against? Luongo should have stopped both those. Two goals against from Russia and it could be over. He looked shit. As pointed out he gets distracted too easily. There is a history of this and he’s blown some big ones. Throw Fleury in there and you will advance!

    New faith in Niedemayer; looked like 2002.

    Getzlaf wtf. I still say he is Injured and should not be here. Disapointed in Sevie Y for not cutting him.

    Offensively pretty sound, some great D… but the back check is weak and confused at times. Forwards and D are out of sync. Hope they were working in this in practice. Cuz Loooo is gonna get bumped by the Russians, loose composure, and loooose it for Canada! Fleury! Fleury!

  7. You guys are all on crack if you think that Fleury is going to start. Its going to be Luongo no matter how much you whine, bitch and moan. So get used to the idea and stop bashing him. If he loses then go right ahead and crucify him on the cross. If Canada wins he will be the greatest thing since fucking sliced bread. If you guys have any Canadian bone in your body you will cheer on our boys through thick and thin and not complain cause he let in two goals against the Germans. Glenn and Amac pull your butt plugs out and show some pride!

  8. People get a grip. Luongo is the best goaly for Canada. he may have let in a few goals but he hasn’t let more than 3 goals in unlike the others. It won’t come down to who’s the better goaly, it will be the best defense, unfortunatly canadas defense isn’t that great but I will always cheer team Canada on. I think score will be 4-2 Canada. Unless Brodure is in then score will be 10-1 Russia

  9. Screw it, Im the biggest Flames fan on the planet… but tonight im the biggest Luongo fan on the planet cause we need him big time. He is well deserving of this start and bashing his play at this point is pointless. time to let NHL based bias go during this tournament, I am actually enjoying agreeing with everyone on the subject of hockey! Work with a Canucks fan, we have been getting along admirably… walked by him today he yelled Go Iginla down the hall at me, I yelled Go Luongo back… screw it time to pull for the same side which for all of us means pulling for Luongo… just don’t let Russia go chicago on your ass Bobby Loo, and if they do you better cry for Canada too.
    got a good feeling about tonight for some reason!

  10. It is only because I care.

  11. If you really care you will rise to the occasion and support our CANADIAN goalies regardless of who starts

  12. Fleury Would Do the Best But We Can Get It Done Reguadless Whos in net Look At our sdtacked team We Will win this Easily

  13. WE WON!!! CANADA WON!!!

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