Photo courtesy TSN.ca

Hey, an elimination game! This should be fun. Today (tonight? I don’t know) the real fun begins as Canada takes on the US of A once again in a big IIHF game. I’m too tired to be nervous and too nervous to be coherent so this should be pretty interesting. Being tired aside, I kind of like how these early games add, for me, a lot more drama to these games. If we lose it’s like “I stayed up for THAT?” And if we win it’s more of a “that was amazing and I feel like I was part of something special.” Twitter has done a lot to further this and that’s a good thing. Cause, I mean, it’s sports, this is supposed to be fun. And it so, so is. I think that’s worth the trade off of being a little tired tomorrow and upset and disappointed if Canada can’t pull out a victory. So, yeah, it’s 3:56 am here in Toronto and Uncle Bob is giving us his keys to the game for Team Canada so that must mean the puck is about to drop.

Let’s do this.

Let’s go Canada.

1st Period

*Ferraro says that Canada could really use an early goal in this game and, not to get all Tim McCarver on you guys and let you know that goals are probably good, but I agree with him. Rattle Gibson, if that’s possible.

*Subban makes a nice save on a hard shot from a weird angle but kicks out a huge rebound to JT Miller who had an open cage but couldn’t get the shot off in time (also a weird angle). Subban couldn’t do much, or anything, to smother that one but I haven’t been a fan of his rebound control all tournament. I’ll take any save today, though.

*Gibson makes his first nice save on the game on a quick deflection. Crazy quick reflexes on this guy, didn’t even seem to phase him as he froze the puck. Man, he’s good.

*Johnny Gaudreau just walked right through the Canadian defense and juuuuust missed putting it, well, backhand shelf. Crossbar, I think. I couldn’t tell, everything flashed white for a second.

*Can someone PLEASE tell Tyler Biggs that the Maple Leaf on the jersey is NOT a target? Every damn shot he takes goes right into the goalie’s chest. Wait, no, don’t do that today. Tell him if the NHL ever comes back. Let’s just forget I said anything.

*Jake McCabe is the first American to put the puck in the back of the net. Nice save from Subban but Canada couldn’t get control of the puck and then everything got pretty chaotic before the puck landed on McCabe’s stick. Canada looks totally disorganized. I dislike this.

*Canada turns it over in their own zone (again) and Subban’s…sleeve, I think, makes a nice save.

*Canada is getting, well, rather dominated. They look sloppy and sluggish while the States look sloppy and fast as hell. I would not call this a well-played game by either side at this point but the States have unquestionably been the better team through the first 12 minutes.

*Gibson makes a point blank save on JC Lipon that he had absolutely no business making that made me say “oh my God” out loud. Holy crap, he’s good.

*McCabe again. Grimaldi’s cross-ice pass gets deflected right to McCabe. Nothing Subban could do. 2-0. This is horrible.

*Canada’s defense has been absolutely atrocious thus far. Bad passes, letting the puck get away from them, not backing up Subban. This was not the vaunted team we expected to see in a lockout year.

*Scheifele’s down again. Someone glue that kid’s feet to the ice or something. Jesus.

*The buzzer sounds and the first is over. Not a single minor penalty was taken by either team in those 20 minutes and Canada is losing so pretty much this game has been the opposite of all that came before it in this tournament. Great.

1st Intermission

*Whoever wrote those Molson 67 “Guyet” commercials should be unemployed. Forever.

2nd Period

*Back and forth we go as the two teams exchange chances about five times. Puck bouncing everywhere. The rather thrilling, if not entirely sloppy, sequence ends with Johnny Gaudreau getting the puck roofing it over Subban’s shoulder. 3-0. Kill me.

*This game is starting to open up a little bit but Canada hasn’t looked any more together or organized than they did in the first period. Ryan Strome seems to be the only Canadian who actually remembered he’s playing in a hockey game this morning. And then, as Strome finds himself in all alone in front of Gibson, he can’t beat the American goalie. They’ve been the two best players on their respective teams.

*Canada’s D keeps letting Americans walk in front of Subban and let shots rip. Luckily, most of them have missed the net. Absolutely no presence from the D whatsoever. Subban’s being left all alone out there.

*27 minutes into the game we get our first penalty. A slashing call to Nuge at the end of a 3:09 shift (thanks, Ray). I’m really starting to feel that “I got up for THIS” feeling.

*I’m legitimately shocked Canada killed that off. That probably doesn’t bode well for them going forward.

*Canada finally gets a power play and, during the man advantage, the Americans purposefully dislodge their net. Ref missed it. Power play over. This is not good at all. Canada hasn’t been able to get any pressure on Gibson at all. Not just in terms of lack of shots, there’s been no guys getting in front of Gibson or even joining the rush when the puck is pushed past the red line. Not going to win a lot of games playing like that and Canada is currently on their way to learning that lesson the hard way.

*Jim Vesey gets around the Canadian defender and wrists it past Subban who has just been completely left out to dry by his defense today. 4-0 USA, Subban is out, Jordan Binnington is in. I’m sure the media won’t overreact to this at all.

*Griffin Reinhart just smacked Trochek in the face/side of the head with his stick. Gets ruled a high sticking. That was inches away from being really, really bad.

*Binnington makes an oustanding stop on McCabe after an unreal drop pass from Grimaldi (on a breakaway!) and is then upstaged by an even better stop on the other end by Gibson who just took a goal away from Canada.

*The States head to the locker room up four and on the power player. I almost don’t even want Canada to come back in the third. They absolutely do not deserve to as they’ve been horrendous for about 38 of 40 minutes so far.

 

2nd Intermission

*Canada is apparently only being outshot 24-18. I find that incredibly hard to believe. The way this game has gone, that just can’t be true.

*Ryan Strome tells us that Canada is going to “bust their balls” out there in the third. Well, they better.

 

3rd Period

*Call me immature for saying that I don’t like a 19-year-old because of how he plays hockey, if you must, but I really don’t like Mark Scheifele. At all.

*On a four-on-four Canada just took a too many men penalty. That’s a pretty good representation of how this game has gone.

*Weird, weird, weird. Ty Rattie hits the crossbar and then the whistle goes for some reason just as Rattie puts the puck into the open net. Everyone is confused. Ferraro and Miller are pretty sure the goal can’t count because the whistle went but the refs going upstairs tells me that even they don’t know why the whistle was blown. AND THEY CALL IT A GOAL. 4-1. WE ARE ALIVE. What the HELL just happened? Shorthanded, too.

*”It should be a goal but it shouldn’t be a goal” – Ray Ferraro.

*Seems like weird shit like that is pretty much the only way Canada is going to beat Gibson today.

*Canada actually keeps the puck in the States’ zone for more than thirteen seconds and get a great chance as a tipped shot is somehow stopped by Gibson who happened to be lying on his back at the time. He’s literally falling into saves.

*Gibson robs Strome again with the glove. He is outstanding.

*Gaudreau gets called for a high stick on Oulette and I find myself hoping that a teenage is bleeding so it’s a 4-minute. This tournament is turning me into an asshole. It was a two, by the by.

*Gibson made about four tough saves on that power play. The score remains 4-1, 8 minutes to go. I think that might be it. Yup, Connor Murphy just caught Drouin from behind on a breakaway to interrupt his shot. This one’s done.

*Gaudreau streaks in all alone and puts it past Binnington right after Nuge hits the post. 5-1. That’ll do it. It is worth noting that Binnington has been pretty great since he came in. This is not an indictment of Subban at all as what went down tonight wasn’t really his fault as much as it was a defense that utterly failed him but Binnington has been solid and even great on a few occasions tonight. This was a tough situation to come in cold and he did everything that could have been asked of him.

*Gaudreau’s goal seems to have sucked all the energy out of Canada. Well, all the energy that they had in the last 12 minutes or so. Just playing out the clock, now. Can’t entirely blame them.

*Maybe with all the attention and coverage this is going to get today, the NHL and NHLPA will get some good negotiating done with less noise around them (I know the reporters are all still in New York but I’m guessing a lot of media attention in Canada will be focused on this game). Silver linings and whatnot.

Well, that sucked. 5-1 is your final. Canada is without gold for the fourth straight year and, more irritatingly, will play at four in the morning again in the bronze medal match. The States absolutely deserved to win this game, they were pretty fantastic the entire time and holy mother of God, is John Gibson good. Canada was unfocused, sloppy, and just the opposite of what a good hockey team is supposed to look like.

Oh, also, Jake McCabe won player of the game and, while he had a fine game, anyone not named John Gibson winning the award is an absolute travesty.

Enjoy Lambert, Canada. That, at least, should be fun.