jeff carter goal

#1

The jerseys, man. (Look, we went over this yesterday, we’ll get to the hockey. Gimme a sec here.) Those black Canadian jerseys. Thoughts:

jerzzz* They’re not awful. As far as jersey’s go, they’re fairly inoffensive and cool.

* Wait, did I say inoffensive? Because they have a Nazi armband, which is probably the opposite of inoffensive. I can’t think of the word…non-inoffensive? I’m sure that’s it. Anyway, you gotta go with two arm stripes, or none. You can’t wear a Nazi armband in international competition and expect not to get called out on it. Not cool, bro. Not cool.

* Imagine you’re Matt Duchene. You’re going to play in the friggin’ Olympics for the first time in your life. Wow. You’re getting a regular shift beside Getzlaf and Perry. You might have one game to prove you belong in the lineup and not the pressbox. And if it doesn’t go perfectly and you end up scratched, you may not get back in. Coaches rarely changes lineups after wins. So this might be your only Olympic game, ever. In your life. Here’s your black jersey with a Nazi armband, kid. Just like you always dreamed.*

*Note: yes, I’m aware he likely gives zero sh**s about the sweater.
Just let me pretend it’s a thing.

#2

Corey Perry’s hand-eye coordination continues to stand out amongst a bunch of dudes with great hand-eye every time I watch him. To set up the Shea Weber’s goal he hand to knock down a cross-ice pass at knee height with one hand, which wasn’t a problem (then holy pineapple mittens did Shea Weber capital-b Bomb that). Yesterday he made a play where he knocked the puck out of the air. He’s scored multiple baseball-style goals in the NHL. Keep an eye out for it – I’m guessing dude didn’t strike out much in Little League.

#3

P.K. Subban and Matt Duchene were basically forced into the role of “frequent healthy scratch guy” today, and it’s a crippling way to play if your strengths are on the offensive side of the puck. Coaches notice when their fringe guys turn the puck over, so all they want them to do is play safe. But if you’re specialty is creating offense, you have to take some risks. So you’re in a situation where the coach expects you to produce risk-free offense. Good luck with that. In the first period, both Subban and Duchene dumped pucks in, which you almost never see from them in the NHL. But you know they got to the bench and got their butt-pats for their Good Ol Canadian Smart Hockey.

Matt Duchene never had much of a chance to do what he does today (the one time he actually tried to get fancy by faking a slapper and passing, he was in a money scoring spot. Not good). P.K. Subban, on the other hand, was solid in every regard, and made it pretty clear that he should be in Canada’s top six. But in fairness, I’m biased towards great players.

#4

kunitzThe Chris Kunitz Thing is killing me. I know, I know, I know this isn’t the first time you’ve heard it and it’s getting tiresome, but that Team Canada has decided to shift John Tavares to play wing but didn’t run a Tavares-Crosby-St. Louis line is baffling. It’s one thing if you want to use Tavares as a center. But if you’re over that being an issue, play the guy with Sid. Every time he touches the puck he moves it to a better place, as does Crosby, so you can imagine how some of those offensive zone possessions would look. Kunitz was probably Canada’s worst player against Austria, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with him going forward.

Crosby’s situation is an interesting one – he was great in the first game, but didn’t really find his groove in game two. The guy’s role shouldn’t have to be using sorcery to turn good players into great ones.

(Another note on this: this isn’t a knock on Chris Kunitz, awesome hockey player, good guy. It’s commentary with context – in this lineup, with these options, he’s not the right choice.)

#5

Along the same thought as the one above, Tavares did hit the ice with Sid a couple times because Mike Babcock had the “extra” guy from the four-man fourth-line rotating in with Sid and Kunitz, likely hoping to see if there’s a spark amongst any of those combos (I advocated doing something like this before the game). The other thing I noticed with Babcock’s player usage was how insanely short he kept shifts, particularly when plays were whistled down. It has to be a tough job to get all those stars on the ice and keep them happy. But my guess is that Babcock is less concerned with individual players finding a rhythm, and more concerned with the team finding it – you won’t be on the ice long, but you won’t be on the bench long either, so go hard, quick rest, and you can go hard again. He’s more about the team rolling than he would be in the NHL, where you want your stars playing their best first and foremost.

#6

Roberto Luongo looked excellent. Maybe he didn’t see a ton of grade A quality chances, but it’s not like he went entirely untested. Price was good in game one too, but I’d personally run with Luongo until you’re given reason not to. All he does is stop pucks at an above average rate, and he’s played in plenty of big games. Let the incumbent give you your reliable goaltending. More on this in point 10.

#7

That was an Olympic hockey game on Valium, which reminded me of a stacked beer league team I played on. Once it’s obvious that one team is so much better than the other and they’ve built up a lead, neither team is too eager to really push to make something happen. It’s over. Run the clock, guys. Nobody’s having fun.

#8

carterJeff Carter put together a natural hat-trick against Austria, and he did it in a team-low total of ice time, 8:46. It’s not like any of the goals were particularly difficult ones – Marleau rapped one off the post that kicked to him, he wrapped in a goalie turnover, and he fanned on shot that went under the goalies pad – but you know that’s going to be enough to cement him as a consistently used player by Canada (which is just fine). To his credit, his first goal was a perfect example of something coaches preach though: he didn’t skate by the net, he stopped. That’s a chance earned, where I’d have been doing a loop in the corner by then.

#9

The powerplay is still a bit of a mess.

There’s an experiment that I vaguely remember from University where they offered people 30 flavors of ice cream, let them pick, then had them rate their satisfaction of it. Then they did the same with people after offering them only two. The people who were offered two largely rated their satisfaction higher, likely because they didn’t feel like they missed out on something (finally got to use this oh-so-valuable psych info I studied so hard to gain, nice). That’s kinda how Canada’s powerplay looks. If it were more like pinball, and they were granted multi-puck, they’d be just fine. But it just seems like there’s too many options for guys, so the choices are more complicated, and guys are making a lot of unsatisfying choices because of it. Might be time to refer to the gospel of KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

And finally…

#10

My line-up against Finland:

Kunitz and Vlasic in the stands.

Tavares-Crosby-St. Louis

Marleau-Getzlaf-Perry

Benn-Toews-Nash

Sharp-Bergeron-Carter

Duchene

Don’t care if Sharp-Toews don’t play together. And c’mon, Benn-Toews-Nash? Ungh, double-up ungh, ungh. Also be happy to see Duchene plugged in for Sharp, depending who’s got jump that night.

Keith-Weber

Doughty-Pietrangelo

Bouwmeester-Subban

Hamhuis

One guy playing his off-side, and it’s Alex Pietrangelo. We’ll be okay.

Luongo

Price 

Smith

Difference between Lu and Price is basically negligible, I just feel more comfortable with Lu in net for now. Give him the crease and the chance to lose the job as the guy who’s won gold before. Like seniority with jersey numbers, but on a bigger scale.

Comments (20)

  1. Not sure why you’d put Vlasic in the stands. He was fine (with the exception of one bad cross ice pass, which is very unlike him). They aren’t lacking on offense from the blue line. The Kunitz thing bugs the hell out of me too. Essentially they have to keep playing him, or admit to everyone that they burned two roster spots to just end up with Sid (which might be worth it, but is stupid).

    • If I had to guess its probably because he thinks the other 7 defense men are better than him. Just a hunch

      • Just what the world needs. Another smart ass. Justin went on twitter and asked us to challenge him on his selections. Consider him challenged. I’d like to see his justification based on the play so far.

  2. You must mean Perry for one of the Carters.

  3. The whole line combo, goaltending hyper analysis thing that happens in Canada during the first 2 games is so utterly dumb. Its all the goofs doing play by play can talk about. What do we know about ANY of the players that actually matters from watching them play Norway and Austria? Give me a break – these guys have played between 57 and 60 games this year in the NHL. As if we can adequately know who to play vs the Russians or Americans based on what they played like in one snooze fest against Austria.

    Price faced maybe a couple legitimate scoring chances between long stretches of on-ice napping. Luongo faced a few more. Is this really what we’re basing the rest of the tourney on? I’m a habs fan and I would be entirely fine with Luongo playing all of the remaining games because he’s very good – but to base it on one game against a team playing all-out defense?

    I would prefer to see Tavaras on a line with Crosby, but if he ends up playing with Bergeron and Carter – does that all of a sudden suck for him? This is a dream team. While synergy and comfort count in a short tournament – I think we need to step back from the ledge and give these guys a little credit.

  4. I think you start Price against Finland because Norway wasn’t really a valid test for him. If he falters, Luongo can start in the “easy” play-in game and you can ride him the rest of the way. The other way around, if Luongo falters against the Finns, Canada has to switch back to a cold, never-really-tested Price.

    • But Luongo was barely tested as well. I trust they will both practice tomorrow or Sunday, so neither of them will be “hot” or “cold”. Having said that, I’d start Luongo because it’s his crease to lose to Price. If he starts to falter, throw Price in and ride him like Secretariat all the way to the end.

      • Luongo starting cold is better than Price starting cold. He’s won on this stage before, so he’ll at least have experience to help him get in the groove on short notice. Price wasn’t even on the roster 4 years ago. Not hating, just saying.

  5. Doughty shoots right and always plays the right side for the Kings.
    Otherwise you’re on point. However, when you’re talking about all these talented players…does it really make a difference what the lines are?

  6. this viewer did not like team Canada in all black jerseys

    it just doesn’t feel right – I kept looking at Austria as Canada

  7. Also not sure why Vlasic is in the stands, especially over hamhuis. Marleau and Toews looked good together whether they were with carter or Nash.

  8. OK, yeah yeah, everyone is down on Kunitz, and with good reason. I have a suggestion though:

    Rick Nash is no longer a top-tier winger. There, I said it. Guy is fun to watch, because he actually tries to dangle, which pretty much nobody else on this team does. However — with a capital H — he isn’t doing squat. He’s starting to fade, and it stinks, because it seems like his career just started, but nope. Rick Nash now ain’t the Rick Nash we think he is.

    So allow me to sound totally crazy, and say that Kunitz should play over Nash. No
    “ungh double-up ungh ungh” with Nash on a line. He’s not producing and he’s not performing as well as one would hope.

  9. No word on the Getzlaf mitts? Man was that goal a beauty. Of course it was Austria but still, just to try that move in the Olympics in the slot, quite the talent.

  10. Talk about Kunitz all you want, but go back and watch Bouwmeester. He’s making mistakes and losing battles no one else is.

    I can’t believe I’m the only one taking about it. Once you notice it, you can’t stop seeing it. It’s overlooked because his linemates are covering for him.

    Please go back and just watch Bouwmeester all game. Real talk.

    • I completely agree with you. I thought he was their worst Dman in the first two games. He made too many turnovers, and doesn’t have the same puck possession skill as the rest of the D core has.
      International ice is all about taking care of the puck, it’s not as much of a north/south game as NHL hockey is. On many occasions Bouwmeester forced the puck up the ice to quickly on transitions, and put his forwards in bad situations, where they had no choice but deflect or dump the puck in, which isn’t an ideal situation on international ice, because it’s so hard to have an effective offensive zone forecheck. I just think that he hasn’t been able to adapt to the game well so far. I’d much rather see Subban getting more ice time over him.

    • I didn’t see the game, but I believe you. When I read that Bouwmeester was on the roster, all I could think of were the times he got burned by the type of players he’ll be going against in the medal rounds. I find it hard to believe Team Canada couldn’t find a d-man would more upswing than B.

      But, since I’m a good ol’ American boy rooting for the U.S. of A., I probably don’t mind as much as most people reading this blog.

  11. holy pineapple mittens. that’s my takeaway from this article. except i never noticed the “nazi armbands” I thought the jerseys were cool. too much red red red jerseys in this competition.

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