can wins

As always, the notes are chronological (save for the first one), and this isn’t a recap. Here’s what stood out to me during that great game:

1

Depending on who you root for, that was one of the best/worst games ever played. Congrats to Marie-Philip Poulin on the success.

2

Tara Watchorn of Team Canada reminds me so much of Chris Pronger I can’t get over it (which is a huge, huge compliment). Players like Pronger (and Zdeno Chara) play in a way that makes people hate competing against them. Opponents would rather change, rather come down the other side of the ice, rather do anything else than engage them…because they’re mean. Which is good. They’re talented too, but they’re mean. They have zero intention of making friends on the ice. Watchorn could care less, and would be zero fun to play because of that. You like having that on your team (as long as they don’t take endless penalties).

3

Canada’s powerplay should always be set up the way Washington’s is for Ovechkin, but for Meghan Agosta-Marciano. And, the US should do their best to set up Bozek. One thing the women’s game can’t claim to have that the men’s does is the heavy shots (which actually makes it better to watch, because they try to make more low plays around the net instead of playing shoot-n-hope), but Agosta-Marciano and Bozek are exceptions. Being that shots like theirs are so rare, they could catch a lot of goaltenders off-guard.

4

Apparently because it’s governed by the IIHF, women’s goaltending gear isn’t subject to the NHL’s stringent “small as possible” rules, and man, does it show. Both the American and Canadian goaltender are great players that appeared to be wearing sumo suits under Sean Burke’s old equipment. Can’t believe how agile and sharp they were in all that gear.

5

watchorn

There’s nothing worse that a person who doesn’t follow a sport much who watches it a few times and decides what needs to be changed, but…remind me why women’s hockey doesn’t allow bodychecking, again? On Tara Watchorn’s first penalty, a woman chipped a puck by her and she rubbed her into the boards to eliminate the threat. Great body position, great play…Two minutes. The hell are her other options there? Yell “Hey you, don’t, stop?” It’s brutal.

6

There was a moment in the second period where the Americans were shorthanded and took another penalty. The Canadians had the puck and…passed it around the perimeter for 30 seconds? I assume people know this, but goodness – a 5-on-3 is roughly 3,596,000 times easier to score on than a 5-on-4 (rough math). Give the opposition the puck, IMMEDIATELY. Always. Get the whistle. No debate here.

7

The American women played beautifully through 58 minutes, including the first lucky Canadian goal. They were responsible with the puck, made safe decisions with the lead, and were set up to take the game handily in regulation. But this is what’s fun about the human factor of sports. Some people mock the idea momentum, or dismiss pressure, but in huge moments like we saw late in the game, it’s not hard to see how people are situationally effected.

8

The biggest play of the game might’ve been the ref picking the Canadian player and not allowing her to keep the puck in the zone with 90 seconds left, the puck going down the ice, and hitting the gosh-darn post. First: have some intuition, liney – that’s where the puck is going in that situation, every time. What a mess. Second, holy hell, a cross-ice shot hit the post and the Canadians scored after? What. A mess.

9

Natalie Spooner is one of the best skaters (with the puck) I’ve ever seen. Phil Kessel’s in that convo too. She had some great rushes late in regulation, and one in OT.

10

It sucks that reffing was involved in how the game ended, but man – what a terrible slashing call on the US in overtime. They had to make the call on Wickenheiser’s full-ice breakaway, but that slashing call changed the course of the game. Hell, it changed women’s hockey history.

Reffing aside… that was just some thrilling hockey. Both teams deserved it. A cross-ice shot that hit a post and a couple calls made the difference. You gotta be good to be lucky, you gotta be lucky to be good.

Comments (17)

  1. USA Hockey has some karma coming to it sometime, whether it is tomorrow remains to be seen but damn that is an unacceptable call at that point in the game

    • I don’t know if they do. Should not have put the Canadian flag on the floor and walked on it in 2002.

      • You do know that the whole walking on the Canadian flag incident was discovered not to have actually happened. Dumbass.

      • That didn’t happen. There was an investigation at the time, because that’s the kind of thing that gets taken seriously. It’s a bullshit myth.

    • Good luck to you at any rate, tend to agree with Matt on the karma thing though. Heard the commentators say the ref warned her several times earlier in the game about slashing , so you have to wonder why she does that when the refs are clearly going to be looking for an OT equalizer call. At least they somehow called a cross checking minor for a blatant trip with a clear path to the net (another OT equalizer). Either way, good game and tomorrow we are privileged to take in another!

  2. I know they got away with one earlier in the game but that is a very brutal call to make at that point in the game. The penalty on the breakaway was bad.. but that one is the one the papers and message boards will be discussing tonight/ tomorrow.

  3. Canada didn’t want to win a game decided by penalties (I reckon that’s what Coach Dineen was saying when he shook Coach Stone’s hand after the game). But it was the kind of thrilling finish that only fuels the rivalry. Agreed on Natalie Spooner. And Phil Kessel, yes, he’d be pretty dominant in the women’s game ;)

    • Did Mr. Bourne mean Amanda Kessel, Phil’s sister, who played today for team USA? Regardless of the answer, hurray for Team Kessel!

  4. Spooner’s rush late in the 3rd when Canada was down 2-1 was absolutely jaw-dropping. For 55 minutes of the game I couldn’t tell if the Americans were playing great defense, or if Canada just didn’t understand that the way to score goals (in all types of hockey) is from shots from the middle of the ice. Every rush was either a shot from a bad angle, or a blind pass to the front of the net. They started attacking from the middle, and what do you know??? They started scoring.

    All in all though, it was an unbelievable game.

  5. All I had in the back of my head with 5 minutes left was Don Cherry ranting about two goal leads.

  6. First, Great work by the Canadians! Was cheering all the way and hoping they could pull out a win.

    Having said that, the slashing call on the US in OT was awful and I was embarrassed for hockey. A player going for a rebound/loose puck hits the goalie in…the…PADS…and that’s a slash? Has the ref ever watched a game? Is it just me or do you feel sorry for the US & Canada in these games because of the consistently terrible international officiating?

    Kjnda worried that we burned up all of our Canadian karma today and will have nothing left over for the men tomorrow.

  7. Underrated point – the reason Wickenheiser got the breakaway is that the Americans got a 2-on-1 break low, and

    A) didn’t get a shot out of a golden chance
    B) also turned over the puck
    C) while this was going on, the only player back for the US decided for nobody-knows-why to head to the bench for a change.

    It was so inexplicable – you’re the only one there! The whole play is in front of you! Where are you going? I simply could not believe my eyes when I saw it. Boom, breakaway, penalty, PP, goal. Thanks for coming.

    The Canadian keeper, BTW, came up with a couple of sensational saves during that OT. One for sure I though was heading over her shoulder and she got enough of the cuff of her glove back up near her ear to chip the puck over the bar. Great stuff.

  8. About that slash in OT: I think technically it was the right call by IIHF rules even if you would probably never see it happen in the NHL or even a men’s game under IIHF rules (the IIHF rules protecting goaltenders when taken literally are quite strict).

    Also, I think the OT takedown of Wickenheiser deserved a penalty shot, even if it wasn’t of blatant, malicious tripping. I would rather have that than try to defend a 4on 3 power play against Canada.

    Personally, I didn’t like how the penalties help determine the outcome, but that’s hockey, Congrats to the Canadian women’s team. As an American, I’m still proud of Team USA and American hockey overall. If our development system keeps churning out great players, we’ll make a habit out of beating Canada soon enough in men’s and women’s hockey.

  9. Not sure what you saw, but I don’t understand the “They had to make the call on Wickenheiser’s full-ice breakaway” mentality.

    What I saw was literally a brushing of the glove on Wickenheiser’s back.

    If anything, it should have been a diving penalty. On Wickenheiser.

  10. American here.

    Firstly, I completely lost my cool when I saw the winning goal happening on the PP. Mostly because when I watched the replay, I thought it was diving all the way summer Olympic style by Wickenheiser. I’ve backed off that opinion after a night’s sleep, but did she have to lay there, practically begging the ref for a call that the arm was already up for? Maybe it’s just me, but when I see NHL players just lay on the ice looking for a call, I wish they would issue a diving penalty unless there was an injury involved.

    Secondly, I told my wife I’d rather watch women’s hockey vs. men’s hockey because of the lack of checking, namely open-ice checking. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good open-ice hit as much as the next North American, but you can see the women rushing into the thick of traffic with the puck more often, because they know there’s little chance of getting their clock cleaned, unlike in the NHL. This creates more chaos, and I like a little offensive chaos in my hockey viewing experience.

    Thirdly, despite cooling off, I seriously hope Team USA rolls up Canada like a moldy carpet the next time they play a championship game.

  11. Bourne,

    I agree that it is bad to pass the puck around on a delayed 5/4 penalty… but you also don’t give the other team the puck.

    You drop your shoulder and take it to the net hard… at least get a scoring chance out of it. Don’t miss the net, no bad passes… Just drive the net.

    You have possession, you don’t want to give it up.

  12. #6. Not sure I totally agree here as IMMEDIATELY and no questions asked. If you have 100% possession of the puck and gain your extra attacker, making it 6-4, why would you give up possession immediately? Understandably there are more players on the ice and less space, but the resulting whistle will lead to a 50/50 faceoff. Obviously, if you lose that and the defending team clears you lose time, possession and ground. I at least say get a puck to the net if the other team gets the rebound, so be it. At least you aren’t just handing them the puck(more so at the youth level than pro).
    As a player this “give it to them” concept was pounded in my head. It wasn’t until I started coaching that I realized I felt differently about it. I feel a lot if the time it is just something for parents to yell, “give it to them” or “shoot it” on the PP.
    Anyway, love your blog. Great articles and insights. Definitely a daily read for me

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