can scores 2

1

That was quite possibly the least-close 1-0 game between two great teams that’s ever been played. The zone time was preposterously lopsided, the scoring chances weren’t that close. Carey Price was asked to be great in the first period and was absolutely that for Canada, but in the second and third period he was simply just asked to…be. Canada’s back-pressure through the neutral zone kept the Americans second chance opportunities to just about nil.

2

Holy line changes, batman. At one point in the third the CBC broadcast mentioned that no Canadian forward had an average shift length above 40 seconds. And as the game progressed, they grew increasinly militant about it. Puck in, off the ice, fresh legs, puck in, off the ice. I’m pretty sure Jeff Carter was on the bench for 25 seconds once after a 17 second shift.

3

It’s funny watching guys like Rick Nash and Matt Duchene play more humble roles in games like this. On their teams in the NHL they’re looked at as The Guys, the players who need to score or their teams have no chance to win, so it’s hilarious watching them dutifully dump pucks in and change, keep their shifts short, and do the right things. There seemed like about 10 players on Canada/US trying to create (Kessel, Kane, Parise, Crosby, Benn and so on) and the rest of the guys were just trying real hard not to become national punchlines. 

4

The real shocker for Canada is how many of their fringe picks have turned out to be so valuable assets. Jeff Carter is playing on the PK and PP and taking a regular shift, Patricks Sharp and Marleau have been great, even a guy like Marc-Eduord Vlasic has played extremely well. Those were all “maybe” names before the tournament, and they’ve played huge roles.

5

The biggest takeaway from the matchup is how Canada answered all questions about how to stop a high-flying US team from scoring by simply having the puck. It was a classic game of “the best defense is a good offense.” The US had occasional moments of hope through the neutral zone, but spent so much time in their own zone they didn’t get many opportunities to be dangerous.

6kessel

Phil Kessel has elevated himself from the status of “great offensive player” to “one of the best players in the world.” He’s a little bit older now and seems to have gained a measure of confidence that makes him just terrifying for defenses every time he touches the puck. Unfortunately for the Americans, again, he didn’t get many chances to show it. (You can basically say the same thing about Patrick Kane, too.)

7

I just can’t wrap my head around lining up for a faceoff against Ryan Getlaf, Corey Perry and Jamie Benn. I mean, eff me. These guys have some of the best mitts on the planet, and they just happen to be eight-foot-twelve, 600 pounds each (ballpark). They’re just so crafty and strong, trying to D-up on them from the corner out must take so, so much energy. What a game they played today, Benn in particular. The vision and tip on the first goal were silly.

8

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Sidney Crosby’s greatest attribute aside from his decision making might be puck acquisition. I feel like if you throw the puck into the corner with him and _____, he’s coming out with it, and there’s no name you could put in that blank that would change the thought. He lifts sticks with ferocity, deftly fishes pucks out with consistency…it’s a real gift.

9

The United States managed to do a good job hanging around long enough to make the game as close as it was. The Canadians missed a lot of nets and had a lot of shots blocked, which left the US in a “one shot ties it” scenario, which is pretty isn’t such a bad spot to be in. Credit to Jonathan Quick, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Suter for keeping it from being a disaster.

10

It’s pretty remarkable how a team with the talent of Canada can be so useless on the powerplay. It’s not even like they’ve been unlucky, they’re rarely even generating a chance. Against a defensively responsible Swedish team, Canada would sure benefit from figuring out what’s going on there, cause right now it’s pretty ugly.

Comments (25)

  1. You, sir, are a bastion of good sense in a crazy world.

  2. You know what might help the powerplay? A really strong and fast Dman with a solid shot and great decision making. It’s too bad Canada doesn’t have one of those sitting in the pressbox…

    Seriously though, I watched Patrick Sharp on the point during the first powerplay, and he was awful. Poor decisions, including a rather weak shot. How Subban isn’t being dressed, if only to help the powerplay, is beyond me.

    • Because every single game in this tournament has seen an opponent waiting for the Canadians to make a mistake in order to put the puck in the net. Why put the guy who’s most likely to make that mistake on the ice?

      The Canadians have allowed less than one goal/game, and just shut out the highest scoring offence in the tourny. The blueline has also provided the majority of the scoring. Why on Earth would you change a thing?

      • I call BS. Take a look at NHL.com real time stats. PK Subban has a lot of giveaways – sure. Who is right beside him on the list? Drew Doughty. Karlsson has almost 20 more giveaways. It turns out – the guys who have the most giveaways are the guys who carry the puck the most. PK is a beast with the puck and as it turns out – gives the puck away at the same rate as the other best defensemen in the tournament (at least from a puck carrying perspective).

        • Yup, P.K.s got a reputation that’s ill-informed, sad that the coach/mgmt staff can’t see through that.

          Not surprisingly, I thought JBO and AP were the worst D pairing on the ice (again), it seemed that the US only pressured when they were on the ice, but then again JBO helped get the GWG so what the hell do I know

          • Please. Reputations like these get attached to players for a reason. My evidence isn’t some stat about turnovers, it’s from watching Subban on sportscenter regularly making a mistake that is 100% his fault that ends up in his own net. No doubt he creates chances, but the opponent isn’t going to when if they get none. Is that just my opinion? Absolutely. It just so happens to be one that the Montreal Canadiens agree with, not to mention the greatest hockey minds Canada have to offer.

            Why is everyone rushing to change things? Canada played about as perfect a game as anyone could ask. One mistake on the blueline in the offensive zone giving Kessel an odd man rush would have undone everything. It’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.

      • I’d agree with that if the call was for Subban to play 15+ minutes, but what people are asking for is to use him on the PP, where the risk is minimized, and certainly isn’t greater than playing a forward at the point. I suppose having Hamhuis as the 7th provides some comfort in the event of an injury, but I’d really like to see Subban on the PP.

        • Correction: When = win

          • I love that your evidence is a 15 second sportscentre highlight, instead of the ~25 minutes of games during which he shut down stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Stamkos.

            I am rushing to change the tiniest little thing. I’m not trying to change 15-20min of the game, that ship has clearly sailed, barring injury. I’m trying to change 2-6min of the game,
            because that can make the difference between gold and nothing.
            Of course you’re right. We’re in the Gold medal game, and we played a fairly solid game. Although Kessel steamed past Keith twice in the first 5 minutes, and no one thinks Keith is prone to defensive errors, but what do I know, eh?

            “It’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.”

            The Swedes are a good team. Canada has won their last three games by a single goal. Each of them has been close, right down to the wire, even if Canada was the better team overall. Why are we handicapping ourselves, when the Swedes could quite easily win?

            Anyway, this point strikes me as a “we’re on top, no reason to improve” argument. I’ve never agreed with those, because no matter what, you can always be/do better. Coasting on success is what leads to failure.

      • If you are citing watching Sportscenter over actual stats, then I don’t know what. Team Canada is picking the D that is has because they are relative veterans over PK, and that’s a factor, but not taking him to drop bombs on the PP seems like an oversight. It’s not like he could make the PP worse than it already is.

  3. It’s amazing how different this game was compared to that other sleeper of a game. Hopefully some of this excitement and intensity carries over into Sunday.

  4. 11.

    Patrice Bergeron.

  5. Wow, what a game. Was mentioned in the broadcast I think, but the puck support for Canada was unreal. Always someone in position ready to catch a pass when needed.

    Agree with getting PK out there for the PP. Better than having Hamhuis dressed for nothing.

  6. “The real shocker for Canada is how many of their fringe picks have turned out to be so valuable assets. Jeff Carter is playing on the PK and PP and taking a regular shift, Patricks Sharp and Marleau have been great, even a guy like Marc-Eduord Vlasic has played extremely well. Those were all “maybe” names before the tournament, and they’ve played huge roles.”

    I think we see this most every tournament. Everyone argues who should be on the team and 1-3 guys step up that us great unwashed masses who are experts in everything puck are surprised about. Maybe we need to stop being surprised. I count myself in that unwashed masses too.

  7. On the fringe picks, it strikes me that that might be an example of Canada building a team for the large ice (it’s no surprise to anyone in SJ that Vlasic and Marleau are exceptional defensively). Also answers the criticism of Subban sitting. The USA on the other hand, by favoring grit and determination, have arguably built a team to re-fight the 2010 games on NHL ice.

    • Ugh. I meant to type “grit and speed” there. Speed is great… but if that fast guy gets forced to the boards, to far for any real scoring chance, it’s not as useful.

      • Wasn’t much US could do save bringing Bobby Ryan and maybe Brandon Saad and/or Kyle Okpsoso. Dropping Stepan for Ryan is an easy call but after that… Wheeler over Saad/Okpsoso? Callahan over Saad/Okpsoso? Meh, sort of doubt that Saad/Okpsoso swings this game.

    • Building a team for big ice is actually the dumbest reason to exclude Subban. He’s got more big ice experience than anyone else on the team (he played 4 seasons for Belleville, who have Olympic sized ice), he’s extremely mobile, and very good defensively (despite repeated claims to the contrary – http://canucksarmy.com/2014/2/17/the-reports-of-p-k-subban-s-demise-have-been-greatly-exaggerated).

      Having said all that, I’ve yet to see anyone give me a decent reason for why he shouldn’t play. Especially considering Hamhuis was dressed but did not play a single second of the game.

  8. Ok let’s dress Subban next game so we don’t have to hear about it. We won, last time I checked, Canada, not Montreal. I wish we could forget our NHL produced bias and just be happy with the win, and accept that maybe, just maybe, Babcock is doing a great job of selecting which D play and how often. As a habs/Team Canada fan, you can’t honestly be more bothered about the fact Subban sits in the press box instead of on the bench playing 0 minutes, than the fact Crosby would likely have 5 points if kunitz wasn’t a skating turnover waiting to happen. He doesn’t belong, and neither does Subban in the top 6… and it’s not even close. We can’t make mistakes against Sweden, it’s going to be the same jazz we saw the first four games with the other team playing the rope a dope, and I agreed earlier that PK deserved a shot, but please just leave well enough alone already.

  9. About Crosby’s puck retrieval skills, I think that’s why Bergeron looks so good next to him. Bergeron was just chucking no look passes at Crosby knowing he was next to a USA D-man and knowing that Crosby was going to come up with it. They played with so much confidence in the US zone.

    • Bergeron looks so good because he’s Bergeron. He’s a big part of the reason the Bruins have been in two Final series in the last few years.

      Having him take face-offs on a line with Crosby was genius as well.

      • Totally agree. People overlook Bergeron because he’s not flashy, but he just does everything right and is great under pressure.

  10. Deadspin summed it perfectly with this headline:

    “Canada Blows Out US, 1-0.”

    If not for Quick, this game isn’t even close. H/T to Canada; they brought it, today.

  11. Canada’s women’s hockey is more exciting to watch than this snorefest.

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