crosby rush

If Team Canada were to play Team USA in 100 contests, I’m guessing the final total from those games would end up being something like Canada 53, USA 47. They’re as tight as two great teams can be. And at this point, they both respect the heck out of each other, so they’ll be bringing their best on Friday, so I think it’ll be a battle.

Here’s what I think happens:

1

The Canadians will focus on Kessel/Pavelski/JVR

Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk have been the best line in the Olympics outside Bob Costas’ self-deprecating “Eye’m back” comment. They’ve combined for 18 points to date, and they’re the main American threat.

The rest of the team is very good, but they’re “very good” in a North American sense. They work hard, they bang in rebounds….they’re not necessarily open-ice creators.

2

Canada’s depth should create lopsided possession.

The United States has a great team, but over half their forwards wouldn’t make team Canada, and maybe none of their d-men outside Suter get in. While their best players are great, I expect Canada’s top-to-bottom depth to mean more possession, more zone time, more opportunities, and more chances.

3

Canada’s forwards will excel against the United States’ middling depth d-men

If you looked at both rosters – forwards, defense and goaltenders – and presented them to the smartest hockey minds on earth and asked them which position on which team is the weakest, it’s the American defense, unanimously. And, because of Canada’s depth up front, you’re not going to be able to shelter that group.

4

A physical game

The Americans are a brutal group, and I mean that in a good way: look at their forwards. Backes, Brown, Callahan, Kesler, Oshie, JVR…it’s a team of steamrollers. In a game this big between two rivals that hate each other, I expect them to go at each other from the drop of the puck and not stop. The best part is, with international rules, it’ll never get stupid. Just clean violence on clean violence on clean violence. Should be fun.

5

A close game

The goaltending is just too good, and the game matters too much to assume that players will be positionally lazy and give up a bunch of chances. Even if the goaltenders have off-days, no player is taking a shift off, so there shouldn’t be much to System Analyze. I’m expecting a 3-2 win, maybe 4-2 with an empty-netter.

Comments (9)

  1. If Bouwmeester plays, Team USA will exploit him and hope he keeps getting minutes to throw away the puck and lose races.

    He’s one of the slowest players in the tournament and Team USA is one of the fastest teams in the tournament, simple.

    If Norway and Latvia can exploit his turnovers to hang in there, and then exploit him individually again for 2 of the 3 goals Canada has allowed all tournament…

    I just don’t know why for the life of me Hamhuis doesn’t replace him as a lefty, and let Subban into the lineup as the 5th righty and as someone who can actually skate. Even though Seabrook is better now than in 2010, they didn’t want to take a slower skater on to the big ice.

    Maybe Hitchcock being Bouwmeester’s NHL coach plays into it. Everyone else seems to be exclusively obsessed with Kunitz and Crosby.

    Canada won’t get to take Team USA lightly and get away with it. If Bouwmeester dresses, then I’m calling a hat trick by Kane and Kessel potentially winning something better than a Chevrolet in his career.

    • Wow didn’t even look at other posters before I posted, seems most people agree with you.

      As a Flames fan, I’ve watched most of Buowmeester’s games the last 5 years. The biggest compliment to him is that he “eats a lot of minutes”. That was certainly handy to have on a Flames team with zero defensive depth at the time. Team Canada is not the Flames.

      He has no business being on this team, I’m sure he will be the worst D-man on the ice today, and I think it might cost us the game.

      I watch a lot of Canucks games. Hamhuis was great at the start of the season, not great after – I’m hesitant to say he’s going to cost us the game as well, but I do not want to see him on the ice at all either.

    • Good call here. I really can’t disagree with anything said.

  2. Look, I’m not completely sold on bouwmeester either, though he’s been great this year with Pietrangelo, but skating is NOT his concern. He skates like Bobby Orr, he just doesn’t think the game like Bobby, have hands like Bobby, or guts like Bobby. But he’s one of the best skating Dmen in the league.

    • True, skating is his best skill. It was said he could play in the NHL at 15 because of his skating. He’s still above average in that department.

  3. I expect the US to successfully target Jay Buowmeester.

    P.K. Subban was built for this kind of game. It’s a shame that our best players are not playing because of the coach’s dogmatism. That usually doesn’t end well (Ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics – Men’s tournament – Qualifications)

  4. you forgot to add: a deluge of twitter bullshit.

  5. In a game where you can dress 7 defensemen and see what happens – how do you prefer to go with Patrick Sharp at the point on the powerplay rather than PK Subban. No disrespect to Sharp but Subban is a game breaker. If they are worried about his defense (and they shouldn’t be) they can roll 3 pairings. I just feel that the 7th D man spot specifically should be about upside.

  6. Great call on #2, Bourney.

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