Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
The one-game philosophy sure makes it interesting, even in 2010 where logic tells you Team Canada has more than enough goods to win this thing. Or the Russians, with their strong goaltending and potent offense.
“If you were to put us against Canada in 82 games, I don’t like our chances,” Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson said. “But to play them one game, we definitely can beat them.”
“I don’t think it’s a given that Canada’s going to win. Not at all,” American forward Ryan Malone told reporters. “I mean, I can understand why people here feel that way. There’s a lot of pride. Canadians learn to play hockey before they go to church. But I look around at the players I’ve seen here today, and I see not just two or three teams that can win this. I see a lot of them.”
“That’s the biggest thing of all,” Malone said. “It’s just one game. Anything can happen.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
Coach Babcock determined there was more value to granting a day of rest, than in rehashing what went wrong against the Swiss. Babcock figured there’ll be time enough to do that Saturday, a day before their highly anticipated showdown with arch-rivals, the United States, with first place in the Group A standings and an automatic berth into next week’s quarter-final round up for grabs.
Even with a regulation and shootout win to show for its first two games, Canada is a decided work in progress, which is almost always the case in these frantically paced tournaments. Above all, they have been guilty of over-passing the puck and deferring constantly to new line-mates. Babcock needs to instill in them that a healthy selfishness is OK once in awhile - and that when the opportunity for a shot is there, they should take it instead of dishing off.
“The gold medal game is not tomorrow night,” said Sidney Crosby, after scoring the shootout winner against the Swiss. “That’s the good news.”
What is your opinion of the coverage being provided to us by the hockey writers in Vancouver?
My opinion is many of the writers are used to covering one game a night, but now are covering two and sometimes three games in the same night.
Many have deadlines that need to be met and I am sure they are scrambling at times, but I have been impressed by the work they have done.
It may get a bit easier for them once the preliminary round has ended and we should see extensive, in-depth coverage of the remaining teams.
Overall, they have done a great job providing hockey fans with all the Olympic Games notes and news.
Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov talked about the reasons of the loss to Slovakia, stated that not all players had passion, explained why Ovechkin had three shootout attempts and talked about power play units in an interview to Russia site gazeta.ru.
RussianHockeyfans.com offers you a translation.
What shortcomings of the team did you find out?
Bykov: “The players had no passion. It looked like it was a regular game for them.”
Ovechkin was turned on the whole game, made like five hits. Why weren’t other players pumped up?
Bykov: “Yes, Alexander was one of the players who tried to demonstrate their best during the whole game. Others were in shadow.”
via William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
It’s a big team, not overly physical. It has okay speed, but not great speed, not really quick. The players can’t finish. It certainly does sound like a Canadian hockey team. Still, we know this is the best men’s team Canada can put on the ice, because the hockey media told us. And the media were virtually unanimous picking them to win the gold medal.
Based on what the team has shown over two games, that isn’t going to happen at the Vancouver Olympics. Unless it gets miraculous goaltending and Sidney Crosby carries it on his shoulders, this team won’t make it to the gold medal game, never mind win it.
added 8:46am, Burnside and LeBrun of ESPN discuss the hockey action from yesterday, mainly the Switzerland/Canada game.
from John Dellapina at NHL.com,
Perhaps somebody forgot to inform the Slovaks that they had drawn the short straw in this 2010 Olympic hockey tournament. Or maybe they figured, having confounded the skeptics and the schedule-maker four years ago by going undefeated in pool play in Torino, they simply were being perfectly set up to shock the hockey world yet again.
Whatever the case, the little country that supposedly couldn’t somehow found a way Thursday night at Canada Hockey Place. It took a third-period comeback. And it took seven rounds of a shootout—three of which saw Alex Ovechkin shoot against them.
But at the end of a second straight long, withering night, it was the Slovaks who were still standing—2-1 victors over the powerhouse from Russia.
from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo,
The U.S. is boasting a 9-2 goal differential, yet there is plenty of room for improvement. They know that. For a team that’s been together for just four days, though, it’s been impressive enough.
If you want validation of the Americans’ obvious potential, it’s that Canadian fans bothered cheering against them.
On both sides of the border, Sunday’s was the game that got circled as soon as the schedule was released. Both teams will almost assuredly advance out of pool play, so winning means relatively little.
It’s about pride. It’s about country. It’s about rivalry.
“I’m anticipating one of the best atmospheres I’ve been in,” said coach Ron Wilson. “Here, it’s going to be on every TV in Canada and a good number in America. Anyone who is a hockey fan will be watching.
“It’s going to be a great day for hockey.”
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Total NHL players on rosters: Switzerland 2; Canada 23.
Puck drop —Babcock was particularly impressed with Sidney Crosby’s play in Canada’s opener. The Kid had three assists and found instant chemistry with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash when the trio was united in the second period.
“I thought Crosby was really good,” Babcock said. “His will tank, his determination…for me, everyone talks about his skill, but that’s what I like. That’s what he has to use on every shift, his will and determination.”
NHL.com predicts: Canada wins going away again to set up key date with Team USA on Sunday.
more on the match-up and the game starts at 7:30pm ET and can be viewed on CNBC, CTV & RDS.
“I love our [Team USA] goaltending when we do make a mistake. I’m not always used to, personally over the last two years, of getting the big save so to speak.”
Team USA Head Coach Ron Wilson. A bi more from Wilson from Craig Custance of The Sporting News.
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