Kukla's Korner Hockey
He’s just a real solid player that does his job. He’s not the guy you talk about.”
-Team Canada Coach Mike Babock on Team USA defenseman Brian Rafalski. More on Rafalski from John Dellapina at NHL.com.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
The forwards: Canada controlled the puck in the U.S. zone for long periods of time and, like any good Canadian team, they could cycle forever. But they couldn’t finish. Is it too early to ask what Corey Perry, Mike Richards and Patrice Bergeron are doing on this team?
The defense: Widely praised as a major strength when the roster was announced, it hasn’t been. Chris Pronger and Dan Boyle can’t compete at this level. Scott Niedermayer is too far along on the downside of his career to be a major player. The only hope is to go with the young guys, Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty. Cut back on Niedermayer’s time, don’t play Pronger or Boyle, and hope for the best.
read on for the coach and the goaltending…
added 1:07am, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,
In the glass-half-full version of events, Canada did many things well. They swarmed the net around U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller, who held a decisive edge over his Canadian counterpart, Martin Brodeur. They held their own in the speed department against an American team that had been trumpeting its edge there.
Physically, they punished the U.S. team, with Rick Nash leading the way in dishing out major open-ice hits.
The only problem was that their work in the face-off circle wasn’t good - the Americans were better by a two-to-one margin in the first two periods; and the goals - so hard to come by four years ago in Turin - seem to be a struggle again.
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Martin Brodeur might have played his last game of the Olympics.
After Team Canada’s 5-3 loss to the Americans, coach Mike Babcock refused to say who will start when the team resumes play in the quarterfinal qualification round on Tuesday. But Brodeur was outplayed by his American counterpart, Ryan Miller, and backup Roberto Luongo has to be seriously considered as Canada’s starting goalie moving forward.
Babcock said he wants to let the emotions settle before he makes a decision.
“I’ll watch the game here tonight. Then I’ll make my decision and go from there. Tonight was a night we’d like to have been better in that area,” Babcock said. “But we’ll look at it and make that decision.”
Puck drops just after 11:55pm ET on MSNBC and CTV.
Trust me, you may want to stay up for this game. Get the late for work or school excuses ready.
Also, have to feel for the people in Finland, Sweden and all of Europe. It is very early Monday morning for those dedicated hockey fans.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN at CTVOlympics,
...But it all comes back to Miller, who was pretty special on this night.
There was a strategic question that could be asked - whether or not head coach Mike Babcock should have called a timeout during the last faceoff outside the American zone.
Well, I don’t mind saying now that I would have, but while it was happening, the Canadians were having a very good shift. They had Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty with sustained pressure in the U.S. end for a long time and they were exhausted.
Canada has a lot of weapons and I’m sure Babcock was thinking he wanted to save the timeout for an offensive zone faceoff. But it was off that faceoff that they had the San Jose Sharks’ line on and the shift eventually led to the empty net-goal.
So at the time, I might have been inclined to call it.
from Bob Condor of NHL.com,
All big games draw celebrity spectators; it’s a North American tradition. Sunday’s grudge match between neighbors USA and Canada attracted plenty of rooting interest and some committed hockey fans.
American gold-medal machine Michael Phelps enjoyed the USA-Canada game from the NHL’s super-size suite above one of Canada Hockey Place’s goal lines. He was happy to watch his college friend and USA defenseman Jack Johnson.
“I went to a game or two at Michigan,” Phelps, a billed cap pulled low on his eyebrows, said of the university where former NHL great Red Berenson has built a stellar program. “It’s a fun sport to watch. I was out here for the USA-Norway game too. I don’t get too many chances to be an Olympic spectator.”
Another legendary multiple gold-medal winner, speed skater Bonnie Blair, is happily here in Vancouver watching hockey and, of course, both long- and short-track speed skating.
from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo,
At 24, he may be the most accessible and down-to-earth superstar in sports.
Whatever Ovechkin and his fellow NHL stars are in their professional sweaters has been forgotten. They’ve taken on the mentality of their home nation’s team – serious, direct and not to be bothered.
The Red Army is back. And it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
Reporters aren’t going to have their notebooks filled up with quotes, but since when was that the goal of the Olympics?
The Russians are most fun to compete against when they adopt a reserved yet aggressive way, dismissive of the outside world yet eager to show their might, their skill, their tenacity. Nations around the globe have been trying to solve the Russian riddle at the Olympics for decades.
The post belongs to you, the KK members and guests.
Your comments on the game are encouraged.
I think most of us would agree that the action in the Olympic hockey games has been great.
What do you think it has been besides the skill of the players?
Maybe the lack of TV timeouts, or how about no trapazoid?
It also could be the non-fighting factor, you know, fighting just for the sake of fighting.
I’d say it is a combination of all the above, plus I am really liking the no-touch icing. Also the lack of the so-called goon is refreshing.
Whatever it is, the games sure have been entertaining. What do you think?
Team USA takes on Team Canada at 7:45pm ET on MSNBC (an actual pre-game show starts at 7pm) and CTV in Canada.
Does your heart tell you one thing and your mind another or are they both in sync?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com