Thursday, February 13, 2014

Team Canada Starts Slow--What's New?

A slow start by Team Canada in a best vs. best tournament. No, we've never seen that before.

I guess with 2010 getting off to that roaring 8-0 start vs. Norway, this 2014 3-1 win is quite the letdown. Sure, it is as some of these forwards Team Canada has (calling Ryan Getzlaf and Jeff Carter) seem pretty big and slow on the big ice. Then again--Crosby? Sidney? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyway, before we all forget Team Canada has won tournaments with less than stellar group play.

At the 1984 Canada Cup, Team Canada finished in 4th (the last playoff slot) in the six-team group with a 2W-2L-1T record. Thanks to John Tonelli, Paul Coffey and Mike Bossy they turned almost horrendous embarrassment into victory in an unreal 3-2 overtime semi-final win vs. the USSR to save Canada's back bacon. Then Canada defeated the much easier Sweden two games to zip in the Final.

Paul Coffey could play D

Although both the 1987 and 1991 teams won the Canada Cup and did top group play, their opening games vs. Czechosloavkia and Finland in both years ended in less than spectacular ties.

And in the Olympics in 2002 and 2010 there were some early hiccups. In '02 Canada got torpedoed by Sweden in the opener 5-2 and ended up with a 1W-1L-1T record in group play. At the last Olympics in '10, Canada ended up having to play in the qualifying playoff round thanks to not finishing off the Swiss in regulation time. With the Olympics having a more logical 3-2-1 point system for victories in regulation, overtime/shootout and shootout losses, the shootout win was the single point difference between a bye to the quarter-finals and having to play that extra game. In the end, both years saw Team Canada take gold so fret not yet.

Anyway, a win is a win is hopefully another win with about 10 goals scored against Austria tomorrow.

Of more importance is how even more dreadful GI Joe Head Hughson is at play-by-play. Is everyone at CBC oblivious to how Bob Cole-like he's become? Mark Lee may not be the next coming of Danny Gallivan but at least he does his job--you know, Hughie, the actual

The beauty of the new channels with the dedicated feeds is not only is Glen Healey never heard (the mics only pick up the broadcast booth not the between-the-benches mic) but the intermissions are filled with just the cameras roaming the arena focusing in on fans. This is the BEST thing ever! Forget the same old talking head experts in the intermissions. NHL get in on this. It's mesmerizing checking out who's wearing what and what goofy stuff fans, mascots, Olympians and assorted PK Subbans are up to sitting in the arena.

No Nightmares Here With This Russian Bear

All I can say give me another day of that many goals and quick-paced games without all the play stoppages or commercials and I'm golden. Plus who knew Finland could lose possibly their two best scorers in Mikko Koivu and Valteri Filppula and still put up an 8 on the scoreboard. The last time they did that in a meaningful tournament (sorry, IIHF your B level World Championships) was back at the '98 Olympics when they smoked Kazakhstan 8-2. Given the Finns ended up playing the game of that tournament, the 7-4 loss to Russia in the semi-finals (a game in which Pavel Bure scored five beat that, Ovie!), here's hoping the Finns keep the goals coming. If you have a spare 90 minutes, check out below the best game ever in Olympic play since the NHL pros came aboard:

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