Thursday, February 23, 2006

So It Goes

Thoughts on team Canada's loss:

They tried hard. They cared.

There were two issues that I see.

First. They took things a little lightly. Subconsciously. Player after player (and Gretzky and Hitchcock) all said that players from other countries were different players at this tournament then what they saw in the NHL. Obviously they did not want to make this mistake but I think many of these guys looked at their own roster and looked at some of the stiffs who just go through the motions in the NHL (hello Victor Kozlov) and figured - we can't lose. Throw in the fact that we dominated the World Cup and once we got going, Salt Lake City, and that edge was just not there. At Salt Lake we had lost two straight best on bests, albeit to hot goalies, so that sense of urgency was there. Here it was not.

Secondly, they just did not play as a team. People say they were slow, undisciplined, out of sync. They looked slow but they are not slow players. My beer league team is the same. When we are in sync, which is most of this season, we look fast. We get the breaks. We work together. The puck moves quickly. Offence is generated and the defence is based on guys getting back quickly, supporting each other. When we are out of sync we get individual play, guys are not supporting each other, we look for the home run pass, we cannot score. Same team. Different results. I don't think adding different players would have made a difference. Doan, Smyth, Draper, the guys who everybody questioned, were our most effective players. It was the guys who were supposed to score - Nash, Thornton, LeCavalier, Iginla, Gagne, the list goes on and on - who were not.

It was a great collection of players but a lousy team. Its too bad but so it goes. Better luck next time.

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