Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pierre Maguire And I Agree. The End Of The World Is Nigh!


Its true, I know, its hard to believe, anyone who is even an occasional visitor here knows how I feel about Pierre Maguire. Can't stand him.

But at the beginning of the game between Canada and the US he said, after all of the analysis and opinions that really nothing mattered except who had the better goaltending. And he was right.

It was a disappointing weekend for Canada. It was this weekend in Torino that launched the Canadian team to a best ever showing. This weekend in Vancouver there was Montgomery and there was Groves and other than that there was a lot of disappointment for our athletes. Hollingsworth's heartbreak and Morrison's fade and the bobsleigh crash and the Hamelins' loss and Del Bosco. God bless him, crashing because he didn't want to play it safe and win the bronze.

Oh dear. Leuders' surprising last hurrah and the unprecedented cross country success, two small moral victories, aren't enough to overcome a tough couple of days.

And tonight, just to cap it all off, the Americans beat the Canadians, so that the road now lies through Germany and then, just like in Italy, through the Russians in the quarters if they can get that far.

I think that they will beat the Germans and I think that they have a shot against the Russians. Unlike the Torino club this team has looked good; I could see them getting on a roll.

But Ryan Miller out goaltended Martin Brodeur tonight plain and simple. That was the difference. We could talk about mistakes and there were quite a few but the Americans made plenty as well, the problem was that it seemed that the Canadian mistakes ended up in their net.

Is that unfair to Brodeur? Perhaps. The first goal Bergeron was not on his point and Crosby deflected it into the net. The second was pretty awful all round on Brodeur although Rafalski had all day to slide that shot in there. On the third goal Boyle flubbed it and then the defensive coverage was a gong show but Martin was all over the place. And I thought he could have had the fourth as well, I do.

You might disagree. Maybe its just a case of Miller being that good. And he was. Thing is he was on and even the shit he didn't see hit him. Martin Brodeur was not. Interesting to see if Babcock goes back to him. I would guess that he does. I don't know if that's a very good idea.

As for the team in front of him well, they could be better. Lack of discipline hurt them in the third especially. Crosby was a minus three I think and wasn't the factor they need him to be nor was Nash until the end of the game. Of course its difficult in a game like this. Every player is so good that guys who dominate shifts in their club league are just another piece of the puzzle here. Having said that you noticed Iginla in a good way and the San Jose line has been terrific, in my opinion, probably Canada's best line. Toews has been a real sparkplug and Morrow has done his job. The disappointments for me have been Getzlaf and Perry most of all. Considering Getzlaf was supposed to be a major factor I wonder if his ankle is bothering him. He has not had any impact at all.

On the blue Duncan Keith has been wonderful and Doughty was a real factor as the game went on. Seabrook was decent and I liked both Weber and Niedermeyer although how they gave up two breakaways on one shift is absolutely beyond me. Boyle doesn't do a damn thing for me but I can't say a thing about it. I would have liked Bouwmeester on the club but I wouldn't have bumped Boyle so there you go.

As for our old friend, the big pinhead, well he's lost a step but strangest of all is seeing him fight the puck as much as he has. If they make it through to Wednesday night he might get exposed.

Its really too too bad but for some reason I am not as invested in this club as I have been in past teams. For Nagano and Salt Lake City I was a mess but I think once we won the gold in 2002 and then the World Cup in 2004 I figured the world was right again. In 2006 you could see from the hop that they weren't going anywhere.

As for this club, well maybe I'm getting older and so I don't care as much or maybe its because I've realized that the competition is so brutal that it may just be the luckiest club that wins or maybe its the high level of douchebaggery on this team that I find it hard to really live and die with them. Or maybe its just because its not life or death just yet.

Oh, well I guess actually it is now.

Weird thing is, I can see them going all the way. I could also see them being done Tuesday although I doubt that will happen. Wednesday on the other hand ....

30 comments:

PDO said...

I'm not scared of Russia.

Not one bit.

They play into our game.

I'm scared of teams that are going to play it close to the vest and frustrate us through the neutral zone... Sweden, Czech's.

Miller won't catch lightning in a bottle twice, and we'll now have our best 'tender in between the pipes the rest of the way.

Tonight may very well have been a blessing in disguise.

So though I really think this team looks a lot better without Neidermayer and Pronger with Bouwmeester and Green.

Awful weekend for the amateurs though...

... having said that, Bernard blowing it, and all I can think of is her blowing it when she's on the screen....

doritogrande said...

Hope Denis brought his Blotter to Vancouver.

We're going to need a clutch "defensive lapse" from Glimmer2 if we're going to have a chance against the Russians. OV's playing for keeps, and Malkin finally got his wish to play with the best player in the world. Surprise surprise, it worked and the Russians are scary as hell again.

It's going to come down to goaltending again, and I'm not sold on our top-2. Let's go off the board, kind of like we did in 2002 and start the guy with recent big-game experience. I hearby start the "Fleury for starter" bandwagon. Hop on!

Olivier said...

I wouldn't trust Fleury. Luongo? sure. But I'm not hanging this one on Brodeur. Sure the baseball swing was weird and he overreached on the 3rd one, but that's what he does, *all the time*, and it worked petty well for him up to now.

It's like nobody remember he still bailed them out quite a few times out there. I mean tell me those two breakaways with less than 2 minutes to go in the second frame weren't important saves.

They also reflected quite well the game in general: utter dominance from Canada with brief periods of breakdowns. They'll be just fine.

Also, that Kesler dude is a pretty nice plyer, no? Noticed how sent Drury then Kesler tho close out the game in the last two minutes? Drury's line spends the entire shift getting raped against the endboards, then I don't take Kesler's needed much more than 20 seconds to clear the zone and end the game. Forget Perry sleepwalking to the puck, that ENG was a frightening display of hustle. As you once wrote, Pat, "he plays with nothing but malice in his heart and I want him on my team".

Watching the Swedes last night... They make me nervous.

Olivier said...

It's amazing the number of typos I made in that last post. Sorry about that.

Ribs said...

Russia? Be afraid. Be very, very, afraid.

I can't blame the US game on Brodeur either. It surely wasn't his best performance, but the offense just wasn't there to help him. Penalties were also a problem as they ate away too much time off of the clock.

Oh well. I can't say I've been too invested in these games as well. After doing so badly last time around and realising that no one really cares unless they're winning, my Olympic hockey joy has dwindled. 2002 was probably as good as it gets for me.

Anonymous said...

"As for this club, well maybe I'm getting older and so I don't care as much or maybe its because I've realized that the competition is so brutal that it may just be the luckiest club that wins or maybe its the high level of douchebaggery on this team that I find it hard to really live and die with them. Or maybe its just because its not life or death just yet."


Exactly my thoughts. I have had a bad feeling about this team for months. A little part of me enjoys seeing some of the players (Heatley, Pronger) getting what they deserve. Maybe thats just the bitter Oilers fan in me coming out. I find it hard cheering for this team knowing that not a single player would play with the Oilers if they had the choice.

Black Dog said...

dg - naw they can't go with Fleury

Ribs/Olivier - well ... I don't blame it on Brodeur, the lack of discipline sure hurt them for example and Miller played out of his mind, but Marty had to be better. Stopping those breakaways was great and he made some other nice stops but he had to do more, like he did in SLC and in Torino.

I'm not calling for his head on a stick like most but he had to be better plain and simple.

Black Dog said...

Olivier - Kesler? terrific player, I wish a few more Canadians would play with the edge he and Backes play with

PDO - well I'm afraid of the Russians and the Swedes and damn they have a bastard of a draw now. If they win it it will surely be earned. Meanwhile the Yanks have earned the softest opponent in the quarters and won't face us, the Russians or the Swedes until the final.

Pretty good for them. They're not great but neither were the Czechs in '98.

Black Dog said...

one last - ribs and anon, yeah its a weird feeling. I want them to win obviously but it really is a crapshoot, this tournament, Nagano proved that, and essentially once we broke our drought I was satisfied, at least for a while, especially when we dominated in 2004 as well.

Its weird, when I was growing up and then a young man Canada owned the best on best and of course this was when the Soviets and Czechs had their best players play together forever so that was a real accomplishment. 72, 76, 79, 84, 87, 91, only one hiccup in 81 and then out goaltended in 96 and 98. And then 02 and 04 to set things right.

So MY generation got it done, its these kids nowadays. ;) It is weird though, these guys are all millionaires many times already and most of them are just kids. Of course that is the same for most teams but these guys just don't seem to get it just yet.

And on top of it Heatley and Perry and Getzlaf and so on just seem to be dinks. Of course it never stopped me from cheering on Claude Lemieux in red and white so what can I say. ;)

Brad said...

Guys, I was at the game yesterday - one ticket up in the corner of Canada shoots twice.
All in all- pretty damn cool. I apparently missed Quinn walking around my section by about 5 minutes. That would have been cool to meet him and give him shit about that other team we sometimes talk about.
Impressions from the game.
- The first 5 minutes looked like the shit-show it was. Scrambly (not a word, I know), emotions running and of course the quick start for the US.
- Brodeur looked like 2002 Marty whenever there was no one near him and he could see the puck.
- Brodeur looked like he was just plain uncomfortable every time someone came near him. Yes, there was interference before the third goal, but it didn't determine the goal.
- Everyone on the radio this morning is calling for Luongo to start. TSN, Sportsnet, Team1040 all of 'em no matter where they are based.
- The US was able to capitalize on all their quality chances. They didn't get many, and the consensus in my row was that we were the better team but couldn't finish.
- Iggy has taken some heat here today, but I saw him digging and making smart plays with and without the puck. Same with Sid the Kid. I'm sure I missed stuff that TV would pick up, but those were the impressions.

Atmosphere wise I'll say this. I was lucky to pay face value for my ticket. It wasn't worth it until the 2:00 mark of the 3rd. From 2 min down to 1 min was the best minute of hockey and emotion that I've ever been involved in. Period. If hindsight is 20-20 and they had taken a chance and pulled Brodeur for the extra man right then, we might be talking about an overtime/shootout game instead of a CAN loss. But that building was electric. No one sat until Kesler scored. The passing, the shooting, the saves it was one minute of hockey that was worth whatever you paid to get in.
BD - I have some snaps if you want them. If you want to send me an email address, I will send over some full quality files that you can post if you'd like. bradr98ATgmail
I also hit Women's curling Friday night and Sunday morning but that's for a different thread I think.

Cheers

Black Dog said...

thanks for that Brad and I will drop you a line to see some of those pics for sure

thanks especially for your description of the atmosphere itself, great stuff

rananda said...

I love you dude, but you should go back and watch the 87 series and tell me if Canada actually "accomplished" anything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCh4PtteLuY

The Gretzky dive is embarrassingly comical. And obviously the Hawerchuk play on the series deciding goal is simply unbelievable. Everything was set right in the world for Canadians, I guess.

Black Dog said...

naw rananda when it comes to those days any Canadian accomplishment was full on 100% earned, sorry I cannot agree

the best players in the USSR were taken by the state as young boys and streamed into their national program where they trained and played together 24/7.

They were amazing and for good reason. The fact that a group of Canadians could be thrown together and beat them in tournament after tournament tells me that that generation of Canadian players was probably the greatest ever. If they had been put together as a national team and had played together for ten years there would have been no contest.

And as an aside the whole Soviet setup makes the American victory in 1980 that much more incredible.

Brad said...

There's been a lot of hand-wringing over Own-the-Podium today, and I've come to a conclusion.
I have never been prouder of an Candian Olympic Association team (all the COA Athletes, not referring to hockey).
This is the first time in my life that Canadians have been expected (EXPECTED!!) to contend for multiple medals in multiple disciplines.
Let's get this through out heads. Canada was considered an elite winter sport country going into it's own winter games.
Did some of our athlete's pull up short? Yup.
Did they get crushed under the pressure of OTP? Don't know.
Did we as a country, as taxpayers, put our athletes into a position to win or did we hamstring them (by underfunding and meddling)? My vote is that we did them right.
Would I spend $110 million again? In a heartbeat.
You can't train or simulate the real starting gate with 5000 or 15000 people cheering you on - singing O Canada in the middle of your match! Our athletes have taken a big leap. Not with as many medals as the media or the government wanted (do you think Harper is calling Obama to weasel out of a bet they made?! That would be awesome!) but they competed hard and left it out there. They had a shot, and for most of my life - that is something they never even started with.

Black Dog said...

Brad - I've said it a few times and will say it again, we've come a long way from the old days and I love it. Back in the day a medal was unexpected and many Candaians were just happy to be there.

The Olympics is about the experience but its also about trying to win and make no mistake its money that is behind a lot of the success Canada has been having. Success begets success as well. We were third in medals in Torino and within striking distance of the top spot. That's amazing stuff.

These Olympics have seen some disappointments and more than anything I feel badly for the athletes. The margin for error is almost nil, you make a little mistake and that's it. Its tough.

As for the Olympics themselves, after the tough beginning I think they have been great. Jealous of all of you out on the west coast, looks like an amazing time!

Vic Ferrari said...

I'm with PDO, I think the US game may have been a blessing in disguise. It got Luongo back in the net.

This Canadian team has been terrific. They widely outplayed the U.S., I just saw Burke on the tube and he says his squad was outchanced 2 to 1 ... I think it was a shade more than that.

In the last couple the shooters haven't been making their shots, or catching the bounces, but almost everyone on this team has a history of being able to finish. Some shit is in the hands of th Gods, not a hell of a lot of sense in worrying about that stuff.

rananda said...

@BD - I'm not getting into the reasons which country was good, or who produced the greatest generation, or how great a place Canada is, or how terrible the Soviet Union was, or anything like that. The very narrow point I'm making is that, on the question of who "won" in '87, or whether the Canadians "earned" their victory, or whether they "accomplished" anything in '87, I think the record is very clear: they did not. Koharski deliberately and very obviously gave them the series. Go back and look at the tape as objectively as you can. The youtube clip I linked is a good start. That so many intelligent people like yourself are able to obfuscate this fact from themselves is a testament to something, probably.

I thought the refereeing in the WC semi-final in Canada v. Russia in Vienna in 2005 was not very good, but it was within the range of poor refereeing that can occur anytime in a hockey game. What happened in '87 was well beyond that range. Frankly, it was well beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. I think it makes Roy Jones v. that South Korean dude in '88 look like a well judged match.

Black Dog said...

Vic - yeah I think they've played well, it was going to be a tough road anyhow, although beating the Americans would have given them a slightly easier stretch.

At this level its really goaltending and breaks. They didn't really get either the other night. We'll see if it tilts the other way, would be nice.

Game was terrific though.

Black Dog said...

rananda - I watched it and the dives were something else, yes, but the Soviets were expert divers as well

I watched that game and I am a pretty level headed guy, I think you would agree with that, you're here all of the time, I'm not the type to blame the refs or any of that when things go wrong.

What I am saying is if it had been that onesided I would have been aware of it when I was watching it and there would have been a big stink, believe it or not. Those games were hotly contested and you could make a video of Russian infractions as well I am sure. The guy who made the video has an agenda.

Having said that if I get a chance to see the game again I will and I'll keep an eye. I respect your opinion and I will look at it and see what you see.

Ribs said...

I think the thing to remember with the "Own the Podium" slogan is that it was created 5+ years ago when they decided to pour a bunch of money into the programs to help them win some medals. It probably wasn't the best choice then either but it sure didn't sound as lofty as it does these days.

Black Dog said...

Ribs - I'm behind the whole idea. I'd rather they fund these kids than spend the money any other way.

And I think that its not all about winning but part of it should be.

I just find the way its presented a little offputting but that's just me. Maybe a different title or a little less in everyone's face is what I'm looking for.

Ribs said...

Yea, at some point they should have realized that they needed to downplay it a bit.

Alice said...

I think OTP only became odious when it begat decisions like Shani Davis getting told to scram, instead of letting him practice in Calgary with Denny Morrison. You can see how that helped us. If there's a lesson here, look at the ice dance success, sharing their coaches with the US team. It's almost, well, Canadian.

Black Dog said...

Alice there is that and there is also the fact that even though we should be trying to win there's a little thing called grace. Show it when you win. Show it when you lose. The athletes have done this. And show in the prep work. Everyone is trying to win, crowing about it, not too cool I think.

Personally I have been caught up in it myself. I didn't figure them to win the medal race, figured the same as Torino but I have been a little more disappointed than usual when thigns don't go right. I've taken a step back and now I'm enjoying it a lot more.

Brad said...

I get why they told Shani, or any non-Canadian, to beat it. Canadian tax-dollars, a stinkin lot of them, at work and the media is going to come down on you hard if you have non-Canadians using that time and space.
What I don't get was why didn't they just send him a bill?
He went back to Salt Lake, trained his ass off, and is world class guy all around.
You're saying in the age of everything computerized and accounted for that at some point we hand the USOC a bill for their share of the time? Seems like a decent way to recoup some of that $$.

Baroque said...

I think the slogan lends itself naturally to mocking, but most slogans do. Funding the athletes so they don't have to scramble and worry as much and worry about how they will pay for training and travel is a great idea, and I hope that remains.

And I'm sure that Davis has his own sources of funding, the USOC might as well send the Canadian committee a bill the same way. Likely the athletes get money from a lot of sources as use it as they find best to pay for the trainer they like the best, housing where they want to train, etc. Just because Davis was training with him before I don't think it necessarily means that any extra Canadian money was going to him to help him out; he might have been paying for rent himself, actually.

Either way the athletes themselves should have control over what they have found helps them the most to be successful, and shouldn't use the coach that some committee thinks is a better option because they are paying, so they should make the decision.

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