February 19 2014 01:26PM
Good Kristers Gudlevskis action shot.
In a sort of tongue-in-cheek manner I tweeted prior to the game that there was a part of me hoping that Edgars Masalskis would stop 57 shots in a Latvian victory as Matt Duchene and PK Subban watched from the press box.
I was obviously kidding because, let's get real, there's no time for trying to prove a point when patriotism and potentially Olympic Gold are on the line, but the horrendous tactical decisions Mike Babcock and his staff continue to make are unquestionably beginning to take hold as one of the biggest storylines currently going. It's a shame that it's in a way overshadowing the actual hockey itself, which is fantastic.
It turns out that it was actually Kristers Gudlevskis who manned the net for Team Latvia, but otherwise, for a while there it looked like my wishes may actually come true. He (and the defenders in front of him) put on a show in stifling the Canadians for as long as they could, before Our Lord and Sheaviour finally came through.
Team Canada won by a 2-1 score on Wednesday morning to move on to the semi finals, but the story for at least a couple of hours will surely be about the difficulties they encountered in accomplishing that task.
February 19 2014 03:28AM
When the term "Miracle on Ice" gets mentioned, you've been conditioned to think of the US national team upsetting the powerhouse Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. At least that was the case prior to Wednesday February 19th, 2014. Sometime around 1:30 AM PST the most unforeseen, unrealistic, and unimaginable of events took place as you slept.
Daniel Sedin scored a goal. I assure you that this isn't part of some elaborate and cruel dream state that you're still in. I have video evidence to prove it just past the jump.
February 17 2014 10:57AM
Image via Utica Comets
Something that you'll notice when it comes to professional sports is that there's an inverse relationship between how good the parent club is, and how much interest the fanbase has in how the up-and-coming prospects are doing.
As long as the NHL team is winning and staying relevant, most people generally speaking are indifferent to the state of the system. Just keeping winning. As soon as the cyclical nature of the sport begins to take a hold, fans start looking down to the minors in the hopes that there are some sort of reinforcements on the way. Is something on the way that'll right this ship?
It's tough to safe with the Canucks. They're still not considered as having an overly deep or strong pool of young talent in the system, but things are definitely trending upwards (having two picks in the top 24 of a good draft certainly doesn't hurt in that regard). It takes time cultivating a proper system.
Just past the jump we'll take a look back at our Top-20 prospects from this past summer, and try to assess how they've done, and what they're tracking towards moving forward.
February 16 2014 01:53PM
Image via the man himself
Heading into the Sochi Olympics there was a general perception that the bigger ice surface would bring with it a more exciting, up-tempo, back-and-forth brand of hockey. But as many people, including Smilin' Don Cherry himself, have astutely pointed out: the big ice has allowed defensively inclined teams to load up on the blue line and force the opposition to dump the puck in (which is generally speaking a much less effective form of zone entry than actually carrying it in with possession). There's a lot of "trapping it up" unfolding before our very eyes.
As a result, we've only seen an average of 2.65 goals/game in preliminary group play despite all of the world's top players being involved. I don't even want to imagine what the play would look like if this wasn't a "best-on-best" tournament, because it would probably make for unwatchable viewing.
While this morning's 2-1 overtime victory wasn't *that* bad, it was still riddled with dry moments that were severely lacking in excitement. For a team that's as depleted as the Finnish squad is, I'm sure that it was music to their ears. By keeping a much more talented Canadian squad to the outside, and limiting the number of events for the majority of the time, they were able to give themselves a fighting chance.
Fortunately there's only one Drew Doughty, though.
February 14 2014 03:44PM
That's Donald S. Cherry, giving a hearty THUMBS UP! to Team Canada following their almost routine demolition of thoroughly inferior hockey club. The people that were crying for the team to show more of a killer instinct en route to building up a healthy goal differential following their win yesterday by *only* two goals, got what they wanted. Six, count 'em, six goals goals were scored, all by the good guys.
And in something of an ironic twist, the team wearing the Nazi uniforms eviscerated a bunch of Austrians. We'll leave it at that, and get into some analysis, scoring chance data, and Canucks-specific discussion just past the jump.