CANADA FALLS TO USA

"I can handle losing to any country, but losing to the USA is the equivalent of getting a swift kick to the balls, right after being punched square in the balls." – Minister Towelboy to Wanye via bbm, 0.01 seconds after the end of game.

The road to Gold just got significantly harder now, with Canada needing to win four games in six days to capture our second gold medal in men’s hockey in the last three Olympics. On the flip side, if Canada still strikes Gold, this will be looked at as little more than a bump in the road that guaranteed another game night of beer sales for bars selling suds to thirsty Canadian hockey fans around the world.

One big Question emerges however:

Who starts in goal against Germany on Tuesday?

Let the debate begin

Luongo or Brodeur?

Brodeur didn’t cost Canada the game, but he was outplayed by Ryan Miller and looked shaky playing the puck on several occasions.

Roberto Luongo hasn’t played since last Tuesday, but I can’t see rust being a factor if he gets the call against the Germans. These are the kinds of games that bring out big efforts by big players and if Luongo gets the nod over Brodeur he will not only thrill the hometown fans but silence a great many Armchair GMs from coast to coast who will be standing in front of the water coolers tomorrow morning screaming for the head of Brodeur.

In 2006 Team Canada was too loyal to veteran guys and a slow and aging corps didn’t even make the medal round in Turino. Steve Yzerman has assembled a much younger squad and is favouring present day skill and effort over history and pecking order amongst veterans. And the veterans looked shaky tonight – particularly Pronger and Niedermeyer early on whereas we are witnessing the passing of the Olympic Torch to the new generation of Olympians with every passing game.  

Does that continue next game with Olympic Hero Martin Brodeur being replaced by a younger Roberto Luongo? Or is this Brodeur’s final Olympic shot at gold – and do you give him the start in the next game?

Drew Doughty is 20 freaking years old and he was a beast tonight playing 23 minutes. Doughty along with Duncan Keith (24 minutes tonight) and Shea Weber have been the best D-men for the Canadian team. If the coaching staff is playing the best guys, regardless of age or resume, then I bet they go with Luongo.

I haven’t spoken with anyone, and this is just my feeling based on how this team was selected and how they’ve given opportunity to the young skaters, so maybe the goaltending torch gets passed on Tuesday night.

Of course goaltending isn’t the only reason Canada lost. Their powerplay needs to improve and they have to be better around the net. Rick Nash has to bury that open net he had in the last five minutes. You can say Miller made a great save, but Nash needs to raise the puck and score at that point.

Any coach will tell you that a scorer has the responsibility to finish off those types of plays. I’m betting we will see Luongo on Tuesday and the changing of the guard will be complete from Crosby to Doughty to Luongo.

ANYONE SEE THIS?

Wow.

  • MattL:

    1. ward and fleury were the two best goalies in the playoffs last year. The ONLY reason they weren't our one-two for this is because of seniority nothing else.

    2. I agree that neidmayer can play but not as one of the first pairing – see point one above.

    3. Way too much stock is put into maintaining pairings from the regular season in this kind of tournament. How many other players are watching who are better than marleau?

    4. The anti-French connection exists whether conscious or otherwise. Read up on what happened to the non-hab Quebec players in '72 and other matches in the 70s.

    • 1. Ward and Fleury were great last year, but Brodeur was playing some of the best hockey of his career this year before sliding a bit. I think the mentality is that in a one-and-done tournament, you go with a long track record over hot and cold spurts. That said, guys like Gerber, Hiller, and now Miller are making me re-consider that idea.

      2. I'd be surprised if Pronger and Nieds got top-two ice time in the next game. I think seniority gets you there, but doesn't keep you there.

      3. I agree, some of the best international lines we've had have been mish-mash lines. Getz-Nash-Heatley for example.

      4. I don't doubt that there has been an anti-french bias, but I don't think so this year. Robidas ahead of Bouwmeester on the depth chart. Three french goalies over Ward/Mason/Mason. The biggest question mark is Bergeron, but he made the team. I think the exclusion of Vinny/St.Louis (and Stamkos) has more to do with the division they play in. The team Canada brass represent the NE and the West too much, and are collectively a lot more experienced with those players. I would have surely taken any/all of those three over Thornton and Marleau.

    • 1. ward and fleury were the two best goalies in the playoffs last year. The ONLY reason they weren't our one-two for this is because of seniority nothing else.

      Cam Ward was hurt this year, so to say that the ONLY reason he isn't there is because of seniority is WRONG. Yes, chances are only one of Ward & Fleury would've been there anyway, but we don't know that because Ward wasn't healthy enough to earn a position.

      Remember, Marty was the BEST Canadian goalie in the league for the first 3 months this year.

      Personally though, I would've considered Fleury to start all along based on him winning the most in the past 2 years. I like Roberto, but aside from playing the World Cup gold medal game, he hasn't won jack.

  • Would'a taken Phaneuf over Pronger, not that he's any smarter, but he would have reduced the threat from opposing stars by leaving some of their bodies in his wake.
    I also think that experience and loyalty is way over rated. Jordan Eberle could have scated circles around some of our old horses.

  • Wow, ease on the Panic fellow Nationers. Keep the faith, it's one loss which in the grand scheme of winning gold does liitle to affect that at some point we were expecting to play Russia. 2 things, Canada played a much better (physical) game today than on Thursday and lastly, while Brodeur hasn't played lights out, I still take him over Luongo (who has won nothing in his career) if we talk about passing the torch I give Germany to Fleury as a warmup and ride him the rest of the way.

  • I don't know how the coaches decided to ride Marty. Goaltending is the one position that you should be riding the hot hand. Going into the olympics it was Bobby-Lou, plus he plays really good at home usually.

    The ppl I was watching the game with didn't know why Crosby was hardly playing. After the game was over & I heard he was -3 I guess that's why.

    It is kind of sad that the last 2 games we scored 5 goals (not counting the shoot-out). 8 of the top 30 point guys in the NHL are on our team. It seems if you aren't 'going' during the game you won't play. I think maybe a longer leash should be put out for a few of the guys on our team, unless they are going to revolt like the players in the 86 Canada Cup did against Keenan.

  • Shaun Doe

    Am I the only one who looks at the forward roster and sees that every single player is a power forward? Maybe thats the state of Canadian Hockey but this team could really use a pure sniper such as the European teams have. Also I heatily agree with fact that a guy like Smyth would be quite effective on this team. It's not like he's having a bad year either. Lastly, I think that Nash should be taken off the Crosby line as I haven't seen him do all that much with him and I find he is prone to acting the one man show too often. This is something the coaches said they wanted to avoid. Crosby needs someone on his line to either set him up for a shot or be open for a pass, not someone to trail behind and watch.

    • Dan the Man

      So the Canadians could really use a sniper? Like maybe someone who is tied for the lead in goals right now? (Crosby) Or how about a guy who is number 3 in goals? (Marleau) Or maybe a couple of guys who are in the top 5 total goal scorers in the NHL over the last 3 years ? (Heatley and Iginla)

      Goal scoring isn't the problem.

      Nash has been fine, the Crosby-Nash-Iginla combo has been Canada's best unit.

      I agree though that Ryan Smyth might have been a good addition.

  • OilFan

    Sad to say but in my eyes Marty, Pronger and Scotty N cost us the game. Do I think they should not be on the team? No they all should be on the team. BUT COST US THAT GAME NOT THE GOLD.

  • Shaun Doe

    Hey dont worry about it team, Iginla really comes to play against weaker teams ( see "the oilers" and "team Norway"). Hes going to destroy Germany, then maybe that can reignite the fire from within that has been smoldering for the past 3 years, but who knows. I have been banking on that to happen for a long time now.

  • Tracie

    I seem to remember that Cujo was our starting goalie in Salt Lake City and Brodeur outplayed him for the starting job and carried us to the Gold Medal! Maybe the same needs to happen this year. We had a reality check when we lost to Sweden and I think we changed our goaltenders and Brodeaur carried us to the final against the States…The only really bad thing about this is that the two predicted super powers – Russia and Canada, one of them is guaranteed to finish out of medal contention now…I'm hoping it's the Russians this year!

  • VMR

    Nobody wants to put the blame on one player but in this case I think it's deserved. There's no question you have to dump Brodeur. He was at fault on at least two goals and flopping like a fish so many other times. It looked like he was fighting the puck rather than controlling it and that just wont work. Besides that I thought the team looked pretty good, they dominated for long spells of play, gave up an empty net goal and a couple deflections. If Brodeur wasnt flopping and trying to hard to overplay the puck we win that game 3-2.

  • Dyckster

    Wasn't really Broduer's fault. I would pin more of the blame on the defense … in particular Pronger. It was a REAL fast game and he didn't really elevate his play – can he elevate his play?

    Doughty was a revelation to me … guy has got skills!

    • Dan the Man

      You're right Pronger and Neidermayer weren't good enough but I don't see how you can't partially blame Brodeur?

      Batting that puck out to Rafalski was just plain dumb and he was flopping around all night. He didn't look sharp against the Swiss either, he should have had the first goal in that game.

  • Ender

    Rosscreek:

    Agreed that ward was injured. My point is that he and fleury should have been the top two by default as it were. Brodeur and luongo were a fait accompli well over a year ago. That is a big part of the reason why we never seem
    to pick the right team for the job

  • papaburgundy

    Yeah, I think Brodeur had his chance to shine and he BLEW IT! Two of those goals for sure don't go in on Luongo. I would start Lu for the next game and ride him all the way to the gold. Niedemeyer and Pronger need to watch from the bench because they did nothing in that game. The young guys should play and Doughty, WOW, LA got themselves one hell of a defencemen, a future Norris trophy winner I think. Anyway, I think the boys will bring it against Germany and then take it to another level when they play the Russians, and yes, the Russians are beatable, so GO CANADA GO!

    P.S. Denmark has some hot chicks on their ladies curling team!