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» 2006 » February

  • Team Sweden to Lose on purpose?

    The Swedish Olympic Hockey coach has been quoted as saying that he is considering ‘throwing’ today’s game against the Slovaks.

    Why?

    The Swedish coach apparently mentioned on a Swedish TV station that they are considering what the best option for their team is. Throwing the game would assure them a 3rd place finish and a Quarter-Final birth against Switzerland as opposed to either Canada or the Czech Republic.

    This has drawn attention from the IIHF and the Olympic committee and not to mention the other teams. Headline in the Swedish newspaper today read “Assignment: Lose.”

    Not very Olympian. I doubt the Swedish players will play into this especially now since it’s been spread all over the media and has drawn a lot of negative attention.

    What I’d like to see? Sweden should compete against Slovakia and get beat badly. Move on to face Switzerland in the medal round like they wanted and then lose again. Now that’s justice.

  • Team Canada in Trouble?

    Team Canada has dropped to a 2-2 record at the Olympic games with back to back shut out losses to Switzerland and Finland.

    Is it time to panic?

    The Swiss team beat Canada for the first time ever and caused alarm and panic all across Canada. Canada came out flat against a hungrier Swiss team and couldn’t score. There was a questionable goal disallowed that most people agree should have counted. The bottom line is the Swiss outplayed Canada and Martin Gerber in particular won the game for the Swiss.

    Ex-Montreal Canadien Paul DiPietro scored both Swiss goals. So that’s where he ended up. He’s about as Swiss as Lasagna. I heard Gary Leeman is playing for Kazakhstan.

    The Swiss loss should have woken Canada up a little. They should have been ready to explode out of the gate against Finland. They did not.

    The 1st period against Finland was probably the worst period of Olympic hockey in the past 3 Olympic games. Finland out hustled and out played Canada in every possible way. They were rewarded for their effort and earned a 2-0 lead. Canada again partially woke up in the second and third but couldn’t put enough together.

    The common denominator with both of those games is Switzerland and Finland played like they want to win and Canada played like they already won.

    Is everything falling apart? Hardly. Finland has a very strong team and they seem to know how to play a system and play on the big ice better than Canada does. Better coaching? Better preparation? Maybe. They are undefeated and their goaltending bailed them out of any mistakes they made against Canada. The confidence they got in the round-robin will make them hard to beat in the medal round.

    With any Canadian loss the critics come out and rightfully so. In Canada’s losses a few players stand out in a bad way. Chris Pronger, what is he doing? The slow lurching giant has been dreadful. Montreal’s Saku Koivu is 8 inches shorter and probably 50 lbs lighter and he simply out worked him on the 1st Finnish goal. Pronger’s taking penalty after penalty and contributing nothing positive. He can’t seem to figure out where to go on the big ice and the same foes for Adam Foote. Age is definitely showing. Oh ya, Rob Blake, can you hit the net EVER? I haven’t seen a shot on goal all tournament. Break outs? Passing? Passing percentage must be less than 20%. Scott Niedermayer is a big missing piece on the back end.

    Sometimes you wonder why mini Martin St-Louis is there while Sidney Crobsy and Eric Staal aren’t. I’d sure take either of them over the one year wonder. The team needs some goal scoring and badly. Of course if Canada comes back for gold all this criticism will be forgotten. So far though, this team is not all that awe inspiring.

    If every period was like the 1st against the Finns, it would be panic time. Team Canada just needs one goal before they regain their confidence and explode, there are still extremely skilled guys on the ice on every shift.

    Keep in mind the round-robin doesn’t count for anything. Which teams will show up for the Medal round?