It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be easy. Martin Brodeur is the greatest goalie of all time and has won a gold medal. Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer are first ballot hall of famers. Keith and Seabrook are the best D-pairing in the NHL and can stop anyone. Dan Boyle anchors the best PP in the Western Conference. The San Jose line is unstoppable. Sidney Crosby is scoring goals. Getzlaf’s and Perry’s size is too tough to handle. Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla are impact players. Eric Staal has scored 30+ in every season since the lockout. Toews, Richards, Morrow and Bergeron are full of speed, energy and intensity that will make up a dream checking line. Not to mention, the staff guiding this team is Mike Babcock (Cup and a Final in the last 2 years), Lindy Ruff (coach of one of the top teams in the East) and Jacques Lemaire (a legend). What could go wrong? This team, on paper, is solid gold.
Did I ever speak to soon! I can’t even Monday morning quarterback this because in my blog leading up to the selection of the team, the majority of the players chosen were players that I too projected to be on the roster. Mainly for the reasons listed above. Well guess what – I’m allowed to speculate, that’s my right as a fan. It’s their job to get it right, and clearly, they miscalculated what a successful team needs in this tournament.
Starting with the offense; Canada missed the boat on the importance of the powerplay. This was actually one of my main points in my unofficial campaign for Steven Stamkos (and his 15 powerplay goals) to make this team. This PP is not working at all as they are passing too much, not moving the puck quickly enough, and when they are shooting they are picking bad times where pucks are getting blocked. How foolish does the committee look leaving Stamkos (#1 in PP goals and points), Mike Green (#2) and Marty St. Louis (tied for #4) off the team?
Not only is the PP bad, but even at 5 on 5, there are too many passengers. Joe Thornton is demonstrating why San Jose can’t succeed in the playoffs, although Heatley is playing very well and Marleau has been fine; Ryan Getzlaf is turning into a turnover machine of Scott Gomez proportions. Corey Perry has been largely ineffective. Jarome Iginla had one good game but he can’t even keep a spot on the #1 line. Although to my amusement, when Iginla plays on line 1, I get to call it “Crosby, stand Stills and Nash”. Jonathan Toews has been very good but the rest of the supposed energy line isn’t doing enough, and that would mainly be Morrow and Bergeron.
Canada seems to have also made the same mistake that they did in 2006 when it comes to speed on D. I don’t blame them for taking bigger bodies for the small ice, but it’s evident that the speed (physical and mental) on the back end is lacking. Pronger looks old, Seabrook looks slow, and Niedermayer looks old and slow. Boyle has been average at best and needs to start contributing offensively. The best D have been Keith and Weber, while Drew Doughty has been #3 to this point. Imagine that; your number #7 D is #3 after 3 games. Good for him, but it shouldn’t be that way. For all we know, this group can step it up for the rest of the tournament, but if you had to make a decision right now, would you not swap Pronger for Bouwmeester? Boyle for Green? Niedermayer for Regehr or Phaneuf? Seabrook for Robidas or Myers?
Clearly goaltending was a deciding factor in yesterday’s game vs. the USA. I can go into detail about Brodeur’s game yesterday but there’s no point. Not much can be done about that other than handing the keys to Luongo and letting him drive the bus the rest of the way. I would be extremely surprised if Luongo isn’t in net on Tuesday for their elimination game vs. Germany.
I leave you with 2 thoughts for the day;
1 – Give credit to Team USA. They played a hell of a game and earned that win.
2 – Even though I’m semi-guilty, it’s only been 3 games so don’t write Canada off just yet. These players and coaches are the best in the world for a reason.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.