Sidney Crosby would like you all to stop calling him the kid. NOW! Crosby elevates at the appropriate time in a game that wasn't nearly as shocking as the media are making it out to be, and the Canucks Pavol Demitra seals the deal in the real shocker of the tournament so far. Today's post features musical accompaniment from DVDA, better known as Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. More after the break...
Many predicted that Canada would respond to the at the time shocking loss to the Swiss 4 years ago and just roll like they did against Norway. How anyone wouldn't think that Switzerland would come out and play us harder than they did the USA Tuesday is beyond me.
The Swiss showed glimpses of this in the 3rd period against the States, but not a full game like we saw against Canada. And despite jumping to a 2-0 lead, it wasn't a comfortable one, and you could feel the nation's heart sink a bit when Martin Brodeur got schooled on the shot by Ivo Ruthemann. Can't blame him on the second goal, but when you work hard sometimes you get those bounces and the Swiss did.
Last night was more about two things: Canada needing to fine tune some things, and an extremely hot goalie. In 2002 Canada lost an ugly one to Sweden to start the tournament. From that point on they played better after getting the scare (though 'The Speech' really turned it around). Lots of chances, lots of missed opportunities, and the Swiss did a great job of tying up sticks and getting in shooting lanes.
Crosby's shootout goal was brilliant, and a clear indication from Mike Babcock who the leader on this team is. Wit the pressure of an entire nation on his back, he stormed the net and fired one past Hiller. That's not a boy... that's a man.
Waking up to see the words "Slovakia" and "shootout" were pleasing enough, but to see that it was the Canucks' own Pavol Demitra with the winner? Brilliant!!! One thing I don't get is the insistence on many to call Canada the favorites of the tournament, with so many picking the Russians to win it all, and the IIHF ranking the Russians #1 in their pre-tournament list. While they may not be that strong defensively, this is a formidable foe. Enter a hot goalie.
Jaroslav Halak, as we Canuckleheads know is very capable of stealing a game, and he proved it again last night at Canada Hockey Place. The Russian team is a hard one to figure out. So much talent, yet at times they look utterly disinterested, and downright lazy. The chemistry is not there, and so far this power play that was supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition has done anything but.
There are two ways you can look at the 6-1 win by the USA over Norway. One is to say that was an expectable result, a less talented squad did well to keep it semi-respectable. Or you can look at it and wonder if the USA can keep up with the other powers of this tournament. The score is fairly misleading, as 3 of the 6 US goals came in the final frame, and the US defense seemed to have their hands full with the Norwegians at times. Ryan Miller played well, but once again wasn't tested much.
And so it begins... the bitching, moaning and second guessing
Actually some didn't even wait for the game to be finished before hurling out the names of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Mike Green. Even I wondered if a guy like Alexandre Burrows wasn't suited for a game like that, though that was as much a tongue in cheek comment as anything. This nation, led by it's sports media are panickers of the highest order. It was so disrespectful to not think the Swiss wouldn't come out the way they did, and perhaps we were lulled into a false sense of security by how passively they played the USA for 2 periods in their match.
But let me be clear: This is the team. It's Canada's team. So quit the "I knew they should have picked player x" garbage and for god's sake, would you seriously shut the hell up with the Luongo bashing? How about you drop your NHL loyalty for a couple weeks and get behind the only team that matters right now? I would be happy with either goalie playing against the USA Sunday, and feel confident knowing should they fall and Brodeur can't get it done, Roberto Luongo is there to step in. Some people however, want to do a post-mortem before the body's even dead.
It certainly adds a sense of urgency to Sunday's game, and no doubt this will bring out a lot of chirping from south of the border. Let them do it. This is a time for Canadians to be Canadians. Let them speak their peace, even if they're wrong. Let them get in your face, even if they're obnoxious about it. Let them talk all they want, and in true Canadian fashion: Deal with it on the ice. We will win on Sunday. Of that, I have no doubt.