Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another day, another sorrow

I really don't have too much to say about Canada's loss earlier today other than it was an incredibly frustrating game to watch. The team seemed out of sync for the majority of the contest, yet even when the were playing well (I felt like they were the superior team in the second half, but a part of that was because Finland got conservative), you never felt as if they were going to even the score.

They simply cannot buy a goal right now.

I'm sure tomorrow's morning papers will be full of second guessing and armchair coaching. That's to be expected, and to a certain degree understood. To those who will jump to Pat Quinn and Wayne Gretzky's defence, that they deserve better, this is part of the job. If you get the accolodates when they win, you have to accept criticism when they lose.

However, the time to push the big red panic button in the middle of the console isn't here yet. If they lose in the medal round, feel free to call them names and question their intelligence.

A loss to Finland in the preliminiary round isn't the time for that.

I saw a lot of good things in this game. I liked the chemistry displayed by the Dany Heatley-Vincent Lecavalier-Martin St. Louis. Like the rest of the team, the finish wasn't there, but the trio was responsible for a lot of the team's best scoring chances.

Individually, I also liked the games from Shane Doan (very physical), Todd Bertuzzi (went to the net hard all game long), Simon Gagne (good transition play), and Joe Thornton (a lot of good playmaking displayed). I didn't like what I saw from Jarome Iginla (not enough of an impact for a guy with his role) and Rick Nash (overall, very piss poor game).

On the blueline, I thought Wade Redden, Chris Pronger, and Rob Blake had the best games. Redden was real good in both ends and was moving the puck very well on the powerplay, while Blake was their best puck carrying defenceman of the night.

The flipside saw Bryan McCabe, Robyn Regehr, and Adam Foote have pretty mediocre outings from where I sat. McCabe didn't see a lot of even strength time but when he did he failed to make much of an impact. Where he was especially ordinary was on the PP, where McCabe was supposed to excel. I imagine it was a big part of why he was brought in the first place. Perhaps it can be chalked up to nerves, but McCabe did not look nearly as comfortable out there as he usually does manning the point when the Leafs are up a man.

Regehr is someone who I didn't think would falter. He's not spectacular but he's absolutely consistently solid. As far as one-on-one, he's been one of the premiere defenceman in the league for some time. Not on this night. The faster Finns were able to pylon him on numerous occasions, and Regehr was often left in the dust. He also needs to up the physical ante.

Foote was a guy who I wouldn't have brought in the first place. In the handful of Columbus games I've seen this year, he's looked a step slower than usual and, with an inferior team alongside him, has been exposed as not exactly the elite rearguard everyone (myself included) thought Foote to be. But Gretzky and Co. like experience and are loyal, so he was picked.

It's too early to give the definitive "I told you so", because Foote could very well turn it around and have some big games when they're needed most, but as of Sunday night at just before 7pm EST, this selection doesn't look like a wise one. I hope he proves me wrong though.


At 7:07 PM, Anonymous SensGuy said...

I thought Redden was pretty bad today personally.

At 8:22 PM, Blogger The Universal Cynic said...

The more I watch McCabe, the more it seems like he's completely overwhelmed. I don't think he was prepared for the scope of play and I've been trying to be patient, and allow him adequate time to become acclimatized to the situation. Unfortunately, he has one more game in which to become comfortable.

On the plus side, I'm extremely thrilled to see Heatley shooting the puck again. Hopefully that little habit carries over once he returns to Ottawa.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Etienne said...

What about Pronger that did let Koivu prepare the first goal. Koivu is NOT suppose to be able to beat Pronger 1-on-1...


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