Posts tagged “Canada”

USA (! USA! USA!) 5, Canada 3

What a game. Comparisons to the Miracle on Ice are a bit much, because the relative talent of the two teams is much closer than the Americans had to the Soviets back then, but still a huge win for the program.

It’s a real shame it got relegated to the ghetto of MSNBC and wasn’t on NBC. Did anything memorable even happen last night in figure skating or ice dancing or whatever? Maybe NBC wouldn’t have gotten the ratings had they put the game up, but that was just the kind of game that prospective fans in the States need to see. Oh well. Keep your focus on a sport that comes around once every four years rather than one you broadcast regularly, NBC.

I ended up opting to leave my computer at home when went over to a friend’s to catch the game in 52″ HD glory. I wanted to be able to enjoy the game without needing to tweet about it. But my fingers kept twitching throughout the game and I kept having to stop myself from looking for my laptop. Would have been fun to have been in on the Twittertalk for this one.

Anyway, bullet points follow.

Bullet points:

  • How sweet was it that the opening goal went in off Crosby? Doing the full-of-fail knee-and-extend-stick form of shot blocking that’s as sure to screw your goalie as it is to miss the puck entirely. Beautiful. I had to mention it.
  • Brian Rafalski has had a heck of a tournament and had a heck of a night. He was the beneficiary of some sweet luck on the Crosby goal and the Langenbrunner one later, but there’s no denying he’s got the hot stick. If he plays half as good as that for the Wings in March, it’ll go a long way.
  • Brodeur looked pretty bad. I’m a little surprised Babcock gave him that kind of leash. Obviously, the game didn’t get away from Canada at any point, really, but he looked shaky enough Babcock wouldn’t have been remiss to throw in Luongo. Especially after Marty tossed that puck up the gut and right to Rafi.
  • Miller was stellar. The three goals don’t look so hot, but considering what he was up against and the quality of scoring opportunities he faced, he was flat out awesome. He’s the single biggest reason the game went the way it did. I hope he has enough gas left in the tank to finish out the tournament on that note.
  • Corey Perry is a moron. I don’t know what he was looking at when he took out Staal and brought down Pronger. His presence on the team is laughable. I get that The Captain and Company wanted to keep lines together as much as possible, but Perry’s not worth it.
  • Say what you will about Crosby, but he definitely doesn’t lack intensity. Something Thornton and his friends do lack.
  • Kesler. I generally dislike Canucks, but his effort on that empty net goal was incredible. He had a strong game and capping it off with that was awesome to see. I love that he guaranteed a win over the Canadians and then made sure of it himself. That’s clutch.
  • Taking off my US hat and putting on my Red Wings one, it was a little disturbing to see Wilson outcoach Babcock.

The US’ chance for a medal shot up enormously with that win. It’s going to be an exciting tournament down the stretch, assuming they don’t fall from the emotional heights they hit last night and end up faltering. Keep the pedal to the metal, guys.

Red Wings to be well-represented at Olympics

Today, the Czech and Swedish national teams named their Olympic rosters, adding five more Detroit players to the list of athletes going to Turin to play hockey this coming February.

Sweden

Four of the Wings’ seven Swedes will represent Sweden:

Nicklas Lidstrom
Henrik Zetterberg
Mikael Samuelsson
Niklas Kronwall

Red Wing goalie prospect Stefan Liv was also named to the roster.

Sweden’s coach, Bengt-Ake Gustafsson, included Kronwall, who will be a first-time Olympian, despite his ongoing recovery from a torn ACL. The CP quotes him saying,

“He’s been on ice and is back in training. The question is if he’ll be ready for the Olympics. We have done this to avoid eliminating another player from the squad if Kronwall can play. If he can’t play we’ll pick another player.”

Kronwall told the Free Press that,

“It’s still too early to say. Hopefully in a couple of weeks It’ll be able to practice with the team. I don’t want to risk anything. The Olympics would be awesome, but I have to listen to the trainers.”

Lidstrom and Zetterberg have both played in the Olympics before. Lidstrom has participated three times and Zetterberg made his Olympic debut as one of two non-NHL players on the Swedish squad in 2002, the year before he came to Detroit.

It will be the first time Samuelsson, whose strong performance for the Wings this season got him notice from his country, will go to the Games.

Despite his value on the power play, Tomas Holmstrom will not have a chance to represent his country. The Free Press credits this to his skating skills, which are somewhat lacking. With the extra ice in international competition, Homer wouldn’t be as effective.

Czech Republic

Robert Lang was named to the Czech roster today, the only Wing to be so honored (not surprising given he is the only active Czech player on the roster), though former-Red Wing Dominik Hasek will be one of the Czech goalies. It will be his fourth Olympic Games. He already has a bronze (1992) and a gold (1998) medal, though he wasn’t so lucky at the 2002 Olympics.

Jiri Fischer surely would have been named to the roster as well were it not for his current heart condition.

Canada

Team Canada announced its roster yesterday but only included one Red Wing: Kris Draper, despite his poor season offensively. It’s surprising that they did not pick Draper’s partner in crime, Kirk Maltby, to go as well but it is easy to see that the Canadians are going more for skill than anything else and Maltby would have just been taking up a slot that could have been given to a shooter.

That said, it is also surprising that Brendan Shanahan did not make it. He is on pace to have a great year offensively and has been white hot lately. He would have brought some good leadership to the table and still has a great shot. He’ll have to settle for his gold in 2002, apparently.

His wife must be happy. Shanny had joked about her expecting to go somewhere warm during the NHL’s Olympic Break.

USA

The first Red Wing players named to any Olympic roster were Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider, who will once again represent the United States.

Chelios will play in his fifth Olympics and will be captain for the third time.

Schneider played in Nagano, back in 1998 and was a lock for a spot this time around.

One-time Red Wing Derian Hatcher will also patrol the blueline for the US.

Russia

They haven’t released their roster yet but it is certain that Pavel Datsyuk will be named to Team Russia.

On one hand, it’s great that so many Wings will be able to represent their countries in the Olympics but I’m a little worried about the extra work their bodies will be getting heading into an important stretch of the NHL season. Beyond even the ususal wear and tear that accompanies playing high-level hockey, there is the increased chance for real injury.

All of these men were named to their respective nation’s rosters for a reason: they’re very good players. They are also very important to the Wings and they can ill afford to lose any of them in the last leg of the season.

It didn’t seem to hurt in 2002 but that’s not too reassuring.

The upside to this is that we’ll get to watch some very high-quality hockey and know that nine, probably ten, of our guys are a part of it.

Update (23. Dec): The Russians have released their roster and it looks like youth will be the order of the day. The team will have 11 first-time Olympians, including Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.

As expected, Pavel Datyuk was named to the team. Former-Red Wing Dmitri Bykov was as well and will be one of four non-NHLers on the squad.

Yzerman will not play in 2006 Olympics

Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman phoned Wayne Gretzky last night asking that he withdraw his name from the roster for the 2006 Olympics. The upcoming Winter Olympics will take place at Torino, Italy. “I talked to Wayne the other night and told him I didn’t feel I was playing well enough to hold one of 13 spots,” Yzerman told Sportsnet, referring to Team Canada general manager Wayne Gretzky. “I’m very grateful for past opportunities representing my country, but there’s too many good players playing too well for me to hold a spot on the roster.”

Wings spokesman, John Hahn, confirmed this report that Yzerman will not be playing for Team Canada. Yzerman helped Canada win a gold medal in 2002 when the Winter Olympics took place in Salt Lake City and became only one of three to win the Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal in the same season (teammate Brendan Shanahan was another).

I was very pleased with Yzerman’s decision and not surprised whatsoever. I kept reading about people griping about how Yzerman will take a spot of one of the up and coming players, who would have a bigger impact on the team, and that he is being selfish about the whole ordeal. Give Yzerman credit. He is the classiest athlete I know, well have read about, and I’m just happy people around the country (well US and Canada) will finally see that and accept that. Yzerman has always done the best for his team, not himself. And this is just one of many examples backing that statement up. I had expected Yzerman to turn down the offer to play in the 2006 Olympics because he realized that he couldn’t play the same and while his leadership is invaluable, he couldn’t impact the team in ways other younger players could.

So please, everyone, lighten up on The Captain. He’s not going to retire during this season, unless something crazy happens. He’s missing a couple of games here and there to give his knee and body a breather not because the coach is benching him. You can’t expect a 40 year old player to put up the numbers and time he did when he was 21. Enjoy the rest of the season that we have here with one of the best hockey players of all time.