Thursday, 13 February 2014
My thoughts on Canada-Norway
First day of the 2014 Olympic men's hockey tournament, and scoreboard wise we had a bit of a shocker, 3-1 Canada over Norway. In the 2010 tournament these two teams met, the score being 10-0 canada. Today's game wasn't even by any means except the first period. In the final 40 minutes, besidesa power play goal directly off the face off in the 3rd period, Norway didn't get close to a scoring chance, as was to be expected by a country who has one player in the NHL. But this game still generated a lot of concern for Canadian supporters. The offence at many points was simply unable to click, causing lots of turnovers at Norway's blue line. The problem in my eyes was our defencemen attempting to generate the offense on their own. This is something we often see during the first game played by essentially an Allstar team. This happens because on their NHL teams, almost all of Canada's defencemen are used to being the most talented offensive player on the team, so they're usually the ones leading the rush. These mistakes of trying to do too much themselves are completely excusable in my mind when the players do it. My issue is with the coach, Mike Babcock. Babcock is a veteran Olympic coach, winning gold in Vancouver, and he must know better than to assume his players, especially when he picks a team of puck moving defencemen, will surrender the puck before they try to do it themselves a few times. One way to solve the problem of defencemen trying to do it all themselves and losing it is to dish the rock to someone who is actually good at rushing it. Incredibly convenient for Canada, the 2013 Norris trophy winner just happens to be a Toronto native, the second best puck moving defenceman since Coffey, and primed and ready for the Olympics, PK Subban. This morning though, PK Subban was the 8th defenceman, sitting in the pressbox watching lesser offensive defenceman such as drew doughty and jay bouwmeester try to attack the line. (I say lesser only in terms of rushing the puck only). I can't help but imagine that if Subban had been in the starting lineup, we would have had more success with our back end attack, which would have given our offence a spark much earlier on, and had we generated offence earlier, we would have worn down Norway's top lines, the only one that could keep up with any of us. If we had worn them down early, we could have run up the score much higher than 3-1. After only putting up 3 against a weak team, this young Canadian team can't have an insane amount of confidence, something we'll need to compete with an American team who put up 7 against Slovakia or Finland who put up 8 against the Austrian team. Even though we were able to pull out the win, we always want to take out lots of confidence from these wins, and our lack of generating offence didn't allow us to get that confidence.