Monday, May 28, 2007

Stanley Cup Finals - 5 Reasons to Cheer for the Ottawa Senators

5. Ray Emery

A former Jr. C goalie may win the Cup. Emery was discovered by a scout who was early to the rink to see another prospect, when he caught Emery playing in the Jr. C game. The rest is history, but what a change in life plans it must have been for Emery. Just a great story overall.

4. Bring the Cup Home
1993. That was the last time a Canadian team brought the Cup north of the 49th. Since then, Calgary and Edmonton have come within a couple goals of the Cup, but both failed to seal the deal. Have you ever seen Happy Gilmour, when his golfing instructor told him to put the ball in the hole, to send it home. Well Canada is the Cup's home. Send it home.

3. Dany Heatley
I mentioned to BD that Heatley has never been quite the same player since he crashed his 360 Modena, killing his friend Dan Snyder. Thats saying something considering Heatley has had back to back 50 goals seasons. A Cup win would solidify Dany's place as more than a sniper; he will be rightfully known as a winner, something he's proven himself as a member two Team Canada World Championship Golds. Plus I think there's a chance Dany will bring the Cup back to my neck of the woods should he win.

2. Toronto's Futility Continues
Is there a better reason to cheer for the Senators? For years T.O. faithful have rubbed it in Senator fans' faces that the Laffs always beat the Senators in the playoffs. Well not only has T.O. not even made the big show, the Sens may win it. Being a Senators fan in Toronto just got a little sweeter. Not that I would know.

1. Someone Will Give A Damn
Someone over at LT's mentioned that Earl Sleek admitted the Ducks probably only had about 40,000 fans who would celebrate. Let's face facts, Ottawa is already going Cup crazy, in similar fashion to Calgary and Edmonton the last couple of years. Having lived through both recent runs, I can only imagine the pandemonium following an actual win.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Stanley Cup Finals - 5 Reasons to Cheer for the Anaheim Ducks

5. They Really Are the Best

Despite the name change, they're even mightier than before. Pronger, Niedermeyer, Selanne, Giguere, Carlyle, Getzlaf, Pahlsson After watching them play the Flames in the playoffs last year, I had a feeling they were destined for good things.

"2. Anaheim - If Anaheim plays this correctly, they could have either Pronger or Neidermeyer on the ice during the whole game. If this doesn’t intimidate opponents, nothing will. While the Ducks still have goaltending issues (who's the number 1 today?) its not as if neither guy can handle the job. Their forwards are young, but last year proved they have what it takes to get the job done. Probably the Cup favorites." -therealdeal Hockey, October 3, 2006

4. Ryan Getzlaf
When he played for the Hitmen he was considered soft. On his first year tryout with the Ducks the word was he was sent back down to the Hitmen and told to play a tougher game. I couldn't stand him, he wasn't a good captain. The Hitmen had a good team, and with him leading it they never seemed to match their potential. I thought he looked disappointing the whole 2005 World Jr. tournament - that is, until the final game. He scored (as I recall) the opening goal, setting the tone for the rest of the game. He's been playing inspired hockey ever since.

3. JS. Giguere
Kelly Hrudey and Pierre Maguire describe him as unathletic, critics claim that his pads are his only saving grace. No one believes in JS Giguere, but it hasn't seemed to matter. After carrying his team to the final in '03, seeing him receive the Conn Smythe trophy could only be described as heartbreaking. Seeing him win the Cup would be a sweet finish to that storyline.

2. The Niedermeyer Brothers
Having a brother that I play hockey with, I know how awesome it must be for the Niedermeyer brothers to play on the same team. Because Scott is the captain, and Rob is the assistant, I can't imagine another team having a more unified leadership voice and vision. And the fact that they've both been big contributors to the Duck's post season success makes it even sweeter. In 03 Mom Niedermeyer said she was cheering for Rob because he had never won a cup- hopefully the Niedermeyer household can have an undivided Stanley Cup celebration this June.

1. Hope for the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers
The Carolina Hurricanes went on a Cinderella run in 2002, but lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Detroit Red Wings. 4 years later, the 'Canes beat out the Cinderella Oilers to win the Stanley Cup. In 2003, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks took a Cinderella run to the finals, losing in 7 games to the NJ Devils. If they win this year, it'll be 4 years after their Cinderella run. If the trend continues, the Flames will win the Cup next year, and the Oilers the year after that. There's no better reason to cheer for the Ducks than that.

Check out Earl Sleek and The Battle of California for the view from the Pond.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jason and the Senators

About a year and a half ago the primary debate in Canadian hockey circles revolved around the 2006 Team Canada Turin selections. I was personally a little distressed when Gretzky and Co started talking about 'loyalty' and 'past performances,' and 'age,' the exact opposite sort of logic that was credited with Canada's gold medal performance in Salt Lake. The 'best players at the time' logic.

The age clause is probably the one that bothered me the most. At the time two young kids in particular were tearing it up: Eric Staal in Carolina, and Jason Spezza in Ottawa. Both players had been pegged to be superstars for a long time; I think Staal's success was probably a bigger suprise simply because Carolina looked like they would be so bad, but either way, both were being considered for the team.

Ottawa was tearing up the league when they came to play Calgary in mid season. At the time it was a great matchup: Ottawa's stunning 'new NHL' offense vs Calgary's olds chool defensive stylings.

Now if you have read this blog to any extent, you'll know of my passion for Team Canada. You'll also know there are a lot of players I simply believe in, they have that 'je ne sais quoi,' and Jason Spezza is one of those guys for me. I've watched him play since he was 16 years old, Don Cherry has hyped the guy (Spezza played for Cherry's Ice Dogs for a while) and the way he plays just screams 'winner.' I always thought he looked good in the playoffs, and I've picked him in my pool in every year he's played - this includes the year he was called up. I always thought Spezza looked really good in his first few playoff games. Most of the time he only played about 7-9 minutes a night and he was at least moderately productive.

Jacque Martin, for whatever reason, never seemed to believe in Spezza. The general criticism was that Spezza was a defensive liability. I think a quick look at his stats tells a different story-Spezza's been about a +22 player in every season since his rookie - and if you tell me it's because he has great linemates, then I'll tell you he's had a lot of different linemates over four years - including a full lockout year in Binghamton. He's been all minus in the playoffs except for his rookie year - but what Senator is the exception to that rule?

Looking back that Sens/Flames meeting at the 'Dome, it was a perfect opportunity to put my love of both Spezza and Team Canada to use. I left for the game early enough to catch warmup and brought this sign:
Anyway, got down to the front row on the Sens warmup side. Fisher seemed to notice it first, skating around in the warmup, it was obvious he was reading the sign. A couple of times Spezza came around and quickly checked it, finally he smiled and gave a little nod. The sign was briefly shown on CBC (about two frames briefly) but it was pretty much illegible I guess Gretz didn't catch it, because Spezza never was named to team Canada. Perhaps it was due to injury concerns, or perhaps it was due to age, or perhaps it was due to Spezza's supposed defensive liability concerns. Either way, it was probably a bad call (although that team didn't lose due to lack of talent). Spezza went on to finish the season with 90 points in 68 games, and was the best Senator in the playoffs.

The Flames went on to win the game 2-1 in an OT comeback, spurred on from a Donovan to Amonte goal in the third. It was maybe the best game the Flames played all season, beating the Senators at the top of their game.

This year, Spezza tore up the league in the same way during the regular season, but his Senators went through much more of an early season test. While they blew through the league last year, there were all sorts of questions in the early goings this year. Now in the playoffs, Spezza's Sens have learned from their hard times, and Spezza has personally gone from a minus to a plus. His 20pts is 2nd in the league, only to his starboard sniper Dany Heatly.

Many are attributing the Senators post-season success to Daniel Alfredsson's playoff emergence, I think it's simply the only logical evolution to a team that will one day belong to Spezza.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

2007 Team Canada IIHF World Championships - Good as Gold

Watching Canada go 9-0 in this tournament, I couldn't help but identify two types of offensive guys for Team Canada.

The first type was typified by Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri managed 80pts and 34 goals this season, quite a feat considering the ineptitude of the team he plays for. When you look at Cammalleri, you realize he's basically a hobbit sized guy, he's not particularly fast. His first two/three games for Canada, I couldn't help but wonder how in the hell Cammalleri accomplished his 80pt season. He looked pretty much invisible most of the time, he never beat guys 1-1, he had me perplexed.

I had faith in Andy Murray however, and I knew that Murray knew Cammalleri well. Murray's faith paid off, as Cammalleri eventually emerged as a key member of Canada's championship team. I think his first real impact play came as Canada was trying to tie the Czechs. Dion Phaneuf passed it to Cammalleri, and Cammalleri sent it to Staal on a breakaway. In the semifinal versus Sweden, Murray named Cammalleri an alternate captain, and it was undoubtedly Cammalleri's best game. He brought his best when when the chips were down. As the tournament went on, Cammalleri proved himself to be a very slick playmaker, albeit one who is completely invisible 90% of time. He's just one of those guys who you never notice until he scores of makes an unbelievable play.

The second type of guy was typified by Rick Nash. If you ever decide to wade into the shitstorm that is HF, you'll realize Rick Nash tends to polarize people. There are those that think he's absolutely terrible, overrated, defensively liable, etc. And there are those that can't find enough positive adjectives to describe Nash. I have to say, I fall into the second category. Watching Nash in action in the NHL is one thing, but I watched all of that 2005 World Championship run, and while Joe Thornton was the Tournament MVP in that silver medal effort, it was Nash that blew me away. This sounds like an exaggeration, but the player I compared him to was Mario Lemieux. He's big, he's fast, he's got hands. He did things that I've really only seen Mario do. Undoubtedly, there is a lack of consistency factor with Rick Nash, but I saw him work magic one time, and it's hard to put that out of your mind.

To me, Rick Nash was Canada's absolute most consistent player this whole tournament. From game 1 on, no one created more offensive chances, no one drove to the net harder (or more often), no one beat guys one on one as much (or at all), and no one had individual efforts like Nash. He maybe wasn't the team's best playmaker, or finisher, but for my money, no one was better.

While the question I had about Cammalleri was 'how does this guy manage to get so many points,' my question regarding Nash was 'how does this guys only get this many points?' He plays such a visible style, he's always got the puck, he's always shooting. He was 'snakebitten' early in the tournament, but only by the highest of standards. Most players wish they could be snakebitten Rick Nash style, because he just gets so many chances that its a numbers game - eventually he'll beat you.

Nash saved his best for last today. He scored a real beauty in the first period on the PP, when, as usual, he took the puck from the half boards and drove hard to the net, pulling the puck backhand and then forehand to change the shooting angle to beat Kari Lehtonen. When the game was reduced to a 1 goal lead with about a minute remaining, Shane Doan did his thing by firing the puck up to Nash in the neutral zone for a 1-1 with a Finnish defender. As Nash exploded by the defenceman, the defenceman went for the only play he had left. Draping himself around Nash, he twisted Nash almost completely backwards. It was no use though, as Nash managed to keep his composure and literally deke out tournament goaltending MVP Kari Lehtonen, scoring his second goal of the game, and sealing the win for his team. I said earlier that I comp'ed Nash to Lemieux. I challenge you to watch this goal and not do the same. After the game, Nash was awarded Tournament MVP.

"I don't have to tell you that Rick Nash probably took over this tournament for us," said Canada's Mike Cammalleri. "He stepped up and he was huge.

"That was some of the best hockey I've ever seen played."

Added GM Steve Yzerman: "He was spectacular. He was head and shoulders above everyone."(Source)

This tournament was really a lesson in World Championship success. Canada may not have had the most talent, but they became more than the sum of their parts. Every player on every line and every pairing had a role in this victory. There was never a time when I witnessed a line or player out on the ice and wished they could be replaced by someone on the bench. I would be remiss if I avoided mentioning the absolutely stellar play of Eric Brewer and Dion Phaneuf. Some Oilogosphere participants have mentioned Brewer's 'blonde moments' (witness his giveaway in the Slovakia game), but 95% of the time Brewer is simply a superb defensive defencman. He's just so strong on his skates, makes great decisions, is extremely calm. I've watched him internationally 5 times, and all he does is win. We missed him in the 2005 WCs -silver. Missed him in the 2006 WCs -4th and the 2006 Olympics -loss in quarterfinal. He has gold in 2003, 2004 and 2007 WCs, 2002 Olympics and a World Cup victory.

Dion Phaneuf was a late edition but it is hard to see this team winning without him. He became better each game, and his instructions were to avoid the big hits and play a containment game. He had 8 points in his shortened time in Russia (Thornton had 10 when he won tournament MVP) and just looked about as good as he ever has.

Colby "Cheese" Armstrong was exemplary of the team mentality with his contributions today. He's been pretty quiet all tournament, but his line of (mostly) Toews and Staal has been very good at both ends of the rink with their limited ice time. Today, with the game 2-0 Canada got a 5-3 PP and blew it, then received a penalty themselves. It was a classic setup for a 'TSN Turning Point.' Canada killed off the penalty though, and about a shift later Jordan Staal lugged the puck into the finish zone, dropped it off to the Cheese who blasted the eventual winner past Lehtonen. I was personally more excited for Armstrong himself than for the team, and judging by the expressions on the faces of those on the bench, the feeling was mutual. Here was a guy who has received absolutely no kudos, your archetypal unsung hero, and he just scored in the biggest game of his life. Especially when you hear about what a good guy Cheese is (coming from Lloyd and being the same age, there aren't a lot of degrees of separation between us), it makes me even happier.

Here's a thought; how many guys on team do you think were telling Armstrong, 'it ain't easy...being CHEESY!'

Going into the game, Andy Murray was the only coach to have two gold medals in the World Championships. Coming out of the game, he's the only coach to have three gold medals.

If you stopped watching the broadcast after the game ended, you probably missed one of the more touching moments. The cameras always follow the team into the locker room, and once inside, it panned along the players cheering celebrating etc, until it came to Chris Mason (he who phoned Steve Yzerman and said 'I know I won't play, but I want to be there to help the team), who shouted 'check out this guy!' The camera turns around, and the smallest, skinniest team Canada off-ice personelle guy starts dancing to Usher's "Yeah." The whole team congregated around and started cheering. The camera zoomed to Andy Murray, who tried to suppress his amusement but couldn't help break out a smile.

After the tournament, the top three players on each team were named by their own coaches, and the Flames and Oilers were well represented. From Calgary's side, Lombardi was selected as a top 3 player for Canada, while Toby (Tobias) Peterson and Patrick Thoresen were selected by their respective coaches.

A final thought about Team Canada's performance, from a Flames/Oilers perspective. Hockey Girl mentioned that she enjoyed the team as long as she ignored Roloson. Most Oilogosphere bloggers have mentioned numerous times how much they hate Dion. But watching the post game interviews, it was ironic that the only mention of Dwayne Roloson's contribution to the team (a very solid contribution I might add) came from his provincial rival. When asked by Ryan Rishaug about Cam Ward's excellent performance, Dion made a special effort to mention Roloson.

TSN's story

Hockey Canada recap and Game Summary

IIHF story

Post game quotes from both Finland and Canada players

Every 2007 IIHF World Hockey Championship blog entry in therealdeal Hockey

To Be Perfect

Heed the Warnings...

Eric Staal is Alive and Kicking

Just Good Enough

Dion Phaneuf Joins Team Canada

Making a Mark

Shane Doan Named Team Captain

Disappointments Abound

Captain Canada

Roster Announcements

Shitsburgh's Loss

Roster Announcements

Roster Announcements - Carolina Contributions

Coach/Roster Announcements


McKenzie Weighs in on Team Canada coaching staff



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 Team Canada IIHF World Hockey Championships - Heed the Warnings...

The first time these teams met in the Winter Olympics, in 1924, Canada beat the Swiss 33-0. In their next meeting in 1928, Canada beat the Swiss 13-0. In 2003 That stands as the largest margin of victory for Canada, ever. How times have changed.

In 2006, as Canadian hockey fans know, La Suisse defeated Canada's best, 2-0, at the Olympics. We'll ignore, for a second, that Canada was denied two legitimate goals. Forget the fact Canada severely out shot and outshot La Suisse. The fact is that the scoreboard is where it counts, and that is where La Suisse beat Team Canada.

Paul Dipietro, a displaced Canadian, scored both goals for La Suisse.

"Canadians are great that way - they love underdogs and they love upsets," Krueger said after Switzerland's practice on Tuesday. "Even if it beats their own. I felt nothing but a positive respect when I got back to the lake." (Source)

Perhaps it is that respect that was lacking in 06. Perhaps Team Canada took Team Switzerland lightly. Shane Doan certainly seems to think so:

"Shane has already brought it up and said we can't take those guys lightly like we did at the Olympics," said Rick Nash. (Source)

If that was a problem, consider it solved.

"There's a lot of good players that play in Europe, never mind that they don't maybe have long, successful NHL careers," said Staal. "If you don't play well or the way you want to, they can beat you like anybody. "That's what happened on that occasion." (Source)

Andy Murray coached in Switzerland for several years before he coached in the NHL, and his son plays in a Suisse league right now. Murray is very aware of the ability of the Suisse, and also, very respectful. The man who chose him as the coach, GM Steve Yzerman, remembers '06.

"First of all, we know the result of the Olympic tournament," said GM Steve Yzerman. "We've played against Norway, we've played against Germany. Back in Canada the perception is 'oh these are easy games' but that's not the case and we've learned that. Getting beat by the Swiss team and whatnot, it's going to happen more than we like it to and we have to accept that these teams are good." (Source)

Canada's best got beaten by Switzerland just over a year ago. The team knows they can get beat. They know that better teams have been beaten by Switzerland. The respect is there; except from the Canadian public. Rest assured, if Canada loses on Thursday morning, questions will have to be answered. Switzerland is a good team. But they better not be better than us.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2007 Team Canada IIHF World Championships - Eric Staal is Alive and Kicking

Historically speaking, Canada has had a lot of trouble with the Czech Republic over the past 10-15 years. I think I heard Randorf say that Canada's record is 4-11 against the Czech Republic over that span, and I think if you only examined World Championship games, Canada would be 0-for. Therefore, it came as no particular surprise to me that Canada was down 3-2 with just over 10 minutes left to play in the third. What was a surprise is that going into the game, the Czechs still needed a point to guarantee admission into the medal rounds. If they lost this game in regulation, then they would have to await the outcome of the Germany-Belarus matchup, while a win, tie or OT loss would give them the needed point.

In fact, in many ways, Canada was lucky to still be in the game, going down 1-0, then 2-1, and finally, 3-2. Canada's first goal, scored by Jason Chimera, was on a really wacky play in which every player on the ice, except for Chimera, let up on the play due to a blown whistle. Unfortunately for the Czech team, the whistle was blown in the crowd, and before anyone knew what was happening, Chimera had it buried behind Roman Cechmanek.

Canada was really outplayed for two or so of the three periods, but I think a turning point arrived when Jason Williams was taken off the top line and replaced by Jordan Staal, creating a Cammaleri, E. Staal, J. Staal line. On their very first shift Eric Staal took a pass from Cammaleri to go in alone against Cechmanek, who he beat with an absolutely beautiful deke. Although the Czechs got the go ahead goal about three minutes later, the tone of the game changed.

All of a sudden, Canada seemed to gain momentum. The Toews-Armstrong-Williams line came alive for the first time in the tournament, the McClement-Mayers-Chimera line continued to press, the Cammaleri-Staal-Staal line looked great, and Doan-Lombardi-Nash continued to be the best. Canada got the tying goal and a lost offensive zone faceoff, when Doan stole the puck and fired it from the hash marks, fooling Cechmanek.

The last 10 minutes of the game was all Team Canada. Shift after shift the Czechs had absolutely no answer for the cycle. Canada had a PP for the last two minutes of the game, but the Czechs held it and got their needed point.

OT was a very short affair. Right off the draw, Rick Nash grabbed the puck and tapdanced over two stunned Czech defenders. Meanwhile, the Czechs elected to pull Cechmanek and place Marek Pinc in net for OT. Pinc makes the initial save on Nash's attempt, but a Czech defenceman takes a delayed penalty for the hook on Nash, and Cory Murphy, in a beautiful display of composure, scoops up the puck near the hash marks and brings it back to the blueline and then to Brewer. Brewer slaps the puck on net, and Eric Staal, coming off the bench, bangs home the rebound. The entire process took 22 seconds, unfortunately, it was 23 seconds too late to eliminate the Czechs. I couldn't help but think that this was another example of Canada doing just enough to win, but again, hard to complain about the win.

Hockey Canada Box Score

Roloson got the start, but I think it had less to do with Roloson playing well than it did with Ward playing very average. In my opinion, neither goalie has been stellar, and unfortunately it looks like both goalies are playing themselves out of a number 1 position, rather than either playing themselves into that position. Roloson might have grabbed the edge with his performance today though. Although he had 3 goals against, all 3 were PP goals, and given the pressure the Czechs' had, Roloson did a very good job by keeping Canada within one goal the whole game. There was a key point in the game, near the end of the second where it looked like Rostislav Olesz scored on a wraparound. Roloson, for his part, either kept the puck out, or kept the cameras from seeing whether the puck went in, or both. The goal was put under video review and ruled a no goal, keeping Canada within reach of the victory in the third.

One more game for Canada in the qualifying round, against Team USA, and then off to the quarterfinals.


Before I comment again about NHL disciplinary inconsistency, remind me of the IIHF. Shea Weber gets 3 games for a clothesline type head hit. Alexander Ovechkin steps out of the penalty box and levels someone with a similar hit and gets a 1 game suspension.

Russian player in a Russian hosted tournament. Figure it out Cuje.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

2007 IIHF Team Canada World Championships - Just Good Enough

While there are a lot of teams that enter this tournament and simply smoke the weaker competition (the Germanys, Switzerlands, Norways, etc.), Canada has a recent history of playing just well enough to win. Whether it's due to the fact it takes the Canadian players longer to get used to playing with one another (because Canada has such a huge talent pool to draw, the players are almost never the same year to year, while say, Slovakia has the usual suspects every year), or because they're not used to playing on the big ice, or just because the Canadians have a big culture shock in Europe, Canada just seems to find a way to play just well enough to win. The trend has continued this year.

While Canada beat both Germany and Norway, one could argue that both those teams provided a 'scare' to the Canadians. The Norweigens hit the scoreboard first and the two teams were deadlocked at 2 heading into the third. Canada definately had not yet hit their stride.

I thought Canada got off to another poor start in this game, getting hemmed into their own zone, and then taking a penalty which immediately led to a power-play goal by Slovakia. Canada got it's own powerplay and scored only 90 seconds later though, on a blast from the point from Canada secret weapon, Cory Murphy. I estimate that Murphy plays about 9 minutes a game, but the diminutive defenceman is tied for the team lead in points with Rick Nash, and I just think he looks really comfortable and confident out there after some jitters early on in the Germany game.

I thought Canada really took over the game in the second, jumping out to a 3-1, and then 4-2 lead, but uncharacteristicly bad defence from Canada allowed Slovakia to stay in the game. First Eric Brewer got caught trying to skate the puck out of his own end, and he was caught by Marian Hossa who immediately beat Dwayne Roloson to score. Then some sloppy defensive work by the Phaneuf/Hamhuis pairing allowed Marek Uram in on a breakaway which he buried. Leading by 1 in the third, Canada had a massive miscommunication between Roloson and his defenseman which lead to Slovakia tieing the game.

Rick Nash has been described by the play-by-play team of Dave Randorf and Dave Reid as being 'snakebitten' thus far in the tournament, but I would have to say thats an overstatement. Although Nash hasn't converted as many goals as perhaps he could, he has been Canada's single best offensive player by a longshot, and by all accounts, simply looks terrific out on the ice. In Canada's game versus Norway he has 11 shots on net, scoring one goal. Now, as I mentioned before, he is tied for the team lead in points, which goes to show he isn't exactly snake bitten, but I would be willing to admit that his points to chance ratio is not very good.

Anyway, enter today's game and Nash still looks completely on fire. He drives to the net like nobody's business and so far there hasn't been a defenceman thats been even close to handling him. Today he made a simply brilliant move by tipping a puck from the side of the net towards the front of the net and then batting it in for a shot. Nash's shot was saved but Hamhuis grabbed the rebound, and I think that incident is a pretty good illustration of the kind of impact Nash has had on the team. So Slovakia and Canada are tied with about half the third period gone and Canada is on a powerplay. The puck goes out to Cory Murphy on the point, who as usual makes a great play by getting the puck through traffic and on net, but just before Slovakian goalie Halak (Montreal's 3rd/2nd stringer this year) is able to put his glove on it, Nash tips the puck and Canada goes up 5-4 for the final goal of the game.

Canada should have had this game wrapped up in the 2nd period. 4 goals should be more than enough to win a game. But as I said before, Canada usually plays just well enough to win, and that's not necessarily bad, as long as you actually do win.

CP Game Story

Hockey Canada Game Story

Before Turin 2006, there was a firestorm created by Liberal MP Denis Coderre, in which Coderre accused Shane Doan of uttering some sort of slur against French people. By every account, this event did not happen, and Shane Doan sued the crap out of Coderre, and last I recall, he at least got a formal apology letter from the media hungry Coderre.

Now, the 'controvery' has arisen again as Canadian MPs have apparently run out of real problems to solve. Any politician who brings something like this up in parliament and slurs Shane Doan like that is a total disgrace. In this case Jack Layton jumped on the bandwagon rally against Shane Doan, and there was debate in the house as to whether Shane Doan is a worthy Captain Canada.

Look in the mirror Canada, we elected 'em.

'I'm embarrassed that there's all this attention about it,'' Doan said. ''I never said anything so I don't understand why it keeps getting a life of its own.'' (Source)

"It's ridiculous," said NHL vice-president Colin Campbell, who investigated the 2005 incident.

"It's rather embarrassing to all Canadian hockey fans we're rehashing this again, particularly when Hockey Canada and Shane Doan are representing and working hard in Moscow right now, competing for our country."(Source)

"In the heat of the battle things get said sometimes - a lot worse than being called a French frog or whatever," Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

"(Doan) says he didn't say it. Even if he did, come on. If our politicians, French or English, if that's the only thing right now they have to worry about ... There's a lot more important things going on right now in society. It is utterly, utterly stupid, not to say embarrassing."(Source)