Monday, May 12, 2008

Team Canada World Hockey Championships 2008 - Finland vs. Canada Postgame

I feel pretty confident in saying that Canada's 6-3 victory over Team Finland was Canada's most complete game of the tournament. Just a quick breakdown of what I saw in the game:

The Good
Higher Quality Chances - The shots were down this game (22) compared to say the game vs Norway (52), but Canada is really burying their chances. Canada had a little help today (Doan puts one off a stick which then deflects off a shoulder and into the net) but in general they just created high quality chances (Getzlaf in alone, Doan in alone, Sharpe in alone, Heatley in alone, Heatley in the slot...) and then let their talent level do the talking.

This ignores the post and the time Nash and Getzlaf got in alone and neither could get a hold of the puck.

There was at least one post as well.

And finally it seems like all 4 lines are contributing in one way or another. Spezza is actually creating chances and limiting his giveaways, Doan, Toews and Kunitz have been very smart (although I feel Toews has been a bit underwhelming, he's been playing smart but I think he's a step behind his linemates), and we all saw St. Louis, Roy and Staal light it up vs. Germany.

The Bad
No Lock Down - It's disheartening to see Canada winning by 4 goals in the third period, adding another goal, but only winning by 3. Third periods with big leads have not been particularly impressive for Canada. Third periods have not been impressive for Canada in general.

VS. Team USA
-2 goal lead early in third
-win by 1 goal with under a minute left

VS. Latvia
-7 goal lead going into third
-0 goals scored in third, Latvia carried most of play

VS. Germany
-10 goal lead early in third
-Germany scores only goal, Canada wins 10-1

We all saw what happened with Finland.

Obviously I'm being overly critical here, as most of these games were blowouts, but Canada needs to insure they play as well in the third as they have the other 2 periods.

The Suprising
I think judging from defenceman ice times we can conclude a couple of things:

Craig MacTavish has a high level of say of who goes on and when. Steve Staios is probably more of a third pairing defenceman on this team, not so much because he isn't a capable defenceman, but because this is a star studded group. But he's played the fourth most minutes for Canada and despite what I've judged as some poor decision making at times, he's got a very respectable +/-, good enough to be tied for third on the team. No small feat considering by my eye he's playing against the other team's top lines while Burns and Duncan play with the Heatley/Nash/Getzlaf line against the other team's shutdown lines.

8 BURNS Brent D 6 1 5 6 8 +10 0 0 0 0 22 4.55 114:08
22 KEITH Duncan D 6 0 1 1 2 +9 0 0 0 0 6 0.00 105:44

2 HAMHUIS Dan D 6 1 1 2 8 +5 0 0 0 0 5 20.00 101:27
24 STAIOS Steve D 6 0 0 0 2 +7 0 0 0 0 6 0.00 99:33

55 JOVANOVSKI Ed D 6 0 1 1 4 +4 0 0 0 0 13 0.00 96:30
4 BOUWMEESTER Jay D 6 0 0 0 0 +2 0 0 0 0 5 0.00 91:17

52 GREEN Mike D 6 3 3 6 2 +1 0 0 2 0 30 10.00 88:26

The other thing we can see by this grouping is MacTavish's distaste for chaos defenceman. I think we can classify Jovonovski and Green in that group, and they're getting the least amount of ice time. I think we can also see that he prefers to pair a steady guy with a chaos defenceman (ala Bouwmeester with Jovonvski, and often Hamhuis/Keith with Green unless on the PP).

I wonder if we can conclude anything about how MacTavish sees Bouwmeester though. Is Bouwmeester being played so sparesly because he's paired with Jovonovski and he doesn't add as much on the PP as Green or Jovonovski, or because he just doesn't see Bouwmeester as being very good. It seems my dream of the Oilers acquiring Bouwmeester isn't very realistic.

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