lessons to be learned from the Americans
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03-01-2010, 08:28 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Originally Posted by
I know we won gold and I'm proud of it but I can't help but think we could learn a thing or two about picking teams from Burke/Wilson. They created one heck of a hockey team from guys who on paper shouldn't have been all that close to Canada.
What I liked about the US team...
Speed - any time you pick a fast team you will cause problems and that's exactly what they did
Intensity - Kesler/Rafalski/Parise played like men possessed
Played better than they do in the NHL
- A guy like Jack Johnson stands out to me - admittedly I always thought of him as a guy who didn't pan out as expected... and yet he sure seemed solid and dangerous in this tournament whereas more than a few of our guys seemed a lot slower and less effective than they do in the NHL (*cough* Thornton *cough*)
Anything I'm missing? Is it dumb to try and learn lessons here from a team we beat? Was there a fair bit of luck involved that this team gelled as well as it did or did Burke the evil mastermind know all along?
The part I bolded is IMO a very important point - the Olympics are a different game than the NHL. Deep down, I believe that Hockey Canada was hesitant to bring Thornton (maybe Marleau too), but he played his way onto the roster with a dominant first half. But, aside from Thornton, and arguably Crosby (that's a different debate) I think everyone performed up to expectations based on NHL performance. Some (Toews, maybe Doughty, Niedermayer in the gold medal game) exceeded it. Maybe a lesson to be learned in this regard, I'm not sure.
Goaltending is of course critical - but its one of this things that if you have it, great, if you don't, you're screwed.
We picked up our intensity substantially in the playoff round - the first period and a half against Russia was simply dominant. But, it seemed like we had a tendency to take our foot off the accelerator a bit when we were up (see: Slovakia and USA 3rd periods). Still, when we were down a goal against the US (in the first game), we generated some really good scoring chanced, but couldn't finish.
I think we may have lacked speed up front, but that was a conscious decision on Hockey Canada's part to go with a bigger, more physical team. It didn't hurt us, and we were really effective with the physical, puck posession cycling game. We took some hard lessons from 2006, which I liked - more mobility, speed, and puck-moving capacity on defense (I thought our defense was great overall), and pre-existing chemistry from NHL teams. They may have overdone it with Keith-Seabrook, but no harm done. Its difficult to throw 20 NHL stars onto the same team and expect them to mesh well.
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