Group H • May 4 • United States 7, France 2
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05-04-2012, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Originally Posted by
William H Bonney
Just finished my recording of the game.
On one hand, I wasn't overly impressed with Team USA today. They started the game lackadaisically as if it were an exhibition. Looked like they were playing a team of players they didn't know or respect and that's not a smart idea, especially when it's a team that's been playing together for awhile. I didn't think any individual players had "bad" games necessarily but Howard was shaky and that was a bit worrisome. I think part of that had to do with him not really being tested and the first time he was it was in the back of the net so that may have thrown him off a bit.
On the other hand, it's not often you can say that Team USA didn't really play all that well yet still came out with a 5 goal victory. Typically in this tournament, if they play average at best, they either lose or eek out a win against a team they should beat almost every time. And even though they were playing France, it's not surprising they started slowly. France was going to play it tight and these players need to develop chemistry and adjust to the large ice. So, that was a nice surprise. I thought the first line was obviously very good and Okposo looks like he could really shine in most games as the secondary option. This is the best (along with the Sweden ex. game) I've seen him look in a USA uniform. Early, I know, but a good start.
Hopefully they can clean up a few things: 1) Gap control in their half of the ice. Too many times a forward was standing still in center ice and that's too easy to step around on the large ice. And the d-men were backing in too much as well. 2) Simplify the PP. They got better as the game went on but you need a strong PP in this tournament and they were trying to get way too cute. 3) Howard needs to be sharp and he wasn't that today.
Oh, and always as expected, the IIHF refs were horrible for both teams today.
I think it was a combination of not taking France seriously and it being the first game of the tournament and an odd start time. Noon. A few of the guys just got over there like Howard so I imagine they are a bit jet lagged still.
Completely agree on some of the finer points like gap control. The defense looks very quick and mobile which is good, but it's obvious they are still getting their heads around the space they have to defend out there.
Fortunately Canada tomorrow will be in somewhat of the same boat in those terms. I didn't see their game so I have no idea how they looked.
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