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Remembering Canada at the 98 Nagano Olympics

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11-30-2011, 04:30 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Actually what I remember most is the post-Nagano fallout. The European media had a field day trashing "North American hockey" but that was to be expected.

There was a small segement of the Canadian media that was somewhat gleeful that Canada lost. "Canadians have no skill" was a common theme for the next 4 years. Then there was the hockey summit called the fix our game.
Yes it was a huge theme. We heard it all the time. It didn't help that the World Juniors choked at some opportune times then either. But you know, it was a weird transition for Canada in 1998. For some reason we didn't have a lot of players in their primes then. This was before the Lecavalier/Thornton/Gagne type of players came in and after Gretzky and Messier and that era were the cream of the NHL.

Come to think of it the Europeans really owned the NHL in so many areas in 1998. 6 of the top 10 scorers were European. 3 out of 4 of the 50 goal men were Euros. A European won the Art Ross, Hart, Calder, Selke as well.

The problem with 1998 was so evident though and it wasn't just one option.

For starters Bob Clarke made a big mistake of pining the captaincy on Lindros. When you still have Gretzk on your team he is the captain regardless. Lindros never had and never did win anything.

Secondly, Messier was left off the team. Maybe that wasn't a wise choice, but if you are going to leave him off the team you put Linden in his place? I remember there being a huge fuss about Francis being left off the team. He was important in all situations, good on faceoffs, good defensively, good passer, could chip in a goal. I can see Oates not being picked because of the big ice and his skating might have been an issue and we had enough good passers. But no Francis? I didn't like it.

Zamuner on the team over Peca was nonsense. It was then and still is. Peca was the reigning Selke winner.

I don't know who you remove but it was nonsense that Niedermayer wasn't on the team. He was young, mobile, one of the best skaters in the NHL and could have been a huge benefit for Canada's back end. Bourque, MacInnis, Blake, Pronger, Foote, Desjardins and Stevens were the d-men. Can't complain, but leaving someone off the team with his skating ability was wrong.

Yzerman should have been in the shootout. Maybe Recchi too. Maybe Gretzky. Not Shanahan. Not Bourque.

Brodeur should have played in the Bronze medal game. Not Roy. Think of it this way, what motivation did Roy have? Nothing. What motivation did Brodeur have? Something. He would have been fresh, young, confident and we probably would have won with a better attitude. What's the worst that can happen, an unhappy Roy on the plane ride home?

This leads to the next point. Crawford was the coach. He shouldn't have been. Time has proven he is not a good coach. His loyalty to Roy was insane after we lost. At least Pat Quinn had the guts to bench his own goalie in 2002. Bowman is the obvious choice in 1998. Not sure if he was asked but if not I think there would have been a lot of better choices than Crawford. Burns? Keenan? (although he was starting to show his age by then).

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11-30-2011, 04:38 PM
  #27
IggyFan12
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In Roys biography, he talks about how Sakic while watching from the stands thought he found a way to score on Hasek in the shoot-out. Basically he said Hasek after coming out was skating back to his goal to fast and if a player skated very fast then slowed down quickly Hasek would be out of position. I truly think Sakic would have been Canada's best option in the shoot-out had he not been injured.

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11-30-2011, 04:47 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Brodeur should have played in the Bronze medal game. Not Roy. Think of it this way, what motivation did Roy have? Nothing. What motivation did Brodeur have? Something. He would have been fresh, young, confident and we probably would have won with a better attitude. What's the worst that can happen, an unhappy Roy on the plane ride home?
That part just screams Monday morning quarterback. You think Canada should've put the goalie with a .959 SPCT on the bench? Hasek himself had a .954 SPCT going into the Gold Medal Game.

Maybe Marc Crawford isn't the greatest coach in the world, but you're blaming him for not being a fortune teller.

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11-30-2011, 04:48 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by IggyFan12 View Post
In Roys biography, he talks about how Sakic while watching from the stands thought he found a way to score on Hasek in the shoot-out. Basically he said Hasek after coming out was skating back to his goal to fast and if a player skated very fast then slowed down quickly Hasek would be out of position. I truly think Sakic would have been Canada's best option in the shoot-out had he not been injured.
He was the only player to beat Hasek in the shootout at the 1998 All-Star Game.

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11-30-2011, 07:37 PM
  #30
vadim sharifijanov
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Yes it was a huge theme. We heard it all the time. It didn't help that the World Juniors choked at some opportune times then either. But you know, it was a weird transition for Canada in 1998. For some reason we didn't have a lot of players in their primes then. This was before the Lecavalier/Thornton/Gagne type of players came in and after Gretzky and Messier and that era were the cream of the NHL.
and the best canadian forward born between lindros and thornton was injured, sadly (eff, you suter).

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Secondly, Messier was left off the team. Maybe that wasn't a wise choice, but if you are going to leave him off the team you put Linden in his place?
i'm actually not the biggest linden fan, but let's not forget that he was the only canadian to beat hasek.

also, i'm almost certain linden played RW on that team. he still had wheels back then too, on top of a now-forgotten reputation as a big game player and warrior. not sure you can make an argument that you would have wanted messier or francis for linden's role on that team. (but for primeau's role on that team? no question. '98 primeau was a lazy pile of garbage.)

looking at the stats for canadian players in '96-'97 and '97-'98, which canadian winger would you have wanted in linden's role? the only candidates that jump out at me are adam deadmarsh and jeff friesen, both guys who at the time were less proven and less talented versions of linden.

the only other guy i can think of is vinnie damphousse, who i think played center by that point but was a very good winger in his day. but he didn't have the same physical dimension. better offensively yeah, but i think this was a kirk-muller-in-his-prime-type role and linden was the best guy for the job back then. well, technically brind'amour (who has played some wing) was, but he was already on the team.

'97: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

'98: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

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I don't know who you remove but it was nonsense that Niedermayer wasn't on the team. He was young, mobile, one of the best skaters in the NHL and could have been a huge benefit for Canada's back end. Bourque, MacInnis, Blake, Pronger, Foote, Desjardins and Stevens were the d-men. Can't complain, but leaving someone off the team with his skating ability was wrong.
i was actually calling for niedermayer back then too leading up to the roster announcement. he wasn't niedermayer the all-star/hall of famer yet, but he was a lot to get excited about, similar to bouwmeester about a decade ago.

but looking at that list, there isn't a player i could reasonably leave off for him. that was peak desjardins, and he played at a level where if he had stayed at that level for 15 years, he'd probably be a hall of famer. bourque, macinnis, stevens, and blake were automatic. foote was the pure stay at home meat and potatoes guy every team canada insists on (plus, he knew crawford's game and was knew how to be the safety valve every crawford team needs because crow can't coach defense). it probably came down to pronger and niedermayer, both of whom were good defenseman and oozed potential, but neither had arrived yet. i can't argue with pronger over niedermayer, big ice or not.


Last edited by vadim sharifijanov: 11-30-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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Old
11-30-2011, 07:56 PM
  #31
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98' wasn't that bad. 2006 was an embarassmen outside of Brodeur.

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12-01-2011, 02:49 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
It was a bit earlier than that. Roy dropped out of the running in November 2001, but the first eight names were announced in March 2001.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hoc...nada_olympics/
http://www.hockeycanada.ca/index.php...=10530&la_id=1

There was a whole 7 months in-between the initial selections and Roy's decision not to go. This really doesn't strike me as being a factor, and given his quality of play between April 2001 and November 2001, there's little doubt that he would've started above Curtis Joseph and Martin Brodeur.
Did they have any summer evaluation camps too? Maybe the top brass let it be known all the goalies would have to fight for his spot and Roy felt he shouldn't have to.

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12-01-2011, 08:53 AM
  #33
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Did they have any summer evaluation camps too? Maybe the top brass let it be known all the goalies would have to fight for his spot and Roy felt he shouldn't have to.
They had an orientation camp in September. Roy, Belfour, Brodeur, and Joseph were invited. If he had a problem with not being named the starter then, he would have turned them down in September.

http://www.hockeycanada.ca/index.php...82/la_id/1.htm


I don't doubt that Canada would go with the hottest hand and not simply give any one goalie the spot, but this is what it looked like when Roy turned Gretzky down:

Roy: 2.01 GAA, .927 SPCT
Joseph: 2.18 GAA, .910 SPCT
Brodeur: 2.65 GAA, .894 SPCT

He made the phone call just three days after his 3-consecutive shutouts.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2001/...roy011121.html


It's honestly just an overstated story, because at the time, some people seemed offended that he prioritized his losing-record NHL team over his country, and it might have been the reason why he was left off of three Vezina ballots (perhaps not coincidentally, Martin Brodeur appeared on three ballots for what was an unremarkable season outside the top-20 in Save Percentage).

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12-01-2011, 09:27 AM
  #34
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Before reading this thread, I actually convinced myself that this tournament never happened. The whole staying up till 5am as a 10 year old to watch Canada lose in a shootout only made things that much harder to handle.

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12-01-2011, 03:01 PM
  #35
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98' wasn't that bad. 2006 was an embarassmen outside of Brodeur.
2006 was just awful to watch from a Canadian perspective

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12-01-2011, 04:11 PM
  #36
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The big problem for Canada was that all of our good players, save Kariya, were centers.

We had an absolute embarrassment of riches down the middle at that point :

Lindros
Gretzky
Sakic
Yzerman
Nieuwendyk
Brind’Amour

Francis
Oates
Messier

… and guys like Allison and Turgeon who were shredding the league and didn’t even get consideration.

On the wing, there was Kariya, Shanahan … maybe Recchi, and then nothing. And then Kariya got hurt. And then Recchi got hurt.

Guys like Corson and a struggling Linden (who hadn’t played wing regularly since 1993, but at least could play the position) made the team because there was simply nothing else available. Primeau, Brind’Amour, and Nieuwendyk were played out of position as well. The highest-scoring Canadian winger to not make the team that year was Stu Barnes.

And then, of course, when Sakic got hurt the fact that we didn’t bring Francis/Oates became an issue as well.

Basically that was a team with no cohesion offensively because most of the wingers simply didn’t have the skill to play at that level, or were playing out of position. And then we got hammered by injuries.

The a team of the best Canadian players could only score 3 or 4 goals against Kazakhstan was a pretty clear indication of how out-of-sync they were.

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12-01-2011, 04:16 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by MS View Post
The big problem for Canada was that all of our good players, save Kariya, were centers.

We had an absolute embarrassment of riches down the middle at that point :

Lindros
Gretzky
Sakic
Yzerman
Nieuwendyk
Brind’Amour

Francis
Oates
Messier

… and guys like Allison and Turgeon who were shredding the league and didn’t even get consideration.

On the wing, there was Kariya, Shanahan … maybe Recchi, and then nothing. And then Kariya got hurt. And then Recchi got hurt.

Guys like Corson and a struggling Linden (who hadn’t played wing regularly since 1993, but at least could play the position) made the team because there was simply nothing else available. Primeau, Brind’Amour, and Nieuwendyk were played out of position as well. The highest-scoring Canadian winger to not make the team that year was Stu Barnes.

And then, of course, when Sakic got hurt the fact that we didn’t bring Francis/Oates became an issue as well.

Basically that was a team with no cohesion offensively because most of the wingers simply didn’t have the skill to play at that level, or were playing out of position. And then we got hammered by injuries.

The a team of the best Canadian players could only score 3 or 4 goals against Kazakhstan was a pretty clear indication of how out-of-sync they were.
This is something that I've been thinking about and might deserve its own thread. Mike Bossy may have been the last truly all-time great wing that Canada produced, at least until Martin St. Louis, Jarome Iginla, and now Corey Perry came of age two decades later. There were seasons during the dead puck era when not a single Canadian received a single vote for the all-star right wing spot.

Why did Canada lack basically any truly elite wingers from 1985-2000 or so? Edit: I forgot about Paul Kariya, but he's no Mike Bossy.


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12-01-2011, 04:25 PM
  #38
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* Bure was probably the best player in the tournament, after Hasek.
Bure had amazing totals, but the only top team he had goals against was Finland.

6 goals against Finland
2 goals against Kazakhstan
1 goal against Belarus
No assists

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12-01-2011, 05:07 PM
  #39
vadim sharifijanov
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This is something that I've been thinking about and might deserve its own thread. Mike Bossy may have been the last truly all-time great wing that Canada produced, at least until Martin St. Louis, Jarome Iginla, and now Corey Perry came of age two decades later. There were seasons during the dead puck era when not a single Canadian received a single vote for the all-star right wing spot.

Why did Canada lack basically any truly elite wingers from 1985-2000 or so? Edit: I forgot about Paul Kariya, but he's no Mike Bossy.
if we're talking about the canadian developmental system, it produced brett hull, but he of course played for the united states.

actually, now that i think about it (re: my post above regarding linden's spot and canadian wingers), where was owen nolan? there's a guy who should have made the team over linden. he was having an off year in '98, but no worse than linden under keenan.

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12-02-2011, 02:57 AM
  #40
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In regards to Linden-Messier:

The Olympics started February 7. Keenan traded Linden on the 6th. Linden didn't even have a chance to go to New York until after the Olympics. I have to believe that this was just the final blow by Keenan, one last humiliation. Seriously, trade the guy who's going to board a flight to Japan the next day?
Keenan's return for Linden was highway robbery so that's not a surprise.

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12-02-2011, 03:37 AM
  #41
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
This is something that I've been thinking about and might deserve its own thread. Mike Bossy may have been the last truly all-time great wing that Canada produced, at least until Martin St. Louis, Jarome Iginla, and now Corey Perry came of age two decades later. There were seasons during the dead puck era when not a single Canadian received a single vote for the all-star right wing spot.

Why did Canada lack basically any truly elite wingers from 1985-2000 or so? Edit: I forgot about Paul Kariya, but he's no Mike Bossy.
Well, there was Robitaille, Shanahan, Iginla as well.

The period where it really bottomed out was from about 1996-2002. There was a stretch circa 2000 when you could make an argument the the best goalscoring winger Canada had was Jeff O'Neill.

At times - like in 1998 - you could make an argument that 9 of Canada's best 10 forwards were playing center. Bizarre distribution.

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12-02-2011, 04:32 AM
  #42
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Good recap Reynard, but one small correction:

The Czech republic actually outshot Canada in the famous game, 29-25. Here's the box score: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/oly..._republic.html
Yes. Why does this need to be pointed out literally every time?

Is it because Canadian fans (or fans in general, not just Canadians) are reluctant to admit Canada were beaten by a better team and would like to "blame" it on the opposing goalie instead?


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but this team had problems from the start.
True, but the same applies to the other teams. The Czechs for instance had just been humiliated at the WCup and were in turmoil. They also lost two players from an original roster that was already criticized for leaving out quite a few NHLers.

The Russians had to go without injured Kovalev, not to mention Mogilny, Zubov or Larionov who declined, and the Swedes famously lost Samuelsson mid-tournament when it was discovered that he was not actually Swedish anymore.

When you consider all of this, not to mention all the talk about Canada's "unmatched depth", the notion that the absence of a 37-year-old Messier made any difference seems a little absurd.

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12-02-2011, 02:55 PM
  #43
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Yes. Why does this need to be pointed out literally every time?

Is it because Canadian fans (or fans in general, not just Canadians) are reluctant to admit Canada were beaten by a better team and would like to "blame" it on the opposing goalie instead?
I think it's more of a case of people giving Dominik Hasek as much credit as possible, while simultaneously assuming that name players from 10 years ago must have formed the best team.

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Originally Posted by jekoh
When you consider all of this, not to mention all the talk about Canada's "unmatched depth", the notion that the absence of a 37-year-old Messier made any difference seems a little absurd.
Mark Messier is a pretty clutch hockey player. While he was never the same after his injuries in 1997, it should be noted that Canada's depth was hurt by the absence of four of its top six in terms of points-per-game in 1997 (Lemieux, Kariya, Messier, and Sakic). The difference of one season took a toll on Canada's roster.

And no matter what Messier's age was, Clarke's insistence to have Lindros be the central leader at the expense of Messier's roster spot put a significant amount of unnecessary pressure on Lindros. Imagine if Finland left Raimo Helminen home, or if the Czech Republic left Vladimir Ruzicka home. With a team of stars like Canada had, it would've been beneficial to have the weight of their world on Mark Messier's shoulders while Eric Lindros simply went out and played his best - all instead of having interviews leading up to Nagano asking the players the same question: Why is Messier not on the team?

Messier had 17 points in the 14 games immediately preceding the announcement. He would've brought a lot to the table.

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12-02-2011, 03:30 PM
  #44
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Yes. Why does this need to be pointed out literally every time?

Is it because Canadian fans (or fans in general, not just Canadians) are reluctant to admit Canada were beaten by a better team and would like to "blame" it on the opposing goalie instead?
I don't know about the rest of us, but I never really got on the Hasek bandwagon after the 1998 Olympics. He played well. That's the best I can give him. But the system the team had didn't allow for a lot of chances against. Jagr was on that team and one would assume he is a central figure of that team but he wasn't. Petr Svoboda scored the only goal in the Gold Medal game. Jiri Slegr scored the only regulation goal for the Czechs in the semis against Canada. Both low percentage shots from the point.

Hasek was good against Canada but not great. We didn't create a lot of scoring chances against him. There wasn't that game breaker available. Kariya was injured. Sakic was injured. Mario was retired. Gretzky was old. Lindros was rarely a big game player. If I remember correctly, we had 22 shots in regulation and then 5 in overtime. Now, in overtime we really turned up the heat. If there was anytime Canada outplayed the Czechs it was then.

The shootout has gotten more legs than it deserved. I think only Fleury and Lindros looked decent out of the shooters. Fleury took a sneaky shot that glanced the top of Hasek's shoulder and then over the net. Bourque took a low percentage shot that Hasek handled easily. Nieuwendyk over-stickhandled and didn't even get close to a shot on net - but he's in the Hall of Fame. Lindros deked Hasek out of his jock and Hasek was basically helpless on his back when Lindros rang it off the post. Shanahan didn't look confident at all on the breakaway and made a slow move to the right. So it was the team that beat Canada, not Hasek in my eyes.

I always wonder what the thought process was with Crawford. You have Yzerman on the bench, a much better goal scorer than Shanahan. Much faster, much shiftier and better suited on breakaways. Recchi was better on breakaways than Shanahan as well. I just don't get it. Shanahan was a power forward.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
This is something that I've been thinking about and might deserve its own thread. Mike Bossy may have been the last truly all-time great wing that Canada produced, at least until Martin St. Louis, Jarome Iginla, and now Corey Perry came of age two decades later. There were seasons during the dead puck era when not a single Canadian received a single vote for the all-star right wing spot.

Why did Canada lack basically any truly elite wingers from 1985-2000 or so? Edit: I forgot about Paul Kariya, but he's no Mike Bossy.
The best description I can give for this would be the enormous wealth of talent at the center position in the 1980s and early 1990s. When Canadian kids were watching the NHL then they idolized Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier and Yzerman to name a few. All centers. That might explain why everyone wanted to play center. There was a weird gap of lack of elite wingers that were Canadian. We've seen that change in recent years, but who was a good Canadian right winger in the 1990s? Recchi? Fleury? Good, borderline HHOFers, but not Jagr, Selanne either.

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12-02-2011, 06:44 PM
  #45
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The best description I can give for this would be the enormous wealth of talent at the center position in the 1980s and early 1990s. When Canadian kids were watching the NHL then they idolized Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier and Yzerman to name a few. All centers. That might explain why everyone wanted to play center. There was a weird gap of lack of elite wingers that were Canadian. We've seen that change in recent years, but who was a good Canadian right winger in the 1990s? Recchi? Fleury? Good, borderline HHOFers, but not Jagr, Selanne either.
Yeah, when I was playing minor hockey in the late '80s/early '90s it was automatic that the best kids on the team played center.

As for the best Canadian winger in the 1990s, it was Kariya by a country mile, then Shanahan. Recchi and Fleury were both playing center large chunks of the time as well, it has to be remembered.

Seems a lot of guys did get moved to the middle in that period after reaching the NHL - Linden, Recchi, Fleury, Nieuwendyk all came into the NHL as wingers, all were playing loads of center circa 1998.

Doesn't seem to happen as much now. I wonder if that's because faceoff statistics are tracked - if you moved a high-profile winger to center and he went 40% on faceoffs, it would immediately be an 'issue' that the coach would be getting criticism/questions about from the media and fans.

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12-03-2011, 10:58 AM
  #46
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Hašek was fantastic in the quarterfinals against the United States. The Americans completely owned the Czechs in the first period and could have easily scored three or four goals.
I agree that the reason the game against Canada had to be decided in the shoot-outs was not Hašek, it was Roy actually. Czechs were outplaying Canada up until Šlégr's goal.

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12-11-2011, 04:36 AM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IggyFan12 View Post
The Shooters in the Shootout were: (Canadian Goal Ranking for the 96-98 seasons in brackets) 1:Fleury (10), Bourque (64), Nieuwendyk (2), Lindros (5) and Shanahan (1). Players who many people wanted to shoot like: Yzerman (33) and Gretzky (25) were not the goal scoring machines they were previous. I have no issue with the players Crawford choose except for Bourque. I think Gretzky was more of a passer at that time and not the goal scoring machine he used to be. But he was still Gretzky and great players rise to the occasion. Maybe Wayne would have scored but I sure wish he at least tried.
Given the fascination in regard to the shootout selection, I found something of interest in the SI Vault:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated; February 23, 1998
The Canadians planned to rely on input from goalies Roy, Martin Brodeur and Curtis Joseph to pick their shooters. "They face our guys all the time," assistant coach Andy Murray said. "They would probably know better than anyone who's the toughest to handle on breakaways." Canada's Theo Fleury, who's 3 for 3 on penalty shots during his NHL career, has been lobbying for a spot. "I want it," he says. "Absolutely. I want to be the fifth guy. I want that pressure."
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...79/1/index.htm

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