(Okay, so these guys weren't there. But damned if they don't look like they're having fun, right?)
It's definite trip city mode for the Canadian media, as they prepare to put the doomsday spin on Team Canada's second consecutive game in which they shot blanks. Can this vasectomy be reversed?
(Most people wouldn't have stooped to that level. I'm not most people.)
During this afternoon's game, I saw a lot of the same problems befalling the Senators before the Olympic break. Sure, Team Canada doesn't have a remedy for the trap right now (shocking when you consider who's behind the bench), but there's more to it than that. Not beating your man to the puck. Coming out flat, and letting the opponent control the tempo. Missing those key second chances on the rebound. (Does Rick Nash play horseshoes? He's coming so close.) And of course, Marcus Allen's Key To Victory: Winning faceoffs.
During a rare Shirley Temple-esque moment, Bob Cole felt the need to remind the CBC audience that our team is "trying ever so hard", and it should be noted that there was a marked improvement in Canada's play during the second and third periods.
Cynics should also recall that in 2002, Team Canada didn't gel completely until the last game in the preliminary round, coincidentally against the Czech Republic -- Canada's upcoming opponent on Tuesday.
This type of hopeful outlook is beneficial in the meantime, but some of the criticism has been perplexing. During the after-game commentary and analysis with Ron MacLean and Kelly Hrudey, MacLean began to question the play of some of the "youngsters" on the squad. Thankfully Hrudey had the good sense to remind him that players like Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman were no longer a viable option (truthfully, he didn't word it quite as delicately). How can one want to question the youth (read: speed) factor when Team Canada is facing a squad with velocity like the Finns?
The Finnish team seems to be thoroughly enjoying proving people that they are indeed for real, regardless of whether Miikka Kiprusoff is backing them to victory or not. Remember that it was the Finnish team that was the runner-up to Canada in the 2004 World Cup. Their hockey program has legs and prospects to come -- their junior team clinched bronze in the World Junior tournament this year. Very impressive feats for a nation of 5 million people.
Pat Quinn and Co. have a day to regroup before they give it another go. Hopefully the team has some bonding activities in the works on Monday.
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