Sunday, February 28, 2010

About the Olympic Men's Hockey Tournament

- Jonathan Toews was the most brilliant forward for Team Canada, the young Blackhawks captain has the makings of a new Yzerman, their MVP player, Crosby may have scored the Gold Medal Goal, but without Toews I question if we would've made the Gold Medal Game. I am reminded of what Ken Dryden wrote about Bob Gainey in the "The Game" when he mentioned it would be too easy to say too much about Gainey, I feel the same way about Toews. What an incredible young man, a shining star for Canadian hockey.

- Roberto Luongo casts aside questions about his performance in the big games and good for him and proves above all else if you want to win, get yourself a goalie from Quebec.

- Sidney Crosby gets a pass from me for a while on "The Goal" but really, he could've been big so many times before this it's hard to declare him the best player in the world right now.

- Scott Niedermayer, I knew he'd be a fantastic Captain and he was, the best skating defencemen in the world exits with more international honours than anyone in Canadian hockey history and earned every single of them, oh and 4 Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe as well.

- Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty, it's going to be hard for any one man to have a Norris monopoly like Lidstrom enjoyed with all these talented players competing for years to come.

- Rick Nash could make Colombus huge if they give him the right talent to work with and put some names on their blue line. if LW Nikita Filatov comes back to Colombus next season, watch out.

- Joe Thornton has played his last Olympic games and that's a giant relief, good riddance to Chokin' Joe.

- Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry chanelled their Ducks teamwork at the right times in this tournament.

- Ryan Miller is a much better goalie than I thought.

- The play of Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf and Zach Parise this Tournament guarantee I will never hear the fucking end of who else Montreal could've drafted instead of Andrei Kostitsyn in 2003 when it comes to discussing the composition of the Habs.

- The Swedes and Russians were severely disappointing in this Tournament, Swedes are generally natural international competitors, while the Russian National Team playing politics with their KHL inclusions really burned them.

- Finland is the most accomplished hockey nation in the last 20 years, with 4 Olympic medals, Teemu Selanne exits the games a 4-time Olympic Medalist, 3 Bronze and 1 Silver. Team Captain Saku Koivu enjoyed his second medal as Team Captain and his 3rd as a member of the Finnish National Team. A great ending for the many Finnish veterans of the games that have brought class, tenacity and impeccable teamwork to the Olympics every time they competed. A nation of 5 million does a lot with very little.

- Jaroslav Halak has lit a fire under Carey Price with his Tournament play, the 22-year old will have to show his very best from this point on to keep his position. It is extremely unlikely both can be signed for next season, Carey Price will be to elite in nets from the start of the Boston game on Tuesday to keep himself in contention for his place on the team as their goalie.

- Chicago Blackhawks front office has to be breaking open the champagne. Their three long-term signings in Toews, Keith and Kane are Gold and Silver medalists at the Olympics, the Franchise Players of that team. Brent Seabrook another signed Blackhawks player collected a Gold as well. Marian Hossa came up huge for Slovakia in the Tournament, when one of his primary criticisms has been he can't turn it up for big games, every time Slovakia played this Tournament, it was a big game. The Playoffs look pretty strong with so many top competitors.

- Was Drew Doughty the best selection of the 2008 Entry Draft? Seems like it right now. 20-year old defencemen rarely play in the NHL, let alone the Olympic Winter Games for Team Canada, the country who generally fields bottom-pairing defencemen who could be top-pairing for any other country except perhaps Sweden. Went from 7th defencemen to a leading role on the team very quickly.

- Alex Ovechkin was thrown from the Olympics in rather inglorious fashion, he will have much work to do in the NHL playoffs this season to possibly claim a Stanley Cup and get himself back in the race with Crosby for championship honours. Kovalchuk and Malkin much the same, much to prove upon their return to the NHL.

- The competition level of these games was a magnificent thing to enjoy. Smaller hockey countries like Germany, Norway, Belarus, Switzerland and Latvia all competed fiercely each game they played, they may have left early but they proved that the growth of hockey is working around the world. Tore Vikingstad of Norway officially has the best hockey player name ever.

- Tomas Plekanec scored 3 goals in the Olympic Tournament not bad at all, let's see what he has in store for Montreal when he gets home. Sergei Kostitsyn had a goal and 4 assists, let's see how his Olympic experience charges him up. Andrei Markov had a rather regrettable Olympics while battling injury, I hope he recovers enough to serve with Montreal well in the home stretch. Jaroslav Halak backstopped his team to a Bronze Medal game, not bad for a 9th-round draft pick from 2003.

- Sweden and Finland are going to have to rebuild their hockey talent now, so many of their veterans have already said this is their final Olympics and more likely that even more of them will just not be ready for the 2014 games. I hope they can bring out fresh new talent to make themselves competitive, it would seem wrong if these countries didn't contend for Olympic medals.

- To all critics of Saku Koivu: He's won three Olympics medals as a Captain of the Finnish National Team, he is a leader who never had a team who could win a Stanley Cup. He wore the CH with as much honour as any Captain who came before him and gave everything he had to Montreal. He is credited by his teammates by giving the speech in the 2nd intermission that stirred his team to their Bronze Medal victory no less.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting what you say about Toews and Crosby. One question that often comes up is do you have to win to be considered the best player. If so, Crosby qualifies - plus - despite his invisibility - he did score in the clutch. As for Ovechkin - who on appearance alone looks miles ahead of anyone - he didn't win and he didn't score the big one. I wonder what it means to be the best?


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