Thursday, February 18, 2010

On The Swiss

So the Swiss once again put a scare into Team Canada, this time by taking them to a shootout, where finally Sid was able to crack Hiller for the winning goal.

How did it end up this way? How where the Swiss able to go the distance with Team Canada, after falling 3-1 to the States and having a very limited NHL roster?

What I saw was, in the second half of the game, the Swiss played a better Canadian style game than Team Canada. They were harder on the puck, forced turnovers, dirtier, uglier, and again able to get sticks and bodies in the way of Canadian scoring chances. I saw the Swiss out-muscle Canada in almost every battle; this gave them puck possession, and they were able to control the pace of the game. I know Team Canada out-shot the Swiss 18-3 in the third; but Hiller only had to make a couple "great" saves - the rest of the shots were pretty low percentage.

The Swiss also played without any fear of taking penalties -- whereas Team Canada looked like a big dog on a short leash. Pronger takes 1 bad penalty, and everyone freaks out - there was only 1 strong shift by the Morrow line to start the third - and the Swiss were hitting harder and forcing turnovers. This is how Canada normally plays! Our penalty kill should be strong enough to allow our team to go out there and kick some ass!

And I know we had a lot of power plays, but there was a non-call on Crosby getting sticked in the face, and there was a non-call on Perry getting kneed in the first period. If Canada did that to the Swiss, the players would be up on murder charges.

Canada is playing like they need to be the perfect team: no penalties, perfect passing plays, giving lots of respect to the opposition with the puck... and to a certain extent they are right. (Insert Gretzky rant here.) We have an excellent team. But they have to stop trying to be Dudley Do-Right / Captain Perfection and play 'our' game.

Our game beats you high, and it beats you low.

Anyhow. Team Canada has had their wakeup call - and I am confident they will answer. The other teams will know that an aggressive forecheck will cause problems for Canada, and sitting back (like the Norwegians) will fail. So Canada had best be ready for more of what they got from the Swiss.

Go Canada Go!!

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