After last nights game I had to let it sink in before being able to write anything. I was in shock most of the night that we had to go to a shoot-out.
After 2006 I've learned not to take any team for granted, especially Switzerland. But I definitely thought we'd play a better game than last night. The Swiss did an incredible job in the neutral and defensive zones and Canada just couldn't combat it.
All game Canada had trouble with their passing, either it was blind to nobody and would get picked up by the Swiss, or it was poked away by the incredible stick position by the players on the Swiss team.
There really isn't a lot that can be said about the game as a whole. I'm sure every Canadian watching the game has the same thing to say "oh crap this tournament is going to be harder than we thought". And it definitely is. Don't get me wrong, Switzerland is a much better team than people think. They are ranked 7th in the world and with Jonas Hiller backstopping them, they're going to be a difficult team to play against. However we shouldn't have had THAT much trouble. The players seemed to be trying in the 3rd but by that point Hiller was in a groove and his team had confidence in him and in turn didn't panic.
If we want any hope of beating the US on Sunday there's A LOT we have to work on. In both the Norway and Switzerland game we didn't have a very good powerplay. Last night going just 1/7 is NOT going to cut it, especially against the US, Russia, Sweden and Finland. Our forwards need to be better defensively so our Defense can rely on them. Last night the D looked like it didn't trust the forwards in their own zone, and rightfully so with Marleau's skate deflecting the puck in his own net to give the Swiss the tying goal.
That's as much of an analysis of the team play that I'm going to give, because like I said before, everyone in Canada saw the same game and is thinking the same thing. But let's talk about the shoot-out. I wasn't aware that we could re-use the same skaters. That's an interesting rule, one I was glad about last night but I also don't think is totally fair. Hiller made some very nice stops on some very talented shooters, but giving Sidney Crosby a second chance to score like that isn't a good idea...he won't miss. He's got incredible vision of the game and can pick up on a goalies weakness after seeing it. That's exactly why Babcock used him again, and as a Canadian I'm very happy for Sid the Kid to be able to net the winner. But against a team without the skill set to match the opposition it really isn't fair. Switzerland doesn't have a Crosby that they could throw out there a second time and expect him to beat Martin Brodeur. When it comes to a shoot-out goalie there isn't many better than Marty. He's always composed and calm, even when the entire country was in a frenzy during that shoot-out. That is what makes him the greatest goalie of all time, and makes me incredibly happy that he's Canadian.
We're starting Marty against the US, but we need to step it up if we plan on winning. I will predict a Canada win because I'm sure Babcock and Ruff are going to be making the team practice like they've never practiced before. It's going to be close and I say it'll be a 4-3 Canada win.
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