Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not Happy---And I Don't Think I'm Alone

I feel sorry for Christine Nesbitt this morning. The gold medallist in the womens 1000 metre speedskating race is having the attention she deserves put on the backburner as hockey fans go WTF! and tear apart last night's effort by Team Canada against Switzerland. The Canadians won 3-2 in a shootout in a result that I think many found to be surprising, especially after being up 2-0.
There were several players in this game that were not good. It starts with Chris Pronger. Was it just me or was this guy giving up the puck on just about every shift? I thought Joe Thornton was horsecrap on this night as he had no intensity to his game. After being dominant against Norway, what happened to Jarome Iginla and what was Sidney Crosby doing. Yes, Crosby is being seen as a hero today because he scored in the shootout---on his 2nd attempt, but for someone who is fighting with Alex Ovechkin to be hockey's dominant player, he is fighting a losing battle right now. Crosby needs to be more of a force and he wasn't that against Switzerland.
Give a lot of credit to Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller who was outstanding, but Canada simply can't afford this type of performance again. If they do, you can kiss that gold medal goodbye. Yes, Canada soiled the linen in its Salt Lake opener against Sweden before bouncing back to take gold, but with a game against the US on Sunday, Canada is making it very tough on themselves.
Now to the shootout, why is Crosby being given a 2nd chance when there are so many other talented guys on the bench. This isn't Sid's team, its Canada. Yes, he scored on that 2nd attempt, but guys like Heatley, Iginla and Nash deserved to be out there as well. I don't agree with Mike Babcock's philosophy on that one. Speaking of Rick Nash, he might have been the best player on the ice for Canada. I shudder to think how good he would be if he wasn't stuck in Columbus and was on a team where his skills were complimented by some other talented forwards. Imagine him in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Washington or Chicago. You put him on Vancouver and I would like the Canucks chances of going all the way.
The bottom line is Canada won and that's a good thing. A medal is still no certainty though. As much as we want the gold, I think Canadians found out Thursday night that Team Canada is still a major work in progress. Am I being too hard on Team Canada? Perhaps! However, I expect excellence from that group and I didn't see it on Thursday.
Christine Nesbitt brought Canada its 3rd gold and 7th medal of the Vancouver games and this one is one that I can get behind. I love it when Canadian athletes win medals, but a lot of our medals have come in sports that aren't the traditional winter sports. They are sports that come courtesy the X-games. I'll take medals in moguls and snowboard, but when they come in the traditional events like speedskating, skiing, etc, etc, I like it just a little more.
One thing you can say about the Rider coaching staff in 2010 is they will be experienced. Four members of that staff are or have been a CFL head coach. Ken Miller, Gary Etcheverry, Jim Daley and Doug Berry all know what its like to be in control. There isn't much this group hasn't seen. I like it!
Daley is back home as far as I'm concerned. I got to know Jim well when he coached here the first time and you always knew he had a soft spot for Regina no matter where he went. You could see it when he came back whether it was with the Eskimos, the Stamps or the CFL. He has a genuine love for this city and this province and he would love nothing more than to see this team succeed. Methinks he'll be part of a pretty good football team in 10. If the Riders were to win it all this year, I would be happy for everyone in the organization, but I would be very happy to see Daley be a part of it. He deserves to be part of a championship team in Saskatchewan. He came one game away from doing that in 97 and he did that with a team that is nowhere close to being as talented as the team he now joins.
What's Tiger going to say today? You will have to be in a cave by the sounds of it to not hear him. All of the major networks will have his statement. Even CTV is breaking away from its Olympic coverage to show Tiger's statement. I will understand this move by CTV if Tiger is wearing Olympic mittens or an "I believe" scarf. Some believe he will say today he is retiring. That won't be happening. Will he come back for the Masters? Does Tiger dare make a gong show of an event that is perhaps the most prestigious on the PGA tour? I don't think so. I also don't think the wife will be at his side as some have suggested. I just hope Tiger actually shows some emotion. I'm doubting that will happen since he is reading from a prepared statement meaning his address won't come from the heart, but I'm also hoping we don't see the same Tiger that wants to operate on his whims and desires and not the wishes of anyone else. Humility is the key!
The Pats are in Brandon Friday night. They need to come home from Manitoba with two points. They are seven back of the 8th place Warriors and they have start to beating the elite teams to have a chance. With a lot of games against the Wheaties and Blades and a contest against Vancouver still to go, the mountain may be too steep.
Who's the idiot that started the Gordon Lightfoot story?
As you go into your Friday, ask yourself if the acronym for STUPID isn't

Smart Talented Unique Person In Demand

Have a good one and if you don't check in until Monday, have a good weekend!



Anonymous said...

Crosby was horsecrap, but he got it done when he had to. Even though he had little work, I thought Brodeur was Canada's best player. After watching the US play their first two, I think you might be very upset on Sunday night.

Anonymous said...

I think its dumb that a player gets an opportunity to shoot twice in the shootout. Go through the roster first.


Anonymous said...

Quit yer bitchin'! They won! You sound like a Rider fan!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on Nash. He would be so good on an offensive minded team.

The worst Canadian d-man was not Pronger, it was Seabrook.

Sid is Canada's best player but Babcock should have sent out some other guys instead of having him come out for a 2nd time.

The Olympics become secondary because of Tiger. Gimme a break! If he announces his retirement, they might as well postpone the rest of the Olympics and tell everyone to go home.

Some may not like the looks of the Rider coaching staff, but I like it.


Anonymous said...

Here's my take on Crosby shooting again.

For two games you have a team without someone really emerging as the leader (too many passes, not enough shooting, no one getting a bit ugly -except Pronger who is just stupid sometimes). Basically a lot of VP's no CEO.

So you look and see who is the best candidate to lead - to me its Crosby because he is the one who has most recently elevated his game and won and also likely has the most fire - he's a very emotional player. Thornton, Heatly, Marleau, Nash etc - all great players but have either failed to elevate their games (as in the case of the Sharks) in big time situations or haven't been there before (Nash). It's also hard to ask a guy like Jerome who has more wear on his bodies then others.

To me the coaches basically said "we need someone to be the man and Sidney we are going to put the onus on you". I would not have been surprized at all to see Toews shoot again as well based on his recent performance in the NHL and his proven ability to step up in big situations.

Getzlaf to me just isn't that type of guy.

MIke from Vita, MB said...

A fiesty Friday is upon us. Canada definitely has to get its act together or it could be another 7th place finish. Switzerland has come of age...time to be included with the big dogs.

Rider situation looks good...hurry up June for training camp!

Anonymous said...

You realize Ovechkin was pretty much a non factor vs Slovakia as well don't you. He was also 1 for 3 in the shootout last night, and missed on his last two opportunities to win the game for his team. At least Crosby burries the biscuit with the game on his stick.

Anonymous said...

Mike Babcock's responsibility as head coach of Canada's Olympic Team is NOT to stroke the ego of every player, or set an example of "fair play". It is to WIN! This is not Regina Atom 'House League'. Do agree it is ridiculous that players are allowed to shoot twice in international hockey? Yes! That is not Babcock's fault. He plays the hand he is dealt, and in his opinion Crosby gave his team the best chance to score, and win. He was right.

Did you think Craig Hartsburg was wrong to allow Jonathon Toews to shoot 3, count'm 3 times in the 2007 WJHC? Without that decision, Canada probably loses against the USA, and wins silver. Had Hartsburg taken the "everybody plays" angle and Canada lost gold, would you respect him more? Would Canadian fans consider Hartsburg a martyr, or an idiot???

Hypothetically, suppose the WHL played under these same, moronic shoot-out rules. The Pats are tied for a last playoff spot, in game 72. With two points they make playoffs, with one they miss. Eberle has already shot, and now can shoot again in round #4. Curtis Hunt opts to have Brett Leffler shoot instead, because dammit, it's the RIGHT thing to do... Um, excuse me?

Kelly Remple (your partner - DDP)