Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WJC Final Is Dream Match Up

Canada vs USA for the gold medal in the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship. It is a dream match up and should be an amazing hockey game.

So many factors come into play when discussing the outcome of this game:

Are the Americans Mentally Recovered?

The game between the USA and Canada on New Years Eve was an instant classic. USA had a 4-2 lead in the 3rd period and ending up blowing the lead and losing in a shootout.

The Americans had to be demoralized after that and I for one thought they would lose their next game and get bounced out of the tournament. Instead they responded by knocking of Sweden and earning their spot in the gold medal game to try and exact some revenge.

Have the Americans fully recovered or will they blow it again under the crazy amount of pressure that is now on them?

Has Canada Corrected Their Mistakes?

In the last game between these two teams Canada's defense was exposed all night and they gave up a tonne of breakaways.

Ryan Ellis and Alex Petroangelo looked lost and outclassed most of the night as they made poor passes and were often caught pinching in the offensive zone which lead to all the breakaways. Petro made up for his mistakes with his sick shorthanded goal to tie the game in the 3rd but still.

If not for Jake Allen the score very well might have been 10-4. He mad a tonne of big saves and bailed out the defense all night.

One of the biggest problems the Canadians faced was when we were on the powerplay. Our defensemen kept getting caught out of position as Petro usually plays the slot on the powerplay but the USA was shutting that down forcing him to drop lower in the zone. This lead to a lot of the problems and so Canada was forced to change the strategy for their powerplay.

Can the defense step it up and not make the same mistakes as before?

How Much Will the Injury to Travis Hamonic Hurt Canada?

Hamonic was hurt during the final minutes of the 6-1 win over Switzerland when he was driven into the boards from behind by Jeffrey Fluglister aka Captain C*ck Sucker. I knew immediately that he was done for good when I saw the hit cause it looked like he hit his collarbone right in that sweet spot.

Hamonic has been a beast so far this WJC and has been one of the best defensemen for Canada hands down. He plays on the powerplay and penalty kill and he is a true shut down defender. Now that he is injured Jared Cowan will take his place. Cowan is a much more physical and slower defender than Hamonic and he may not be able to match the pace set by a fast American team. He also hasn't played much which is never good.

Also due to the injury to Hamonic there is talk that Brandon McMillan might play some defense if needed. Having a forward play defense is never a good thing and his offense will be missed if that does happen.

The worst thing is that Hamonic won't be able to play in the game in front of the Canadian fans and truly earn that gold medal. He is a great player and was a real contributor so far and its truly sad that he doesn't get to play.

Can Canada's defense hold together without Hamonic. I already talked about how the defense struggled last game and now that Hamonic is out they struggle even more.

Will Canada Win Gold By Playing Only 1 Legit Team?

So far in this WJC Canada has played Switzerland, Latvia, Slovakia and the USA. They didn't have to play Russia or Sweden. This means that they very well might win a gold medal with the USA being the only legit team that they faced.

The USA on the other hand had to play Russia. Obviously it isn't a huge deal but the fact that Canada has faced inferior teams and may still win the tournament is something worth mentioning.

Does it diminish the accomplishment? No of course not but it seems like they have taken the path of least resistance to the gold medal game. If anything it will be exciting to watch them play the USA again because let's face it watching them dump all over Latvia, Slovakia and Switzerland over and over again isn't that fun anymore.

I love watching Canada win but it's nice to see them have to try.

Will Canada Win a Record 6th Gold in a Row?

Since the tournament was first created in 1977 so team has won 6 in a row. Now Canada is 1 game away from breaking that record and making history. All that stands in their way are the Americans.

The accomplishment would not be lost on Canadians who pay more attention to this tournament than any other sporting event. Because while everyone may not watch baseball, football, basketball or even the NHL everyone watches the WJC.

"Any time you get the opportunity to set your name in stone, with the group of guys that we have, it's special" said Eberle to the Winnipeg Free Press.

It would be great to beat the Americans for the 6th gold in a row but to lose to them to end the streak would be a nightmare. "You don't want to lose that game, especially for the history and the legacy we are carrying. We want to be that championship team and we'll do everything to make that happen."

Some Americans players have been saying that it is their destiny to beat the Canadians now that they beat Sweden to make it to the finals. Well we all know what Jordan Eberle says about destiny. Just ask Russia. "With 5 seconds left destiny panics."

Can These Two Teams Create Another Classic?

It seems like every time these two teams meet in the WJC it is an amazing game.

Playing in Ottawa last year, the U.S. raced to a 3-0 lead before John Tavares led a Canadian comeback with a hat-trick and an eventual 7-4 victory. This was hands down the best hockey game I have ever watched. It had everything you could ever watch and needs to be aired once a week on TSN. Seriously why don't they show this game more often?

At the 2007 tournament, Canada and the USA played a dramatic semi-final game that was extended to a seven-round shootout. This is the game where Jonathan Toews became a Canadian hero as he single handedly won the Canadians the gold by scoring 3 times in the shootout. Carey Price was in net but he kept letting in goals so he gets 0 credit.

Then there's that infamous 2004 game which is by far one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. Facing a Canadian team that featured Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, and Brent Seabrook, the Americans came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in third period. With less than six minutes to play, a Patrick O'Sullivan shot bounced off Braydon Coburn's skate and past Fleury, who had come out to play the puck. The goal stood up to give the U.S. their first and only World Junior gold medal in a 4-3 win. I skipped school with 15 other people and we watched the game in my basement. It was dead quiet when that goal went in. Literally no sound. I shiver just thinking about it. The team to not win a gold.

Will I be Able to Contain My Excitement?

Obviously since I wrote this post I was not able to contain my excitement and was forced to write over 1500 words on the game.

7:30pm EST where will you be? I know I will be on my couch with a diet pepsi (not a plug for Pepsi I actually love the stuff and drink at least 1 can everyday without question) in hand and a large pizza with pepperoni, extra cheese and Italian sausage on the table. Life just doesn't get any better.

Random YouTube Video


Kyleevans'Brain said...

I will hopefully be doing the same except scratch the sausage and switch the diet Pepsi to root beer or maybe grape.

Anonymous said...

With 5 seconds left, the Sports Informer panics.

Anonymous said...

The Sports Informer is a faggot!