Monday, February 22, 2010

Placing the Blame

I've always known that the average sports fan is a moron but last night it was taken to a whole new level. On the heels of Canada's 5-3 loss to the USA at the Olympics people were upset and looking for someone to blame. Instead of blaming Martin Brodeur,who let in 4 goals or Chris Pronger who looked out of place and had countless giveaways or even Steve Yzerman who assembled the team people blamed Corey Perry.

"Corey Perry take your useless ass across the border and play for the americans. Fucking wanka!!!"

"never hated Corey Perry more than he does right now"

Why all the hating on Perry? Because with the score 4-3 he lost a foot race to the puck and allowed Ryan Kesler to knock it into the empty net with a diving effort. Let's forget for a second that Kesler's play was unreal and showed pure heart and focus on another undeniable fact, Ryan Miller was not letting in another goal.

Miller played like a champion last night making 42 saves on 43 shots. He had the game of his life and proved why he is the best goalie in the world right now. If you think Canada was scoring on him again you're delusional. Should Perry have won that footrace? Of course but that doesn't mean he is solely to blame for that loss.

If anything he barely played a role in the loss seeing as he only had 12:44 minutes of ice time which was 4th lowest on the team. The only players on the ice for less time were Patrice Bergeron, Brent Seabrook, Mike Richards and Brenden Morrow. He was also one of only 7 players not to finish with a minus rating so really how can he be blamed.

If you want to blame someone blame Martin Brodeur, Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock. These 3 men combined to cost Canada that game and seem to be getting off the hook from the fans who know nothing and focus only on the little details instead of the big picture.

Let's start with Brodeur.

Party Marty made 18 saves on 22 shots which works out to a Vesa Toskola like .818 save percentage. In the first minute of the game he mishandled the puck and had 2 turnovers which led to scoring chances and then the eventual 1st goal. The second goal was a direct result of him trying to play baseball on the ice and giving the puck right to Brian Rafalski who then scored on the weakest shot in history.

He did make some big saves late in the game but by that time the damage had been done. Once that first goal went in not even 60 seconds into the game it was over. The crowd was deflated and the Americans gained the confidence they needed to win. That goal doesn't even compare to the 2nd goal however as that goal came just 21 seconds after the Canadians tied it at 1-1. 21 seconds later it is 2-1 and all the momentum gained by tying the game is lost because Chubbs (Sean Avery's nicnk name for Brodeur) wanted to be Babe Ruth.

But it's not as if Brodeur lost this game by himself, no he had some significant help from 2 guys that never touched the ice, Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock.

Back in December when the roster was announced I wrote this, "I felt that in 2006 the reason Canada didn't win was because of the "old guard" yet the old guard still is very much present on this team in the form of Niedermayer and Pronger. These guys did not make the team based on merit they are past their primes and were only picked due to name and reputation"

Last night both Neidermayer and Pronger looked old. They were often outmuscled in the corners and couldn't handle the speed of the Americans. Neidermayer made some nice passes and was jumping in on the rush a lot but on the defensive end he was a liability just like Pronger who played the role of a pylon nicely on the 3rd goal. They both finished with a -1 rating and neither contributed a point.

These are the two guys Yzerman brought with him that still represent the "old guard." If Canada ever wants to be successful they need to stop bringing guys based on reputation and past accomplishments. Tell me why Mike Green and Jay Bouwmeester aren't on this team again? Mike Green would have been amazing last night as the Americans kept collapsing on the net in the defensive zone to eliminate rebounds. What does that mean? It means that the defensemen had all day to shoot from the point. Both Green and Bouwmeester have excellent shots and could have done some real damage last night.

In the end there is one person who should be shouldering the most blame for what happened last night and that man is Head Coach Mike Babcock.

Mistake #1 was making Scott Neidermayer captain. Going into the Olympics everyone was talking about Sidney Crosby needed to step up and be great for Canada and how he had to make it "his team." You know the best way to make it his team? Give him the 'C' and let him be the leader instead of a washed up defenseman who pulls the Brett Favre retiring game at the end of every season. Neidermayer is a great leader but Crosby is what makes this team go. He is the one everyone is counting on and the guy with the most to lose. He should have been given the 'C'.

Besides just that mistake Babcock has made many others. He loves to play the San Jose line way too much and often has them out there in crunch time. Does he not realize that he has Crosby-Nash-Iginla on his team? Chemistry is all well and good but Joe Thornton is a choke artists and no one on the San Jose line is better than the guys on the top line.

The one thing I will give Babcock credit for is playing Jonathan Toews more. So far in this tournament no one has played with more passion and effort than Toews. Every shift he gets he is out there working hard and making plays. He barely touched the ice against Switzerland and still had an impact and in last nights game he had 2 big assists and countless great plays. He and the rest of the young guys on the team like Doughty, Weber and Keith all played really well last night and showed that they are ready for International play.

So there you have it. Three guys for fans to blame instead of Corey Perry. If you are one of the many who blame Perry for last nights loss do yourself a favor and stop talking about hockey. Yes Perry had a bad game but to say he lost Canada that game last night is a joke.

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1 comment:

Ali said...

Great article guy. Agree with ur points.