February 25, 2010

Canada crushes Russia

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey, Olympics

Team Canada’s ice hockey team had better thank their lucky stars for two things: That Roberto Luongo is currently better than Martin Brodeur and that they lost to the U.S. in the preliminary round.

Luongo’s play in net has far surpassed that of Canada’s apparent No. 1 goalie and now the whole country is reaping the benefits. Had Brodeur been in net for Wednesday’s game, I’m not so sure if he wouldn’t have been eventually pulled since I could imagine the feisty Russians potting a few more goals than the Vancouver Canuck backstop allowed. Brodeur’s handling of the puck, once considered a strong point, had caused problems in the two games he played. I can’t remember the last time somebody botched a skill so horribly when they were supposed to be the best of all time in the category.

The more important factor in Team Canada’s turnaround was the fact that they came out flat, showed no heart and lost to the Americans. Had they simply cruised through the opening round, never facing adversity, could they really have blown out the Russians? Without the swagger they gained from being punched in the collective proverbial mouth, there’s no way they jump out to a 4-1 first period lead against a solid team.

Teams only really come together after going through a time tough together; it helps them bond and become closer. And in a truncated format with a limited amount of time, just one adversity has to be that moment. These men on Team Canada are now brothers, looking for a shot to avenge their past defeat. It will be what drives them for last two games of these Olympics and if I’m facing this talented team of revenge –lusting stars, I’d watch out.

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