Team Canada seeking a spark
I'm not sure what the country was looking for from Team Canada GM
"We just can't go out and expect that we're going to go undefeated and win a gold medal in every tournament," Yzerman announced to a crowded press conference in Vancouver. "We're living it. We understand that and our players knew that coming in. I think the country has to understand that as well, that we're going to face adversity."
Come on, Steve. Give us a little credit. Despite how the American media has painted us since our loss to Team USA on Sunday night, we're not a nation that needs to have our shoelaces and belts confiscated. These are the most savvy hockey fans in the world. Canadians may demand gold, but we're not oblivious to the fact that there are no guarantees.
A promise of victory wouldn't be in keeping with your character, or ours, for that matter. Still, couching your expectation is the last thing that Canada needs right now, either the country or the team.
What it needs is a spark.
What do we get in 2010?
Thanks, Steve. Can only imagine how stirring your "Wait 'till next year!" speech will be.
If Team Canada is going to get this turned around, someone needs to step up and provide the emotion that's been sadly lacking from this squad through the first three games. Clearly it won't be Yzerman. At least the tinkering by his coach in practice on Monday suggested some sense of urgency in the Canadian camp.
No surprise that
The San Jose Sharks line of
It's a good start, especially the teaming of Getzlaf and Nash, a duo that has experienced success at the World Championships. But it's been apparent since the early stages of the game against Switzerland that simply rearranging the deck chairs won't cure all of this team's ills. The question now is whether Babcock will shorten his bench in-game in order to create extra ice for those who deserve it.
Forget the bruised egos. Rolling four lines isn't getting it done. Going into tonight's must-win match against Germany, there are plenty of candidates for pine time. Certainly Thornton's Invisible Man routine against Team USA -- and who on earth could have imagined Jumbo Joe fading into the background during a critical game? -- suggests he's due for spot duty. So is Perry, whose soft play led directly to
Babcock appears to have found his go-to defenders in
Benching them would send a strong message. But if there's a spark to be had, it's most likely to come from the decision to hand the torch to
Undoubtedly, there will be those who feel that
Could the coach have been more tactful in his handling of the decision? Sure. But as Babcock noted, Canada is in the winning business. Brodeur may be the greatest goalie of all-time, but not of this time. After posting a .837 save percentage through two starts, he had to know this was coming. Time for him to grab his baseball cap and play the good soldier.
As for Luongo, well, this is his rink, these are his fans, and now this is his team. Time for him to shake that "what's he ever won?" label.
His chance starts tonight against the Germans, a gritty, well-coached side that will try to keep it close with their defensive composure, but it's also a team that should be thinking about catching an early standby flight home by the end of the first period.
After that, the path gets steep and rocky in a hurry, starting Wednesday with Russia. If Canada's going to make it, someone has to lead the way.
Maybe that person will reveal himself tonight.