Sunday, March 02, 2014
Pure Gold! Olympic Hockey Victories 2014!
Jonathan Toews struggled to make his way to the Swedish blue line, and, according to commentator Pierre McGuire, should have headed to the bench. Toews decided to stay on the ice to forecheck in the opponent’s zone. Good thing, as well.
The Canadians freed the puck from the Swedes, shuffled it to Toews, and he scored one of the most important goals of his life in the final game of the 2014 Olympic Games. Assists went to Carter and Webber. One for Canada, none for Sweden. That was all that was required. Gold to Canada…the rest to everyone else.
On his next shift, Toews again provided an impetus for a Canadian attack. In this case, McGuire was impressed, stating the Toews was now “in the zone”. Even Roenick recognized Toews’ courage and skill when he shared with us that the young Black Hawk “moved to a spot in front of the net, where goal scorers go”.
Due to the fact that we are required to watch American coverage of the Games, we have been listening to McGuire, Mike Milbury, and J. R. Roenick. On occasion, this has been painful. The tone of the dialogue subsided somewhat after the Canadians took care of the Americans in the semi-final. Some wind left the sails of the talking heads. But the coverage was quite slanted, with McGuire using the word “We”, when referring to the American women in their game against the Canadians.
It is interesting that the rest of the hockey world still has not caught up to the Canadian and American women. Such is not the case in men’s hockey. There are several nations contesting for the medals in men’s hockey. You may find the Swedes, the Finns, the Swiss, the Slovenians, the Czechs, the Slovaks, and, of course, the Russians vying for the title. I am sure it was a huge disappointment for the Russians not to have participated in the big game. Such is the nature of hockey: a goal post here, a great save there, lucky bounces resulting in scoring chances.
The Russians did not catch a break. But there is no need for Ovechkin to apologize on behalf of himself, nor for his teammates. Water under the bridge.
Throughout the game, when there were stoppages in play at the Swedish net, Canadian players gathered like flies to…honey. Jeff Carter, Martin St. Louis, and Corey Perry mingled in the crease on several occasions, exchanging pleasantries, searching for errant pucks. No need to take foolish penalties, just occasions to let the opposition know that you were serious about the game.
Sidney Crosby scored the prettiest goal in the tournament to seal the deal. He stole the puck from the Swedish defender, flew in on goal, and deked Lundquist to put the Canadians up by two goals. On no occasion did I believe that Crosby needed to do anything spectacular to justify his existence, and, once again he led the way to victory.
It is never going to be an easy road to the highest pedestal in hockey. I commend the authorities for great player selection, brilliant coaching, superb organization. Steve Yzerman has indicated that he will step down as the general manager of the team. He has two gold medals to show for his efforts, and we should be most grateful for his expertise. There are other brilliant hockey people in this country. One hopes they will step up to the plate, and follow in the skate marks of Yzerman, Babcock et al.
A job well done, to say the least.
March 1, 2014.