OGDB 1.0: So It Begins

Jonathan Willis
February 13 2014 09:55AM

Canada 2010 Gold Moment

Team Canada kicks off its defence of Olympic gold today, facing Norway in what is a late night game in Sochi but an awfully early one on this side of the Atlantic. 

The Lineup

Canada is expected to use the following line combinations against the Norwegians, though of course with a larger international roster (allowing two extra dressed skaters than an NHL roster) there will be more flexibility than normal.

89-Gagner-6

  • Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Jeff Carter
  • Patrick Marleau - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
  • Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Rick Nash
  • Jamie Benn - John Tavares - Patrice Bergeron
  • Martin St. Louis

Aside from Crosby, that top line seems pretty weak by Canadian standards, though of course that's not likely to be a concern against Norway. It'll be interesting to see how much use Martin St. Louis gets as Canada's spate forward and of course how well these units click.

PK subban

  • Duncan Keith - Shea Weber
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Drew Doughty
  • Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
  • Dan Hamhuis

No P.K. Subban is the interesting point here; I expected he'd be Canada's seventh defenceman (and he may yet be) but so far the team is opting for a more pure-defence option in Hamhuis. It's justifiable to some degree - Vlasic or Bouwmeester are more likely to need replacing in the regular rotation than anybody on the right side.

  • Carey Price
  • Roberto Luongo

Price gets the start here, with Luongo all but certain to play against Austria tomorrow. It's a tip of the hat that Price will be the starter over the course of the tournament. 

Elsewhere in Sochi

85-Marincin-3

Scores from the first two days of the tournament:

  • Sweden 4 - Czech Republic 2
  • Switzerland 1 - Latvia 0
  • Finland 8 - Austria 4
  • United States 7 - Slovakia 1
  • Russia 5 - Slovenia 2

Martin Marincin went minus-four against the United States in that lopsided loss. He wasn't *that* bad by eye, but he did have some walkabout moments while partner Milan Jurcina was a turnstile. Marincin had an active stick, a couple of zone entries and a scoring chance of his own but was exposed at times in his own end. He ended up tied for the team lead with three shots.

The U.S. win was decisive, but interestingly they ran up the score only against Slovakia's bottom-six forwards and bottom-four defencemen (all of whom got regular shifts from a generous Slovak coach). Despite the score, they finished even against Slovakia's top-four D, which means they may yet have trouble scoring in tougher matches.

77-Belov-6

I didn't see the Russian game, but Anton Belov scored a goal there, had two shots and finished plus-one in a little over 10 minutes of ice time. 

83-Hemsky-9

Ales Hemsky was barely used in the Czech Republic's loss to Sweden, but looked good when he finally got on the ice in the third period. The Czechs have the talent to compete for a medal, but the management and coaching seems perfectly atrocious. From picking people like Petr Nedved and Roman Cervenka over Jiri Hudler and Radim Vrbata to giving Ladislav Smid 0:00 TOI in a game where Michal Barinka played more than 15 minutes, one would almost think that the people running the Czech team were intentionally sewering the club. 

That's tough for Hemsky and Smid, who have seen their fair share of hardship in the NHL, but great for the other medal contenders who face a critically weakened Czech squad. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Spydyr
February 13 2014, 09:59AM
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OGDP:GOLD!!!

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#2 nuge2nail
February 13 2014, 10:04AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Smid sucks - not surprised he played 0:00 minutes.

Giroux on the top line instead of Carter would have been a good call IMO.

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#3 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 13 2014, 10:25AM
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Any radio stations carrying the game?

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#4 gongshow
February 13 2014, 10:40AM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Smid sucks - not surprised he played 0:00 minutes.

Giroux on the top line instead of Carter would have been a good call IMO.

It would be an upgrade on Carter, but I would think that captain Crosby may not appreciate sharing the bench with Giroux with whom he has had some vicious battles.

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#5 HardBoiledOil
February 13 2014, 10:51AM
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guess the Czechs don't think much of Oiler players either? ex-Oiler Smid doesn't even play and Hemmer barely plays. and like was mentioned, no Hudler! maybe they are going for the 1st overall pick at the Olympics or something? but hey, the Swedes didn't pick Hedman either, which was rather odd.

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#6 vetinari
February 13 2014, 10:58AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

guess the Czechs don't think much of Oiler players either? ex-Oiler Smid doesn't even play and Hemmer barely plays. and like was mentioned, no Hudler! maybe they are going for the 1st overall pick at the Olympics or something? but hey, the Swedes didn't pick Hedman either, which was rather odd.

I'm guessing that some teams are resting players in games that they don't think that they have a chance of winning so that they are fresh later in the tournament. Also, I think Hemsky had a minor injury prior to the Olympic break and may not be fully back up to 100%.

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#7 OvenChicken8
February 13 2014, 11:09AM
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Who cares, Canada scored!

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#8 Doctor Smashy
February 13 2014, 12:19PM
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Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

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#9 Lowe Expectations
February 13 2014, 12:24PM
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Canada looked flat today. They better pick up the play going forward or it'll be 2006 all over again.

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#10 Soccer Steve
February 13 2014, 12:43PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

What game did you watch?

Norway worked hard and did the only two things they could to not get blown out: block every shot they could and play with five defensemen the whole game. I don't care who you are, that's a tough game to win.

We completely dominated them in shots, faceoffs, and overall play. As easily as it was 3-1, on another day it could've been 6-0.

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#11 WhatsanNHL
February 13 2014, 12:51PM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Team 1260 will have all of Canada's games. Oops TSN 1260 :p

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#12 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
February 13 2014, 12:56PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

You can't reuse the same comments you use for Oiler games.

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#13 YEGFan
February 13 2014, 01:20PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

Price saved everything he could (the goal was kind of a crazy deflection) and was perfect in positioning.

Nash looked fine, he played well on the PK and took a pass that was behind him to speed through the middle of the defense for a shot on net.

I thought Doughty was the best player for either team. Nobody had more points than him, he made no real mistakes defensively, he scored a highlight reel goal by walking through the Norway team, and he made great outlet passes.

What game were you watching? I agree there were some weak spots (Kunitz, Carter), but the three players you singled out are completely off base.

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#14 dq
February 13 2014, 01:24PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

Canada played a good solid game and significantly out-chanced and outplayed Norway in every aspect - the whole while, not compromising their defensive game.

Oiler fans should respect that.

Against a team like Norway, it'd have been easy to get goal happy and forget about defensive responsibilities ... but they didn't ... I'll take a 3-1 well played game vs Norway with no bad habits started rather than a 6-1 win where they all played for padded stats.

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#15 Randaman
February 13 2014, 01:39PM
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dq wrote:

Canada played a good solid game and significantly out-chanced and outplayed Norway in every aspect - the whole while, not compromising their defensive game.

Oiler fans should respect that.

Against a team like Norway, it'd have been easy to get goal happy and forget about defensive responsibilities ... but they didn't ... I'll take a 3-1 well played game vs Norway with no bad habits started rather than a 6-1 win where they all played for padded stats.

You might want to rethink that. Goals for and Goals against differential is in play here and could determine who we face first in the medal round. History tells us that we play better when the tougher teams are played later rather than sooner. This isn't the NHL. P.S. Nash looks SLOW out there and Sharp looked confused. Carter & Kunitz got caught on the same side of the ice a couple times. Small issues that better get straightened out before next week. Price looked OK for the small sample displayed but he was off the post for the allowed goal. Bigger ice = different angles. Just sayin...

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#16 geoilersgist
February 13 2014, 01:39PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow. Canada looked terrible today. It is possible to be snake-bit against an inferior team but still play well. That was not the case today. Price looked bored or scared...the puck bounced out of his glove over and over on routine saves. Nash looked really slow, as did Doughty. There was zero hustle from anyone. This team does not have a personnel issue (sure good players were left off), it has an effort issue. Hopefully it's just jet-lag. This could get ugly...

Remember that time it took Norway 18min to get a shot on net in the 2nd... ya Canada played horrible...

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#17 Doctor Smashy
February 13 2014, 01:49PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

You can't reuse the same comments you use for Oiler games.

Uhhh....you mean the words I coined for the first time in history like 'hustle', or 'slow'? Maybe when I think about it I have used those types of words before but hey, they are pretty descriptive. Feel free to use them when you express your opinion.

As for everyone else, I really want Canada to win gold (because apparently that needs to be said). I just didn't have that, "wow are we ever dominating these guys!" kind of feeling in my stomach while I watched....I'm glad you all did. All credit to Norway though. Canada definitely had the puck in their zone for the 2nd and 3rd but they just didn't look very fast and the decisions came really slowly...I'm not a troll guys...it's just my opinion. I'm glad you guys were happy with the effort though.

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#18 Doctor Smashy
February 13 2014, 01:50PM
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Randaman wrote:

You might want to rethink that. Goals for and Goals against differential is in play here and could determine who we face first in the medal round. History tells us that we play better when the tougher teams are played later rather than sooner. This isn't the NHL. P.S. Nash looks SLOW out there and Sharp looked confused. Carter & Kunitz got caught on the same side of the ice a couple times. Small issues that better get straightened out before next week. Price looked OK for the small sample displayed but he was off the post for the allowed goal. Bigger ice = different angles. Just sayin...

Yeah...also these things...

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#19 Will
February 13 2014, 02:12PM
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That does look like a rather weak top line. I guess Crosby - Kunitz - Stamkos would have looked better. But you know what looks better than the current one: Crosby - Hall - MSL. The speed and skill of that line would be bananas. Or, even better than that, Crosby - Hall - E Stall. Or even better than that, Thorton - Crosby - E Stall, or Crosby - Lucic - E. Stall. Seriously though Crosby Hall Stall for gold every time.

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#20 dq
February 13 2014, 02:14PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Uhhh....you mean the words I coined for the first time in history like 'hustle', or 'slow'? Maybe when I think about it I have used those types of words before but hey, they are pretty descriptive. Feel free to use them when you express your opinion.

As for everyone else, I really want Canada to win gold (because apparently that needs to be said). I just didn't have that, "wow are we ever dominating these guys!" kind of feeling in my stomach while I watched....I'm glad you all did. All credit to Norway though. Canada definitely had the puck in their zone for the 2nd and 3rd but they just didn't look very fast and the decisions came really slowly...I'm not a troll guys...it's just my opinion. I'm glad you guys were happy with the effort though.

There's a big difference between "They looked terrible" (which you originally said). and "wow are we ever dominating these guys"

Canada's play was somewhere between these 2 extremes (IMO closer to the latter). People are replying to your original "they looked terrible" comment more than they're arguing that Canada was dominant.

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#21 Devolution
February 13 2014, 02:20PM
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Randaman wrote:

You might want to rethink that. Goals for and Goals against differential is in play here and could determine who we face first in the medal round. History tells us that we play better when the tougher teams are played later rather than sooner. This isn't the NHL. P.S. Nash looks SLOW out there and Sharp looked confused. Carter & Kunitz got caught on the same side of the ice a couple times. Small issues that better get straightened out before next week. Price looked OK for the small sample displayed but he was off the post for the allowed goal. Bigger ice = different angles. Just sayin...

Goals for and against shouldn't matter unless Finland and Canada tie their round robin match. Both will beat Austria and Norway, so it will be the head to head game that decides the group.

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#22 Doctor Smashy
February 13 2014, 02:38PM
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dq wrote:

There's a big difference between "They looked terrible" (which you originally said). and "wow are we ever dominating these guys"

Canada's play was somewhere between these 2 extremes (IMO closer to the latter). People are replying to your original "they looked terrible" comment more than they're arguing that Canada was dominant.

Fair enough...I can't say for sure that 'terrible' is a relative term or an absolute one...I certainly meant it relative to how I felt they should have looked against Norway. My opinion is still that they were closer to the other end than you do. Certain plays stand out...like when our D are (...seemed to be...) slowing down while coming out of the zone with the puck but our forwards were already holding up at the far blue line for the pass. I think we should have been able to carry it through the neutral zone much more easily than we did. Terrible might have been extreme but I think it is delusional to think it wound up being 3-1 because Norway blocked a lot of shots. It's an impossible experiment to do but I suspect that if Canada played THAT way against a GOOD team they would have been in big trouble. They have to play with more intensity (which is hard to do against an obviously weaker team) and execute better (3 goals is not enough even if there are 6 Norwegians in the crease). They have to be better....and I hope they will be.

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#23 dq
February 13 2014, 02:45PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Fair enough...I can't say for sure that 'terrible' is a relative term or an absolute one...I certainly meant it relative to how I felt they should have looked against Norway. My opinion is still that they were closer to the other end than you do. Certain plays stand out...like when our D are (...seemed to be...) slowing down while coming out of the zone with the puck but our forwards were already holding up at the far blue line for the pass. I think we should have been able to carry it through the neutral zone much more easily than we did. Terrible might have been extreme but I think it is delusional to think it wound up being 3-1 because Norway blocked a lot of shots. It's an impossible experiment to do but I suspect that if Canada played THAT way against a GOOD team they would have been in big trouble. They have to play with more intensity (which is hard to do against an obviously weaker team) and execute better (3 goals is not enough even if there are 6 Norwegians in the crease). They have to be better....and I hope they will be.

I think we agree on most fronts here. Mainly that they need to play better than they did. To your point, I wasn't blown away by their play either... but at the same time, they gave me no significant reason to think they're in trouble and that they won't elevate their game when they need to.

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#24 Johnnydapunk
February 13 2014, 02:48PM
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One of the rare times I had a morning appointment and missed the game, had a quick look at the stats and maybe my concerns are unjustified as Canada also opened the tournament with Norway in 2010, shots on goal were quite similar, but the score was 8-0 in 2010. Gonna watch the replay tonight and see how they look.

In the end a win is a win and the team that doesn't lose gets the gold, so no problems yet.

The game against Finland will be tricky for Canada, I am one of the few but I think that the Finns will be the shock of the tournament and could break some hearts.

For most Finns, when the hockey starts is when the Olympics start. It will be an intersting Sunday.

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#25 Benny Botts
February 13 2014, 03:15PM
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That picture up top of Canada scoring the golden goal has to be one of the greatest examples of why fans love sports and their teams so much. Look at the pure jubilation on the canadian fans faces and grown men hugging each other. And on the other side, look at the utter disapointment in the american fans faces. I absolutley love this game and I hope canada shows the world that this is OUR game.

GO Canada GO!

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#26 1manwolfpack
February 13 2014, 04:02PM
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JW needs to add international hotties to these OGDB's! Make it happen!

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#27 rubbertrout
February 13 2014, 04:04PM
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Surely there must be a way to blame Kevin Lowe for everything.

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#28 Max
February 13 2014, 04:59PM
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I really can't raise much enthusiasm regarding these Olympics, I just want our regular season back and our beloved Oilers to start showing the fan what they are capable of...YAWN, hurry up 27th February

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#29 Randaman
February 13 2014, 05:41PM
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Devolution wrote:

Goals for and against shouldn't matter unless Finland and Canada tie their round robin match. Both will beat Austria and Norway, so it will be the head to head game that decides the group.

You have a point but I believe it also plays into seeding for the medal round. Last change and all that. Makes a difference when you come up against the big boys

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#30 THRNHJE
February 13 2014, 06:06PM
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I have to say, I watched the Russian game, and like draft day, I was cursing MacTavish for not picking Nichuskin, that guy will be more of a beast in the NHL than Nurse could dream to be. Everyone is saying we have to much of the same in the top 6 and we need a power forward...

Ahem. Because, Oilers :(

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#31 DSF
February 13 2014, 06:40PM
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Nichuskin, Bo Horvat or Max Domi would all have been better choices.

Picking a defenseman in the top 10 is just dumb unless you are absolutely certain he will be an impact top pairing D.

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#32 dougtheslug
February 13 2014, 07:44PM
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@DSF

Don't let a nice little thread about Team Canada get hijacked by DSF's Oiler bashing. Time enough for that later

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#33 nuge2nail
February 13 2014, 08:00PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

@dsf lol

Why are you comparing prospects in year one of being drafted.

Couple of these guys are still in Jr.

Come back in 3 years and maybe then your opinion will matter.

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#34 **
February 13 2014, 08:45PM
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I saw all games (long live the PVR), Belov scored a nice goal with a boomshot from the point. He was also guilty on a goal gainst when he hesitated between covering the man in the blue paint or backing down to prevent the other forward coming in the middle from getting the pass from that guy in the blue. The forward ended up splitting the 2 russian defenders and scoring with both russians hacking at him on the sides. Belov was sure happy to score.

Canada's goals came from the fourth line and the d corps. None of the superstar forwards potted anything on net, while the russians got it done with goals from Malkin and Ovi. I think the Canadians just need to adjust better to the ice. They kept trying to battle on the boards and not getting anything done.

The Slovaks unraveled in the second half of the second period. For almost half a a game they were pretty even against the americans.

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#35 madjam
February 13 2014, 10:04PM
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First game for Canada showed lack of playing time with one another. They will get better , sharper , and more in sync with each passing game . Norway played entire game not to get run out of the rink on scoreboard - never a threat to win the game .

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