OGDB 2.0: BUILDING MOMENTUM

Jason Gregor
February 14 2014 07:36AM

Roberto Luongo

Canada will continue its warmup games this morning when they take on Austria. The Austrians will actually try and attack instead of playing sit-back-boring hockey like Norway did yesterday. Canada will score more goals, but Roberto Luongo will likely face a few more quality scoring chances than Carey Price did yesterday.

Micheal Grabner scored three goals in the Austrian's 8-4 loss to Finland yesterday, and along with Tomas Vanek they will present more of an offensive threat, but expect Canada's offence to explode.

I didn't agree with the suggestions that Norway has improved and played a good game yesterday. They generated only four scoring chances the entire game, and spent long stretches in their own zone. It was clear they were fired up to play Canada and it showed with an aggressive first period, but getting out chanced 24-4 illustrates that they weren't really in the game, other than on the scoreboard.

I didn't expect them to be competitive. Their own coach said if they won it would be equivalent to South Africa beating Norway in cross country skiing. Their effort was great, but unfortunately they just don't have the skill to compete.

Austria does have some offensive skill and they are coached to attack, and that means we will likely see more goals today.

Canada's focus is to get more comfortable and hopefully get some forwards scoring. Canada had great puck possession during the final two periods yesterday, but their passing was a just a bit off, and they didn't generate many odd-man rushes. Look for that to improve today.

LINEUP

Kunitz-Crosby-St.Louis
Duchene-Getzlaf-Perry
Marleau-Toews-Nash
Benn-Tavares-Bergeron
Carter

*Edit***. The above lines are the actual ones now.. Just switched Marleau and Duchene***

Team Canada didn't skate, so these lines are just projections.  **We do know for sure that Patrick Sharp and Dan Hamhuis are out and P.K Subban and Matt Duchene are in.


Mike Babcock didn't hesitate switching out Jeff Carter on the top line, and he'll likely keep experimenting with different combinations. I think this might be the last game where the 13th forward gets any significant playing time. It is extremely hard to keep 13 forwards involved in the game, especially when none of them are used to making an impact in only 8-10 minutes of icetime.

I suspect as the tournament progresses he will rely more on his top three units, but he is using these first few games to try and find those combinations.

Yesterday, Toews (16:15), Marleau (15:50) and Crosby (15:41) were the only forwards who played over 15 minutes. I suspect we will see similar TOI today, but as the games intensify I'm sure you will see the top guys get more minutes.

Keith-Weber

Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo

Vlasic-Doughty

Subban

The combinations changed during the game yesterday, and we'll probably see more of that today. Dan Hamhuis only played 9:52, and with 7 D-men it is tough to get all of them involved.

With Sharp sitting it seems obvious that Subban will take his place on the PP. He has a heavy shot and with the offensive zones smaller, the blueline is closer to the goal, so his shot will arrive on goal quicker. I'm a big fan of Subban and he'll be fired up to prove he deserves to stay in the lineup.

Luongo
Smith

Luongo starts and Mike Smith will dress as the backup. I think Babcock will lean towards Luongo on Sunday, but we'll see. If Luongo struggles today that could change, but if he plays well my guess is Babcock goes with the guy with more Olympic experience against Finland. Just a hunch.

QUICK HITS...

051

**That is Austrian beauty Nicola Mar.**

  • It is hard to take much out of yesterday's game. None of the lines really stood out, although I thought Jamie Benn was very good in limited minutes, 8:52.

  • The fact Benn wasn't one of the 47 players invited to the summer camp speaks to Canada's depth, but it also proves that even the best hockey minds can err when it comes to evaluating talent. Benn played his way onto the team, and I think he'll get more opportunities as the tourney progresses.

  • I can't get into these early games, mainly because we all know the outcome before the game begins. I'm looking forward to Sunday when the games start to matter, and Canada will face a quality opponent.

  • The Czech Republic team is a mess. Why would they dress Ladislav Smid and have him sit the entire game on the bench? I don't see the point in embarrassing a player like that. If it was a playoff game, then I'd understand going with three pairs, but not in the first game of the tournament. It seems like the coach/management wants to send a message to young Czech players that if you stay home and play you'll have a better chance of playing in the Olympics. Why else would they have put Petr Nedved on the team and left Jiri Hudler off?

  • The Detroit Red Wings sit in 8th place in the Eastern conference, but they are only one point ahead of Columbus, Washington and Ottawa while Carolina and New Jersey are three points back. Pavel Datsyuk is playing injured for team Russia, and now Henrik Zetterberg has a herniated disk. If those two return to Detroit and can't play or are less than 90%, they have no chance of making the playoffs. I'm guessing Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch will join the caravan of owners urging the NHL to avoid future Olympics. The owners hate that their star players can get hurt during the Olympics and cost them playoff revenue.

  • Are you looking for a unique Valentine's Day gift for your special lady? Today we are helping out Ronald McDonald House. Every day they need to feed 40-60 people, usually parents of sick kids in the Stollery. I'm looking for 10 people, actually 9 because I will take one, to purchase a HOME FOR DINNER package.

    It costs $500. RMH will purchase all the food and you and your significant other along with 6-8 of your friends show up at the House and cook dinner for the families. You can pick a date that fits with your schedule.

    I have done it in the past and it is a great night out. You can bring your own wine as you cook and visit with your friends. It takes a big stress off of the families, and you'll feel great. Your lady friend will love that you want to help others and have a unique "date" night. I even have a Valentine's Day Card that we will email to you that you can give to her showing your Home For Dinner event.

    If interested, you can email me at gregor@tsn1260.ca before 5 p.m. today. Thanks in advance for helping out families who need a break.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

    Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
    One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
    Avatar
    #1 Numenius
    February 14 2014, 11:25AM
    Trash it!
    2
    trashes
    Cheers
    38
    cheers

    Whenever Kunitz gets the puck, I think Hall would have been so much better.

    Avatar
    #2 Zamboni Driver
    February 14 2014, 08:11AM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    15
    cheers

    I think the Czech coaches might want to check out the video of a cross country ski race today. Guy from PERU skied with broken ribs - finished like 40 minutes after the three time gold medalist.

    Waiting for the Peruvian when he crossed the line.

    Three time Olympic Gold Medalist to give him a hug.

    Completely un-Olympian to bench anyone invited, giving their time for their country in an meaningless first round game - ESPECIALLY for the 'haven't got a snowball's chance' Czechs.

    (Also memo to the Slovenian coach who didn't select Kopitar's younger brother....Dude, you're the coach of Slovenia, bring the brother. Also because YOU ARE HIS DAD!!!)

    Happy V-tines ladies.

    Avatar
    #3 JSR
    February 14 2014, 12:49PM
    Trash it!
    12
    trashes
    Cheers
    15
    cheers

    Gregor:

    How can you put a picture of Luongo on the Oilersnation website? I can't stand anything to do with the Vancouver Canucks, and I'm very disappointed to see his picture here. Go, Price, go!

    Avatar
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    12
    cheers

    Just tuned in to the game. The unis are confusing. I was cheering for the team in white for a sec there.

    Avatar
    #5 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:50AM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    10
    cheers

    Crosbys got some chemistry going with St Louis. Toews and Nash looking good on the PK.

    Avatar
    #6 Will
    February 14 2014, 01:03PM
    Trash it!
    2
    trashes
    Cheers
    10
    cheers

    Hmmmm, Tavaras line was great, Toews line was great, Getzlaf was a beast all over the place. Having Crosby set up Cater was magical. The only person who doesn't look like they fit on a team of this calibre is Kunitz.

    It seems like they are excelling on the big ice. The defence might win this tournament single handily. With Zetterburg and Hendrick out for Sweden, Canada now has to be the heavy favourites for gold.

    Predicting a CAN USA final which we will win 5 - 2.

    Avatar
    #7 Ari Gold
    February 14 2014, 08:52AM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    9
    cheers

    I hope we see some better offensive cohesiveness today. Also, please put Benn with Getz & Perry! I want to see a monster line.

    Avatar
    #8 Cyclops
    February 14 2014, 08:16AM
    Trash it!
    6
    trashes
    Cheers
    8
    cheers

    I was skeptical of Kunitz being on the team because all off his points are because of Crosby. However you can clearly see he knows where to go when Sid has the puck. Now hopefully he can start to bury some, we are gonna need it in the big games.

    Also, love the push back at the end of the game against Tollefson (sp?). GetzlF running him late, reminded me of what Canada hockey used to be. Go Canada!

    Avatar
    #9 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:45AM
    Trash it!
    3
    trashes
    Cheers
    7
    cheers

    Getzlaf out Crosbying Crosby! That's what $8.25 million buys you!

    Avatar
    #10 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 12:12PM
    Trash it!
    6
    trashes
    Cheers
    7
    cheers

    Luongo wins the starters job.

    Avatar
    #11 Quicksilver ballet
    February 14 2014, 09:19AM
    Trash it!
    2
    trashes
    Cheers
    6
    cheers

    Canada score lot of goal, win game, good no?

    Grabbed some video of these two obvious Oiler fans at the Norway game yesterday. Nice luxury suites in Russia I must add.

    http://youtu.be/NpYEJx7PkWE

    C eh N eh D eh!

    Avatar
    #12 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:58AM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    6
    cheers

    A couple of lines rounding into form:

    Benn, Tavares, Bergeron

    Carter, Getzlaf, Perry

    Avatar
    #13 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:59AM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    6
    cheers

    Lookin like Patrick Sharp and Duchene may be the odd men out.

    Unless Duchene replaces Kuntiz on the Crosby St Louis line.

    Avatar
    #14 Devolution
    February 14 2014, 07:50AM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    5
    cheers

    Even though he didn't get on the scoreboard last game, wow, Sidney Crosby is a very good hockey player. You forget because we hardly ever see him.

    You are right, Canada always starts off slowly but I am not discouraged by yesterday's game. The Norwegian goalie was very good and the Norwegian defense just collapsed onto him, not allowing much room to score.

    They will be alright.

    Avatar
    #15 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:13AM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    5
    cheers

    Marty St. Louis lookin good!(for a late add)

    Bobby Lou too!

    Avatar
    #16 wintoon
    February 14 2014, 08:15AM
    Trash it!
    4
    trashes
    Cheers
    4
    cheers

    By eye Tavares played a very good game against Norway. He was skating and creating chances. I can see him working his way up throughout the tournament. He has a super skill set and puts in a real effort. Like to see that.

    Avatar
    #17 DisappointedFan
    February 14 2014, 11:32AM
    Trash it!
    4
    trashes
    Cheers
    4
    cheers

    @Devolution

    Is Crosby even playing, I didn't notice him out there...good thing all the hype about tailoring to his needs to paying off.

    Nice to see Carter stepping up to the challenge.

    Avatar
    #18 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:38AM
    Trash it!
    2
    trashes
    Cheers
    4
    cheers

    Whooooo! HATTY FOR CARTER!

    Avatar
    #19 Lofty
    February 14 2014, 04:38PM
    Trash it!
    7
    trashes
    Cheers
    4
    cheers

    I hate the Jerseys in this game. Canada should always be wearing red and white.

    I know its stupid since there are other countries to consider but I keep thinking Canada is getting dominating and then the announcer says Carter scores.

    Avatar
    #20 john
    February 15 2014, 02:58AM
    Trash it!
    4
    trashes
    Cheers
    4
    cheers

    For all those people want a great defenseman and a great goalie? Slovenia is leading 3-0 over Slovakia now, Slovenia just scored on Chara to make it 2-0. Then Kopitar skated around the whole team to beat Halak to make it 3-0. If the team is bad in front of you then it's DOES NOT MATTER if you have Chara and Halak playing on the team. The Oilers need a real coach to teach them how to win with what they have. FORGET 1 and 1A Defencemen and top notch GOALIE, that will not win you games. Weber in Nashville for years, have they won a cup yet? The Preds might not even make playoffs this year.

    Avatar
    #21 Ambassador humantorch
    February 14 2014, 08:33AM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    3
    cheers

    HERE'S WHAT AUSTRIA'S GOT IN STORE FOR THEM.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix7WstsCwSA

    #CAPSLOCKFORCANADA

    Avatar
    #22 Puck JammeR!
    February 14 2014, 10:40AM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    3
    cheers

    cbc.ca - Can't miss it

    Avatar
    #23 Guy Lafleur
    February 14 2014, 04:22PM
    Trash it!
    11
    trashes
    Cheers
    3
    cheers

    Unless they really improve lots in the next while its Americas GOLD medal too lose , no one close too that juggernaut .

    Avatar
    #24 Oiler Al
    February 14 2014, 05:25PM
    Trash it!
    5
    trashes
    Cheers
    3
    cheers
    Lofty wrote:

    I hate the Jerseys in this game. Canada should always be wearing red and white.

    I know its stupid since there are other countries to consider but I keep thinking Canada is getting dominating and then the announcer says Carter scores.

    The worst looking jerseys ever for Team Canada. You can wear black helmets and pants but for god sakes .. the jesrseys should be red and white. And whats with the cresting and stripe on one sleeve only, looks like a mistake.

    Anyway don't think Canada got out of second gear against Austria, heck even the Oilers could have beat that team.

    Avatar
    #25 Batfink
    February 14 2014, 08:38AM
    Trash it!
    4
    trashes
    Cheers
    2
    cheers

    •I can't get into these early games, mainly because we all know the outcome before the game begins. I'm looking forward to Sunday when the games start to matter, and Canada will face a quality opponent.

    Jason, talk about pride before the fall. How many chickens do you have? Any that haven't hatched yet? LOL, in all likelihood, it's a Canada victory, but maybe not as forthright as you're expecting? But that's ok, normally in every sport the top teams limp through the round robin stages and show it where it matters. I'm just happy to be cheering for a team that could potentially win something!

    Avatar
    #26 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
    February 14 2014, 11:11AM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    2
    cheers
    Batfink wrote:

    •I can't get into these early games, mainly because we all know the outcome before the game begins. I'm looking forward to Sunday when the games start to matter, and Canada will face a quality opponent.

    Jason, talk about pride before the fall. How many chickens do you have? Any that haven't hatched yet? LOL, in all likelihood, it's a Canada victory, but maybe not as forthright as you're expecting? But that's ok, normally in every sport the top teams limp through the round robin stages and show it where it matters. I'm just happy to be cheering for a team that could potentially win something!

    Russia vs USA Saturday morning.

    Avatar
    #27 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
    February 14 2014, 07:52PM
    Trash it!
    3
    trashes
    Cheers
    2
    cheers
    Oiler Al wrote:

    The worst looking jerseys ever for Team Canada. You can wear black helmets and pants but for god sakes .. the jesrseys should be red and white. And whats with the cresting and stripe on one sleeve only, looks like a mistake.

    Anyway don't think Canada got out of second gear against Austria, heck even the Oilers could have beat that team.

    No, The Oilers would have lost in a shoot-out

    Avatar
    #28 Corunr
    February 14 2014, 10:22AM
    Trash it!
    3
    trashes
    Cheers
    1
    cheers

    Anyone have a link to watch it online?

    Avatar
    #29 Ari Gold
    February 14 2014, 12:33PM
    Trash it!
    5
    trashes
    Cheers
    1
    cheers

    MD looked amazing today. He deserves a spot on the top line

    Avatar
    #30 Chainsawz
    February 14 2014, 08:07PM
    Trash it!
    1
    trashes
    Cheers
    1
    cheers
    Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

    No, The Oilers would have lost in a shoot-out

    This is not normal

    Something just does not seem right

    Whatever could it be

    Avatar
    #31 Pouzar99
    February 14 2014, 08:42PM
    Trash it!
    0
    trashes
    Cheers
    0
    cheers

    The Olympic Hockey tournament is incredibly exciting and ultimately produces great hockey but is far from the ideal measure of which is the best national team. It is mostly a race to see which country's players can jell into something resembling a real time in a very limited amount of time.

    Both times that Canada has won gold they have struggled early and been undeniably best in the end. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost to Finland, as they are really at the early stages of the tournament, and after that they will be facing elimination every time they take the ice. Just like in Vancouver the USA seems to be fastest out of the starting gate.

    Comments are closed for this article.