Canada has what it takes, but beware of hot goalie(s)
introductory Olympic news conference last Sunday. But, he quickly noted, that’s usually in a sevengame series, like the Stanley Cup final.
But something like the Olympic Games, where even a single loss in the medal round dashes hopes for gold?
A hot goalie here, missed scoring chance there. A bad call. Did we mention hot goalie?
In 2006, Lowe watched as Martin Gerber — Martin Gerber! — made 49 saves as Switzerland shut out the Canadians 2-0.
“ You’re in the game and you think: ‘Geez, is this happening?’” Lowe was saying prior to Thursday’s game, a rematch with the Swiss, recalling the shutout loss four years ago.
“It wasn’t so much just that we lost, but we couldn’t score a goal. One game, one goalie. It was unbelievable.”
Thursday night, the Swiss nearly made cheese of Canada again, save for Sidney Crosby’s shootout goal on the second go-round.
The tally sent this red and whiteclad town into a frenzy, thousands of Crosbys and Luongos in their No. 87 and No. 1 hockey duds whooping it up into the Vancouver night.
We might want to hang on a minute here, folks.
After watching Gerber, and now Jonas Hiller, effectively stone Canadian shooters, do we now know a gold medal — or even a silver — is anything but a birthright for Canada, but rather a simple case of being real good and real lucky?
Hiller, who made former Conn Smythe winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere expendable in Anaheim, faced 47 shots, 18 alone in the third period.
In our haste to anoint the Canadian men the best hockey team on the planet, we forget there are some very, very good hockey players in this tournament.
Among them some very, very good goalies.
Yes, on paper the Canadians should win. They’ve got the deepest roster one through 20, and a darn good puckstopper to boot in Martin Brodeur.
Thing is, Tomas Vokoun’s not bad. And neither is Niklas Backstrom. Evgeni Nabokov is very good when he’s hot.
Tomorrow night, the Canadians face Ryan Miller, certainly one of the top three in the NHL this sea- son.
Point is while Canada may boast a better overall team — Brodeur included — than the others, the goalies the Canadians will meet in this tournament are all capable of stoning Crosby, Nash, Iginla et al on any given night.
And you know each and every one of them are jacked that much more for each date with Canada.
So at the risk of being uncovered as a Canadian team apologist, we must keep in mind nothing is guaranteed in a short tournament.
Really, who’d who thought Switzerland would be such an international headache for Canada?