NHL

USA Men’s Hockey Advance Along With Canada

USA Hockey TeamTeam USA faced Switzerland yesterday in a Quarterfinal matchup. The continuing question for Team USA was the lack of scoring. Ryan Miller was asked about this after the game and he played it off by saying, “I’ve had great scoring in front of me so far.” Team USA came out playing sloppy once again as this has been a continuous issue through the tournament. Switzerland came out with the pressure and attacked from the drop of the puck. USA goalie Ryan Miller was the only reason that USA hung around in the first period. At the other end of the rink Switzerland goalie Jonas Hiller was standing on his head and making very difficult saves. At the end of the 1st period, with only seconds remaining in the period, Tommy Salo got a puck into the air on Hiller. The puck bounced off, and over Hiller going into the net. The problem being, the clock ran out just as it crossed the line. The play was reviewed and the goal was over turned leaving it tied 0-0 at the end of the 1st. By the way, after watching this game I bet Philadelphia Flyers fans were a little upset seeing what they could have had a few years ago if a trade had went through for Hiller giving up Jeff Carter? What could have been?

Coming out of the 2nd period, USA turned it on again. There was great hitting and a lot of close plays from end to end. In the 3rd period, Zach Parise would score and break the tie and give USA the lead. In the closing moments of the 3rd period, Hiller would be pulled and Zach Parise would score his 2nd goal of the game to send Switzerland home. I was personally happy to see Parise get on the board finally during the tournament. I understand he has had some assists, but he isn’t on the team for his assisting. He is a pure scorer and along with Patrick Kane, he has been silent in the scoring area. The sloppy play is something that needs to change or they can easily find themselves leaving early from the tournament. This is the time in the tournament where fine tuning the team comes into play and the kinks are taken out.

Canada would later meet Russia. These two teams together I felt could have been a repeat of a ‘game for the ages.’ I even on my Twitter and Face Book made these bold statements, even taking Russia for the win. Man was I wrong. Canada came out like they were shot out ofa cannon. 2:21 into the 1st period, Ryan Getzlaf scored the first goal of many for Canada. Russia looked stunned, and immediately seemed as if all the air was taken out of the game. Russian goalie Evgeny Nabokov also looked as if he was rattled from the first goal. At the 12:09 mark, Dan Boyle would score the 2nd goal to make it 2-0 in the 1st period. Less than a minute later at the 12:55 mark Rick Nash would score and make it a 3-0 Canada lead. This play was set up beautifully by Mike Richards stealing the puck from Malkin. Dmitri Kalinin would score 2 minutes later to get Russia on the board 3-1. I felt good about this goal because you could see the Russian bench trying to get them-selves fired up about trying to make a comeback and getting into the game. Brenden Morrow would spoil those thoughts 4minutes later in the 1st to make it 4-1 Canada.

I could not believe that Evgeny Nabokov was not pulled before the beginning of the period. He was left in the game, and 3:10 in Corey Perry would score to take Canada’s lead to 5-1. 1 minute later Shea Weber would score and make it 6-1. At this point of the game, Russian’s would pull Evgeny Nabokov and put in the net Ilya Bryzgalov. Maxim Afinogenov would score for Russia moments later to make it 6-2. With this goal, you began to think one more time that Russia would get the fire lite under them and turn this back into a game. Moments later Corey Perry scored again making it 7-1 and blowing the game away for Russia. A minute later Sergei Gonchar would score and make it 7-3. The game would end with this score, and the blow out would seem like something of a video game. The crowd was ecstatic and partially stunned along with everyone else. After the game Alexander Ovechkin was asked about Russia’s performance. “There is nothing to say. They played hard for 10minutes. It’s tough to lose a game like that. Especially an Olympic game. It’s hard to realize it’s over. When asked how he felt he replied,“How do you think I’m going to feel?”

Team Canada looked unstoppable during this game, from start to finish. Goalie Roberto Luongo looked unbeatable. I think they will ride his coat tails the rest of the tournament, and I have to question who can even stop Canada? Their defense has shown up to play, along with their top lines. Even the ‘Shark Line‘ has been putting numbers for the team. USA is unable to say the same about their lines, mostly their top lines. Their defense has been suspect, with mishandling the puck at times, and their forwards playing the same. I hope to see a rematch for the gold with USA vs. Canada. I surely can’t picture the same ending with how things played out today.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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