Hockey – Canada vs Norway: the Good and the Bad

After so many days of waiting, watching Team Canada run around playing ball hockey in Calgary, waiting for the team to be announced, and listening to too many line projections, Canada finally played its first game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Let’s recap what happened:

Good: Norway showed up early to the warmup. How early? 8 minutes early. They were as excited as a 10 year old on Christmas morning.

Bad: Hard to measure subjective things, but Canada looked more nervous in the first 5 minutes than a guy on his first date.

Bad: The first period was fairly uneventful, aside from a few big hits by Norway’s Ole-Kristian Tollefsen on Canadian players. Each team got a PP and didn’t do anything with it. Canada still adjusting to the ice, time difference and opponent.

Good: A LOT of people were freaking out on twitter over Canada not leading by 4 after 47 seconds. Reminder: Canada beat Norway 8-0 in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics. After one period, the score was also 0-0. They also won the gold medal.

Good: After 1 period: shots were 9-8 for Canada. Lots of offsides and icings by the Canadians. We’ll call it a by-product of very little time together. Scoring chances were 6-3 for Canada. Let’s relax everybody.

Hilarious: Don Cherry was corrected by Ron MacLean in the first intermission because he called the Norwegians the Finns. Cherry responds with: “Same thing.” They’re not, Don. One wears funny pants.

Good: Canada came out flying in the second period, spending about 4:30 of the first 5 minutes in the Norweigan zone. It paid off soon after, as Shea Weber blasted a shot past on a delayed penalty call.

Good: Canada woke up. A lot of Canadian domination and chances in the second period, and you could feel a goal coming. After a no look, cross-seam pass from Bergeron, Jamie Benn scored on Canada’s 13th shot of the period. Norway had zero shots in the period at the same point.

Bad: Norway’s first shot on goal in the second period came from centre ice with 2 minutes to go. This is why judging the two goalies on games vs Norway and Austria makes zero sense. #Luuuu

Bad: Norway opened the third period with a powerplay, and capitalized. After 1 shot in the second period, Mathis Olimb took the first opportunity he could to put the puck on net. It was deflected past Carey Price on Norway’s first shot of the third period. #Luuuu

Good: No need to panic, Canada. 1:25 later, Drew Doughty took a pass from Ryan Getzlaf, made a sweet move around a Norway defender, and beat Lars Haugen with a slick backhand.

Bad: Kunitz hit a Norway player from behind, but since the IIHF rule for that is a 2 minute penalty and a 10 minute misconduct, the referees are hesitant to call it. Instead, he got a slashing penalty. For a body check. To the back.

Good: Glenn Healy actually said something useful. “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Sitting back and protecting a 3-1 lead is not helpful. This game is about pressing forward, no matter what the score, and learning and growing as a team. Canada continued to be offensive and dominate the flow of play with 2 minutes left, leading 3-1.

The Good and the Bad

Good: There was never really any doubt about this one. Canada started slowly, and then took the game over. No upset here. The scoreboard wasn’t indicative of how strong Canada was in this game. Norway played well, but Canada was simply better, and didn’t even play to their full potential. Canada won 3-1.

Luongo will start in game 2 vs Austria. Expect some lines to change in order to find some chemistry, and any lines that stay together should stay together throughout the rest of the tournament.

For the record, I picked the boring, homer choice of Canada to win this tournament. I took Canada vs Sweden in the final, with Canada winning 2-1.



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