Canada/US Open Thread

Kent Wilson
February 21 2014 09:07AM

Canada is the putative favourite but the Americans have had the best results in the tournament so far. The winner with be showered with praise. The loser with be taunted and booed until my throat is sore!

Add your cheers and/or lamentations below.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 icedawg_42
February 21 2014, 12:10PM
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WOOOOHOOO!

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#52 beloch
February 21 2014, 12:11PM
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CANADA WINS!!!

That felt like a gold medal match.

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#53 prendrefeu
February 21 2014, 12:11PM
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So much for that high powered US offense. I got trashed a lot in that old thread when I worried I wasn't worried about Canada's chances...

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#54 Daves Waves
February 21 2014, 12:11PM
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That's the game! Canada wins 1-0.

It only gave me 3 heart attacks and 2 seizures and 1 almost-broken TV by the remote that I threw.

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#55 Baalzamon
February 21 2014, 12:12PM
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yay. Heckuva game. Canada still can't hit the open net. Nice to see it isn't just the Flames.

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#56 beloch
February 21 2014, 12:13PM
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Half the continent has probably been holding it for the last 20, but now it's time for our bladders to join in the relief!

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#57 mattyc
February 21 2014, 12:16PM
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be still my beating heart

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#58 Colin.S
February 21 2014, 12:18PM
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I said going into the Olympics that Canada had the best defense of any team. They showed it today, there was some US chances but for the most part Canada controlled play and kept putting pucks on net.

With the big Ice it's important to bring Dmen that can skate and make those crisp breakout passes, instead of Brooks Orpik.

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#59 MontanaMan
February 21 2014, 12:28PM
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Where are all of you doubters now? Oh ya, you're the same guys commenting "I knew Canada would win". And the comments about Kunitz? Played a pretty good game and got robbed twice. For all of you who doubted the coaching staff and player selections, this one's for you.

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#60 Baalzamon
February 21 2014, 12:34PM
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@MontanaMan

Please. the result changes nothing. Kunitz still has no business being on the team, much less on the top line.

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#61 RKD
February 21 2014, 12:41PM
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Fantastic, defense wins championships. The Americans probably thought they could pot a few. Hell no, they never faced a d like the Canadians and when the going go tough guys like Backes and Kessel got going. I've always been a Price hater because of his playoff record but he's been darn good. Very solid, he's making the big saves when needed.

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#62 RKD
February 21 2014, 12:44PM
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Also, Hamhuis played 0:00 minutes of ice time.

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#64 MontanaMan
February 21 2014, 01:13PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Please. the result changes nothing. Kunitz still has no business being on the team, much less on the top line.

Of course. And Babcock shouldn't be coaching. And Price isn't a clutch goaltender and should never have started. Don't try to pick apart a great win and a great team. Enjoy the ride.

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#65 Baalzamon
February 21 2014, 01:30PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Of course. And Babcock shouldn't be coaching. And Price isn't a clutch goaltender and should never have started. Don't try to pick apart a great win and a great team. Enjoy the ride.

uh. That's not what I'm doing. If Canada lost, I wouldn't be blaming it on the selection of Kunitz. Canada is good and deep enough that one player doesn't cost the win.

But that doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't be on the team. He is in no way one of the 14 best Canadian forwards.

It's sort of like how no matter how many games the Flames win, it doesn't justify Westgarth's position on the roster. Not that Kunitz is as useless as Westgarth.

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#66 EugeneV
February 21 2014, 01:37PM
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Well done Canada. I hate the game on the big ice, makes it as boring as soccer.

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#67 Baalzamon
February 21 2014, 02:24PM
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You know, the American team will be pretty frightening in a few years.. Eichel (maybe?) and Galchenyuk centering the top two lines, Trouba and Jones anchoring the D. John Gibson in net?

Who boy.

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#68 prendrefeu
February 21 2014, 03:55PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

You know, the American team will be pretty frightening in a few years.. Eichel (maybe?) and Galchenyuk centering the top two lines, Trouba and Jones anchoring the D. John Gibson in net?

Who boy.

And the Canadian team won't be? Or the Swedes? Finland? Heck, have you seen Switzerland lately?

I believe that teams are going to get stronger, some will get weaker, but I do not see a clear indication that the US will suddenly become more fearsome. They already are an incredibly strong team, and will continue to be so. The Canadian team will also be very strong.

The Swiss though? Fins? They're coming up, son.

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#69 beloch
February 21 2014, 09:12PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

uh. That's not what I'm doing. If Canada lost, I wouldn't be blaming it on the selection of Kunitz. Canada is good and deep enough that one player doesn't cost the win.

But that doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't be on the team. He is in no way one of the 14 best Canadian forwards.

It's sort of like how no matter how many games the Flames win, it doesn't justify Westgarth's position on the roster. Not that Kunitz is as useless as Westgarth.

Let's look into this actually, because I think Kunitz was a good selection on his own merits, and not just because he plays with Crosby.

I went to behindthenet, set it to show all left-wingers, sorted, and threw out the non-Canucks to see how Kunitz ranked in a few areas. P/60 is points a player generates per 60 minutes of TOI, which is pretty self-explanatory. Corsi On is an absolute measure of on-ice possession while Corsi Rel gives an idea of how the player improves the possession rates of his team. A guy with great Corsi On but negative Corsi Rel is probably being carried by his team-mates. A guy with low (perhaps even negative) Corsi On and high Corsi Rel is carrying bad team-mates. A guy with both low Corsi On and low Corsi Rel is a crappier than average possession player on a team with crappy possession.

P/60: #5 (#1-#4: Taylor Hall, Kris Newbury*, Jamie Benn, James Neal, Alex Tanguay)
Corsi On: Kunitz: #5 (#1-#4: Dwight King, Bryan Bickell, Matt Fraser**, Pascal Dupuis)
Corsi Rel: Kunitz: #3 (#1-#2: Craig Cunningham*, Chris Terry*)

*Newbury, Terry, and Cunningham are AHL'ers with very small NHL sample sizes and should be ignored.
**Matt Fraser is a sheltered rookie, and should be ignored as well.

Notice how there isn't a lot of overlap in the guys above Kunitz. In terms of point generation combined with posession, he's pretty much tops. In terms of relative Corsi, Kunitz is the best natural LW'er out there. Jamie Benn, for example, does produce significantly more points, but his possession is well below Kunitz's. Taylor Hall's Corsi On and Corsi Rel are both in the negative indicating he's a below average possession player even by the lowly standards of the Oilers, which is no doubt why he was passed over. Now, I'm probably missing a lot of good players that aren't listed by behindthenet as LW's, like two of the guys who actually made the team and are playing LW:

-Patric Marleau generates 2.34 ppg to Kunitz's 2.33. Marleau's Corsi On is slightly higher and his Corsi Rel is substantially lower.
-Matt Duchene generates 2.48 ppg, but his Corsi On and Corsi Rel are both inferior to Kunitz's.

To sum up, Kunitz offers a truly rare complete package of point generation and possession. You might argue that Crosby inflates his numbers, but Kunitz is far from the only forward on this list who plays with excellent line-mates. The stats suggest Kunitz deserves his spot, not just on Team Canada, but in Team Canada's Top 6. Anyone still pining for Taylor Hall is an idiot.

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#70 Peter
February 21 2014, 09:58PM
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@beloch

No plain and simple no. Kunitz has no place on team canada period end of story. 15 times out of 10 you take Neal or giroux. Kunitz should make Canada's b team

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#71 seve927
February 22 2014, 07:28AM
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Peter wrote:

No plain and simple no. Kunitz has no place on team canada period end of story. 15 times out of 10 you take Neal or giroux. Kunitz should make Canada's b team

Great argument.

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#72 beloch
February 22 2014, 08:43AM
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seve927 wrote:

Great argument.

Heh. Judging from the trashes there is a fair bit of irrational hatred for Kunitz. Some apparently assume he must be bad since he was undrafted and plays with Crosby. However, his average points/season is 2 pts lower in Pittsburgh than it was in Anaheim. He's no Jari Kurri, but he's likely underrated in a similar way because he plays with one of the greats.

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#73 beloch
February 22 2014, 08:47AM
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I'm watching the US/Finland match. I was planning to root for the US, but these Finns might win me over yet! How great would it be if Selanne got a medal-winning goal?

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#74 beloch
February 22 2014, 09:14AM
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Selanne scores! And Jussi Jokinen 11 seconds later too!

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#75 beloch
February 22 2014, 10:02AM
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Wow. Selanne is going for the hat-trick! What an implosion for the americans!

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#76 beloch
February 22 2014, 10:21AM
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Selanne scored 2 goals in the final, bronze-winning game of his sixth Olympics. Incredible. The Americans, the big offensive juggernaut of the games, have been shut-out for 6 straight periods in the semi-finals and the bronze-medal match. All that remains is Canada vs Sweden!

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#77 Baalzamon
February 22 2014, 04:52PM
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Wow. I'm not strictly speaking surprised the Finns won, but 5-0? Ridiculous.

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#78 Baalzamon
February 22 2014, 04:53PM
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@beloch

Judging from the trashes there is a fair bit of irrational hatred for Kunitz.

Wrong. No one disputes that Kunitz is a good player. But there are a lot of good players who have no place on the Canadian Olympic team.

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#79 beloch
February 22 2014, 08:14PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Wow. I'm not strictly speaking surprised the Finns won, but 5-0? Ridiculous.

USA played well up until Selanne scored his goal in the second. Remember, Finland was the one team that went to OT against Canada and they had a day off while the US team played Canada to boot. The second goal came 11 seconds later in a lapse like we're all too used to seeing from the Flames. After that, USA sort of fell apart. They let their frustration get the better of them, starting taking dumb, selfish penalties, and the Finn's took advantage of them. The next few goals for the Finn's were all scored on the power-play. Yeah, it's hard being shut out for 4, 5, and then 6 periods in less than 24 hours, but with a little more discipline the US team would have been in that game to the end.

That being said, it was great to see Selanne score 2 goals in what has got to be his final Olympic appearance (Seriously, how many times has that been said before?). The Finn's were all feeding him pucks like mad to get him the hat-trick, but he stuck to short-shifts even during powerplays and made plenty of passing plays himself. It was a classy, composed, unselfish performance. The better team won.

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