So Canada had trouble with Latvia…

There’s always a silver lining, right?

Anyways, how does everyone feel about the Canada/US semi’s given Canada’s scoring problems?

  • mattyc

    It will probably be the most even and exciting game of the tournament. I also have to think that the US will try to score a little more than Latvia (or the Swiss) did. Playing the way Latvia did (essentially not even trying to score except on the occasional hail mary or mistake) isn’t very sustainable for winning, but probably makes luck a bigger factor. In their case it probably evens the game a bit, but I can’t see the US doing the same thing.

  • prendrefeu

    I’m not too worried. The Canadian players know all of the US players (and vice versa), should make for a nice matchup. The level of competition Canada has faced all tournament has been much higher than what the US has faced. I don’t think the US would have won against the team that Latvia iced today (this evening).

    • mk

      The US had to play the Slovaks, Russia, and Slovenia in the round robin, and then the Czechs in the quarters. If not for Pavelec crapping out as usual, the Czechs would’ve given them quite a scare.

      Canada, on there other hand, has played Norway, Austria, Finland, and Latvia. Sure, couple of those countries played above their weight class but still, their not truly competitive countries (aside from Finland).

      As much as I want to beat the US, there’s no doubt that their run to the quarters has been more impressive than Canada.

  • beloch

    I’m only somewhat confident about Friday’s game. I think Canada still has the best defence in the tournament but offensively they need to bury their chances. The coaching staff has been trying to get Crosby going with Kunitz but it’s not working. I would insert Duchene back in. The U.S. team is firing on all cylinders right now and they have their offense going but haven’t faced a d like Canada. Crosby needs to elevate in a hurry along with the other forwards.

  • beloch

    Team Canada outshot the Latvians 57 to 16 and spent the overwhelming majority of the game in Latvia’s end. Midway through the third period the Ref’s paused the game so Latvia’s trainers could come out and revive their exhausted goalie who had collapsed on the ice out of exhaustion. Team Canada was utterly dominant. So why was the score close?

    Latvia’s goal was generated by a set-play they conducted off of a face-off. After winning a face-off at their own blue-line, one Latvian booked it past the Canadian defenders and got a perfect pass right on top of Canada’s blueline, generating a breakaway that Price wasn’t ready for. They tried the same thing a second time later in the game, but were shut down. Latvia got a few other shots in but never sustained any pressure. They were lucky to get even just one goal.

    Canada on the other hand…

    So far in the Olympics, Team Canada has put 40 more shots on their opponents net than any other team, and 48 more than the US team has. However, their sh% is in the toilet! Here are the shot percentages of the surviving teams:

    Team | Sh%
    CAN 7.7%
    USA 15.8%
    SWE 12.1%
    FIN 14.1%

    Yes, the sh% of everyone but Canada is sky-high right now and, were this the NHL, we’d expect them to regress. However, perhaps we should expect a high sh% for teams stacked with NHL stars. Canada has more stars than any other team, so why is their sh% half that of Finland or the US? Half! Is this horrible luck?

    They absolutely shelled Kristers Gudlevskis today but came away with just 2 goals. This kid is a 21 year old rookie goalie whose pro experience consists of 2 KHL games, 11 ECHL games, and 22 AHL games! Why did this kid give Team Canada so many problems? Has Tampa won the goalie lottery with a 5th round pick?

    While Gudlevskis might have just played the game of his career, he had a lot of help from his team. The Latvian’s played a very physical game and successfully kept Team Canada on the outside of the offensive zone for practically the entire game. That a team with almost no NHL caliber players on it could do this is pretty amazing. There was absolutely no quit in Latvia either. Earlier in the game, the Canadians beat Gudlevskis with a puck that was trickling across the line with nothing to stop it until a Latvian defender who was sprawled on top of Gudlevskis closed his glove on it, picked it up and threw it forward just as it was on top of the line. A ref was standing right behind the net when this happened but failed to call the penalty and Canada was robbed. The best hockey players of Latvia poured their very souls into this one, but they also got a tad lucky.

    So why are Canada’s forwards not generating much in the way of goals? Why are more goals coming from the blue-line than anywhere else? From what I’ve seen, it’s entirely because Canada’s forwards aren’t getting into the dirty zones. Latvia isn’t the first team in this tournament that has kept Canada hemmed out in the periphery of the offensive zone. I don’t know if Canada’s forwards are chicken or if Canada’s coaching staff has told them to avoid injury and save themselves for more challenging matches. For whatever reason, they have demonstrated insufficient will to crash the crease. This had better change on Friday or they’re going to have serious difficulty with the US team. It’s time for the superstars to get dirty.

  • mk

    My first thoughts RE: lack of offense was to put Subban in. But I doubt the defense can contribute more than they are already doing. Weber and Doughty is an excellent pair this go around.

    As much as the ‘Murican offense has been explosive, I want to see what happens when they play against an all-world defense (clearly the best in the tournament). It should be an interesting game.

    It looks like Crosby needs his Olympic playmaker back. *Cough Iginla cough*…

  • mk

    I suspect the Oilers would win MANY more games if they were to employ tactics like the Latvians. Play balls-to-the-wall defense, create some set plays to mess with other teams and just pull the puck out with their hands if its going in the net.

  • mk

    Kunitz an Olympian… lmao

    I can’t help but see a loss on Friday. While watching the game with some friends, we noticed how Canada continued to keep cycling the puck all game. I know cycling can be effective in the offensive zone, but with the wider ice, all it does is keep you further away from the net.

    Hope Price stands on his head Friday, this’ll be his first real test.

    • mk

      Ya… Kunitz…. SIGH.

      Its ridiculous Hall didn’t make this team over Kunitz. And Duchene should be in instead of St. Louis and Marleau.

      Marleau/Kunitz out. Hall + Duchene in = WAY WAY faster more dangerous team.

      I don’t mind Subban sitting because our D is so good. They don’t need him. But up front, we seem to be lacking the pure speed, drive the net talent that some of those younger stars would bring. The types of young, gritty and FAST players the USA has, which is scary for Friday.

          • mk

            That’s how you would pick? Throw 10 in the corner or in front of the net and have Hall battle Lucic for each one. After the 5th puck, replace a broken Hall with another of the highly ranked Oiler forwards. This is not a no hit regular season game. You do realize that Hall plays 1st line minutes, is on every pp and is very one dimensional?

          • beloch

            It’s unclear what the “rating” on that list is, but it appears to be very closely correlated to counting stats and not possession rates (Possibly weighted by TOI?). Steen, Zetterberg, Sharp, Kunitz, Benn, Pacioretty, Skinner, and Parise all post similar point production rates to Hall while having substantially superior possession rates. I started with Steen and got as far as Parise before quitting and every guy was well into the positive in Corsi On and Rel Corsi, except Hall.

            Team Canada is an absolute possession monster, so it wouldn’t surprise me if possession rates played a role in team selection. That means every guy I mentioned above (including Kunitz) would have been taken before Hall, and there are probably more players further down the list that I didn’t get to who would also have been taken before Hall. Clearly, they decided to go with guys who can both score and help the team hang onto the puck.

          • mattyc

            The individual player ratings are generated using a weighted formula that includes the following statistics:

            Goals per game, Assists per game, Plus-Minus, Power Play Goals, Shorthanded Goals, Game Winning Goals, Shots on Goal, Blocked Shots, Hits, Giveaways, Takeaways and Faceoffs.

            Goaltenders are measured using goals against average, save percentage, won-loss differential and shutouts.

            Definitely not a perfect methodology, but iirc it’s mostly designed for fantasy sports


          • beloch

            Thanks for digging that up. I might have actually wasted time trying to figure out what it was based on were if not for that!

            He doesn’t say what the weights are or how they were determined beyond this:

            “Naturally, goals are most important (since there is a 100% correlation between scoring more goals and winning the game) and the scale decreases so that the more peripheral stats are virtually tie-breakers. “

            So, basically it’s point generation with randomly weighted stuff mixed in, most probably to make the players Cullen likes pull ahead. This stat is pretty much worthless.

          • Derzie

            Hall’s perimeter style game with his multitude of turn overs would not be effective. His refusal to listen to coaches such as at last year’s worlds would be a factor too. 4 forwards who quickly come to mind and who would be more effective would be Giroux, Seguin, Thornton and Neal.

          • beloch

            OK – well I get we all hate Edmonton, but…. sigh. My point was the team is lacking off the rush speed and scoring. Duchene brings that and that is Hall’s #1 strength. Others have pointed out we spend the whole game cycling. Adding Thornton and Neal makes us even awesomer and cycling, and helps the rush scoring zero. The USA has rush scoring….

            Of the players you mentioned only Neal is a LW. If you think Neal is a better player than Hall I can’t help you.

            You could perhaps make a case for Giroux (not a LW – but at least fast and young). Otherwise your list of “quite a few candidates” seems pretty slim and just adds redundancy to the team.

            Anyways, I don’t care, and I certainly don’t feel like defending Hall. I just think a guy like him is what this team is missing. I was making suggestions for what I think we are missing. I think its young, power, pure speed scoring threat. None of your players fit that need, they are just redundant FWDs out of position.

            BTW – you mention giveaways, do you know team canada has a guy who is top 25 in the entire NHL (well ahead of Hall) for giveaways per 60 minutes. Drew Doughty. And he plays on an elite team, not a pure sh1t team. Point is, cherry picking stats like that is stupid. I get you hate Hall and every Oiler, and I actually commend that. But you are being irrational.

          • Derzie

            You make a good point about the cycle vs that box and 1 zone def the Latvians played. It looked like Canada switched to a 1-3-1 set later which was a better plan but it was a struggle. I don’t need the Cherry pick stats when it comes to Hall. He is very 1 dimensional, is a turn over machine, especially in neutral ice and could not or would not adjust to more structure at last year’s world’s.

  • They need to erect a statue of that goalie in Latvia… What a ugly game. There should have been way more penalties to Latvia than given and they were basically out to take the heads off the players which led to one of the best players in the world getting injured. I would be more than a little pissed if I’m the Canadian’s.

    Overall I still say to remain calm.

    Canada dominated the Fins. The Fins had 5 scoring chances all game. The one goal they did get was a low quality scoring chance that was very nicely deflected (basically a lucky goal). The US looked pretty ordinary vs the Russians (they looked decent but not incredible). The Fins had the majority of the scoring chances and possession vs Russia. Basically, I think teams like the Swiss and Latvia are poor match-ups for team like Canada, Russia and US.

    I think the US semi will be another close game. I see it more as a mental problem with Canada. The Latvians FLOODED the middle of the ice and the goalie was standing on his head. Very easily could have been 8-0. I know based on the scoring stats Canada is the underdog but I would still put money on them. Still wish we had a healthy Stamkos. It would make me feel better.

    Tavares going down sucks. Makes the line-up easier to predict though.

  • Derzie

    Have to laugh at experts on this site. I will remain confident in Babcock and the Canadian coaching staff and not some guy living in his Mom’s basement. Kunitz is fine and was clearly brought along by Crosby for “familiarity”. No he hasn’t done much but either have many of the other forwards including Crosby, Tavares and others. I will reserve comment until the tournament is over. Two good games and clutch goals by Kunitz will bring the haters back on line. Relax folks – the team is good hands and the boys will be fine.

  • Derzie

    I stopped reading the posts half way through…shame on me…. Everyone is down and out on the Canadians. They have played solid, fundamental hockey. No show boating and blowing people out. They have taken their time perhaps via the coach and are “gelling”. The US terrify me! they are playing open ice hockey with set plays meanwhile Canada practices smart, fundamental hockey…. Have no fear nation as we face Us on Friday it will be a completly, utterly different game plan than we have had before this….and the team has been patient and smart with their systems!

    • piscera.infada

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying it’s a shoe-in for Canada, nor am I saying it’s a shoe-in for the States. I see it as two very different teams at this point. Canada plays a very sound all-around game – while I’m concerned about scoring, it seems to be a very thin line before the levee breaks. The Americans play a more loose, free wheeling game – they generate a lot, but that typically leaves holes.

      For Canada, it will be about exploiting the defence of the US and using their speed against them – turnovers in the neutral zone, get them out of position, make them press. I have confidence Babcock knows what he’s doing.

      All in all though, it’s too close to call in my mind. I think it will be far different from the other games we’ve seen so far. Hopefully it’s an exciting game (I took the day off work), and I won’t need to drown my sorrows in beer…

    • McRib

      At least the Flames would show some compete and hustle in a close game, Edmonton like usual would phone in a loss thinking because they all get paid $6 million dollars that they are far more superior based on salary.