Canada v. Slovakia Post-Game: Hubris

The third period began with the Canadians in total control thanks to a three-goal lead and Marian Gaborik in the dressing room.  The Slovakians had generated about four scoring chances in the first two periods and needed three goals for the tie.  Things looked bleak for the only Red, White and Blue left in the tournament worth cheering for.  But by the end, the Canadians deserved to lose.

With ten minutes left in the game, the crowd started up.  "We Want U-S-A!  We Want U-S-A!  We Want U-S-A!"  But fans are idiots.  They'll do things like assume the game is over with ten minutes left.  But coaches!?  Coaches!?  Coaches shouldn't do those things.  But there was Brent Seabrook taking full shifts in the third period.  There was Patrice Bergeron taking full even-strength shifts.  There was relaxation.  There was hubris.   The Canadians deserved to lose.

First it was Luongo with the Jeff Deslauriers short-side special.  3-1.  Then it was Patrice Bergeron running into the corner, picking off his defender and with no one covering the front of the net.  3-2.  The scoring chances flowed.  Shot after shot from close quarters.  Battle after battle being won by the Slovaks.  1:40 to go.  Out come Nash, Toews and Richards.  1:12, the puck enters the zone.  1:08, Duncan Keith dumps the puck behind his own net where it's recovered by Tomas Kopecky.  The Slovaks have possession.  1:00, Halak races to the bench.  0:53, Marian Hossa - a beauty player - races back to check Mike Richards before he clears the zone.  0:44, Doughty loses a race and then a battle to Kopecky along the far wall.  Toews loses the next one to Demitra behind the goal-line.  0:33, Handzus from behind the net to Kopecky out front for a slapper from 8 feet... whiff....  0:28, Visnovsky's shot is blocked but he beats Richards to the loose puck and dumps it along the boards.  0:20 Richards loses another race to Visnovsky.  0:12, Hossa shoots.  0:11, tipped by Stumpel.  0:10, Demitra alone in front and time stops.  A yawning cage.  Demitra unmarked.  He shoots, but it's off Luongo's desperately outstretched mitt and into the corner.  0:00. The Canadians have won.  The Canadians deserved to lose.

The two adversaries shake hands; Luongo and Demitra, teammates in Vancouver, share a short embrace and short conversation.  The crowd bellows, "We Want U-S-A!  We Want U-S-A!  We Want U-S-A!"  still not humbled, still filled with hubris.  The Canadians deserved to lose.

For more detail-oriented thoughts, including play-by-play, it's all after the jump.

I didn't note the competition for this one but it was pretty consistently Toews getting Hossa, Crosby getting Gaborik, Getzlaf getting Handzus and Thornton with Radivojevic..  As always, the jersey numbers are used for the play-by-play with the legend coming first.

2 - Duncan Keith
6 - Shea Weber
7 - Brent Seabrook
8 - Drew Doughty
10 - Brenden Morrow
11 - Patrick Marleau
12 - Jarome Iginla
15 - Dany Heatley
16 - Jonathan Toews
18 - Mike Richards
19 - Joe Thornton
20 - Chris Pronger
21 - Eric Staal
22 - Dan Boyle
24 - Corey Perry
27 - Scott Niedermayer
37 - Patrice Bergeron
51 - Ryan Getzlaf
61 - Rick Nash
87 - Sidney Crosby

First Period

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 20-22 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 07-08
61-16-18 and 06-08
21-87-12 and 27-06 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 27-02
10-51-24 and 02-08
15-19-11 and 02-08
61-16-18 and 20-22
21-87-12 and 20-22
21-87-12 and 27-06
10-51-24 and 27-06
15-19-11 and 20-22 NZ FO
61-37-16 and 02-08 DZ FO with 37 taking FO and to bench on clear
61-16-18 and 02-08
18-87-12 and 02-08
21-87-12 and 20-22 OZ FO
10-51-24 and 02-07
15-19-11 and 27-06
15-19-11 and 27-06 DZ FO
87-16-18 and 20-22
87-16-18 and 02-08
21-87-12 and 02-08 OZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-22
15-51-11 and 20-22
15-51-11 and 20-22 DZ FO Icing
15-19-11 and 27-06 ends in Cdn. GOAL

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
61-37-16 and 27-06 DZ FO with 37 taking FO and to bench on clear
21-87-12 and 02-08 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08 OZ FO Icing
10-51-24 and 20-07 ends in Cdn. GOAL

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 02-08
15-19-11 and 02-08 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22 OZ FO Icing
10-51-24 and 20-22 OZ FO
15-19-11 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 27-06 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08

Second Period

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 27-06
21-87-12 and 27-06 DZ FO Icing
21-87-12 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 02-08 ends in Cdn. penalty in DZ

37-10 and 27-06 DZ FO
16-18 and 02-20 DZ FO
61-11 and 02-20
37-10 and 27-06 penalty ends

21-87-12 and 27-22
15-19-11 and 02-22
61-16-18 and 20-22 ends in Svk. penalty in their DZ

10-51-24 and 27-06 OZ FO
10-51-24 and 27-06 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 06-08 OZ FO
15-19-11 and 20-22 penalty ends

15-19-11 and 20-22
10-51-24 and 02-08
21-87-12 and 27-06 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 20-22
61-16-18 and 27-06 OZ FO
61-16-18 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 02-08
21-87-12 and 20-22
15-19-11 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 02-08 OZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-22 OZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-22 DZ FO
21-87-12 and 27-06
15-19-11 and 02-08 OZ FO
61-16-18 and 20-22
10-51-24 and 27-06
10-51-24 and 27-06
19-51-24 and 02-08 DZ FO with 51 taking FO ends in Svk. penalty in their DZ

10-51-24 and 27-20 OZ FO ends in Cdn. GOAL

21-87-12 and 02-07 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 02-07
61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-08
11-51-24 and 20-08 DZ FO Icing
11-51-24 and 20-08 NZ FO

Third Period

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 20-22
15-19-11 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 02-08 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 20-07 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 02-08 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-22
15-19-11 and 20-22
15-19-11 and 27-20
21-87-12 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 02-07 OZ FO
37-51-24 and 20-22 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 20-22 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 02-08
21-87-37 and 02-08 DZ FO
61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 27-06
10-51-24 and 20-22 ends in Cdn. delayed penalty in DZ and Svk. GOAL

15-19-11 and 02-08 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 27-06 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 27-06 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22 OZ FO Icing
10-51-24 and 20-22 OZ FO
15-19-11 and 27-06
19-37-11 and 02-08 with 27 taking FO ends in Svk. GOAL

61-16-18 and 06-27 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 20-22
10-51-24 and 20-22 DZ FO Icing
10-51-24 and 02-08
61-37-16 and 27-06 DZ FO with 37 taking FO
61-16-18 and 27-06 DZ FO
15-19-11 and 27-06
21-87-12 and 20-22 NZ FO
61-16-18 and 02-08

End of Game

As I said up above, the Canadian coaches were using the Crosby and Toews groups to take on Slovakia's better players and they let the Ducks and Sharks take Handzus and Radivojevic.  This was very consistent until the third period at which point Gaborik left the game.  Once that happened the Canadians seemed to get a bit more sloppy and were doing things that they usually reserve for garbage time (third period shifts for Seabrook, full EV shifts for Bergeron).  Once they got into the "garbage time" mindset, they seemed to have a tough time getting out of it and the Slovakians really put on the pressure.  The shot charts for this one show a tale of two games: the first two periods where Slovakia had almost nothing from in close and the third period where the Canadian goal was under siege.

This was also the first time that the game has been close for quite some time which gives us a chance to look at Canada's bench tactics when they need to close out a tight game.  After the third goal, all thirteen forwards took at least one shift, which surprised me.  I thought there was going to be a line cut, but it didn't happen.  I was also very surprised that Bergeron was used again in the DZ faceoff role after Slovakia's second goal.  It's easy to blame just him for both losing the faceoff and colliding with Doughty, but it seems whatever mistakes he made weren't enough for the coaches to drop him completely.  From the defenders, only Seabrook sat once the margin was cut to one and the Pronger-Boyle combination got a surprising amount of ice time considering their usage in previous games (especially Pronger).  From start to finish this was a four-line, three-pairing game.

On the Slovakian side, I paid close attention to what they did when they had faceoffs in the Canadian zone in the first and second period.  I had assumed that they would try to use those opportunities for offence but they almost never did.  In the first period there were four faceoffs in Canada's zone that I counted and Gaborik wasn't used for any of them while Hossa was only used on one.  Given those two were on separate lines it seems like that's a great opportunity to use them or even to load up a line and try for some offence.  It's hard to be too critical since the team did end up coming back, but they sure weren't forcing the issue offensively in the first two periods.

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