Canada v. United States Post-Game: Olympic Victory

I was surprised that the Canadians didn't dominate.  I was surprised that Nash was Canada's best forward.  I was surprised that Pronger played so well.  I was surprised to see the Canadians trap in the third.  I wasn't surprised to see Babcock not mention it was a strategy driven from the bench.  I was surprised that Seabrook took so many shifts.  I was surprised that Crosby didn't get a shot on that third period breakaway.  I was surprised Crosby was on the bench in the last minute of regulation.  I was surprised that Getzlaf wasn't.  I wasn't surprised when Crosby had the defining moment.

A fantastic ending, both for the hockey tournament and for the Games.  The first Olympic Games I remember is Calgary 1988.  That year Canada won five medals, none of them gold.  It was the second most medals they'd ever won and far from the embarrassment it's made out to be.  Before my lifetime Canadians didn't win at the Olympics.  It just didn't happen.  And now, well now - twenty-two years later, one generation - they have more gold medals at a winter Games than any other nation in history.  Before Canada that record was shared between the United States and the Soviet Union (Edit: edm_euler pointed out that I AM WRONG on this point (except I'm actually wrong) and that it's actually Norway and the Soviet Union... kind of wrecks the narrative... damn you euler!!!)  .  You know, super-powers.  And now it's Canada's.  Bonkers.  And a big part of it are those '88 Olympians who got this country rolling in the right direction; it's been steady climbing ever since. 

And it makes that hockey gold that much more sweet.  They played for themselves and for their team and for their country but in the most tangible of ways, that gold was their contribution to the larger team.  It was for Bilodeau, McIvor, Humphries and Moyse as much as it was for Yzerman, Nicholson and Lowe.  It was for Rochette, Montgomery, Hamelin and St-Gelais; for Martin, Hebert, Morris and Kennedy; for Kershaw, Babikov, Grey and Harvey; for Clara Hughes and on it goes.  I don't know if the hockey players ever feel disconnected from the rest of the Olympic team but with this accomplishment, this one that could only be shared, I can't see them feeling that way now.

Yes, it was a hockey game, and a great one.  But it was part of something bigger than just the hockey tournament.  This one was truly - and distinctly - an Olympic victory.

Some play-by-play and other minutiae on the game itself after the jump.

As usual I've got the lines for you here.  It feels a bit weird doing this when you know the team isn't ever going to play another game together but it's kind of fun to do, so here you are.  The legend is up first in case you still don't know the jersey numbers.

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

10-51-24 and 20-22 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08 DZ FO
15-19-11 and 02-08 ends in US penalty

10-51-24 and 20-27 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 22-06
21-87-12 and 22-06 NZ FO
15-19-11 and 02-08 penalty ends

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

Second Period

61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 20-22 NZ FO
10-51-24 and 02-07 ends in US penalty

15-19-11 and 22-06 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-08 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 02-22 penalty ends

21-87-12 and 22-08 ends in Cdn. penalty

37-10 and 27-06 DZ FO
16-18 and 27-07
61-11 and 20-07
37-10 and 20-06
61-11 and 27-08
51-24 and 27-08 penalty ends

21-51-24 and 02-08
11-51-24 and 02-08 ends in Cdn. GOAL

15-19-11 and 20-22 NZ FO
61-16-18 and 27-06
61-16-18 and 27-06 NZ FO ends in Cdn. penalty

61-18 and 27-06 DZ FO
37-10 and 27-06
61-11 and 20-07
18-10 and 02-08
37-11 and 02-08
37-18 and 27-06 DZ FO penalty ends

18-16-37 and 27-06
21-87-12 and 20-22
11-19-12 and 20-22
15-19-11 and 20-22 OZ FO
15-19-11 and 06-22
10-51-24 and 27-06 ends in US GOAL

61-16-18 and 02-07 NZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22 DZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22 DZ FO Icing
21-19-12 and 02-08
21-19-12 and 02-08 DZ FO Icing
15-19-11 and 02-08
10-51-24 and 27-06
10-51-24 and 20-22 OZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22
61-16-18 and 02-08 OZ FO
15-19-11 and 27-06
10-51-24 and 27-06 DZ FO
21-87-12 and 20-22
61-16-18 and 02-08

Third Period

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

21-87-12 and 20-22 NZ FO

Overtime

61-16 and 27-06 NZ FO
87-12 and 02-08
19-11 and 20-22
19-11 and 22-06
15-51 and 02-08
16-61 and 02-08 DZ FO
21-18 and 20-22 OZ FO
87-12 and 27-06
19-11 and 27-06
19-11 and 08-06
15-51 and 02-08
61-16 and 20-22
21-18 and 20-22
21-18 and 27-06
87-12 and 27-06 ends in Cdn. GOAL

End of Game

I'm glad that I decided to track the play-by-play for this game because there were all kinds of interesting things happening, especially as the game was coming to a close.  On defence, Brent Seabrook did eventually get cut.  I liked this decision because it allowed the Canadians to run three distinct pairs from then on and I also thought Seabrook was the weakest Canadian defender in the tournament.  I know that some were impressed, but I wasn't one of them.  Chances against just seemed to follow him around.  If anything, I was surprised he hung on as long as he did.  Other than that, the Canadians pretty much ran three pairs to the end with Niedermayer and Weber being the go-to guys at the end.  And what an emotional whirlwind for those two, on the ice for both the US tying goal and Crosby's winner.

At forward, there were a couple of things I wanted to look at from earlier on.  First, Bergeron kept his job as "DZ faceoff man" for most of the game, getting a few opportunities in the first, second and first half of the third.  The other place that Bergeron saw some time was the PK.  Over the last few games the Canadians have basically run with three pairings: Bergeron-Morrow, Toews-Richards and Marleau-Nash having dropped Staal and others from any substantial PK duty.  Solid choices all around given the make-up of the team.  But when Toews hit the box, they abandoned these regular pairs completely and they just played mix-and-match with the five regular guys available.  I know I sure felt a lot less confident on that one and Gabe Desjardins has shown there's a real (and negative) effect when regular penalty killers take penalties.

Skipping ahead in the game, it was interesting to see which forwards got cut because the coaches decided not to gas an entire line but still took nine forwards for the close.  Of course, Bergeron was done.  But they also gassed Heatley, Iginla and Perry.  The lines they ended up with were Getzlaf-Thornton-Marleau, Nash-Toews-Richards and Morrow-Crosby-Staal.  Two brand new combinations for what I have to think is only marginal gain if all of the six guys they moved are going strong.  Why take out Iginla for Morrow?  I don't much get it to be honest, especially since they had to have someone flip wings to accommodate.  Just silly in my opinion.  And that theme continued when they put Getzlaf with Nash and Toews for their first shift of the tournament with less than a minute to go in the gold medal game.  And for the defensive presence of Ryan Getzlaf.  That just seems... I don't know... dumb.

Anyway, the Americans tied it up and it was off to overtime where Iginlas squeezed back into the lineup and contributed on the winning goal (nice job Iggy!).  The only things that surprised me here were the pairs of Staal-Richards and Heatley-Getzlaf.  The Heatley-Getzlaf group seemed destined to do something stupid and the Staal-Richards pairing just didn't seem as good as the others.  The other pairings were Iginla-Crosby, Thornton-Marleau (who I desperately wanted to see score) and Nash-Toews which all felt solid.  Seems odd to me that they would go with more than four pairs and that the fourth would receive more than spot duty.  But hey, it worked out.

Yeppers, the whole thing worked out!  Way to go Canada!

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