Monday, February 22, 2010

Bizarro-Marty: Brodeur Fails Canada

After Canada’s win over Switzerland I was fully prepared to write a post belittling the notion that there was any goaltending controversy on team Canada. Luongo received his obligatory game against the Norwegians, but Marty would take it from there. I was fully convinced Marty was unflappable. He had this.

Well, that was before last night’s…incident. 4 goals and only 18 saves. Ouch. This performance was worse since Ryan Miller stood on his head at the other end of the rink and stopped 42 of 45 shots. Canada severely outplayed the Americans, but Miller severely outplayed Brodeur and Kesler severely outworked Perry to pot the clinching goal. It was that simple. That was the game.

It was a terribly disappointing finish. The extra salt in my wounds is that I now owe my Buffalonian friend a 2-4 of the “finest” Canadian beer I can find. Last night my mood was so unstable I contemplated buying Laker and warming it up in the oven. Thankfully for her my mood has stabilized relatively. Relatively.

I came home from a friend’s last night and met my Dad in the hallway. We just looked at each other and nodded. Nothing needed to be said. Just complete shock. Too much anger to even say anything.

My mood was so low after the game that I had to ban myself from the computer and television. Marty was taking a beating all over Twitter, Facebook, and by most of the television analysts. I couldn’t check any sports sites because the headlines would all ready 5-3! Pseudo-Miracle! Kesler to Canada, “Ha!” I passed on the torture (after torturing myself for 20-30 minutes) and went to bed.

This morning I thought I’d get a reprieve from the game during work. I forgot that I would constantly think about, thus driving me crazy, but I was sucked into multiple conversations with different people as well. I didn’t want to. It just happened. We were reeling. One co-worker said, “I don’t even really follow hockey, but this just made me so sad, I feel so bad for them.” It made me feel even worse. I felt crushed. So what the hell happened?

Marty Brodeur did have a bad game and I’m not here to defend him. He is still the greatest goalie of all-time, but that game won't be on a DVD compilation. Should he have been pulled after the third goal? At this point it’s pretty easy to say yes, but at the time I guess the coaching staff was in the same disbelief as I was. This wasn’t the greatest goalie of all-time Marty Brodeur. It was some bizarro version that was reading too many Spring Training articles and thought he should attempt to play some baseball. He clearly wasn’t Marty Brodeur last night and maybe everyone was in too much shock to realize he needed to be removed, quickly. I certainly was in too much shock. I was defending him despite the scene in front of me.

What’s worse about the loss is the reaction from Canadian fans. This team is taking a beating all over the internet. Everyone’s reacting as if it’s over. Better throw your support behind the Swedes, the Canucks are toast. Fuck off.

This team hasn’t played its best hockey yet. Not by a mile. Everyone is also overlooking Canada’s dominance last game. The U.S. won because of the combined efforts of Miller and Brodeur. The U.S. team was outplayed in almost every facet of the game last night, but took full advantage of bizarro-Marty and rode their 120 pound bean pole to victory. Canada doubled the Americans in shots and had the puck for the majority of the game, while outhitting their opponents. None of the American goals happened on any particularly dangerous looking play, but bizarro-Marty helped them out. This isn’t going to happen again.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Canada. They need to use this as a wake-up call. They need it to motivate them. I don’t want to even discuss the other alternative to this loss because it isn’t happening.

Plus, an extra game for the Canadians isn’t the worst thing. They get an extra game to develop chemistry and play together as a team.

Last night’s loss was tough. But this isn’t the end for Canada. They can still win Gold, but the path to victory became much harder. Now they have to win four games in a row, two played back-to-back. Barring a disastrous collapse to Germany (that would put an entire nation on suicide watch), the Canadians will have to face a motivated Russian squad who has yet to play their best hockey and will have had extra practice time. Tough.

The road to gold won’t be easy, but when has a championship team ever had an easy run. There is now adversity for Canada to overcome. This is our game. Continue the support. Keep the faith. It’s on.


Bo Dangles said...

Great article. I especially like the calling out of all the people who are turning on the team like your typical nutcase Habs fan.

As you said the Americans didn't have many shots, only a combined 9 after two periods! If I was coach Ron Wilson, I would be pretty unimpressed with the victory. It was essentially all Miller.

What really surprised me was the ineffectiveness of the power-play. One would think that with so many talented players on the ice, it would be pretty simple to manufacture a goal. Apparently not - the power-play looked very Leaf-esqe; lots of slowww movement around the perimeter and then the occasional point shot. Move it with speed and pull defenders out of their lanes.

And Drew Doughty is the fucking man.

Bo Jackson said...

It may be a generational thing, but younger people are absolutely done with Brodeur as a goalie. They act as if he's awful and Luongo is the best goalie ever. Not even just because this game, they don't seem to respect him at all. Just base his success on Jersey. What am I missing?

Bo Bon said...

For a team of all-stars, there are plenty of guys who seem like they are complacent to take a backseat role and let somebody else step up. Getzlaf, Perry, even Joe Thornton, all with one point? I know points aren't everything and that this stat can't fully represent how the player is playing. But these guys are on this team because of the pre-existing chemistry that they have with their NHL teammates. While Babcock was trying to find the right wingers for Crosby, or where to plug in Bergeron, these guys were supposed to step up and know how to put the puck in the net.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but I feel much going into the Russia game than the U.S. The US beat us with our own style of play, they shut down our offense and capitalized on their chances. No fancy dekes or stickwork. It also helped that they had Miller, the best goalie in the NHL this season. But the Russian's are much more offensively focused, with a weak defensive core that (hopefully) we will be able to bully down low and dominate the puck in their end. We also need to get under the skin of the Russian's top scorers, and let Ovie's ego cause him to take some bad penaltys and make costly mistakes.

Eh! Oh! Canada go!

Theodore said...

Apparently Brian Burke came down on the American team pretty hard in the after-math of that win. Which makes sense because Canada had the momentum all night. Sure nobody could put the puck in the net, but they had the puck, and the Americans were just running after them.

It's rare that a loss involving Brodeur is actually his fault, but besides the obvious "lucky bounces" factor, he was unfortunately the real difference maker I would argue, not Miller.

Matt Horner said...

So many Bo's.

@Jackson - Kids are dumb.

@Dangles - Aside from Doughty's giveaway against the Swiss that led to a goal, he's been fantastic. The fact that he and Keith played the majority of shifts in the last few minutes against the Americans says everything. The only real question is when does he win his first Norris.

@Bon - I agree. Canada needs to play a hard, physical North American game. For the most part, the forwards are all over 6'2 and well over 200. Stop being fancy and drive the net/create havoc. I think the new Nash-Getzlaf-Perry line will do just that.

@Theo - I dislike Brian Burke in his USA role. I'm so conflicted. I love him, but he created the team I hate so much.

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