February 22, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-02-22

Canada is off to the gold medal game after defeating the United States 1-0. The game really wasn't as close as it looked and even though the Americans did have 31 shots, they didn't have very many quality scoring chances. Especially after the first period. As much as Canada has been criticized for lack of offense from their forwards, their team defense has been excellent and was so against the Americans.

The Canadians got a great goal from Jamie Benn on an even better pass from Jay Bouwmeester. It's hard to believe Benn wasn't even invited to Canada's orientation camp last summer.

 

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For my money, Sweden has easily been the most impressive team at the Olympics. Not necessarily because they haven't lost a game en route to the gold medal contest, but simply for the fact that they've faced some heavy adversity. They lost Henrik Sedin before the tournament and then Henrik Zetterberg shortly after it began, and haven't missed a beat. Not only that, but players like Patrik Berglund and Daniel Sedin have struggled this season, but still came through and contributed greatly in Sochi. Even Henrik Lundqvist, who although was on a nice run before they break, had his ups and downs all year, but he's been lights out. Erik Karlsson has really stepped up with all their injuries and taken the team on his back.

 

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Phil Kessel really stood out at this tournament and it's safe to say he's now one of the best in the world. He's long been explosive from an offensive standpoint, but he took things to another level at this tournament. It will be fun to watch if he can keep it going for Toronto down the stretch.

 

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Wanted to take a moment and comment on the great gold medal game between Canada and the United States in Women's hockey. It was great hockey from start to finish and it's a shame they can't play more often. Perhaps some sort of a seven-game series between the two is in order. It just goes to show how important rivalries are in sports. They just make the game that much better. The only downside was it brought back a lot of painful memories for me watching a team with a Kessel and a Bozek on it blow a two-goal lead in the final minutes, and then lose in overtime.

 

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You can add Paul Martin's name to the list of significant injuries suffered at this Olympics. The Penguins defenseman could miss up to a month with a hand injury. Pittsburgh is already down Kris Letang and losing Martin thins things out on the blue line even more. It goes without saying that Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta would be great to have around during their absence. Especially Maatta, who had a great tournament for the Finns and looks to be blossoming into one of the league's emerging young defenders. He'd be a guy to try and grab now for a keeper league if you can.

 

With Martin's injury, I guess I'll add my two cents to the debate about NHLers participating at the Olympics from yesterday's Ramblings. I personally don't believe they should be playing as long as the tournament coincides with the regular season. What stood out to me most of all wasn't necessarily the injuries (because those are inevitable), or they time change, (as a soccer fan I'm used to it), but it was more the preparation leading up to the games. We saw a few players rested in the days leading up to the games so they would be better prepared to represent their country, and of course there was Zdeno Chara missing two contests to be the flag bearer. As important as some of that stuff is, the