2010 Winter Olympics Men's Hockey
Germany vs. Canada @ Canada Hockey Place
"BINGO BANGO BONGO! HIS NAME IS ROBERTO LUONGO!!" Those words by Tom Larscheid will forever be written down into Canuck/Luongo fans books for the rest of his career. And soon enough, all of Canada will be chanting that.
After losing to USA, Canada was stuck playing againt Germany to make it to the quater-finals. Many people argued over this being a good thing or a bad thing. Ultimately, the choice wasn't theirs and it had to be played and won or having another Tornio (the latter not being an option).
Was playing this extra round good for Team Canada in the end? I say yes (along with just a handful of other people). Why? Because if we had won that game against the States and continued on playing like the way we did that night, we would've never had a good shot at earning gold. Yes, I said it. This proud Canadian said it!
Playing Germany not only helped this team realise chemistry with their teammates, but also woke the defence up which had been playing quite sloppily for the past couple of games. And I think it woke Babcock up a bit more to realise that his hot goalie is Luongo - not Brodeur (as much as I like the fellow).
It was a kick in the pants, the bucket of cold water, the pie to the face that Canada so much needed for everyone to realise what each one of them individually and wholistically needed to bring to the table every night, from now on.
Tonight, Luongo was a good spectacle in net. 2/23 shots were let in on the home-town boy and ended the night with a 0.913 save percentage. The defence woke up! Much needed puck-movement came out from the back-end and some intelligence has now erupted. Offensive and defensive skills were displayed tonight and that was why Steve Yzerman put y'all on the team! And the offence... well, the offence we didn't have much problem with except for finding Crosby some linemates. And I think Babcock has found that in Eric Staal and Iginla.
So what does this mean for all you Team Canada fans? It means, y'all better be looking forward to seeing Luongo in net more often than not and shouting "LOU~~~!!!" everytime he makes a great save. If defence plays as like they did against Germany every night (maybe even better), there will be less defensive issues than we have been having. As long as the offence starts chipping in defensively and keep their offence up, all should bode well with the Canadian audience.
We cannot forget that we're playing the Russians next. No, it's not the finals we've all been waiting for; it's the quater-finals. But it's against the Russians....
Russia isn't short on their problems either. Despite being heavy loaded with big names and big goal scorers are only 2/16 on the PP. Yea, that's a 0.125 PP%. Bad. Just goes to show you that just because you have a star-studded roster, doesn't mean that you're going to win.
Their problems just don't stop at the PP though; it continues on to the goaltending. Evgeny Nabokov is a more than decent goalie, but lately he hasn't been doing enough to keep his team solid.
But then there's the fire, passion, and neutral ice play of the Russians. That's where they will flourish. As the Russians play with emotions and flare, the turnovers they create and the hits that they lay in the neutral zone will change the game for them. In the game against the Czechs, Ovechkin made a play changing hit in the neutral zone. A check to a Czech (no pun intended) led to a cough-up and then a goal.
What do the Canadians have to look for? Lurking Russians, their speed, and the physicallity. But we have the PK, the PP, and the grittiness.