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 NHL shouldn’t have to bend over backwards when they are the ones dishing out the money to players, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, watching the level of hockey is awesome, but no other league would, and should, make the concessions the NHL does.

 

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There was a discussion in a recent Ramblings about how a potential trade of Thomas Vanek would impact Kyle Okposo’s numbers. Some felt they wouldn’t drop off too much as John Tavares is the key player on that line anyway. So what happens now that Tavares is done for the year? Okposo is in a position to lose both linemates for the rest of the campaign if Vanek is dealt before the deadline. Not exactly an ideal scenario for Okposo owners heading into a playoff push.

 

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As Dobber mentioned yesterday, Viktor Fasth is getting closer to a return and will likely see some starts down the stretch, as NHL teams now brace for a steady dose of back-to-back games. This likely hurts Frederik Andersen’s value. However, I wonder if the Ducks are pondering a trade with one of their netminders before the deadline. Jonas Hiller is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but moving him seems unlikely at this point because of where Anaheim sits in the standings and how well Hiller has played this year and at the Olympics. Would the Ducks consider dealing either Fasth or Andersen though? Keep in mind they have John Gibson in their system as well, leaving them as arguably the top organization as far as goaltending depth goes. If Andersen or Fasth could bring an asset back that would help the Ducks on a Cup run, they might be wise to think about it.

 

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Henrik Zetterberg reportedly underwent back surgery and could be lost for the season. Detroit just can’t catch a break when it comes to injuries this year. Bad news for Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader owners.

 

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Dave Bolland took part in Leafs practice on Thursday after having been out since November 2 with a severed tendon. He was paired with Troy Bodie and Mason Raymond during the skate and the third line would seem to be his likely destination for now. Toronto had been rolling before the break, so it’s hard to imagine him getting back into the top six. At least not right away.

 

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There were some thoughts that Evgeny Kuznetsov would head to North America after the Olympics, but it looks as though he won’t join the Capitals until next season. The wait continues.

 

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Patrick Roy thinks Russia’s disappointing exit at the Olympics will make Semyon Varlamov better.

 

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Ken Dryden looks at the growth of the Men’s American hockey team for Grantland.

 

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Take a trip down memory lane with this shootout between Sweden and Canada from the 1994 Olympics. There were so many big names involved before NHL players were able to go. It also contains the original Forsberg dangle and Petr Nedved somehow playing for Canada. Enjoy.

 

 

Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike


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Comments (6)add comment

slapper75 said:

slapper75
... @uberK "Kessel doesn't score when it matters and doesn't backcheck" is a pretty tired narrative, and inaccurate. This drivel is typical of someone who probably spends more time analyzing boxscores than actually watching hockey. He's an elite level talent, plain and simple. And he's consistent as they come - only Malkin has scored more points than him over the past 3 seasons.

He played on a US roster that included probably no more than 3 other players (non-goalies) that would have made Team Canada (Suter, Kane and Parise). They lost 1-0 to the Team Canada powerhouse. And their 5-0 loss today cannot be pinned on him. It's a nothing game from a North American point of view, let's face it.

He will continue to prove his detractors (usually Leaf haters incapable of objectivity) wrong.
February 22, 2014
Votes: +0

Michael Amato said:

Michael Amato
... @excelsior It's weird to think of Detroit as sellers, but they just might be for the first time in a quarter century. Alfredsson would make sense to move, but it will be tricky because of his age and family situation. He's likely going to be very particular about where he goes, if he wants to move at all.
February 22, 2014
Votes: +0

bullwinkle said:

bullwinkle
Olympics are fine for the NHL This nonsense about losing players at the Olympics is ridiculous. There is an average of five injuries of some sort or another every day in the NHL! So playing in Sochi is no different. And considering that, the exposure the NHL gets to the average fan every four years makes it all worth it.
February 22, 2014
Votes: +0

uberK said:

uberK
... Kessel has stood up? Zero goals when it counts, when he runs into teams that plays defence. But that's real life hockey.

He's a regular season goal scorer who doesn't back check - great for the single category in Fantasy hockey.
February 22, 2014
Votes: -1

Excelsior said:

Excelsior
... LOL I sure didn't want the US to score but it sure would have been fun to hear Kessel from Bozek!

Thanks Mike for the video clip. Fun watch.

With Zetterberg now sidelined I wonder if Detroit will go into sell mode approaching the trade deadline. I realize Weiss and Franzen are set to return from injury but they must realize that they will be in tough to do anything in the playoffs even if they make it. Could/would Alfredsson move to a contender?
February 22, 2014
Votes: +0

BlackGold said:

BlackGold
Nedved He decided to defect to Canada because of the limited opportunities in Czechoslovakia under communist rule, which was very strict regarding athletes leaving the country to pursue professional careers elsewhere. He did not tell his parents about the decision, and with $20 and the help of another Czech who defected, whom Nedvěd refuses to identify even today, he declared his defection at a Calgary police station.
February 22, 2014
Votes: +2
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