Team Canada vs Team Austria Recap

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Canada forward Jeff Carter (77) scores on Austria goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum (29) during second period round robin men's hockey action at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Team Canada strutted to a 6-0 victory over Austria this afternoon in what was a more satiating scoreline for Canadian hockey fans.

More offence from the defence got Team Canada on the board early. An easy faceoff win by Jonathan Toews sent the puck back to Drew Doughty, who threw an-off balance shot through traffic on net that handcuffed the Austrian goalie.

After Ryan Getzlaf threw a great aerial pass for Corey Perry to bat down in a stunning display of puck control, Perry made a slick drop pass to Shea Weber, who launched another high-rising clapper over the glove hand of Bernhard Starkbaum.

If there was something to nitpick in the first, the Canadian powerplay will need to find another level when the games start counting; while they were controlling the puck with Harlem Globetrotter-esque, aesthetically-pleasing passing plays, Canada seemed reluctant to shoot and were looking for highlight reel goals, as is perhaps expected with so much elite talent on the team.

After Jeff Carter tripped an Austrian player in the early second period, he came out of the box and was joined by Sidney Crosby fresh off the bench. Austria turned the puck over at their own blueline, and Crosby had a ton of time to draw the goalie out and send a pass into Marleau and Carter in the crease for Carter to jam in after Marleau’s initial shot hit the post.

Carter added to his account shortly after, pouncing on a misplay by the Austrian goalie and wrapping the puck into the net.

Carter completed his natural hat trick inside a period in what was his best goal of the three; the other two goals were kind of gifted to him, but on his third he made a heads-up play and showed off the goal-scoring instincts that earned him a spot on the team. He rotated back to cover for Shea Weber, who was pinching, before drifting back into the slot unnoticed to find a rebound and complete his hat trick.

The forward Mike Babcock plays the least seems to produce. Yesterday it was Jamie Benn with a goal in 8:52 TOI, today it was Jeff Carter with a hat trick in under nine minutes of ice time.

The game was officially a laugher at this point. Ryan Getzlaf made it six with a shorthanded effort, poking the puck past a pinching defence on the Austrian PP and rushing down ice and finishing on the backhand after a fancy toe drag around an Austrian defenceman.

Obviously, there was lots to like about Canada’s second “warm up” match of the tournament. We’ll see our first measuring stick game against the Finns on Sunday.

For what it’s worth given the opposition, the Canadian defence has been making good decisions and showing off its skill and mobility. Sweden’s D is pretty damn talented and mobile, but Canada’s is in a league of its own. Canada’s ability to attack in five man units is looking promising; providing they continue to make the appropriate switches, this makes Canada very dynamic on the attack.

The two games tell us practically nothing about the goaltending situation — The Finland game on Sunday should be the first test. It seemed Roberto Luongo made one or two big saves today which Carey Price didn’t have to make yesterday, for whatever that’s worth. Luongo made a point-blank save in the second period, after Shea Weber fell behind the net and a pass came out in front, and needed another nice one in the third to preserve the shutout. Luongo made 23/23 saves to Price’s 19/20.

There are a few lines emerging, subject to change of course. Benn, Tavares and Bergeron have been looking very effective generating off the cycle – those are three elite all-around players who are very firm on pucks, and the line should be able to spend shift after shift in the right end of the rink. Carter/Nash/Toews looks like something to carry forward based on today’s effort. Getzlaf and Perry will obviously remain together, and Duchene looked pretty good on that line, but there may need to be some more fiddling with both the top line and the third member of this line. Duchene – Crosby – St. Louis got some looks in the third and may be the solution there.

Speaking of Duchene, it was his debut Olympic appearance and he looked to be taking this game more serious than any other Canadian player. His speed and talent in traffic is remarkable, and his industry stood out.

As we’re Canadians and this is the national hockey team, we have to find something to complain about in a 6-0 win over Austria. Today’s subject is Chris Kunitz. The understanding was that Team Canada wanted to ensure Crosby hit the ground running after, golden goal aside, he wasn’t a huge factor in Vancouver. It’s not as though, on account of him being the best player in the world, he’s the easiest guy in the world to play with; as Dave Poulin once told us about playing with Gretzky in the Canada Cup, he just “couldn’t think that way.” In Crosby’s case, it’s not like everyone can make plays at the speed he plays the game at or know his preferred areas of the ice. There was some logic to the decision to bring Kunitz given his numbers stood up as well. However, there were a couple of occasions where the pair just didn’t connect, such as on Crosby’s lead pass to Kunitz in the second period, as the chemistry benefit hasn’t been immediately obvious.

Not to sound alarmist, but based on the first two games the top line is a mess and we’re screwed nine goals have been scored against Norway and Austria; Crosby has one secondary assist, which came when he was on the ice with Marleau and Carter, and Kunitz has no points.

The other question is: where else could Kunitz play in the lineup? The Crosby connection is the only reason he’s there and he should probably sit if it doesn’t work out. The coaching staff may stick with this longer than they should to justify the selection of Kunitz in the first place; not to disrespect a solid NHLer, but he certainly stands out as not being in the same talent stratum as the rest of the Canadian roster.

Canada will play Team Finland next on Sunday morning.

Canada vs Austria Boxscore / Stats

Canada vs Austria Boxscore & Stats

 

  • B_Leaf

    Why doesn’t the world settle on one sized hockey rink?

  • PEIleafnation

    B_Leaf then chara and bruins would suck…on bigger surface LOL

  • PEIleafnation

    subans minutes were not high?

  • Mark

    Smart observations, thanks, agree with all.

    I agree with sitting Kunitz and giving Duchene, MSL and Crosby a game together. Put Sharp on Getzlaf and Perry’s line.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    GO LEAFS GO !!!!

  • rustynail

    PEIleafnation  still too high though

  • rustynail

    B_Leaf  less high priced seating on international ice

  • PEIleafnation

    rustynail PEIleafnation lol, well I did see in the 3rd he did get beat and then crashed into the boards with a player

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook  Nice try yank :)))

  • Black_Hawk

    Good job Can and to jeff carter as well

  • Bobsyouruncle

    TheCanucksnaphook  damn right. At least yesterday I didn’t think 2 or 3 times about going to NHL.com or TSN to check some NHL scores…. let’s get thing over and get back to planning the parade.

  • Pent_House

    Wake me up when the interesting games start

  • DARF24

    Black_Hawk  Babcock found a linemate to make him more comfortable :)

  • Black_Hawk

    DARF24 Black_Hawk  yeah its kinda weird Crosby doesnt really work with anyone at the olympics. He struggled last olympics and i heard kyperos complaining about him yesterday

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Refresh for stats

  • Zep2

    Shea Webber  has a cannon. Ripped one threw the twine in the 2010 Gold medal game if I recall

    Lou looked good , stopped watching after 2-0. Hard to sees how Duchene doesnt stay in the lineup

  • Mattmark

    @Mark Or put Sharp back with Toews and Marleau and give Nash a shot with Gezlaf and Perry.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    rustynail B_Leaf  How’s that?  The perimeter is longer.  Would allow more suits at the ACC.

  • Pent_House

    Black_Hawk DARF24  I thought a guy so good was supposed to make players around him better? lol

  • Pent_House

    TuckerForPunishment rustynail B_Leaf  … lol more supply doesn’t equal higher pricing, it’s the other way around

  • Black_Hawk

    Pent_House Black_Hawk DARF24  yeah i dont know what happens to him in the olympics, might be too much pressure for him

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Pent_House TuckerForPunishment rustynail B_Leaf  Not in Leaf land.

  • mcloki

    Pent_House  Kessel vs. the Russians tomorrow

  • Pent_House

    TuckerForPunishment Pent_House rustynail B_Leaf  yea it does, if there were less seats by the glass, every seat by the glass would be that much more valuable…if the demand is outrageous like it is in leaf land, the more you shorten supply the higher the price goes…basic economics. If you make more seats you’ll get more revenue total because there’s that much demand where you’d sell out the building but each seat would be worth less

  • Mattmark

    Black_Hawk Pent_HouseDARF24His setups are fine, it’s his linemates who aren’t converting.  His best Olympic match was with Iginla.

  • Pent_House

    mcloki Pent_House  I’m torn on that game, not sure who to cheer for

  • Black_Hawk

    Mattmark Black_Hawk Pent_House DARF24  yeah i agree, him and iggy clicked

  • The Truth Hurts

    Can’t see any team control the Canadian cycle game. All solid on the puck.

  • Mattmark

    Black_Hawk MattmarkPent_HouseDARF24Both ways: each could set up the other, each could score.

  • Black_Hawk

    i want CAN to win gold but i think USA will win it this year. I just think there roster is clicking and they are not just all all stars. Think they all have there roles in place and have some solid chemistry.

  • Pent_House

    Bruffins Pent_House mcloki  hopefully an interesting game for once, all these games are sleepers so far

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Pent_House TuckerForPunishment rustynail B_Leaf  Yeah I get it.  BUT MLSE wouldn’t.  Thats my point.  And idiots would gladly be put on waiting lists for those extra tickets.

  • The Truth Hurts

    One game in!?!?8

  • Black_Hawk

    The Truth Hurts  no it was actually my gut feeling for a long time before the olympics started

  • Pent_House

    TuckerForPunishment Pent_House rustynail B_Leaf  They do get it, ACC doesn’t have the most seats in the league.

  • The Truth Hurts

    Meh let’s see how they fair tomorrow.

  • Black_Hawk

    The Truth Hurts  lol yeah we will see

  • Pent_House

    The Truth Hurts  they haven’t played any one yet, you’re making conclusions based on them playing norway and austria lmao

  • Black_Hawk

    Mattmark Black_Hawk Pent_House DARF24  yeah i iggy and croz did click well. Duchene would be interesting to see for sure

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Pent_House TuckerForPunishment rustynail B_Leaf  Also wouldn’t the overall seating go down?  More ice area less seating area?  Making every seat worth more?  BTW… who fucking cares anyhow? lol

  • Ryan

    Mattmark Black_Hawk Pent_House DARF24  
    Could it be that Crosby thinks and sees the game totally different then most ? His His hockey IQ is off the chart.

  • Pent_House

    TuckerForPunishment Pent_House rustynail B_Leaf  that assumes that NHL arenas and olympic arenas are the same size, but in olympic arenas the ice takes a higher percentage of space. I highly doubt they’re same size buildings

  • The Truth Hurts

    Ok so let me change that to can’t see anyone control the Canadian cycle game. All solid on the puck.

  • Mattmark

    @Ryan MattmarkBlack_HawkPent_HouseDARF24Lucky for the rest of the world he wasn’t a contemporary of Gretzky.  Can you imagine a Team Canada line of Gretzky between Crosby and Lemieux?

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Pent_House TuckerForPunishment rustynail B_Leaf  They sacrificed seats for MORE high priced boxes.

  • Pent_House

    The Truth Hurts  yea….i’m sure they’re going to  be just dominating the states, russia and sweden

  • Ryan

    Mattmark Black_Hawk Pent_House DARF24  
    His biggest games will be the ones when it matters most. He has produced at every level of hockey. He has more skill in his pink toe than Kyperos does in his entire body.

  • The Truth Hurts

    Wait let me read where I said dominate anyone. Nope can’t find it.

  • Mattmark

    @Ryan MattmarkBlack_HawkPent_HouseDARF24Without doubt he’d be a better broadcaster too.  😉

  • Black_Hawk

    @Ryan Mattmark Black_Hawk Pent_House DARF24  but then why do so well with lesser players in pitt?