The do-or-die games for Team Canada start against an unexpected challenger in this afternoon’s quarterfinal, Team Latvia.
Team Latvia shut down a Switzerland roster with eight NHL regulars in yesterday’s qualification round, leaning heavily on Edgars Masalskis, who made 32 saves in the 3-1 win. The Latvians doubled Swizterland in shots in the first and took a 2-0 lead, which proved too much to overcome for Team Switzerland. Many Canadian fans were apprehensive about their expected meeting with the Swiss due to their ability to hang in with the big guys (lost to Sweden 1-0 and beat the Czechs 1-0), but the Swiss never, at any point in the Olympic tournament, scored more than a goal.
The Latvians under Ted Nolan haven’t been shy to forecheck and play physical, and will look to marry that with bend-but-don’t-break defensive play. The Latvians have scored eight goals in their last three games. Said Nolan: “Latvian players, they’re a working bunch, so you’ve got to let them work. You can’t sit back and try to play a defensive style.” We’ll see if it plays out that way, but Canada would prefer this to the 100% trapping style of the Swiss, Nords or Finns.
Obviously, the only way this game ends up close is if the Latvians come in like they’re happy to be here and just play their game while the Canadians play tight under the weight of expectation. The Latvians have just one current NHLer in Buffalo rookie Zemgus Girgensons, although several others do have NHL experience: Sandis Ozolinsh, Kaspars Daugavins, Martins Karsums, Arturs Kulda, Oskars Bartulis, Janis Sprukts, and Herbert Vasiljevs.
Nolan on Canada: “How do you beat them? Cross your fingers and hope for the best. Puck off the boards.”
Canada will look to see a break out from, in the general sense, a relatively-quiet group of forwards offensively, as Canada’s forwards collectively have just five goals over three games against Norway, Austria and Finland. Six of Canada’s 11 goals have come from the blue line; Doughty has four, Weber has two.
Carey Price will start in net, his third start of the tournament. Price stopped 19 of 20 shots in Canada’s win against Norway and 14 of 15 shots in the team’s win against Finland.
Matt Duchene is expected to join PK Subban in the stands for this one, while Martin St. Louis returns to the lineup.
Today’s lineup of games:
- Slovenia vs Sweden – 3:00 AM, TSN
- Russia vs Finland – 7:30 AM, CBC
- Czech Republic vs USA – 12:00 PM, TSN
- Latvia vs Canada – 12:00 PM, CBC
Actually a good read:
A win is a win, but don't tell that to fans of Team Canada http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=58087#.UwUhDKrvzL8.twitter …
Players Traded at the deadline - Yes or No
Just curious what people think. I personally think the leafs will stand pat although i'd love to see them pick up a 2nd rounder or another first
1. Fuck the US, they will lose to us, lets get Kessel and JVR back to the leafs after they win the bronze
2. It's funny, Canada's got all the speed and skill but now I want them to start mashing teams. Hopefully they get fired up vs the Americans
3. Leafs are signing Bolland regardless of all the blah blah blah that goes on in here. We gave up 3 picks to get him, he has wond two cups and the coach would suck him off in a second and possibly even swallow. Holland can potentialls be good but we are stupid to just trade a solid NHLer who is accomplished and young just so we can let this other guy develop into something similar. There will be injuries and the wing so Holland will still play
Hats off to Ted Nolan
SOCHI, Russia -- There won't be any miracles in Buffalo this season, but Ted Nolan sure has pulled one off here in Sochi, coaching Latvia into its first Olympic quarterfinal after a 3-1 upset of Switzerland in the qualification round on Tuesday night.
And it's clear that Nolan's impact on his players is as much heartfelt as it is X's and O's.
"He's been a huge part of us," former Bruins and Senators winger Kaspars Daugavins said of Nolan. "We never had a coach that actually believes in the players. It's always been like army-style where everybody just has to work hard and you never get a tap on your shoulders, saying, 'Good job, buddy.' He brings a different spirit on the team. He actually makes us believe that we're actually a good team. I've been to a lot of world championships and an Olympics before, and we never had a feeling that we can actually win something. We just went out there and played."
Just saying Canada's defense with Weber, Doughty, Pietroangelo, Keith will neutralize the US forwards. Kessel, Kane, Parise and JVR will have a hard time.
I am so glade Kessel and JVR have played so well against other teams. However, I hope that they both fail against us. For team Canada to win against the US, one of our players has to be tasked to physically eliminate Kessel. Kane, can be neutralized by a fast defensive player. JVR, however, is a more daunting proposition. I am cautiously optimistic that we will win against the US.
@Shift_Disturber1 slick little deception, perfect timing on that pass
@mlclearwater I think the Leafs stand pat. I would be shocked if Noni made a trade that included roster players
but i think Franson or gardiner gets traded this summer and Kulemin walks. Raymond we can't afford and shouldn't want
@mlclearwater Kuli, Bolland.....resigned Raymond kept for playoff run, hoping to upgrade Franson, but doubt it happens......stand pat
Traded only for overpayment. Most likely kept for playoff run.
@mlclearwater I think Ryan Suter is the only US D-man who would make Canada's D.
@Burtonboy or is Pavelski jealous?......think about it
This is bang on from Carlyle.
Dzone coverage has improved alot with Gleason but we are still not there yet.
Special teams will improve with Bolland's return.
Compete level has to improve,if we fight for every fifty fifty puck like dogs over a bone, we will be just fine
@Xxxxxnew If I recall Ted Nolan for a long time could not get a head coaching gig in the NHL because he alawys sided with his players against the GM and management.....
Hit men could be hired if they injure them.
Still another 8 days before Leafs play. I say he plays and plays great!
@Faalcon 7-6 Canada with JVR and Kessel hat tricks.
@Shift_Disturber1 @ingy56 @Dangle_My_Berries Yes, we do that too, depends where the penalty box is. In our home rink it's at the bench so I always tell the player coming out to yell for the puck. We do a breakout similar, we have a player come off the boards and aim for the center dot and have the D give a hard pass up the middle aiming for the dot. It's a timing play and the D has to be sure it won't get picked off. At worst it's picked off and we are hemmed in, or it's an icing. If it works, it's a breakaway. If the other team sees it, they tend no to pinch in as much with their D and have to guard it.
@Shift_Disturber1 @ingy56 @Dangle_My_Berries Yeah, a version of it. We do one like it off the center ice dot, mis-direction play... after a goal usually. Try to catch the other team down after being scored on or getting one back quickly ourselves. The D peels off to the end door and we throw out an extra forward at the end closest to the center ring and he just heads to the net. Looks good when it works.