A Nerve Wrecking Day: Canada Defeats USA in Sochi

Two of the game's heroes - credit RDS.ca

Two of the game’s heroes – credit RDS.ca

The table was set for the one match-up that North America was dying to see, let’s face it… While the Russians might have been dying to see the hometown favourites take on the Canadian giant, what both Canucks and Yanks really wanted to see was yet another chapter of our storied rivalry with our southern neighbour and boy were we served!

While some of the Habs faithful were frustrated by the absence of P.K. Subban in the line-up, I’m a firm believer of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”… Do not get me wrong, I strongly believe that Subban is an excellent D-man and that he brings a huge offensive upside but sometimes, his offensive prowess seems to make him forget about the defensive aspect of the game. While we can forgive him that occasional shortcoming on the Habs blue line, it’s a different story fore Team Canada because its embarrassment of riches means that it has a cupboard full of offensive D-men who are also defensively sound. Before today’s game, the defensive corps had 7 of Team Canada’s 13 games, I would say that is more than enough offensive contribution from the blue line. Besides, we can always find solace in that fact that by not playing, P.K. doesn’t risk a season ending injury like the one picked up by John Tavares. Furthermore, when he comes back from Sochi, Subban will have spent a few weeks training intensively with some of the best players in the world and even if he only took part in one game, he will bring back with him plenty of experience and a desire to constantly prove that he does deserve to play at that level.

Enough about Subban though, the man of the match today, from a Montreal fan’s point of view has to be Carey Price. What a performance! Granted Price received 31 shots which is not an extraordinary number but he was as cold as ice and always perfectly positioned to blank the Americans. Which, do I really need to remind you, is a team which had no problem whatsoever filling up the net in the last couple of weeks. Even on a near perfect deflected shot (much like the one that got past Jonathan Quick for the sole goal of the game), Price was sharp enough to stick out the pad and frustrate the USA’s power play. ¬†For the Price “haters” out there, you should know that in his last two international tournaments (the 2007 World’s Junior Championships and the Sochi Olympics), Price’s stats are as follows: 10 wins, 0 loss, 0.98 GAA and a .962 SP. It is often said that Price cannot make that one big save to change momentum, well, I strongly believe that Team Canada’s number one goalie proved otherwise in a game with such high stakes. Of course, the pressure will be even worse on Sunday for the gold medal game but all signs point to another clutch performance from our goaltender.

Today’s semi final was won by the slightest of margin and it made for rather entertaining viewing… all across the country, people were on the edge of their seats screaming at the television, or, in some cases, at their computer screen. Be honest, even if you were at work today, did you get much done? Didn’t think so, in fact I’m pretty sure that Molson Canadian nailed it when it released this picture:

That sums the last two days off

That sums the last two days off

The hockey world is already looking forward to Sunday morning to see if our men can match the gold winning performance of the women’s team and one thing is for sure, the whole of Canada will come to a standstill yet again at 4 AM pacific time and 7 AM eastern time on February 23rd. Set your alarm clock and enjoy the game on Sunday it will be our last fill of hockey before the NHL resumes its activities and Price and P.K. can get a heroes’ welcome on the Bell Centre Ice.

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