Well, team Canada lost in the quarterfinals to Russia and will go home from the Olympics without any medal. I am sure this is going to bring out all kinds of emotions from people all across Canada as people wonder what went wrong and where to lay blame. There are a number of reasons the teams lost. Here are my thoughts.
1. The injuries to Niedermayer and Jovanovski combined with Blake and Pronger playing with injuries really took a lot away from Canada’s game. Although goals against ultimately wasn’t a problem for Canada that was because of outstanding goaltending and not outstanding defensive play. More often than not the opposition won the battles in the corners and more often than that the Canadians looked confused in the transition game. A healthy defense would have benefitted significantly here.
2. Player selection. The player selection committee has to take some blame for this loss. I criticized the selection committee for taking Draper and Doan and you could have made a strong argument against Martin St. Louis being on the team as well. When I selected my Olympic team I suggested that one of the Tampa players should have been left off the team and St. Louis would have been the obvious choice. Certainly Eric Staal, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Marleau, Alex Tanguay or even Brendan Shanahan would have all contributed more offense than Doan, Draper and St. Louis.
3. Execution. Most of the blame though has to fall on the shoulders of the players who were almost always out skated, frequently out played physically and struggled to make good offensive plays. Gagne, Heatley, Iginla, Nash, Smyth, and others are all supremely talented players but none really looked all that good in the offensive zone. They just didn’t seem to know how to work together as a team and too often tried to do too much on their own. With all that talent there is no excuse for getting shutout in 11 of their final 12 periods of play.