Time to Panic - Canada's Mens Hockey 
Canadaís Mens Hockey team has been shutout for the last two games and to say that this is unexpected would be an understatement of unparallel proportions. So what is the problem? Has the larger ice totally buffaloed the Canadian team, has the Gretzky non event thing totally sidetracked the Canadian team, or what the heck is happening to cause what undoubtedly looks nothing short of a hockey juggernaut to sputter and fail? Now before I answer this let me make this disclaimer, first I played hockey at a high level (college and above), and second I played goal.

Problem number two, Pat Quinn. Evidence Toronto Maple Leafs what else is needed. If Toronto played in Calgaryís division (the Northwest) they would be in LAST place, four points behind Minnesota. Toronto has some descent players and such so it would leave the coaching suspect. Team Canada has some great talent (thanks Gretzky) but the coach has nothing to offer but lame excuses. Time for Quinn to fall on his sword and someone get Brent Sutterís phone number and book a ticket for him on the next flight to Turin. We need a coach with a plan ASAP to turn this train wreck around and take control and do something besides offering the obvious stupid excuses. Canada is there to win and everything and everyone else is a lowly second on the priority list. Hockey is more then just a sport in Canada.

Problem number one, Canadaís offense sucks. Funny how forwards command the biggest salaries in the NHL, get all the rule changes to Ďenhanceí their performances (smaller goalie equipment, more penalties for interfering with them, etc) and they still canít score. Canada hasnít been blown out as the defense and goaltending have done their job, the only problem is the forwards suck. So why do they suck? First Iíd question where their heart is as it seems that these guys are not willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to score or win. Second I must admit Iím questioning some of the choices Gretzky made as playing for Canada in the Olympics isnít a reward for past reputation in the NHL (how many guys on the Swiss team had played in the NHL, but apparently they still won, so NHL means squat here). Everyone complains about the big ice, two words here Bull Shit, only the forwards are complaining about the big ice like it is too far for those slackers to skate or something. Defensemen have far more right to complain about big ice as it favors the attacking forward as they have more room to exploit their speed with, but perhaps that is the real problem here, LACK of speed in our forwards. So tell me again why Sidney Crobsy isnít there or other speed merchants with soft hands? Grinder hockey doesnít work here as the rules donít favor it, nor the ice size, so forwards who know how to skate and handle a puck flourish here, but the Canadian forwards simply suck (how many Canadians are known in the NHL as being great puck handlers, compared to how many Europeans, Canadians might be bigger, meaner and tougher, but all that means in the Olympics is welcome to the penalty box, so tell me again why we left so many of our puck handlers at home).

If I was coach, Iíd have that team under a lock down together (meaning the whole team and only the team, want to be a tourist with your significant other etc then that is after the games are done), with curfew where everyone is in bed no later then 9:30pm, need to get over jet lag, go to bed and fix it, got any other problems, deal with them now and quit whining. Second for every missed shot, scoring opportunity or otherwise slacker effort Iíd be billing the forwards $$$ in the form of a donation to other Canadian Olympic athletes who often have nothing but heart thanks to our nonsupport of Olympic athletes in Canada (I have one as a neighbor). Third I'd tell them that the Women's team has shown more balls then they have. Fourth Iíd remind them if they donít win the gold medal they are swimming home and likely to rather hostile Canadian hockey fans who donít take defeat like this very well. Even Jarome Iginla knows that there had better be gold on your chest or plenty of blood on your face, otherwise you will lose the respect of Canadian fans, not to mention those high priced contracts.

Blake

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