In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hits and misses, Olympic prelims

Another big day of men's hockey for our Ducks Olympians, today would feature contests between Team USA and Team Norway, Team Canada and Team Switzerland.

In watching USA versus Norway, yours truly has a few notable observations. The offensive lines are looking like they're starting to gel a little bit. Today's game was definitely physical... Team USA's bigger boys weren't afraid to throw their weight around. Passing plays looked cleaner, and the team would benefit with goals.

Defensively, I think we have problems. As long as the puck is in the offensive zone, Team USA looks good. But as soon as they have to defend, there's way too much open ice. Not to mention, I don't think it helps that the defensemen have been joining the offensive rushes. You may get away with that in games against less talented teams, but once you start playing the big guns, you're going to need both D-men holding up that blue line. Without that, turnovers quickly become dangerous odd-man rushes.

This happened a number of times in today's game, and Ryan Miller did his best against the Norweigan forwards, but you're playing a numbers game. Give them too many good scoring chances, and they will eventually score.

Unfortunately, yours truly isn't feeling too confident about the netminding. I understand Ryan Miller is probably going to be starting for as long as we're winning, or something like that, but I was actually hoping Jonathan Quick would get an opportunity between the pipes. I'm just a tad bit more impressed with Quick's game than Miller's going into the Olympic break.

My boy Bobby Ryan got less than 10 minutes of ice time in today's game... can I ask why?

In any case, Team USA proves good enough to win today's contest, 6-1.

The next men's hockey game on the schedule would pit Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Scott Niedermayer against their fellow teammate, goaltender Jonas Hiller.

What did I say about underestimating Team Switzerland? Hiller and his incredible D would take Team Canada all the way through five minutes of sudden death overtime and into a shootout. Switzerland would fall 2-3 in that shootout.

Hiller had an absolutely phenomenal game, I wish he had been rewarded with a win. He faced 47 shots, stopping 44. And when you figure that it's guys like Sidney Crosby, Jerome Iginla, Ryan Getzlaf, and Dany Heatley firing these shots, Hiller's performance is even more remarkable.

The Swiss play a hard, gritty game. I give them very good chances of taking a win away when they play Norway next.

Honestly, if Team USA had the defensive core and netminding of Team Switzerland, they'd be a force to be reckoned with.

No goals or assists for any of our hometown heroes today.

On a sidenote, who wants to bet Jeremy Roenick will take Mike Milbury out before the end of the tournament?


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