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 26, 2010

Team Canada vs Team Slovakia Semifinal

Don't count the Slovaks out just yet... after all, Sweden did, and where did that get them?

During the first period of this game, you can see why. Team Slovakia touts a good defensive system, collapsing down really low around the net.

It isn't until 14 minutes through the first that Shea Weber fires one from the point, which gets redirected by Patrick Marleau past the Slovak netminder. There's a review to make sure Marleau's redirect was below the crossbar, but it's pretty obvious that it was.

An assist for Captain Scotty Niedermayer.

Shortly after, great play by our Duck boys on the ice. Perry below the goal line fighting for a puck, getting it to Getzlaf who manages a pass under pressure to Pronger at the point. It's a patented Pronger rocket, with a redirection from Brendan Morrow in front.

Goal. 2-0. First intermission. Can I just say I've never missed Prongs and his point shots more than right now?

And boy, points for our Ducks in spades. Yours truly is pleased.

The Slovak goalie, Jaromir Halak, is good... but it appears that Team Canada has found his weakness: shots from the point or back from the blue line, with a well-placed deflection near the crease. Granted, those are difficult shots for any netminder to block, but both of Team Canada's goals came from that setup.

Halak denies the Canadians through most of the second, but what he really needs are his offense to get some pucks behind Roberto Luongo. Can't win if you can't score.

Before the end of the second, and on the power play at that, Prongs gets the puck to Perry who's skating up and down along the left wing, angling for passing lanes. He decides to fire on the net and the rebound comes out to Getzy who backhands it home from his knees.

It's a beautiful play, and it takes us into the second intermission with Canada leading 3-0.

The Slovaks haven't given up hope, however, and they are rewarded with a puck that squirts between Luongo's pads and the post. 3-1 Canada, with eight left in regulation.

Chants of "We want USA" echo around the arena. It's looking as if the gold medal game will be between Team USA and Team Canada...

Wait... maybe I've spoken too soon.

Michael Handzus bats one out of the air in the crease, and it's in behind Luongo. One-goal game with five minutes to go!

The Slovaks came on strong in the last few minutes. Lots of shots on Luongo, but Canada holds on. I don't know what it says that Canada let this one almost slip away, but maybe that's a good sign for the US come Sunday. Great game, Slovakia.

Team USA versus Team Canada for the gold. Hockey fans may have dreamed about this matchup, but who really thought it would happen?


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