Olympic Men's Hockey: Team Canada's Pride Restored?

Wayne MauriceContributor IFebruary 25, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 24:  Team Canada faces off against Team Russia during the ice hockey men's quarter final game between Russia and Canada on day 13 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In what was suppose to be a showdown of the most epic proportions, the Russians decided to play the role of the proverbial 'party pooper'.

Canada came out and scored, early and often. The Canadians played their own version of quick strike hockey, by going up 3-0, within the game's first 13 minutes, of play. The Russians managed to get 1 back, making it 3-1, but the Canadians had an answer to almost each and every Russian goal. With all the dust settled and cleared, the Canadians crushed the Russians, 7-3.

Six different players scored for Canada, showing their much prized depth. Boyle was a man possessed, in the first period. He was jumping up into the play and giving the Russian defence all sorts of fits. Corey Perry also got in on the action, after a slow start to his Olympic debut. Nash continued his physical play throughout the entire game.

The Canadian forwards played aggressively, putting pressure on the Russian defence. The Russian defence was much talked about early on as being their 'achillies heel'. They couldn't handle Canada in the corners, where the battles are fast and furious. Canada also nullified the Russian's 'stretch play,' by keeping their fowards active in the neutral zone.

As a side story of sorts this was also billed as Crosby vs Ovechkin. Their seems to be genuine hatred between the two hockey juggernuats. After it was 4-1, Ovechkin seemed to just quit and threw in the white towel. To me, this is simply a testament to him not being the greatest of team players. Crosby is the consument team player. Crosby wouldn't give up after being down, 4-1. So in the head to head, when it matters match-ups: Crosby 2/ Ovechkin 0.

Nabokov continues to show why he isn't a big game goalie. Granted that he didn't have a chance on some of those shots. The Russians could have used a big save or two early on, but it was to no avail.

Luongo was rarely pressured. He made a great stop on the break away, late in the game however. I want to see how he stands up to a more sustained attack.

Now we play the surprising Slovaks, on Fri. It would be simply foolish to take them lightly. They have some offensive fire power in Hossa and Gaborik. Their defence has  behemoth, Zdeno Chara leading their defensive charge. Halak has also impressed, and has solidfied himself as one of the best young goaltenders in the game.

I am predicting a 5-3, Canadian win. Canada has simply too much overall depth for the Slovaks. I know that predicitions can blow up in one's face, but I am taking the lead horse!

All that being said; it seems that our 'Canadian Pride' has been restored, albeit briefly. A wounded animal, when cornered, can often be the most dangerous.


*Special Note: Kudos goes out the Canadian women, who continue to rake in the medals for Canada. We need to start playing like the women, eh?