Men's hockey: Canada 3 Switzerland 2 (SO) - Macleans.ca
 

Men’s hockey: Canada 3 Switzerland 2 (SO)

Canada squeezes two points out of never-say-die Swiss


 

Shootout

Format is three shooters from each team, alternating (trust me).

Dominechelli (SUI) – miss

Crosby (CAN) – miss

Lemm (SUI) – miss

Toews (CAN) – miss

Wick (SUI) – miss

Getzlaf (CAN) – miss

Now one shooter of each team’s choice:

Crosby (CAN) – SCORES

Pluss (SUI) – MISS

Wow!

OT

Wild ride in overtime, with almost all the chances going to Canada. Jonas Hiller, take a bow.

3rd Period

Sorry folks, for the head fake on over time. They have a five-minute OT and shootout. As you can see, I need to update my IIHF rulebook. Here, for real, is how the three-point system comes into play:

3 if you win in regulation, 2 if you win in OT or shootout, 1 if you lose in OT or in shootout.

The Heatley line came out flying in the first minute in the third, forcing Hiller to make two enormous saves. Canada carried the play, finishing with 45 shots versus 20 for the other guys. But no W.

It’s not that Canada sucked. You’ve just seen a textbook road game, as played by visiting Olympians.

2nd Period

You probably hadn’t heard of Ivo Ruthemann. He’s one of the best fowards in the Swiss Elite League. Scored 45 points in 37 games for Davos last year. Thirty-three years old.

You know him now. That was a bullet he fired past the glove side of the best goaltender of all time.

That said, Doughty has played better hockey than he has so far tonight. Ruthemann’s goal came on a bad pinch by our Drew and he’ll hear about it from Mike Babcock. Or Lindy Ruff, or Jacques Lemaire.

But Doughty wasn’t the only sinner. Chris Pronger has been playing too long, in too many pressure situations to wander out of position to settle scores with diminutive forwards who throw elbows his way. He was in no man’s land on the tying goal by Patrick von Gunten, and this is the problem with Pronger. He can’t always see the forest for the trees. On this occasion he was busy trying to cut down a rather small one—5-10 Andres Ambuhl, I think it was.

So they’re suddenly tied against a team they appeared to have tamed. Switzerland played Canada much closer in that period, getting nine shots to the Canadians’ 10.

On the bright side, Parick Marleau is having what may be the best season of his career. Ironic, considering he was allegedly being shopped before the free-agent deadline last year. His goal came on a fat rebound. But some players tighten up and miss those chances. Not Patrick.

Heatley took a shot in the arm, and not the kind that keeps the swine flu away. It was point blast from Weber, but he stayed in the game, and took a good shot on his next shift.

As for Crosby, well what can you say, the Euros sitting with me were mighty impressed with his hand-eye, knocking that rebound out of the air and damn near in the net. If he wants to show he’s a big game player, now would seem like a good time to step up.

1st Period

A feverish tempo, and without some laser-quick saves by 37-year-old Martin Brodeur, it could well be a tie or worse. The Swiss can keep pace, and they getting nastier every tournament.

What they couldn’t handle was Canada’s size and strength down low. Hence the penalties.

Jonathan Toews deserves a lot of credit on Dany Heatley’s goal, for taking the hit, for digging out the puck when he was due for a line change. But who could maintain his cool through heavy traffic the way Heatley did? Tracking the puck and tapping it in? Love him or hate him, the guys’s got chops.

The key for Canada will be to keep pouring on that forecheck. The finished the period with 17 shots, and gave up a couple of great scoring chances in the eight they surrendered.

Shea Weber was the team workhorse in that period, logging 8:19 in ice time and registering two shots on goal. Didn’t much notice him? That’s because he’s a good defenceman.

Random thoughts:

-Crosby looks as determined as I’ve ever seen him.

-after a good first outing against Norway, Drew Doughty looked a tad nervous today

-Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley seem to communicate  telepathically. Give them space and they will score. No wonder San Jose is so damn good.

-Mark Streit, the Swiss captain, has gone from being a soft defenceman to a complete player and a true team leader

———-

February 18, 2006.

A day that will live in (Canadian) infamy.

That was the fateful afternoon Switzerland beat Canada 2-0 at the Olympics in Turin—the first time the Swiss had defeated a team wearing the maple leaf at the Winter Games. The first time they played, back in 1924, Canada won 33-0.

Suffice to say, the 2006 result was a soul-shredder for the rather lethargic team Canada sent to Italy. They lost to the Finns, squeaked past the Czechs, then lost 2-0 to the Russians in the quarterfinals and wound up 9th out of 14 teams.

Over and out.

Four years later to the day, in Vancouver, Canada has a chance to set things straight. Joe Thornton, the normally affable centre from St. Thomas, Ont., has heard enough about that Swiss win. He all but predicted a victory for Canada today.

But the Canadians had best not let their emotions get command of their senses. The Swiss have strange way of frustrating good teams in the neutral zone, and using a tactic akin to a football blitz to create offensive chances: essentially, they encourage defencemen to jump up on the play to briefly overwhelm opposing players, get the puck and make a play.

Swiss coach Ralph Krueger reasons that his smaller, less rugged players can’t hope to outmuscle North American players on North American-sized ice surfaces. His method worked fairly well when the Swiss played the Americans on Tuesday. They lost 3-1 and looked good in the third. They have a bona fide big-league goalie in Jonas Hiller.

This is a genuine test for Canada. No more Swiss cheese jokes.


 

Men’s hockey: Canada 3 Switzerland 2 (SO)

  1. troubling performance.
    This game could cost canada the gold medal because, if they finish 3rd overall (which I am guessing is what will happen – assuming they beat the americans) they will face a quality team in the quarterfinals. .

  2. Fact: Ruthemann has been playing for SC Berne (not Davos) for several years now.