The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

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The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby gaijin » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:10 pm

Sweet. Let's Go Blues, I mean, USA!

From ESPN by Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun:
Team USA the underdog on Sunday

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Compare rosters, experience and the overwhelming home-ice advantage and there aren't many areas you can point to heading into Sunday's Canada-USA game that favor the Americans. But that's not to suggest the U.S. has no chance. Here are five keys to an American upset -- and five reasons why Canada has the upper hand.

Keys to a Team USA win:
The boys down the middle
OK, on one hand, the Canadians will roll out centers Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton and either Jonathan Toews, Mike Richards or Patrice Bergeron. The Americans? Well, let's just say the Americans figured to be thin down the middle, and there's a ton of pressure on their top two centers, Joe Pavelski and Paul Stastny, to deliver big games Sunday. Pavelski, playing with Ryan Malone and Phil Kessel, has already enjoyed a nice start to this tournament and his line has provided much-needed scoring depth. Stastny's top unit has been slow off the mark, and in fact, head coach Ron Wilson will likely drop Patrick Kane from that unit and bring captain Jamie Langenbrunner up to play with Stastny and Zach Parise. Through the first two games, Stastny has zero points. It figures the Americans will need production from both of those lines if they're to come away with a win.

Special special teams
The American power play has gone 2-for-8, and looked good against Switzerland and not so much against Norway. Power-play opportunities are something the Americans cannot squander against Canada. On the other side of the coin, the Canadian power play has also been slow to get into a groove, going just 3-for-13, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if the Americans get into penalty trouble, it is a recipe for disaster. The Americans have been impressively disciplined thus far, taking just four minors through the first two games, and if they can continue that trend while employing a physical forecheck -- a fine line to tread to be sure -- their chances of winning improve dramatically.

Opening night jitters
Having witnessed the incredible atmosphere for Canada's first two games against Norway and Switzerland, we have trouble imagining what it will be like inside Canada Hockey House when the puck drops on this one. Start with deafening and go from there. Those opening moments of Sunday's game, then, figure to be crucial and it is imperative for the Americans to maintain their composure. They will have to resist the urge to run around, to be too physical and take early penalties -- in short, to be overwhelmed. It is our contention that if the Americans can stay within a goal through the first period, this is a game that could go either way. If the Canadians jump all over them early, well, it could be a long, long afternoon for the Yanks.
Miller time

For weeks we've been saying that if Ryan Miller plays as he has all season for the Buffalo Sabres then the Americans are a medal contender. This will be Miller's first real chance to prove himself. Miller's poise and calm demeanor will be crucial for the Americans, especially if the Canadians get an early goal. The youthful Americans will take their cues from Miller. If he shows no panic, even if the Canadians get up early, the Americans will be OK.

The banger boys
Almost from the moment Brian Burke became GM of the U.S. squad, he has talked about the sand and grit he felt was important to competing in this tournament. When the Americans have been at their best through the first two games, it's been when the so-called fourth line, really a four-man unit that includes David Backes, Bobby Ryan, Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan, have been playing on a straight line, crashing and banging and creating offensive opportunities. They must continue to do so against a Canadian blue line that looked out of sync for long periods of time against Switzerland on Thursday. Ryan Malone (2 goals, 1 assist) has been a presence in front of opposing goals and he, too, must continue to use his large frame in front of Martin Brodeur to create scoring chances and draw penalties.

Keys to a Team Canada win:

Dominance down the middle
Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton and Mike Richards/Jonathan Toews vs. Paul Stastny, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Kesler and David Backes/Chris Drury? Puh-lease. Team Canada dwarfs the U.S. both in terms of talent, size and physical strength at the center position and that looms large for Sunday's game. Overall, 15 of Canada's 23 players are 6-foot-2 or taller, while the U.S. has eight. Canada has only three players under 6-foot while the Americans have eight.

Championship experience
Team Canada has more players who have won the big, big games, and Sunday is definitely a big, big game. Canada doubles Team USA's output in Stanley Cup rings, 14 to 7. The Americans have rings from Brian Rafalski (3), Jamie Langenbrunner (2), Drury (1) and Brooks Orpik (1), while Canada counters with Scott Niedermayer (4), Martin Brodeur (3), Chris Pronger (1), Eric Staal (1), Dan Boyle (1), Corey Perry (1), Getzlaf (1), Crosby (1) and Marc-Andre Fleury. And of course, there are 2002 Olympic gold medals hanging in the basements of Pronger, Niedermayer, Brodeur and Jarome Iginla, and none in the Team USA dressing room.

Leadership and character
Team Canada oozes leadership, as is underlined by the nine NHL captains on its roster: Crosby, Rick Nash, Niedermayer, Eric Staal, Mike Richards, Toews, Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Roberto Luongo. And that's not even counting one of their biggest leaders in Brodeur. Team USA responds with three NHL captains: Drury, Langenbrunner and Dustin Brown. More than anything, this once again stresses just how young the Americans are.

Offensive talent
Team Canada counts eight players among the top 25 NHL scoring leaders: Crosby, Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Iginla; Team USA has only two in Patrick Kane and Zach Parise. Goals will simply be harder to come by for the Americans.

Home-ice advantage
Ever hear what 35 million people screaming at once sounded like? You'll find out Sunday. Little brother Canada takes a back seat to big brother USA in everything except for one thing: hockey. You're in Canada's barn Sunday, Team USA, so better bring your earplugs … and your ice packs.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby philco_3 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:29 pm

I'm looking at Backes to ge the point streak going.

USA - 6
CAN('T) - 3

Go USA, f-ck those Canunks.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby sseagle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:12 pm

I'm getting more upset as the day goes on about this game.
Right now (1411) Russia-Czech Republic is on NBC, tonight (in lovely standard def) the US plays Canada for the top record in the group... on msnbc? WTF??
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby fargoblues » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:44 pm

sseagle wrote:I'm getting more upset as the day goes on about this game.
Right now (1411) Russia-Czech Republic is on NBC, tonight (in lovely standard def) the US plays Canada for the top record in the group... on msnbc? WTF??


This. Even the f-ing Ice Dancing is in Hi-Def. Do they even have Hi-Def TVs in Detroit (where I assume the most people will be watching)?
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby WaukeeBlues » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:09 pm

Just please keep it close USA.

"there's no disgrace in losing to this team."

USA 2
Canada 5
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby philco_3 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:14 pm

fargoblues wrote:
sseagle wrote:I'm getting more upset as the day goes on about this game.
Right now (1411) Russia-Czech Republic is on NBC, tonight (in lovely standard def) the US plays Canada for the top record in the group... on msnbc? WTF??


This. Even the f-ing Ice Dancing is in Hi-Def. Do they even have Hi-Def TVs in Detroit (where I assume the most people will be watching)?


I've been saying that all of the Olympics...why in the hell is that crap being shown on NBC when hockey and to a lesser extent curling is on MSNBC? Don't you want to show the rating getters?
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby sseagle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:13 pm

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_d ... nhl,219149

NBC explains its ice-dancing-over-U.S./Canada-hockey decision

By Greg Wyshynski
VANCOUVER – From horse-racing conflicts to shuttering the big screen at Mellon Arena, NBC has given hockey fans as much anxiety and anger as watching Jay Leno sit in Conan's chair.

The latest affront to puckheads: The U.S. vs. Canada men's preliminary-round showdown Feb. 21 won't be shown on NBC, but on cable's MSNBC at 7 p.m. EST. Instead, the Peacock will bring fans an exhilarating night of ice dancing, women's speedskating, men's freestyle skiing and men's giant slalom – rather than what amounts to an NHL all-star game on an international stage.

To the surprise of no one, NBC's getting torched for this: Outspoken player agent Allan Walsh tweeted that it was "disgraceful, and Chicago Now called it inexcusable:

How can the NHL cancel their all star game and postpone their season for two weeks to accommodate the Olympics without getting any major network attention during the Winter Olympiad?

This is just another case of why the NHL will never be as popular as its fan base either believes it is or wants it to be. When the pinnacle of the sport calls on the best of the best of your league, you have to get these games on national television. The worst part of the whole deal is the league (NHL) has the contract with the television network already and still cannot get the best hockey competition in the world on the tube.

The notion that the NHL would shutter its season for the Games and that its broadcast rights holder wouldn't then put the NHL-centric U.S. vs. Canada on its primary network is baffling.

So we reached out to NBC for comment and context, and found out who gets the blame for this malarkey: American women.

According to the network, there are three major sporting events that have more female viewers than male viewers: the Kentucky Derby, the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. Turning three hours of prime-time coverage on the East Coast over to a hockey game isn't exactly catnip to those casual female viewers, despite Sidney Crosby's(notes) pouty lips.

Ice dancing, like figure skating, is a demographic draw; it's the hook for a night of coverage that appeals to a broader audience than hockey does. But it's not the only reason USA/Canada was shifted to the home of Keith Olbermann's foaming mouth.

In essence, committing to a hockey game is committing to a three-hour programming block that can't be interrupted. Imagine the outrage if NBC cut away during the second period of USA/Canada because someone was taking a historic bobsled run. Ice dancing allows for drop-ins at other events, which is another reason NBC believes it's the best option in East Coast prime time.

Now, aside from the indignation of having hockey shuffled off to cable, there's been some concern from hockey fans about the quality of that coverage: namely, that MSNBC may not have the HD hockey coverage that NBC would have had.

MSNBC's HD station was rolled out last summer, and one of the last major holdouts finally came around this week: Verizon FiOS, which added the network to its digital HD tier. Chances are the U.S./Canada tilt will be in HD in your area, if you have digital cable or satellite with an HD package.

NBC told us with pride that it's offering an enormous amount of hockey on its networks; a full schedule of games is here, and the majority of them are on cable – although the Russia/Czech game scheduled before Canada/USA will be on NBC that afternoon on the East Coast.

The bronze-medal game for men's hockey is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 27, on MSNBC, with the gold-medal game on NBC the following day. (Keep in mind NBC told us there is some flexibility in moving games from network to network if there's a reason to – such as, perhaps, Team USA playing for the bronze.)

If you're interested in watching games on the Web, NBC is streaming hockey while dropping the hammer on sites that stream live TV.

So there's the NBC side of the story, which we felt was important to bring you. It's not as if they aren't showing the game at all, or as if it's been sent off to an obscure corner of the cable box. They have their reasons for the decision, and we, as hockey fans, have our reasons for disagreeing with their decision.

It's hard to embrace NBC as a friend to puckheads when the biggest hockey event of the season (at least until the medal round) isn't deemed important enough for prime time.

From a demographic, sponsorship and ratings perspective, NBC has every reason not to put the game on its broadcast network. But in the context of other culture clashes with hockey fans, NBC's decision damages its relationship with that audience.

Do you go to NBCSports.com for hockey coverage? Because they're really increasing it soon in a bloggy sort of way. Yet when the parent company doesn't promote the game in a moment like this, it's hard to separate that from other, more positive endeavors to cover the hockey for fans who feel insulted.

But the Winter Classic is lovely every year. On that, we can agree.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby keithp40 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:18 pm

America will win because Americans kicks ass. We freed the world from tyranny, oppression, communism, nazism, fascism, and terrorism.

God Bless America = 7
National Security moochers from up north = 5
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby abc789987 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:57 pm

Almost game time! I've been looking forward to this game. I'm hoping USA can surprise some people tonight.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby dmiles2186 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:12 pm

Hoping for a good showing from the Blues guys. Let's silence these Canadian fans early.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby sseagle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:17 pm

You know, I wish Brewer was on the Canadian team. Then EJ or Backes could accidentally injure him for the rest of the season..
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby sseagle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:46 pm

(Frank) YOU CANADA 1-0!

Flashchat is open btw...
Last edited by sseagle on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby abc789987 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:46 pm

USA! USA! Up 1-0 41 seconds in!!!1!!!
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby dmiles2186 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:49 pm

Like I said, shut 'em up early!
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby abc789987 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:02 pm

WOOOOO!!! Way to respond after they tied it up!
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby dmiles2186 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:15 pm

Rafalski is playing out of his gourd. Oh and LER MIL LER MIL LER MIL!
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby dmiles2186 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:21 pm

Lead after 1, even though we're getting outshot like crazy. Miller is the man. GIT 'IM LEEEEEEERY!
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby dmiles2186 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:55 pm

Good representation in teh flashchatz tonight. You loserz should join us.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby the knob » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:16 pm

dmiles2186 wrote:Good representation in teh flashchatz tonight. You loserz should join us.


Flashchat is for Canadians.
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Re: The Big GDT: USA - Canada, 21 Feb 2010, 6:45 PM

Postby sseagle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:18 pm

the knob wrote:
dmiles2186 wrote:Good representation in teh flashchatz tonight. You loserz should join us.


Flashchat is for Canadians.


Says some Knob
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