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2330 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  09:42:11  Show Profile
This is my first freelance article on…enjoy!

Gold - Canada: Probably the most unpredictable and debated Olympic roster of any nation, Canada stuck to a specific game plan. They wanted three strong scoring lines to provide a clear offensive edge, while sporting an enforcing fourth line that could come up with the big hits when they needed to get the adrenaline pumping. Although in practice on Feb.13, it seems Head Coach Pat Quinn mixed everything around. He left Doan to be the 13th forward, while splitting up Draper and Smyth and using them as diggers on the scoring lines. This makes things interesting and more appealing to me because now Canada has four balanced scoring lines which will make it virtually impossible for other nations’ defense to stop. Canada’s defensemen and goalies will not make for any surprises, they will just flat out deliver as they are a strong group of consistent players. The oldies (namely Blake, Foote and Pronger) will most likely play a more defensive style of hockey as to allow the youngsters (McCabe, Regehr and Redden) to pitch in more on the offensive side. One interesting concern though about McCabe is how he will adapt to not playing 25-30 minute games. As for the goalies: Luongo might play any two of Italy, Germany and Switzerland, but look for Brodeur to play the rest and for Turco to sit out. I would love to see Turco play at least once though, maybe against Italy or Germany to get some Olympic experience in him as he seriously deserves it. Despite my patriotically biased opinion, I seriously think they will be too strong for teams to handle.

Silver - Czech Republic: The New York Rangers could have easily just changed their name to Czech Republic and no one would have noticed the difference. As a stretch, their jerseys are even the same colours. Jagr, Straka, Rucinsky, Malik and Prucha (later replaced by Elias due to injury) all made it from the Big Apple. This team arguably has two of the best goalies in the world in Hasek and Vokoun. There’s no question (I hope) that these are Hasek’s final Olympics and so Vokoun will need to keep his eyes and ears open at this tournament because he is the Czech goalie for the future. Regardless who plays, only Russia’s and Canada’s offences will be able to outplay these Russian goalie supermen. Their jobs will be made much easier as the Czechs have a mostly defensive D squad. Needless to say their offence will be firing on all cylinders. Jagr, Elias, Hejduk, Hemsky, Straka, Lang and Prospal to name a few…teams better not let these gold-medalists from Nagano have too many PP’s!

Bronze - Russia: The Russians will probably have the highest-scoring top line in the whole tournament. These stars will most likely be spread out, but with Ovechkin (my pick for top goal scorer in the tourney), Kovalchuk and Datsyuk the Russians will create a dynamic “Wow Factor” that will make for very exciting hockey. They will also have scoring from guys like Frolov, Malkin and Kovalev, but on a much lower scale. The big problem the Russians usually have is their lack of defense and we all know defense wins games (even in IIHF hockey). Nabokov who is stellar and underrated (as the whole Shark team is, but that’s for later) will be left to fend for himself, and that simply won’t cut it for Russia. They will have to win big to win at all.

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1755 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  11:01:28  Show Profile
Gold - Canada
Silver - Russia (out on a limb, I know)
Bronze - Czech
4th - USA
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PickupHockey Pro

365 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2006 :  21:11:08  Show Profile
ummmmmmm....maybe russia will win tomorrow and you'll get one right Fizzle.

Good try on the first article. LOL!
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PickupHockey Veteran

2417 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2006 :  11:20:18  Show Profile
LOL, yeah I know how great...

Oh well, I take comfort in the fact that 99% of other foreseers were wrong too!
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