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Despite demotion, Babcock said Kunitz ‘did real good where he was’

Feb 17, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT

Chris Kunitz AP

There’s been plenty of discussion about Chris Kunitz‘s role on Team Canada. After all, he was seemingly picked to team up with captain Sidney Crosby and their chemistry was to pay off against the world.

That hasn’t happened as of yet and in Canada’s 2-1 overtime win against Finland, Kunitz was moved to the fourth line and could be in line to be scratched in the quarterfinals. Despite all of that, coach Mike Babcock was OK with Kunitz as Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review shares.

“I think Kunitz did real good where he was,” Canada coach Mike Babcock said, referring to the first two games. “But to me, this wasn’t about Kunitz. It was about our overall team and just trying to find things that work.”

So far what’s been working for Canada is the goaltending as well as Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty. The rest of the superstar talent on the Canadian roster is waiting to break out, including Crosby, and that’s become a point of contention for fans.

Canada will face either Switzerland or Latvia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

  1. hockeyflow33 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    I don’t think too many people are surprised

  2. smarshall3789 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Exactly why he should of never been selected I mean so many other better players

    • enollatsknarf - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      I can’t believe you have 15 thumbs down, must be a lot of pens fans. Kunitz is a good hockey player but not anywhere near Canadian olympic caliber.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        How many of the players on the Canadian team are of “olympic caliber” and still not doing great so far, though. Half the team needs to step it up, outside of Carter (who really only had one and a half good games) and Doughty.

  3. barkar942 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    Babcock tried to pick Malkin to play with Cindy, but the Olympic committee said “Nyet. He must come play poorly on his own for the motherland!

  4. broadstreetbeatdown - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    Babcock can try to mask Stevie Y’s horrendous decision on selecting Kunitz to the roster. Facts are facts he leads team Canada in turnovers and has played sloppy on the big ice. They may as well scratch him and put Subban on the wing at this point. As someone rooting for team USA, I vote for keeping the train wreck in the lineup.

  5. rainyday56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    He ‘s going to be in on the golden goal. Either he scores it, or he sets it up. There is a reason for everything. God does not play craps when it comes to Team Canada. 😉

    • laxman1944 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      Uh……ok…….yeah………Go Team Crosby… Canada….sorry

  6. icelovinbrotha215 - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    I would love to hear from those peps who were defending Team Canada and its selection of Kunitz. It’s a good thing that Canada’s depth is the best in the tourney.

    • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Their argument was his points total, which is now lower than Giroux. They also argued that he could play well without Crosby, then they found out that last season Kunitz had 20 goals in 36 games with Crosby and 2 goals in 12 games without Crosby. Then they just yelled non-sensically for a while.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Their argument was chemistry with Crosby and with the team in general, not points total. Giroux not only has no chemistry with Crosby, he chooses to have it with NO ONE. The dude’s all about himself…not a fit for a tournament about country. Everyone knew it. He wasn’t even runner-up. Hall should have made it before Giroux.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Wow, that’s not a Penguins fan making a completely stupid statement. Yzerman’s argument was that he deserved it on his own. Go back through the comments from the linked article about Kunitz and you’ll see it was all about points total and how Kunitz had 4 more than Giroux last season, and a few more this season (at the time) while not factoring in Giroux’s injury. Further, Voracek and Giroux seem to have great chemistry, and I believe it was Penguins great Jaromir Jagr who didn’t re-sign with Philly because they wouldn’t promise him a spot as Giroux’s winger. But continue spouting worthless statements with no facts or statistics to back them up.

    • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      I’m one of those…and I still defend it. He’s on an undefeated team, and half of the team isn’t doing great…NOT just Kunitz. But I really don’t think he’s playing poorly, it’s just not translating to numbers. I think that is what Babcock is saying when he says he played well. But I’m sure someone who opposed the idea (like a Flyers fan) would interpret it differently.

  7. eagles512 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Yeah I think he’d scratch him except he doesn’t want to make the poor selection even more obvious.

  8. maalea - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I agree with rainyday. He sets up the gold medal winning goal.

    A turnover to Eric Karlsson.

  9. narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Can’t score without Crosby. Can’t kill penalties. High +/- in the NHL because he never is on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff and always draws the opponents checking line because of Crosby. What a great choice by Stevie Y! He really deserved this spot regardless of Crosby like Yzerman said!

    • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Kunitz can kill penalties. And he’s also got strong wrists for digging the puck out of the corners, which Giroux doesn’t, and which Giroux would never be caught dead doing.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Kunitz: 10 seconds per game of penalty kill, which essentially means he’s out there for a faceoff at the end of the penalty so they have the Crosby line out there for the first shift of 5-on-5 hockey. Giroux averages 1:06 TOI on the penalty kill. Saying Giroux doesn’t go into the corners is pretty ridiculous, as he was a winger to start his career, and still does it as a center.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        and he’s not the strongest or bravest guy on the ice, despite what Flyers fans say about one shift, in one game, in one season. Kunitz is very good at killing penalties – but it’s not his role on the team. That’s not where he’s most effective. That’s not where the coach wants him to be….guys like Adams, Glass, Sutter…etc…they aren’t too good on the Power Play, but are very good at killing penalties – that’s why they were signed, and that’s were they are used, for gad’s sake…and that’s why Pittsburgh’s PK is in the top 2 in the league. Playing on the penalty kill does NOT make you a superstar or martyr. Plus, let’s not forget that Giroux Captains probably the most undisciplined and highly penalized groups in the league, and if they don’t put someone that can possibly score on the ice, they might not get the chance later in the game. When you are always on the PK, you might need to put someone who can score out there.

      • laxman1944 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Ignorance is bliss huh??

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Oh. I’ve so missed your input. It’s always so intelligent. Please. Oh. Please. Elaborate.

        That’s as excited as I can possibly sound to hear from you.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Wow… Flyers are 7th in penalty kill with a terrible core of defensemen, so I’m guessing Giroux contributes quite a bit to that high ranking. Also, if Kunitz doesn’t kill penalties, how do you know he’s so good at it? Oh wait, you don’t? You’re just making random statements without any ability to back them up? Please continue doing so.

        By the way, Giroux has more points than Kunitz this year despite playing injured the first 15 games, he can play center and wing, plays defense, kills penalties, has the second most points since the last Olympics, is more than a point per game player the last three seasons, and is pretty great in the clutch as he has the 3rd highest ppg in the playoffs among active players, and the most third period points this season.

        You’re move, Hoss.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        He’s also a hot-and-cold nutcase that got himself thrown out of the playoffs when his team desperately needed him, in the one year that they had the chance to go to the finals. And for what? A temper tantrum because Marty may or may not have been out of the crease???! This is what you call “great in the clutch”? This is a player of international competition-caliber? Nah. Skipped orientation, missed his chance to show he gives a damn on that one (because he doesn’t). He’s a freaking virus. He’s probably somewhere stomping on babies right now.

        I’m being over the top of course, but not everyone is all upset about Giroux being left off the roster. Getting the dude to shoot the puck is also a challenge…who is going to be on his line in Sochi?

        Also – Kunitz has killed penalties, just doesn’t do it as a general rule. It’s not a random statement – though your rant was amusing.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Sorry… your* not you’re … autocorrect is a pain.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        You do know that the Flyers made it to the finals 2 years earlier? He skipped orientation because he was injured– how dare he!?!? He’s also a much better player than Kunitz based on every stat except +/- and that is because Giroux actually plays against other teams’ top line instead of facing only checking lines. And yes, being 3rd in the NHL in points per game in the playoffs makes him clutch.

        You certainly didn’t refute anything I said, but instead only made a comment that he was suspended for a game in 2012. That’s solid arguing you’ve done.

      • hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        And two years earlier you are saying that it was the same team as they have now? With Richards/Carter/Pronger? You’re comparing that to two years ago? I am not getting that. He was “rehabbing” his wrists, and they weren’t even playing hockey over there. It was a big deal to skip it – and stupid. Kunitz also faces the other teams top, moron, only an idiot of a coach would put a checking line out against Crosby’s line. Giroux has a horrible shooting percentage, meaning he passes most because he doesn’t know how to hit the corners without luck. How did being 3rd in the NHL in playoff points per game help his team last year? Oh yeah….his team wasn’t in the playoffs. Also had a HORRIBLE start to this year (playing injured my as*)…no choice but to not take him. This is a lot of fun

  10. eagles512 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    Hockey412, you can have a legit argument but when you just make stuff up like Giroux is all about himself, you lose all credibility. His teammates love him and he seems like a team guy.

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