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Lots of chances, not many goals — the story of Team Canada’s Olympics

Feb 19, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

SOCHI, Russia — You know the routine by now. The defending gold medalists from Canada rack up a pile of shots against an inferior defensive-minded opponent, struggle to actually put any of those shots in the net, win by a narrower-than-expected margin, come off the ice and say they never sweated the outcome.

Meanwhile, their fans back home pour another drink or eleven.

“We knew that coming into this tournament we were going to face adversity, and it’s not the only adversity we’re going to face throughout this tournament,” said defenseman Duncan Keith, as if it was totally predictable that Canada would need a late Shea Weber goal to edge Latvia — yes, LATVIA — by the score of 2-1 in its quarterfinal match at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

“At the end of the day, we had a lot of chances.”

Just not many goals. Like against Norway. And Finland.

At least Sidney Crosby — still without a goal after four games — admitted tonight’s game was “tough.”

Of course, by that, he meant not scoring on more of those chances. As in, it was exasperating. He wasn’t referring to the competition.

“I mean, we were all over them,” he said. “To get that many shots and that many good quality chances, it was tough to not see it go in.”

And just like after the Finland game, he stressed that sticking to the plan was the only path to success.

“We have a ton of guys who can score,” he said. “We were getting to the tough areas. We were getting to the front of the net.”

The pucks just weren’t going in.

Again.

“Anything they could block, they did.” said Crosby of the Latvians, who were in position to pull off one of the great upsets in Olympic history. “They got here for a reason, because of the way they play as a team. They did a heck of a job.”

Next up for the Canadians? Their old friends from 2010, the Americans, who took care of the Czech Republic, 5-2, to advance to the semifinals.

“Everyone knows the history of the two teams in Vancouver,” said Crosby. “They’ll be motivated, and we need to make sure that we’re improving as we go on here. And I think we have done that throughout the tournament, and we’ve got to continue to do that next game.”

Canadian goalie Carey Price — who only faced 16 Latvian shots — knows he should be busier Friday. The United States isn’t some “inferior defensive-minded opponent,” that’s for sure.

“They got a lot of talent on that team, no question,” said Price. “We’re just going to have to stick to what we do best – play solid defensively.”

Capitalizing on a few more of those chances wouldn’t hurt either.

Related: Gudlevskis had ‘one of the best goaltending performances I’ve ever seen,’ says Price

  1. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Canada played well, but Gudlevskis was incredible. Might have been 3-1 too if that dman didn’t pull the puck out of the net just in time.

    And for all the lack of scoring by Team Canada, at least they’re making up for it with the stingiest defense in the tourny so far. Only 3 goals against in their 4 games.

    USA is the top offense so far, so the semi final game should be epic! Best offense vs Best defense.

    • kaptaanamerica - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:06 PM

      the US will smoke Canada if Crosby’s line gets more ice than Getzlaf’s line…

      • hammerhead5573 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        Hey Kaptainamerica, is it possible you can think at least once prior to posting a comment? The last I heard Canada had 57 shots on goal. Many nights that not only wins a game, it is a total destruction. One player does not need to dominate a series in order for the team to win.

    • blomfeld - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      SORRY FELLOW CANADIANS … I SAY THE USA WINS AND QUICK SHINES !!! :)

  2. jacketsfan7 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Told you there wouldn’t be a blowout

    • kaptaanamerica - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      All the ******* Canadians who were going on about how this would be lopsided and the Latvians had no chance etc…. can ***********… The Latvians had a couple of chances and if not for a late PP goal, might have forced it to overtime or won on a lucky break. The goalchie played great and made it possible that this could have been a huge upset.

      The Latvians showed the world that good coaching, systems, and goaltending can give you a chance to win.

      As i said before Getzlaf’s line deserves more icetime than Crosby’s line and Crosby himself. Only the lines that are playing well should be getting the majority of ice. Giving a guy time cuz of reputation is a joke which if it happens against the US will result in Canada going home like losers.

      • bucrightoff - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Dude I think you need to calm down and get laid a bit more. Copying and pasting this into every article is a bit much and makes you look angry and a touch crazy.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Totally agree about Getzlaf and Crosby lines ice times… but whining about Canadians rooting for Canada make you look like a massive idiot.

        Americans were doing the same thing before all their games. Russia actually beat you guys. If it wasn’t for Quick knocking his own net off to have a goal called back the US wouldn’t be were they are now.

      • cambannedloinstache - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        Most Americans are keeping it classy, how about following their lead and quit embarrassing yourself

      • missthemexpos - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Totally agree about getting laid a bit more.

      • elrock7 - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        Kaptaan, you sound like a guy who cant get a date. Chill out and watch the game instead of ranting like an idiot.

        Maybe if you behave, your dad will give you some hooker money.

  3. nobandwagoners - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    USA vs. Canada will be a monster game. If anything, with the way that the US has been playing and Canada struggling to hit its stride in all facets of the game, I’d expect that the US come into the game as the odds’ makers favourite?

    In any event, here’s one person on the West Coast who will be missing work in the morning to stay home and watch the game.

  4. theageofquarrel - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Man, Crosby is a waste of human flesh, he should never been on the roster to begin with.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      ” … is a waste of human flesh”

      I’m not a Penguins fan; but, at least I’m smart enough to recognize that Sid is the best player on the planet. Best all-around player.

      He and half (more than half) of the Canadian forwards aren’t scoring. Neither did Ovechkin, the top goal-scorer in the NHL.

      • Hockeyfan - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        Crosby doesn’t have to be the top scorer or even assist leader to be the most effective player on the ice.

        With the larger ice and the fewer stoppages of play, seems better to run four lines evenly.
        Hard to believe Getzlaf line out there more often would be any more effective.

  5. sippindasyzurp - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    If Pavelec was playing for Latvia today they would have given up 3 or 4 in the first period at least.. Let’s just say the USA has played some pretty shaky goaltending besides Bobrovsky in this tourney. Canada has at least played Tukka Rask and this Gudlevskis fellow who seemed to catch lightning in a bottle for one game.

    Hit the reset button now cause the results of today’s games mean nothing.. It is USA vs Canada and it is sure to be beauty.. I just hope there is no shootout to decide any of the remaining games. That would be an absolute joke.

  6. jbeagles23 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Americans and classy? They don’t go together and can’t stand their not the best at something.

    • macgrubie - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      what?

    • yetidad - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Dear jdog23:

      Really? That same statement could be applied to the national attitude of Canada about their alleged birthright as the Kings and Queens of hockey. And I am a Canadian and I find it offensive. Are you actually 14 years old and skipping school today?

    • joey4id - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      I haven’t seen a game and I have no idea what the offensive lines have been. If Babcock has not been playing Kunitz with Crosby, Toews with Sharp, and Getzlaf with Perry, then it’s on him if they don’t score more goals. If they’ve been playing together and not scoring then it’s on the players. Crosby has got to put the puck in the net. Ultimately he is the leader and he has to step up his game. I don’t give a hoot about how many shots they get on net or how many the opposing blocked. The bottom line is Crosby is not scoring, and nor is TC. Crosby’s job is to lead the team to victory. Anything but gold is a failure. No bloody excuses. Get it done!

  7. paperkid96 - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    What does this say about Babcock? I am Babcock and Redwings fan. This story line reads the same as almost every Redwing summary. Lot’s of shots but few goals. WIth the Redwings you could look at the talent and assume that the problem was there, but now you have a team with the best talent in the olympics and they have the same issue.

    I didnt see the game so i can t say for sure but knowing how he coaches it makes me wonder if his system has run out of gas.

  8. jbeagles23 - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Actually they are the kings and queens of hockey. Any Canadian knows that so don’t pretend you’re Canadian to make a point. You’re a Yankee

    • laxman1944 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      ………………………….U……….S……….A……….

      ………..U………S……….A………

      ..U……….S……….A………

      There is a heck of a battle coming

      Keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times

  9. csilojohnson - Feb 19, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    I cant imagine what would happen if they lost a game. Never have i seen or heard so much crying over an undefeated team.
    Hopefully we find out Friday.
    GO USA!

  10. rico33rd - Feb 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Can’t wait, finally an entertaining brand of hockey. It’s just too bad it’s not the gold medal game. If Canada don’t win I hope it’s the US. We play the same way and finally everyone can see the NHL knows what it is doing by not playing on that ice surface.

  11. bmoreredfury311 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A!!!

  12. dangeruss3 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Canada has played Norway, Austria, Finland and Latvia …in other words they haven’t played anyone other than Finland. That’s why they have a “stingy” defense. Russia and the Czech Republic are better than most opponents Canada has faced. They struggled against the Fins, who were missing key players.

  13. stateofthesport - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Funny how all these American’s mock us, well they probably wont print this, but im sure our Canadian hockey team’s bring more money into the NHL then anyone of your team’s,,you look at the top scorer’s in the NHL and more than 65% are Canadian,the game will tell the tale on that ice, but we have amazing player’s in this awesome sport,, and of course being NBC we all know your biased,, that’s why you wont print this comment,, lol American’s know nothing about freedom of speech. ;-)

    • slickvb82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:58 AM

      shut up and quit your b*tchin

      USA!!!

    • avscup - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Sure kid, Canada brings more $$ into the NHL. Winnipeg, Edmonchuk and Calgary are killing it. Bwahahaha! Thanks for giving us your Quebec fortune!

    • lordstanley65 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      That’s funny, since the only real mockery came from your idiot friend Jdog up there.Everyone else over 12 years oldhas been looking forward to this as a true medal matchup. Can’t wait for this one myself. Grow up.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      I am Canadian, but that is such a dumb comment.

      “im sure our Canadian hockey team’s bring more money into the NHL then anyone of your team’s”

      Yeah… I guarantee you all 7 Canadian hockey markets combined make more money than any 1 US market…. Just like any 7 US hockey markets make more money than any 1 Canadian market.

      As for the “NBC bias”… what do you expect? American fans are going to cheer for their american teams. That’s how sports work. If you don’t like it you can always go to TSN where the exact same bias works, but in Canada favour.

  14. yetidad - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Dear jdog23:

    You’re wrong on all accounts. Both hockey wise and re my lineage. North Kildonan bred and UBC educated. It should be a good two games. But cut the over confident crap. The American squads both should send moments of diarheaic pause to the Canadian teams. Hold your breath and pray.

  15. slickvb82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    @stateofthesport shut the F up, quit your b@*tchin

    USA!!!

  16. stateofthesport - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    Halfway through your game with russia 12 shot’s on net, Canada half way through there game 35 shots on net your in for a shocker big mouth,,tell me to shut up,,atleast my freedoms are still protected in my country loser..

    • thegronk87 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      Russia is a much better team than Latvia lol.

    • avscup - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Go back to watching curling you moron. 35 shots against Latvia with 1, ONE NHL PLAYER? Ooooo!

    • lordstanley65 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      You, sir, are wrong.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      You keep mentioning “freedom of speech” but I don’t think you have a clue what it’s about.

      You are free to say what you want. Just like people are free to say what they want about what you say. People disagreeing with your idiotic arguments is not hindering your freedom to spew your nonsense.

      “least my freedoms are still protected in my country loser”
      Have… you met Quebec?

  17. stateofthesport - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Quebec yes met them,, and am still wondering when they will separate so we don’t have to keep sending them money,, but they sure do supply a lot of stripper’s to the rest of ontario lol,,freedom of speech sure i can practice that one door knob your an inbreed Quebecer :-)

  18. stateofthesport - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Any seven Canadian market’s make more than one American market this guy has the I,Q, of room temperature…

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