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Shero: Canada ‘might be the greatest Olympic hockey team ever’

Feb 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

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After David Poile suffered a major eye injury that kept him from going to Sochi, Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero handled Team USA GM duties at the Winter Olympics.

What Shero saw, he says, is one of the greatest teams of all time.

“The credit has to go to Canada,” Shero explained, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That might be the greatest Olympic hockey team ever.”

The numbers have been mentioned several times, but bear repeating: Canada went a perfect 6-0-0 and never trailed at the tournament. It outscored opponents 17-3, out-shot opponents 241-129 and racked up 120 minutes of combined shutout hockey against the U.S. in the semifinals and Sweden in the final.

Historically speaking, this put Canada in a conversation with other powerhouses. In 1984, the Soviet Union went a perfect 8-0 en route to winning gold, outscoring opponents 58-6. In 1960, the Americans went 7-0 while outscoring opponents 48-17. Canada’s last gold medal-winning team in the non-NHL era, the 1952 club that won gold in Oslo, went 7-0-1 and outscored opponents 71-14.

But since NHL participation began at Nagano ’98, the Olympics haven’t seen this kind of domination in any way, shape or form.

Consider…

– In ’98, the Czechs won gold after losing to Russia in the opening round.

– In ’02, the Canadians lost to Sweden and tied the Czechs before getting hot and winning gold.

– In ’06, Sweden was bombed 5-0 by Russia, then was accused of “throwing” a 3-0 loss to Slovakia… before winning it all.

– In ’10, Canada lost to the U.S. and went to a shootout with Switzerland prior to capturing gold.

So it’s easy to see why Shero said what he said. Though, to be fair, he wasn’t willing to concede the Canadians were untouchable in Sochi, alluding to their tight 1-0 defeat of the U.S. in the semifinals.

“We had great group of guys,” he explained. “It’s not so much a negative about Americans, how we played.

“Canada scored one goal.”

  1. bucrightoff - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    And if not for Jonathan Quick, Canada would have scored 5 or 6. The Canada-US game was the most lopsided 1-0 game you’ll ever see. The US had maybe 3 or 4 legit scoring chances. Canada’s defense was just way too good, amazingly they let up more goals combined to Norway, Austria and Latvia (2) than they did Finland, the US and Sweden (1).

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Finland, USA and Sweden were the highest scoring teams at the Olympics too. 1 goal combined against Canada.

  2. 950003cups - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    That’s a long stretch. To say the best team ever? Lol

    How about if Team USA assembled a real team, instead of Bylsma’s favorites, this team would’ve won? Team USA was out coached and was an obviously slower team. Parise, Martin, and some others were still not 100% after injuries.

    Team USA was doomed from the start. Too much talent left on the table for guys who offered very little. Go back to when they selected the team. NOBODY was expecting this team to do well. So many snubs for less talented guys. Guys playing who were just getting over injuries.

    Compete waste of a four year wait.

    EPIC FAIL BY THE COMMITTEE

    • hockey412 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Bylsma didn’t pick the team. Nor did Shero. Perhaps you could enlighten us on who you think Burke, Poile and the others should have taken (if Bobby Ryan is one, then I agree…but other than that)?

      • 950003cups - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        You’re all a bunch of ass kissers. Also if you think Bylsma didn’t have a major say on who makes the team than you’re fooling yourself.
        Here’s the list of guys that should have been there:

        KEITH YANDLE
        JACK JOHNSON
        BOBBY RYAN
        KYLE OKPOSO
        BRANDON DUBINSKY
        JASON POMMINVILLE
        DUSTIN BYFUGLIN

        Why were all these semi injured players on the team?

        EPIC FAIL BY THE COMMITTEE.

      • c9castine - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        thanks jersey boy you got me laughing hard reading those names, trying to imagine them doing better against the canadians.

        good stuff.

      • 950003cups - Feb 26, 2014 at 6:50 AM

        Good comment, Pissburgh boy. What should one expect from a silly hick.

        Right cause they all are 4th liners. Tell me again how Paul Martin deserved a spot? Broken leg, and all. Oh right, cause Bylsma had no say in that. Do you even watch hockey? All the names I mentioned were all snubbed. All deserved to be on that team over many of the others. Hence the garbage performance we waited four years to see.

        EPIC FAIL BY THE COMMITTE.

    • imleftcoast - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      It may have been the deepest team ever. Stamkos is probably the best goal scorer, Giroux would have made the team if he weren’t a jerk over the summer. Eric Stahl should have been on the team. You could assemble a bronze medal team with the guys who didn’t make Team Canada. With that said, Kessel or Kane could have tied the game with Canada with one shot, and I still think the coaching wasn’t there to give them that opportunity.

      • PhillySN - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        That “jerk” didn’t attend because he was still recovering from a hand injury obtained in a golfing accident

      • flyerspsu - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        yeah i wouldnt say Giroux was a “jerk” for staying home to rehab instead of flying out to watch a ball hockey practice, im not sure why Canada was so ticked off about that

    • c9castine - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      david poile, brian burke, peter laviolette, stan bowman, dean lombardi, don waddell, dale talon, and the pens reps.

      and somehow you think ray shero and dan byslma picked this team. why?

      blind hatred for the Pens.

  3. Wineshard - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    1987 Canada Cup Team. Just look at that roster – Gretzky, Lemieux (need I say more) ? Messier, Hawerchuk, Coffey, Murphy, etc…..

    • stcrowe - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      I have to agree. The 1987 team probably had more Hall of Famers than any other Team Canada, except possibly the 1976 Canada Cup team. Gretzky, Messier, Coffey and Bourque were all 26 years old. Mario Lemieux was 21, before his body broke down.

      Having said that, the 2014 team played their defensive system so perfectly, they may have shut down the 1987 team. 1987 had bigger stars, but 2014 played like a well-oiled machine.

    • dueman - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Umm, the quote was “greatest OLYMPIC hockey team ever,” you do get that, right?

  4. themagicman1223 - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    The defense was amazing, just a great mix of great skating, amazing hockey sense and great defensive play. The chemistry was simply incredible, you also have the majority of forwards on that team who are amazing two way players. I have honestly never seen a team break out of the zone with such ease, it was art. It seemed like every player knew their position and role and played it to perfection. It was beautiful hockey to watch and I enjoyed every minute of it.

  5. joey4id - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Arguments can be made either way with respect to this Canadian team being the best team ever or not. It’s more difficult to make the argument that any other Canadian team executed as well as this year’s team did. Babcock had the boys playing the best hockey ever played by Canada. Execution was near flawless.

  6. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    As far as the Olympics go, I’d say yes… this is probably the best Olympic team Canada’s ever put together. There’s only three Gold medal teams too choose from since they’ve allowed NHLers, and this is the only team that never trailed once in a game. They allowed the fewest goals against of them all and did it away from home ice (No North American advantage like in Salt Lake City or Vancouver).

  7. greej1938l - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Best defensive team…..sure.

  8. Wineshard - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Yeah the 88 Olympic teams sucked, so I took license to include Canada Cup teams of that era.

  9. wildbillsrodeo - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    I’m an American and a Bruins fan. Hats off to Claude Julien and his lockdown defense being implemented at the Olympic level. I was screaming at the TV last Friday morning but kept telling reminding myself I was watching a beefed up Bruins roster complete will All-League forwards. As much as questions need to be pinned on Bielsma, our players and our Olympic management team, way more credit to the Canadians for looking so staunch and tough as a unit. Team USA has four more years now to wait and figure it out…

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