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McKenzie: A significant loss in more ways than one

2/21/2010 11:37:32 PM
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With a loss to the United States on Sunday, Canada will face Germany in a qualification game on Tuesday.

And if Canada were to win that game, they'll get a quarterfinal game with the Russians. So obviously, the loss is a significant one.

Where the bigger picture is concerned, U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller outplayed his counterpart Martin Brodeur and the Americans played what I would call a tremendous road game.

Also, the Canadian power play was misfiring during the game. Granted, Sidney Crosby got his first goal of the tournament with the man advantage in the late stages, but the power play was stagnant the rest of the night. There wasn't good puck movement and the players weren't moving their feet very well.

But it all comes back to Miller, who was pretty special on this night.

There was a strategic question that could be asked - whether or not head coach Mike Babcock should have called a timeout during the last faceoff outside the American zone.

Well, I don't mind saying now that I would have, but while it was happening, the Canadians were having a very good shift. They had Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty with sustained pressure in the U.S. end for a long time and they were exhausted.

Canada has a lot of weapons and I'm sure Babcock was thinking he wanted to save the timeout for an offensive zone faceoff. But it was off that faceoff that they had the San Jose Sharks' line on and the shift eventually led to the empty net-goal.

So at the time, I might have been inclined to call it.

The Canadians looked like they had the tide turning in their favour in the second period after Dany Heatley's goal to make it 2-2. That is, until Chris Drury scored his go-ahead goal with Brodeur, Chris Pronger and Dan Boyle caught down low.

At that point, Crosby and Rick Nash were each minus-3 in the game while there was a bit of bad gap control between Pronger and Boyle and the forwards.

We could be seeing a changing of the guard on the blue line with the younger defencemen - Keith, Doughty and Seabrook - being counted on for more minutes going forward.


Bob McKenzie


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