A Win is a Win, But…

Well, the scoreboard read Canada 3, Czech Republic 2 in Olympic Men’s Hockey, but it’s surely another of those cases where a win isn’t that helpful, and I’m not just talking about getting a different quarter-final draw than the Russians. It’s not helpful because, as one commentator quoted Canadian hockey man John Muckler as saying, “You never criticize a win.” And there’s probably not enough time to learn and apply anything from that game anyway, but I can’t see us beating the Russians if their goaltending is decent.

That first-period 3-0 lead was a relief at the time, but it seemed to make the announcers think the Canadians were playing well. They were better than they’d been, Brodeur was good in the net, and he was about to be sensational in the second and third periods where the Czechs skated and skilled rings around our guys. But even in the first period, I thought the Czechs had more good chances, and without two gift goals would have been down only a singleton. I can understand Canadian national soccer sides playing an effort-based, toughness-centred, keep-it-simple style, because they are consistently out-talented. But I hear us crowing all the time about the wealth of Canadian talent available to selectors. There is sure a lot of volume, but if we are indeed more talented than other nations, it sure seems odd that we play the game we invented as if underdog pluck and desperation were the only cards we had.