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Thursday, February 23, 2006 

Chris Pronger is the Worst Defenseman Ever

Pronger 2, Canada 0

This is a little earlier than normal for my tomorrow post, especially since I'm calling it my tomorrow post, but I have to say this now. The game between Canada and Russia just came to an end, and like I predicted Russia came out on top. Brodeur did his best to keep Canada in the game, standing on his head from start to finish. Canada couldn't get any offense going, but at the same time they weren't playing any defense.

Most notably, Chris Pronger took his normal disastrous stab at defensive play. It was to the point of being ridiculous in this game. I have been saying this over and over since his MVP season - he is nothing but a liability in the defensive end, more so than anyone I've ever seen. He has no business being involved in international competitions especially, and I hope all the glaring evidence from this game will be enough to keep him from being selected ever again. It is painful to watch him go into the corners. The winning goal was set up from Pronger having lone control of the puck behind the net, losing it, then panicking and swatting it straight out front of the net to a player on the other team. So much was wrong with that play, but somehow it wasn't the worst effort he put up in the game. Not but the next shift out on the ice, he let a guy walk circles around him in the corner and hold the puck for 5 seconds, long enough to get a line change. Not only that, but Chris just gave up in the end and backed away, allowing him to make a pass. After the pass was made, Pronger then followed the other defenseman into the same corner he was in - a mistake that a 10 year old wouldn't be allowed to make. The culmination of all this was in the final minute of the game. With the net empty, Pronger was skating out of the zone, and Russia had only one guy forechecking. Pronger had an open pass to both sides of the ice, so what did he do? He tried to throw it forward right at the forechecker. Puck bounced off of him, and Pronger took a penalty in an attempt to get the puck back.

A classic Chris Pronger game all around, and hopefully enough to finally get him out of international play. It honestly would have been better to have me out there on the point instead of Pronger. That's just not right.

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The Interview

They interviewed Pronger after the game, and there was nothing mentioned about his play. All he said was that as a team they blew it. No responsibility for himself, just that the young guys didn't play hard enough. When asked why they were taking undisciplined penalties at bad times, he answered with it was hard to interpret what the refs would call and so on. Nothing about himself closing off the game with a dumb penalty at the end, then any ref at any point in history would have called. Pronger also said today was the best his foot ever felt, so you can't even look to that as an excuse. Pronger is just bad, and for a leader to point the blame at his young teammates instead of taking any himself is extra disgusting. He mentioned that they would be in the gold medal game in 2010, and said it as though he would be a part of the team. Lets all hope that just isn't true.

Other Hockey Notes

Anyway, all the games today went down as expected, and the 4 winners were as easy to pick as they appeared. Nonetheless, I'll try to say a little something about the other three games now, even if it is mostly things I could have written before the games were actually played.

One surprise, though, was that Freddy Modin scored a really pretty goal for Sweden today as they took advantage of their favourable 3rd place finish. Freddy Modin. Really. That's tough information to figure out what to do with. But no matter, this game was like watching a midget team taking on some NHLers. Seriously. Sweden was just toying with them, building a 5-1 lead after the second period, and just toying with them in the third. The Swiss out-shot them 14-2 in the third, but they were all long shots and the ones Sweden wanted them to take. It'll really didn’t make for a good game to watch, but it was very smart for the Swedes to put themselves in that position. If only Canada was as smart, but like Cherry said, they just aren’t. Czechs are easily handling the Slovaks today. Shots were 17-5 after the first. That could have been Canada.

Ohlund went down in a heap today with what looked like a shoulder injury, but is now being called broken ribs. Gagne also took the plunge today, which really makes me question again having these generally meaningless tournaments mid-season. How happy are all the Canucks fans out there that this tournament took place? They lost a couple of key players now, and it will hurt their run to the playoffs. A couple more injuries, and 2010 may be the last time we see NHLers in the Olympics for a long while. If you ask me, that's just the way it should be. These tournaments are a great idea, but not in the playoff races. Honestly, how many of these games were fun to watch? The Canada-Russia game today is probably the only one I can think of.

The Americans took on Finland today in another of the quarterfinal games, and as I predicted, they were no match. The American team in these games just was not very good, and it showed yet again. The day that Chris Chelios stands out as being the least inadequate, you're beyond the point of something having gone wrong. That's just embarrassing at that point. Hopefully for the next tournament they will follow the youth movement they should have this time, and more than anything hopefully Ryan Miller will be in net. He has secured himself as a top-3 goalie in the NHL and really deserved to be there.

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So, in watching some of the Czech vs. Slovak game it dawned on me that these two super powers were once one country. Could you imagine if Czechoslovakia was still together? I don’t think there is a single tournament in the last 10 years they would have lost if that were the case. Upon quick inspection, here is a team that they could have sent to the Olympics this year, if they were still together (and baring injuries):

D Slk CHARA Zdeno
D Cze KABERLE Tomas
D Cze MALIK Marek
D Slk MESZAROS Andrej
D Cze SPACEK Jaroslav
D Slk VISNOVSKY Lubomir

F Slk BONDRA Peter
F Slk DEMITRA Pavol
F Cze ELIAS Patrik
F Slk GABORIK Marian
F Cze HEJDUK Milan
F Slk HOSSA Marian
F Cze JAGR Jaromir
F Cze LANG Robert
F Cze RUCINSKY Martin
F Slk SATAN Miroslav
F Cze STRAKA Martin
F Slk SVATOS Marek

G Cze HASEK Dominik
G Cze VOKOUN Tomas
G Slk BUDAJ Peter

That's ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that players like Hemsky, Kotalik, Prospal, Stumpel and Zednik are sitting at home in this situation. But so is Ryan Miller, so maybe it's not so strange. Either way, I really don’t see how anyone else could compete with what the Czechs and Slovaks would put together under one team these days.

Dem Bones

Duff, the Canadian gold medallist in skeleton, was very candid in an interview yesterday. He stated that every time he switched sports it wasn’t because he enjoyed the sport, but because he was going after his goal of representing Canada. And that's the only reason. He went from speed skating to bobsled, and finally to skeleton, a sport which he admittedly used to make fun of. He felt he had the best chance of representing Canada in that event, so he took it up anyway. It's nice to see the real spirit of the Olympics is still alive.

And with that, here are today’s medallists from North America. Surprisingly the Canadians yet again caught up to the Americans in the standings. This is baffling. Unfortunately, there will be no hockey medal to add to that total for either team. it's too bad, too, because they both could have medalled if I was in charge of things. Pity.

Canada (18) - Cindy Klassen, Ladies' 1500m Speed Skating, Gold
Chandre Crawford, Ladies' Sprint Cross-Country Skiing, Gold
Kristina Groves, ladies' 1500m Speed Skating, Silver
Alanna Kraus, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Amanda Overland, Kalyna Roberge, Tania Vicent, Short Track Speed Skating Ass-Pushing Relay, Silver

USA (18) - None

pronger wasnt the only problem out there, but man was he ever a problem.

he's always a problem

What changes would you have made to the US team?

Good Pronger stuff. I had one of my writers doing something on him but i'll tell him to scrap it! I'm a huge edmonton fan but good lord he looked awful.

p.s Pape Sow

Harsh comments for Pronger may be justified...but there were other players on the ice who could have contributed more...the axeman

i love that checkeslovakia team. that's sick!

bertuzzi's lawsuit left a dark cloud over the team.
Go Pronger
and
Go Oilers

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