Ann Coulter is right. Canada has become trouble recently.
This kind of trouble, however, is the good kind of trouble and not the ridicule-filled prejudice that America’s blond conservative shoot-from-the-lip-without-any-purpose spokesperson lays on us Canucks.
The trouble that Canada has spread recently is at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships as Team Canada posted its second win of this tournament and set a new tournament record with its 20th consecutive victory.
Sound impressive? It gets better. In those 20 games, Canada has allowed just 19 goals against and you have to go back almost 400 minutes of playing time to when Canada allowed an even-strength goal against. To be more specific, the last five-on-five goal that Canada allowed was against the Americans in the second game of last year’s round robin portion of the tournament.
Credit that stat to stifling defensive hockey and impervious goaltending. In 2005, it was Jeff Glass. In 2006 it was Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Justin Pogge from Penticton, B.C. In 2007, it was Carey Price from Williams Lake, B.C.
Yesterday, it was Jonathan Bernier that guided Canada to the shutout over the Czech Republic, stopping 44 shots and allowing virtually no second chances in close.
Today, the London Knights Steve Mason stopped all 22 shots that Slovakia fired his way, including a scramble in the late stages of the third period when Canada was killing a penalty.
Since Canada went on its 20-game winning streak at this tournament in 2005, their defence has been their strong point and has been the main reason for winning three gold medals in a row and looking poised for its fourth-in-a-row.
The last three years, Canada has not had the scoring abilities that it had in 2005 when that year’s team could have easily taken on every NHL team and given them a run for their money at just about every department in the game of hockey. Coach Craig Hartsburg knows full well that he has the ability to score enough goals with the likes of Kyle Turris and John Tavares, but he also knows that his team has the players to completely shut down the opposition.
In two games this year, the style of play that Team Canada has employed has not be attractive, but it has been effective, albeit against two willing but weaker opponents.
There is an old saying in sports. Defence wins championships. The reason why Canada has won three straight gold medals and just set a new tournament record for most consecutive wins: Defence.
You’re right Ann Coulter, Canada has become trouble. Watch out or we’ll seek Dion Phaneuf and Shea Weber on you. Oh, wait, she probably doesn’t even like hockey. Probably why she doesn’t like Canadians…
Filed under: Cam T, NHL Tagged: | Carey Price, Craig Hartsburg, Czech Republic, Dion Phaneuf, Hockey Canada, IIHF, Jeff Glass, John Tavares, Jonathan Bernier, Justin Pogge, Kyle Turris, London Knights, Shea Weber, Slovakia, Sports, Steve Mason, Team Canada