What will it take for Team Canada to win gold?
Spoiler: They won’t.
Look, I’m the biggest patriotic Canadian in my neck of the woods but I know reality when I see it. Of course, I will be cheering my heart out for the boys in red and white but I truly don’t think gold is in the cards this time around. Maybe I’m just a realist.
Maybe this article will come and bite me in the ass.
While Team Canada is indeed sending over an impressive and stacked team to the frozen Olympic ice of Sochi, Russia, there are plenty of details that pile up against them in their run to make a repeat at winning gold.
A few solid lines of forwards (we do have the best forwards in the tournament, no doubt) and defense is not enough when it comes to international competition. It may get by in the NHL, but not on the world stage. You need impeccable goaltending. With Team Canada selecting Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, and Mike Smith, I just don’t think that’s enough to hack it.
That’s not their fault however. Our goaltending hasn’t been up to snuff in years. When these 3 goalies are hot, they’re insanely hot. The key is to catch them on their good streaks because when they’re bad, they’re downright terrible. Thankfully, Carey Price has been standing on his head for the Canadiens lately so that is something to get excited for.
Another big factor is the size of the ice. Olympic style rinks and European/Russian rinks in general are bigger then the NHL and North American ones. This has proved to be detrimental to Team Canada in numerous international tournaments, not just the Olympics. On top of which, hockey is played in an entirely different way; it’s more about speed and stick handling compared to our well known physical game. Luckily some of our players have had the chance to play in European leagues during the lock out so that might be a bit of an advantage but it won’t be enough.
Lastly, Russia will have the biggest advantage of everyone as they are the home country. Now, I now the Cold War has come and gone, the Summit Series is a twinkle in everyone’s eye but I still wouldn’t put anything past them in terms of sabotage. Hell, it’s 2014, I shouldn’t have to be thinking like this but the reality is I am. With all the media surrounding the Games and with the likes of a few players on the American team telling their families to stay home for fear of violence, it’s just in the back of my mind.
Hopefully everything I’ve written here turns out wrong. Hopefully Team Canada does in fact repeat. Hell, hopefully they’ll medal. The odds are good yet the goods are odd.