Hockey Headlines

Thursday, 13 February 2014

LIVE BLOG: Norway Versus Canada

Some of you may be asking where The Hockey Show preview is. It's coming, kids. We're still doing the show tonight. However, this morning sees me down at a local Boston Pizza as we LIVE BLOG the Norway-Canada game from the Sochi Olympics! The teams are currently on the ice, so we'll be breaking into the live blog shortly! Come on down to Boston Pizza on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg, order yourself some grub, and settle in for the best hockey the world has to offer on the large screens!

PRE-GAME STUFF

  • PRE-GAME: As noted, Team Canada scratches against Norway include Colorado's Matt Duchene, Montreal's PK Subban, and Phoenix's Mike Smith. All are first-time Olympians.
  • PRE-GAME: Kelly Hrudey says Tavares looked nervous in the practices alongside Crosby on the powerplay. Gonna guess that won't be a problem once the game gets going.
  • PRE-GAME: Team Canada women's hockey team has arrived. They'll play Monday in the semi-final after downing Team USA 3-2 yesterday.
  • PRE-GAME: Glenn Healy is between the benches for the game. Thank whomever you pray to that it's not Pierre McGuire. Slightly better, but still not McGuire-awful. 
  • PRE-GAME: Mike Babcock seems focused. And it sounds like he doesn't give a damn about equal playing time or who plays with whom. It's all about playing well and recording the win!
  • PRE-GAME: Canada opened the Vancouver Olympic Games by downing Norway 8-0. Same result? Better? Does Carey Price give up a goal?
  • PRE-GAME: Don Cherry calls a 7-1 win for Canada as they work out lines and figure out the big ice. Do you agree with that score?

FIRST PERIOD

  • Lars Haugen gets the call for Norway. They finished 10th in Vancouver, and have 13 returning players for the Sochi Olympics.
  • Alex Pietrangelo with the first good chance for Canada. Haugen turns it aside. Good start to this game for both teams.
  • "West Coast Express" of Getzlaf, Perry, and Marleau on the ice. Ironically, joined on defence by Drew Doughty. Babcock going regional on this line.
  • Four minutes in, and the Toews line is being matched against the Zuccarello line for Norway. Patrick Thoresen of the KHL could be dangerous. 
  • Carey Price looks sharp thus far. 
  • People seem to be worried if Canada doesn't score in the first period. Americans had one goal in the first period against Slovakia. Just relax, everyone. 
  • Tollefsen lays out the first big hit on John Tavares. Who had money on Tollefsen with the first big hit? Yeah, me neither. 
  • Norway with about eight guys on the ice. They take the penalty, sending Canada to their first power play of the Olympics. Call your scorer! 
  • I know that they are playing on the big ice, but this Canadian power play seems to be struggling with the off-sides. C'mon boys! 
  • Haugen proving the adage "You goalie is your best penalty-killer" to be true with that save on Crosby. Canada needs to just start putting pucks on net. 
  • For everyone who is worrying, Canada and Norway played to a 0-0 tie in the first period in Vancouver. Seems to be going as planned here in Sochi. 
  • Consider yourself lucky that the CBC is in Sochi, fans. Apparently Pierre McGuire is absolutely unbearable with his commentary on NBC right now. 
  • Full credit to Norway for not backing down from the Canadians. But the size of Canada may wear down the Norwegians over time. 
  • Norway is collapsing a ton of players around Haugen. Might be time to drive deep, send it back to the point, and let the defencemen tee it up. 
  • Canada sending more rubber towards Haugen now. He's a good KHL goalie, and he needs to be tested. More shots is the right cure for that donut on the scoreboard. 
  • Ryan Getzlaf trips up a Norwegian player, and will sit for a couple of minutes or less. And he feel shame. Canada to the first PK of the night! 
  • Carey Price wants this game. He's made a number of good saves after not seeing a lot of action in the last ten minutes. 
  • Scoreless first period is a replay of the Canada-Norway game in Vancouver. Canada leads in shots 9-8, and both goalies look solid. Coach's Corner on CBC next!

FIRST INTERMISSION

  • Don Cherry says things are fine. I'm gonna go with Grapes.
  • Grapes talks Tollefsen. Sounds like he'd like Tollefsen if he were Canadian.
  • Cherry watched Russian practices all week?
  • Cherry illustrates the four-man Russian blue line. Interesting.
  • Grapes gets to talk Bruins hockey as Bergeron gets some airtime. 
  • Don Cherry says "no panic". Live it, Canada. Stay calm.
  • Doughty led Canada in ice-time at 8:07 through the first period.
  • Patrick Marleau had three of Canada's nine shots. 
  • In case you hadn't heard, Sweden's Henrik Zetterberg has been diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back. Sweden has not announced whether he will play in their next game. 
  • Mats Zuccarello played over eight-and-a-half minutes in the first period for Norway. He was on the ice for the entire Norwegian power play.

SECOND PERIOD

  • Kunitz gets a shot on net. Welcome to the Olympics!
  • I shouldn't have to remind anyone, but Haugen is a good goalie. I like the traffic Canada is sending to the front of the net now, though. 
  • No offence to Canada, but I saw that Rick Nash shot coming from a mile away. Canada needs to get Haugen moving. He squares up far too well. 
  • Canada carrying the play in this period. Far better possession. This should please Mike Babcock as they move forward. 
  • Shea Weber finds some space on the delayed penalty, and Nashville's defenceman hammered home a beauty! 1-0 CANADA!
  • Credit to Jamie Benn on that play for creating and drawing the penalty as well. Keith and Bergeron draw the assists on the first Canadian goal!
  • Canada asserting itself in this period.They look much more confident with the puck at this point. Especially the fourth-line!
  • Puck rattles off a swollen Norwegian goal post. Haugen and three other defender-netminders kept the puck out as Canada swarmed. Ice is starting to tilt. 
  • Number of shots taken by Norway in this period? Zero. 
  • Canadian hockey fan in a black jersey is now working with the Russian cheerleaders. Unfortunately, cheerleading is not a medal event in Sochi. 
  • Tollefsen tried to erase Jamie Benn from existence.  Both players shook off that hit and are back on their feet.
  • If you're not watching TSN2 (and you're probably not), the Russian women's team leads 2-0 over Sweden. Alexei Yashin looks like a genius right now. 
  • Every time Canada has the puck below the face-off dots, there are four Norwegians standing in the crease. Collapse much? 
  • Jamie Benn, also of the Canadian "fourth-line", rips a wrist shot high, and Canada lights the lamp once more! 2-0 CANADA!
  • FYI: that is Canada's 13th shot this period. Norway has none thus far.
  • Patrice Bergeron is looking for a player of the game award after that pass on Benn's goal.
  • Bergeron only has World Junior, World Championship, Olympic, and Spengler Cup gold medals at home along with a Stanley Cup ring. The guy is a winner. 
  • Canada back to the PK. Bergeron is back out there. Canada needs to figure out how to clone this guy for internationl hockey purposes. 
  • Canada is 2-for-2 on the PK. And back to controlling the game.
  • Duncan Keith whistled for holding. No worries about the Lady Byng here. 
  • Canada will go into the second intermission with the 2-0 lead. Not quite the 8-0 win from Vancouver yet, but we still have 20 minutes to play.

SECOND INTERMISSION

  • Crowd here at Boston Pizza has really picked up. Only a few random open seats in the lounge! Head down if you're reading this!
  • Canada's Jennifer Jones downed Miriam Ott earlier this morning to push her record in Olympic curling to 5-0! Go Team Canada!
  • I'd talk about figure skating, but I'm pretty clueless on the whole thing. All I know is that Patrick Chan made one mistake today in the short program. He's second!
  • Other scores from today: the USA downed Slovakia 8-1; Russia beat Slovenia 5-2; Finland beat Austria 8-4. Teemu Selanne left that game with a minor tweak.
  • Both Canada goals came off the ice on Haugen's blocker side. Might be a weakness that Canada can exploit in the third period.
  • I'm not sure that Jeff Carter is the answer on Crosby's right side yet. They might want to look at changing that up in the coming days.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Duncan Keith starts the third period in the penalty box.
  • Olimb's pinballed shot on the PP finds room behind Price. 2-1 CANADA.
  • Duncan Keith leaves box. Feels shame.
  • And a pinching Drew Doughty restores the two-goal lead as he goes backhand high on the blocker side on Haugen! 3-1 CANADA!
  • Replays on the Norway goal shows Thoresen making contact with the puck. Might be a scoring change coming up. 
  • Yes, I've slowed down a bit. Lunch is interfering. 
  • Glenn Healy talks about the use of Canada's blue line. I made that observation in the first period. Canada needs to use the points on the collapsing defence. 
  • Luongo looks bored. He's lining up water bottles and sport drinks for Price as he makes his way to the bench. Someone get him an ottoman. 
  • Crosby and his line gooning it up in front of Haugen. They've been quiet. 
  • Crowd here at Boston Pizza with good chatter, but relatively quiet. Like the team they're cheering for in Sochi. 
  • Dirty Norwegian slew-footed Perry. Perry will be fine. Canada to the PP. 
  • Canada PP strategy: one-timers for Weber. Clean up the rebounds. 
  • Chris Kunitz with a hit from behind, and he's gonna sit for at least two. First impact of the game for Kunitz. 
  • Offsetting minors as Norway was whistled for an invisible slash. Canada cannot convert on the power play, though. 
  • Everyone talks about Bouwmeester's skating. How about his scoring? Otherwise, the figure skating and speed-skating venues are elsewhere. 
  • Two-and-a-half remaining, and it appears both teams are content with the the 3-1 score. Canada still taking shots, but nothing looks dangerous. 
  • Glenn Healy: "Canada has continued to execute." Is he watching the same game? 
  • Bergeron whistled for tripping, and he doesn't even protest. Norway will close out the last 1:39 with a PP unless, of course, they make it interesting. 
  • Norway calls a timeout. You have to wonder if they are making plans to ask some of the NHLers for autographs or stick exchanges. 
  • That'll do it, folks! Horn sounds, and Canada escapes with the 3-1 victory in a rather uneventful opening game. Tomorrow, Canada and Austria will battle!

POST-GAME STUFF

  • Canada wins 3-1 in a rather uneventful game. I'd imagine Mike Babcock will be happy, but will certainly tell everyone that they have stuff to improve upon for the Austria game.
  • Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, and Patrice Bergeron are your three stars in 1-2-3 order. No arguments there.
  • In women's hockey, Russia downed Sweden 3-1, and will face Switzerland in the quarterfinal on Saturday. Finland and Sweden will renew rivalries in the Scandinavian quarterfinal.
  • Women's quarterfinals will go Saturday. Canadian women won't see action again until Monday in the semi-finals. 
  • Martin St. Louis finished the game +1 with no points. Just saying. 
  • Canada was never really in trouble in this game, and Carey Price looked fairly sharp. There's some work to be done, though. 
  • Bergeron was asked by NBC about playing a different role on the wing by Mike Babcock. His response? "Whatever it takes." That's why this guy wins. 
  • Shea Weber on what he liked: "We got better as the game went on." Agreed.
  • Shea Weber on what he didn't like: "We were too fancy." AGREED!
Ok, that's going to do it for me. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and make sure you tune into The Hockey Show tonight on 101.5 UMFM at 5:30pm CT as we break down all the Olympic hockey action, talk about the AHL All-Star Game, and mention a fantastic article in The Hockey News by Friend of the Show Jessica Scott-Reid!

Huge thanks to Boston Pizza for hosting me today, and we'll be back later this evening for more fun, more great food, and a few good beverages after the show!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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