I'm stuck in a hotel room in Northern Washington with little to no internet. I'm confused, tired, and a bit disoriented.
The one thing I do know, though, is that I'm not betting against Canada for the remainder of this tournament.
I was working Wednesday when the game was going on. Someone walked by, and commented to me that the score was 3-1 in the first period. Unaware of who was in the lead, I thought Russia was running away with it. Little did I know that Canada's defense would decide to show up not only defensively, but offensively as well. Getting seven points out of your backend is ridiculous, but when you're weakest (ha!) blueliner is Drew Doughty, you know you have a solid team.
Hey, I know it's the Olympics. All the teams are stacked. But now that Canada's blueline had gelled to the tune of an absolute walloping of Russia, I don't know if they can be stopped.
Not only were Dan Boyle and the rest of the defenseman solid in all zones, but the offense came through on the promises implied when the team was constructed. Joe Thornton didn't have the point production I predicted, but he was a few Marleau tap-ins from a multi-assist night. The half board set up, as Plank mentioned yesterday, is annoying as hell, but some of the passes he made sent tingles to areas I'd rather not talk about in a public forum. Heatley was a non-factor, but he gets a pass because he's been clutch all tournament. What's most impressive is the continued strong play of Toews, and the recent emergence of Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla and Corey Perry.
Although I hate Gezlaf, it's hard to deny his skill, especially displayed in the last game. I'm not going to anoint him to the level that Plank has of late, but he's definitely one of the top five centers in the league. You can figure out the other four.
As I talk and talk about Canada, I feel as if I should at least mention Slovakia. They have been my favorite team in the tournament (besides the US), and the upset of Sweden can't be overlooked. However, unless Jaroslav Halak (swoon) plays out of his skull and the offense scores at least six, this game won't even be close. Marian Gaborik and Co. are definitely capable of putting up points, but I don't think Canada is going to let it get there. Even if Canada's offense is matched by Slovakia, the ability of the defense to chip in offensively will make this game a mismatch in every sense of the word. The home ice advantage doesn't hurt, either.
I doubt Canada will lose another game. I of course will not be pulling for them if they face off again against USA, but until then, I wouldn't bet against them.