USA Set To Take On Norway This Afternoon
Another day, another opportunity for the young American squad to iron out the defensive kinks that reared their head during Tuesday's 3-1 against Team Switzerland. A second day of practice will hopefully allow the pairings to become more comfortable with one another, as well as allowing head coach Ron Wilson more time to become less comfortable playing Ryan Whitney.
In all honesty though, I wouldn't be surprised if Whitney sees a pretty fair amount of ice time today considering Team USA will be looking to boost their current +2 goal differential. He's one of the better offensive threats on the backend and Norway isn't a real threat to stage an upset. The fact that Sweden didn't blow out Germany yesterday (2-0) is a positive if we're* looking at a trip into the top four, but there remains a lot of obstacles in the way-- plenty of games left to be played for certain. We'll have a closer look at the overall standings on Saturday night.
*I usually frown upon using "we" when describing the San Jose Sharks play, but when it comes to Team USA, it fits rather nicely.
Good to see Greiss put up a solid showing yesterday against Sweden-- Daniel Sedin (or Henrik, who really knows anymore) was obviously asked to replace Tomas Holmstrom in front of the net after news came out Homer wouldn't be making the trip. Sedin X essentially sat on Greiss in the midst of the first goal for Team Sweden, and it was surprising that no whistle was blown. I'm pulling for Germany to make some noise during the tournament, and a little part of me wouldn't mind if he outduels Nabokov in the quarterfinals to knock Team Russia out. Down with bears, long live squirrels!
Tying in with the Whitney musings above, Dan Boyle led Team Canada in ice time against Norway. Does anyone see that lasting in elimination games? I'm proud as all hell of Boyle, but it doesn't seem like Babcock would lean on him that heavily against a high powered offense like Russia unless Canada is down a couple goals. Something to watch at least; it's pretty interesting to see what kind of matchups coaches are using situationally (games where they want to rack up goals for vs. games where they are focused solely on the win).
At any rate, today. Score 5+ goals, clean up the defense, and get ready for Sunday against Team Canada. I probably won't get around to a recap if it turns into a blowout, so hopefully this is the last you see of me on the front page until Friday.
Puck drops at 12 PST on the USA Network. If you're looking to chat during other hockey games, or just want to wax poetic about the Olympics in general, here's your ticket.