Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Canada Needs Forward Scoring

Defense Wins Championships, but a lack of of Offense can be easily and lose them.

Most people are familiar with clichés in sports.  Giving 100%, one day a time, it is a process and all the rest.Then there is this one that we hear in just about every major team sport, defense wins championships and/or pitching wins championships.  For the most part I will agree with that, however, there is one important piece that it is usually neglected with this statement.  What about offense???

We heard it going into the Super Bowl about the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.  In this particular case defense did win Seattle a championship.  But one could also argue that it was good offense as the score ended up 43 to eight.  It is nice to say the defense wins championships, but there is also a strong case to be made that a lack of offense can lose a championship.

As a Braves fan over the years I have particularly learned this lesson.  Back in the nineties the Braves had consistently one of the best rotations in all baseball. Hall of Famers like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz (soon to be).  Of the 14 straight division titles the Braves managed to win but one World Series.  I have no problem with that, they won one ....still more than the Cubs have won.  With that said they had a chance and deserve to win more.  They had the pitching, they did not get the offense when they needed it. It is nice to be able to shut teams down but a 1-0 loss is still a loss.

Even in the women's Canadian Olympic Hockey team, when they wind up playing the U.S. for the gold medal the key will be who can score and maybe more importantly who can score early.  The longer the game against the U.S. goes without a goal the more it favors the U.S. club.  They're young, fast, skilled and have a lot of offensive game breakers who have quick strike ability.  Canada too has the ability to put the puck in the net but the longer they take to do so the more difficult it will be to beat goaltender Jesse Vetter, who seems to always get better and more comfortable as the game goes on. Again shutting down offence is great but the taunt 'SCOREBOARD' still rings loud and clear

Big ice does not necessarily make for big offence
This is what worries me about the Men`s Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics. They have arguably the best defense in the tournament.  Their blue-line can shut down a lot of good teams speedy high end talent.  They're also the ones generating the majority of the offense right now. All except for one game vs. Latvia the forwards have not look good and have failed to produce offensively. Jeff Carter scored a hat trick, that was nice but it was only one game. The biggest worry is, right now is if Doughty, Weber, Keith,and Pietrangelo are not scoring, will any of the forwards step up and pick up the slack.  We have seen it before in international play where Canada will face a team with a hot goalie or suffocating defense that shuts them down and gives them trouble.  If Canada hopes to even get a chance to play for gold let alone win a gold they're gonna have to get production from their forwards. They will still need to play a strong team defense, get quality goal tending but most importantly they need their top and forwards to play like top end players and produce. 

And hey, let's bring all this back to around to yet another cliche. Your best players have to show up and it be your best players. Five of the top 10 scoring leaders in the NHL this year reside on team Canada.  You would like to think that if least one of them will be able to put the puck in the net when it matters.

All we can do now is watch and wait and cheer Go Canada Go!

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