10 Questions for Canada vs USA

I'm not kidding when I say this was literally all I could find for USA-Canada photos in Getty for some reason. - Bruce Bennett

An American hockey writer and a Canadian hockey writer asked each other five questions each about today's USA vs Canada game.

To simplify things, the American questions and answers (from me) are in blue, and the yucky Canadian stuff (from Ari) is in red.


1. How hilarious is Mike Babcock's coaching? Or frustrating, as I guess it'd be from a Canadian viewpoint? Basically, what gives?


I just don't understand. Why not PK Subban? Why does Chris Kunitz exist? These are distressing questions that seem to have no answer. And I wish I could explain why the forwards aren't scoring. Hey, Latvia only lost to Sweden by two goals, AND they beat Switzerland (although without Sven Baertschi, it's easy to understand why); maybe we were just underestimating them. I mean, that, and that's a real hot goalie they had. And the Finns are typically great at goaltending, as we are well familiar with as Flames fans. I don't have any answer to the Norway game. Watching this team has been an adventure - kind of a frustrating one - but I'm still not overly worried. After all, Canada's still in the semis, right? And Babcock seems to have the right attitude: it'll come, there's no need to panic. Now if we could just stop giving Dan Hamhuis, like, six minutes a game, and put PK in instead; and stop jerking Martin St. Louis around, and ... I guess Kunitz has to be dressed now ... But I think Canada will be okay. What's an Olympic hockey tournament without Team Canada screwing around before the games get really serious, anyway? (Also, in full honesty, I haven't been watching the games super closely because, well... there are so many sports on at once! I'm only human.)

2. Which of Canada's awful jerseys is the least awful? Related: why are almost all of the jerseys this Olympics so bad?

I like the white ones! The random one arm band isn't as prevalent on those, plus they're clean and actually look nice. Anyway, the answer is Nike, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Also, as a great fan of shiny things ... no. Not on jerseys. (Slovakia's is the best, for the record. The anthem. Oh my god.) Anyway, it's okay, because I still have my Iggy jersey from 2010, and its beauty is so great that maybe that's why everything sucked so much this time around.

3. Who scores the hypothetical game winning goal for each team?

Oh, definitely a defenceman for Team Canada. I want to say Subban, but ... And probably Phil Kessel for the Americans, because if there's one thing the hockey gods like to do, it's torment Toronto mercilessly.

4. How many wide open nets will Chris Kunitz miss?

Eleventy billion is my conservative estimate.

5. Aside from Babcock and Kunitz, who's the most underwhelming member of Team Canada? Who's been the biggest surprise?

Can I go ahead and say Jay Bouwmeester for underwhelming? I mean, I'm not entirely sure if that's true, I just still have a lot of issues with him. But really, almost all of the forwards have been shockingly underwhelming, it's hard to single one out. Corey Perry, maybe? Tough call. But as for pleasant surprises, I don't think we were expecting Drew Doughty to be quite the offensive juggernaut - all while handling his defensive responsibilities really, really well. Putting him on the 2010 team was aces. He's been great all tournament so far. I was also pretty hesitant on Patrick Sharp being named to the team, but so far, at least he's shown he deserves to be there. (Not just anyone can score against Latvia!)

Now the questions from Canada

1. Is this the game Team USA finally regrets leaving Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle at home? (Do they even regret that at all, yet?)

If by Team USA you mean the head honchos, probably not. The ones who didn't want Ryan and Yandle aren't exactly the reflective sort. If by Team USA you mean the fans, well, most of us have been missing Yandle in a bad way this whole tournament. Bylsma's very insistent on giving second paining minutes to the god-awful Brooks Orpik, and it's been regrettable. I'd love to see him scratched for Faulk.

On the subject of Bobby Ryan, well, the US really isn't missing him that much. Do I still wish he was on the team? Yeah. Am I concerned that he's not? Nope. He's a pretty mediocre possession guy, and there's certainly not a lack of scoring. So yeah, still think Burke et al made the wrong choice, but that one isn't killing them.

2. Who, on the USA roster, is most likely to make Team Canada's life a living hell?

If he gets any support on his zone entries, Patrick Kane. I don't have any numbers to support this, unfortunately, but Kane has been by my eyes, the most dangerous solo American. The problem is half of the time his linemates are half the rink behind him on rushes and he has nobody to pass to in the offensive zone. So if he gets support, Kane, otherwise the acclaimed Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk combo.

3. Finish this sentence: Jonathan Quick is the starter, because...

Somebody had to be? In recent history there's not a huge difference between his play and that of Ryan Miller, so Bylsma et al just went with the most recently successful goalie and are sticking with him. It's not a huge deal- his play has largely been solid.

4. Can T.J. Oshie do anything other than plagiarize Jonathan Toews?

It's not plagiarism if he's improving on what Toews does.

5. If various Canadians start shouting "IGGY!" at random, do you think that will work to Canada's advantage? Follow up: How many Americans are going to break down crying mid-game because of it?

Honestly the only people this may make weep is Calgary fans. It's great in theory, since he did all the work on that GWG four years ago, but the narrative from that goal is "CROSBY'S GOLDEN GOAL" and blah blah blah. Hell, even in Canada it's thought of as Crosby's goal, even though it could literally have been scored by anyone not named Kunitz.

So yeah, Iggy may have made that goal happen, but I don't think enough people from any place besides Calgary really remember how much of that was actually Iginla and how much was actually Crosby. If nothing else, it'd probably just really confuse everyone.

And if you really want to make American's cry, just start singing some of Canada's greatest musical exports: RUSH, Nickelback, Bieber, and that rapper from Montreal everyone makes fun of for the corny hockey songs.

There you have it folks- those are literally all the questions about both teams! Now you know what not to ask at the open thread we'll have up for the game in a few hours!

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