One of the biggest challenges of the Olympics is taking a group of star players that have almost never worked together and making them gel almost immediately.
The Canadians attempted to mitigate this problem by bringing players from the same NHL team and pairing them together like the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, but even still, finding chemistry as a squad is a tall order.
Canadian coach Mike Babcock has been mixing up his lines throughout the tournament to try and figure out who meshes, but they’ll go into their game against the United States today largely unchanged compared to the makeup they had against Latvia in the quarterfinals. Babcock promoted that fact as a very good sign.
“I’m pumped,” Babcock told the Canadian Press. “We’re starting to look like a team and be like a team and you’re organized like a team and you feel comfortable because you’re not running around trying to do a million things. It’s great.”
The Canadians need to hope that’s the case because they’ve run out of time. They’ve played in four games and the only one where they weren’t the overwhelming favorite — their contest against Finland — wasn’t an elimination game. Today’s game is a do-or-die event in their quest for the gold medal against an American team that has been clicking since the start of the Olympics.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win. They’ve spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.