Canada. More tallent and more experience. They outplayed, outshot, and outchanced the USA last Sunday. They lost that game beacuse of bad goalkeeping, no urgency to win, no motivation to win, underestimating the USA, and Mike Babcock messing around with lines too much. All of those points have been addressed. Luongo won't make the same mistakes as Brodeur in terms of playing the puck, and he gets big and low in the butterfly. The gold medal game at home will get the players a bit more motivated to win than a fairly meaningless preliminary matchup. I don't know why people were surprised by the way Canada played against the Russians. They have that ability in every single game, but it's hard to play your best when you don't think you need to. Babcock has finally stuck with his lines and those players have had 3 games to gel together. Our young guys are stepping up on the blue line. The team that Canada will put on the ice today will be miles ahead of what they put on the ice last Sunday. And that's scary, considering even last Sunday they outshot, outchanced, and outplayed the Americans. Remember the last 90 seconds of that USA game where Canada had non stop consistent pressure in the American zone? Expect to see that from the first puck drop today.
This team is the best team on paper hands down. All of their players are first line NHL players. They've got something like 7 NHL captains on the team and several ex-captains as well. They have the skill, the talent, and the experience. They have older veterans leading the team and young kids who can skate as hard and hit as hard and dangle as well as anyone in the game. If Canada loses today it will be because of attitude. Psychology is the only thing that can beat Team Canada, and the only thing that can beat a Canadian national team, men or women, at any level. The way we treat hockey in this country and the way we develop players in this country is unmatched. Hockey players in Canada are scouted and developed before they reach high school. Hockey development in Canada rivals football development in the States and soccer development in Brazil. The teams we put on the ice should win every tournament at every level, and when they lose its because they play arrogant and sloppy. Team Canada is the Tiger Woods and Roger Federer of hockey. Favourites in every tournament, but its impossible to win everything.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see another Canada - Russia type game.