Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Around the Boards 2/24/10

Today’s Question:

Canada vs. Russia – who is going to get it done?

I have no doubt Mr. Ovechkin would like to bury a current Penguin, not just a former Penguin...

With today’s HUGE matchup between the Canucks and the Ruskies, we asked the Jackets Required crew who they thought was going to be able to put aside the mammoth pressure and move on to the Olympic semi-final round? Let us know who you think is going to win in the comments section!

Pepper Brooks:

Looking at Russia’s lineup is friggin’ scary. Top to bottom, they are sweet. Their forwards come in waves as Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Datsuk, Morozov, Semin, will be constantly attacking. That could be good, but also a little dangerous because if you look at the Russian defensive core, it gets a little thin after Markov and Gonchar. If the Canadians are able to counter attack, they could get some odd-man rushes, something an inferior Germany wouldn’t allow.

Both teams are going to put goals on the board as neither Nabokov nor Luongo have been a shutdown guy on the big stage. It will be interesting to see who can hold the water in the dam the best. I think Canada will ride the wave of a wild home crowd, a coming out party from the younger Canadian defensemen Doughty, Weber, and Keith, and Jarome Iginla will prove to be the difference with timely, gritty goals. Canadians win a classic 6-4.



If the Canadians were overwhelmed by U.S. speed, they are in for a treat tonight. And, considering the aging and relatively ineffective blueline play of Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Dan Boyle, they seem ill-suited to handle the speedy and talented Russian forwards such as Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin. It's going to take a lot of Sidney Crosby and the talented Shark line (where was Joe Thornton against the U.S.?) to make up for the speed and overall talent advantage the Russians possess. Will Rick Nash ever score a meaningful goal?

I'll say Russia 5-3.

Top Shelf:

Dude, with the $70 mil tax free you're getting in the KHL, you can't spring for some red gloves?!

I've been thinking about this for hours and can't decide who I think will win. Canada looked like they finally figured out who to play with whom in their line combinations and spanked Germany. That may not be saying much, but all you can ask a team to do is take care of it's business which is what they did last night. On the other hand, Russia has loads of scoring power, speed and a solid team game... not to mention a full day's rest versus Canada's 24 hour tun-around time between games. I'm pulling for Rick Nash and Team Canada, but something tells me Fedor Tyutin and Team Russia advance.

Stick on the Ice:

I think Russia will beat Canada. They have a lot more team speed, and clearly that is a weakpoint for the Canadians -- especially behind the blue line. Pronger and Neidermeyer have looked a step slow. I just don't see them being able to contain Ovechkin, Malkin and Kovalchuk. Conversely, I'm not terribly impressed with the Russian defensemen either -- we all know that Tyutin is likely to make a few turnovers and Nash will know that better than anyone. But Ovechkin is so emotionally focused right now that I think he's elevating the play of the whole team. They had their wake up call and I thought they played a much better game against the Czech Republic -- due mostly to the sustained pace and tempo. I think the game will be close, but I just don't see Canada being able to win a trackmeet against Russia.

In the end, we all agreed that this would not occur:

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