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Canadian Lines, Getzlaf, and Ovy on Jagr

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I ran this song a while back, but I figured I’d run it again because I’m “Beggin’” Team Canada to figure it the f**k out.

 *****

Goooood morning!  It’s a new day, and I’m feeling much better after spending yesterday dealing with Canada’s loss like a bad breakup.  Face it, accept it, and move on kids.

Today’s the public disembowling of Germany, (still with me on that right?  Guys?) so that’ll feel good.  Nothing like beating up some kid at school cause you failed a test.  Now let’s talk lines:

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of the concept of “chemistry”.  Sure, you might figure out the tendencies of your linemates after a few games, but the only people that I believe have true ”chemistry” are the Sedins.

I like the term “clicking” better, because that’s what it is.  Alex Burrows “clicks” with the Sedins, because his style suits what they need to be successful, that being, they need the puck to be effective, and he goes and gets it. 

So I’m not sure that keeping Heatley/Thornton/Marleau together is as necessary as we’ve all been acting.  The only guy really benefitting from that line is Marleau - the other two are on pace for the same years they always have.  The line is just so deadly because there’s three dangerous players on the ice, not cause they have any particular chemistry (in fact, Thornton got more points the year he played with the CHEECHOO train). 

With names like that, I'll drive this bandwagon, crashing or not.

Here’s what I’d like to see:

Nash – Crosby – Staal
Toews – Thornton – Heatley
Marleau – Richards – Getzlaf
Iggy – Morrow – Perry – Bergeron

…Or something to that effect.  The point being that Staal and Toews are playing too well and are too effective to be toiling with Brendan Morrow and Patrice Bergeron on the fourth line.

What would you like to see with who-where-when-why-how? (Or just answer the who part, maybe).

*****

I was explaining to a buddy how Getzlaf plays last night, and it’s tough to describe, so bear with me.  I’ve skated with him a bunch in summer hockey, and here’s the best I can do:

"So, you guys think you'll make the team?"

You know the move where a guy comes down on a defenseman, stick to the middle, and fakes a shot while pulling it between his own legs, then picks it up on the other side of the d-man?  You know the move I’m talking about?

Point is, kids from 13 and up do the move.  Or the move where, a guy is standing behind the net, a d-man comes to get him, so the player banks it off the back/bottom of the net and picks it up on the other side of the d-man?  You know those moves.

Anyways, most players reach a point where, they can do them all very easily, but they stop working, because professional d-men aren’t retarded and we’re not playing Junior B anymore. 

Well, apparently, if you’re 6’4″ 235, you can still do them.

Guys occasionally read his somewhat-obvious, junior-style moves, but he’s so big that he just out-reaches, or out-muscles guys to make the play work.  His reach makes such a difference, and he uses his body well.  So, it’s not that his moves are lame, that’s not my point - you can’t blame the guy for using moves that work, no matter where they came from.  It’s just that he’s not exactly… a revolutionary, he’s just one of those guys that are physically built from birth to have success at hockey.

The problem is, when the moves don’t involve muscle and size, ie. sneaky passes, he’ll sometimes look like a junior player again.  Whiiiich might by why last game, he had flashes of looking too young to buy booze in Alberta.

*****

oof.

I figured I’d weigh-in on an entry by my buddy Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy, who chose to question the legality of the Oveckin/Jagr hit.  My thoughts: if we ever change a rule that makes that body check illegal, I’m switching favourite sports.

Jagr, in open ice with full possession, tries to cut back across the grain on a guy who’s coming from that direction (redundant, but REALLY, Jagr?).  Again, with the puck – not like he was trying to corral a pass. 

If you can’t hit a guy then and there, with no strides taken and your shoulder down, holy shit our game has no hope.  Sure, his head gets hit because it’s in the way of his body (read: down), but that’s not a “head shot”, as the dangerous infractions have been termed - surely we can discern the difference between that hit and Richards-on-Booth, no?  The point of contact is to separate the man from the puck, like Ovy did, not the head from the body, like Richards tried.

Our game won’t be served well if we implement a black-and-white interpretation of head shots - Jagr buries his head to fully commit to the direction change, and Ovy is sure as shit allowed to hit him there, otherwise everyone should skate around head-first for protection (the hit starts at the 50 second point of the video). 

So yeah.  I vote “legal”.

(I wish I had longer video to show how long Ovechkin goes without taking a stride before the hit, haters.)

*****

Canada.  Germany.  Anyone wanna put something on Germany against Canada?  I’ll give you odds.

Comments

34 Responses to “Canadian Lines, Getzlaf, and Ovy on Jagr”
  1. Mike says:

    I have been really impressed with Nash, and David Backes. Two player I rarely get to see play.

    No reason to think the Jagr hit was illegal. Puck daddy is trying to gain web traffic.

  2. Ozzie says:

    a thought…. Crosby with Heatley.. one is a playmaker looking for a good trigger guy… the other literally skates with his stick open for a one-timer 90% of the time…. this just seems to make sense to me.

  3. Pete says:

    it sucks when someone you despise (jags) stands up and says the right things…

  4. RewskiUVA says:

    Respect to Jagr for calling it like it was. Bad decision, clean hit, tough game. We all have those days.

    On another note, as an obnoxious, endangered species killing, tobacco chewin’ American I can never pass up an opportunity to gloat:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/olympics/winter/2010/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=4937163

  5. jtbourne says:

    @Ozzie – he already plays with Thornton, widely acknowledged as the NHL’s best disher over the last decade.

    And yeah, Jagr was bang on with his interview wasn’t he? Much respect there. Now as for you, @RewskiUVA…. I love that you just sent that to me before the US has a hockey medal. I’d love to get to send that back to you! (I actually thought it was a pretty funny article)

  6. Kitten Fister says:

    1. I will take the Germans at about 10,000 to 1
    2. Nash Getzlaf/Thorton/Staal (about 700 lbs of nasty)
    3. I would also putt Crosby and Heatly together
    4. More Weber please
    5. This is USA’s year

  7. KarenfromRochester says:

    I don’t know…maybe I’m going to be in the minority here, but articles like that one on ESPN make me uncomfortable. Aside from the fact that to some people it may come off as arrogant, it’s like spittin in the wind..or counting chickens. I hope he doesn’t jinx anything.

  8. jtbourne says:

    Oh, are you kidding, I utterly love the jinxiness of it all. Which is why I just twittered it to my followers.

    @Kitten Fister – 1. No 2. Thornton is about 230 pounds of Downy soft freshness 3. Sure 4. Agreed 5. I would’ve guessed 2014, but you have the best goalie in the tournament and the gift of the Swiss in the quarterfinals… you may be right, but I certainly don’t think they’ll win gold.

  9. RewskiUVA says:

    I loved the part about overcoming adversity. We Americans face real adversity. Nevermind those other athletes from 3rd world countries who had to sell a future child just for a plane ticket across the pond; our athletes had to overcome bruises, alcoholism (hang in there Bode) and some even had to overcome the handicap of being female! Wait, those other athletes are women too? Really? Anyway, back to the point, U-S-A U-S-A

    http://weeklyworldnews.com/sports/16056/apolo-ohno-and-bode-miller-olympic-scandal/

  10. paul says:

    Why wouldn’t you put Crosby and Heatley together?

    I think we all know and have seen Thornton’s ‘Houdini Disappearing act’ more than a few times and you know its coming. So put Crosby and Heatley together and have ‘Jumbo’ Joe work the door.

  11. jtbourne says:

    If you put Heatley with Crosby and Nash, it’s a sick line. But it’s still sick with a Staal or whoever. If you take the trigger of Thorntons line, you no longer have a gun.

    Also, worth mentioning that Babcock has changed the lines:

    Staal – Crosby – Iginla
    Nash – Gezlaf – Perry
    Marleau – Thornton – Heatley
    Richards – Morrow – Bergeron – Toews

  12. Andrew says:

    With all this talk of the Canadian men’s team I think we lose sight of the fact that our women’s team is going to lay a pile of hurt and shame on the US women’s team. Our ladies have walked over every team they’ve played so far and the US is just dying to get beaten AGAIN in the gold medal game…AGAIN.

    Possible line combo suggestion for the mens team:

    Nash-Crosby-Wickenheiser

  13. Deirdre says:

    “The hit didn’t hurt me much, the mistake hurt much more”. Wow, there are so few players who are willing to get up there and say things like that. I never really had a Jagr opinion before, but that gives me a warm fuzzy for him.

  14. mikey says:

    if thats not a legal hit im movin on to girls hockey …. dude had possession in mid ice n skated into a strong but toly clean hit …. n props to jagr for sayin that it was his mistake n the hit was clean.

    man ur boys better destroy germany today … no way im bettin gainst them there.

    so bournie … who would u put in net?

  15. jtbourne says:

    Torn. Fleury just won a cup but can’t get in the conversation? I think if I actually had to make the choice and didn’t just enjoy debating stuff as a blogger, I’d go with Luongo too.

  16. Will77 says:

    Does the IIHF still have that rule where play stops if the goalie gets a shot to the mask? The one off Brodeur hit the netting, so couldn’t use that to find out.

    Come on, admit it, you really put Staal on that line since he has the closest name to “Stills”

    Interesting question: who would have benefited more from the traditional, larger, Olympic ice surface? USA or Canada? Extra room for skill and passes leans towards Canada, but the young legs and speed to take advantage of that goes to USA… toss up?

  17. Krisky says:

    If I were Babcock, my line up would look like this:

    Staal – Crosby – Heatley
    Toews – Getzlaf – Nash
    Marleau – Richards – Iginla

    As for the other four…. sprinkle them in when the top 3 lines need some rest. I’m so tired of watching No-show-Joe’s invisibleness in games that actually mean something. That’s if I remember to make the effort to watch him in those games. Otherwise, I probably forgot he was even playing. All that size, talent, and vision without an ounce of care. What a waste.

    The reason for those lines is pretty simple. Lines 1 and 2 are your six best fowards so far in this tournament. Line 3′s guys have been pretty good too, but mainly they are guys that play like they care. Bergeron, Morrow, and Perry look like they just don’t quite belong on this team. Go with the horses.

    As for the D. Play the sh*t out of Keith, Weber, and Doughty. Those are the top three. Hopefully, the others can follow the ‘leadership’ of these three down the stretch.

    PS: Great blog Bourne, always entertaining to read your stuff!

  18. jtbourne says:

    I love those lines, nice. I feel bad for ever saying I wanna see more out of Doughty after hearing all the support – maybe watching from a bar when you can’t hear and drinking isn’t the most effective position for analysis. Thanks Krisky!

  19. The Franchise says:

    I’ve enjoyed watching Nash throw his body around for the first few games and look genuinely interested, but at what point does his lack of scoring become an issue? I’ve read numerous articles giving Thornton heat for his lack of heart and not showing up in big games, but this is now 8 Olympic games in which Nash is goalless. Considering he’s Canada’s best sniper (outside of Sid) should we not be more concerned?

    I like your line combos Justin, but I think if you break up the Sharks line you gotta at least try out the Nash-Getzlaf-Heatley line that was dominant at the WC. My lines for tonight would be:

    Toews-Crosby-Staal
    Heatley-Getzlaf-Nash
    Marleau-Thornton-Iggy
    Perry-Richards-Morrow
    Bergeron

  20. Pete says:

    ugh, that article by caple is just, ugh.

    let’s see.

    US struggled a bit against the swiss. coming off an emotional win with egocentric country leaping on the bandwagon. looking forward to medal games. uh-oh, here comes the swiss (likely) again. hope the US team is more aware of what’s going on than the rest of my country….

  21. Cassie says:

    Ovechkin clearly leaves his feet when he hits Jagr – that’s so not legal. Don’t get me wrong, I love open ice hits, but you’ve got to keep your blades on the ice. I mourn the loss of the art of throwing an open-ice hip check almost every single game I watch.

  22. RewskiUVA says:

    Pete, it was sarcasm. I thought I was laying it on pretty thick there.

  23. RewskiUVA says:

    Oh, and does Canada miss M. Green yet?

  24. Char says:

    Caple column = facetiousness.

    Ovechkin hit = fine. Maybe his skates were half an inch off the ice. Big whoop.

    Not taking the Germany bet, but I would like to see at least one Sturmface ™ tonight.

    http://brucrew.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/sturm-face-outdoors.jpg

  25. zyllyx says:

    I’m fairly new to hockey in general, I live in Phoenix, and I’m passionate against headshots. That’s three strikes against me in most Toronto area pubs.

    But the Ovy/Jagr hit was a thing of absolute beauty. You can’t get more textbook on a bodycheck than that. The bodycheck as a method to separate the puck carrier from the puck dates to the beginning of the sport and has been on the decline lately in favor of less effective, more “showy” SportsCenter-style hits.

    The thing that bugs me most about hockey and hockey fans is that people think that if you take out the Richards/Booth headshots that the Ovy/Jagr shots will go as well. Which is simply retar– oops, sorry, ridiculous. Guys at this level should have the skill to be able to choose whether to do one or the other.

    I’m just glad I got to watch that Ovechkin hit live. As soon as it happened I knew the Russians would score. THAT is the kind of tough, gritty hockey that made me a fan in the first place.

  26. Pete says:

    RewskiUVA: i was referring to the caple stuff. you’re posts are damn funny, and only fail to mention that you’re truck has a set of those plastic testicles hanging from the hitch! (please tell me someone else has seen those!)

  27. Kevin Croxton says:

    Bourne:

    I enjoy reading your blog and for the most part I think you have some good points but when I read yesterday that you thought Scott Niedermayer had a good game I almost threw up all over my Compaq and I even contemplated attacking you personally. I don’t have time right now to back up my argument but hopefully I will at a later date. Also the Canadian team still values experience over youth and skill and that’s just sad. If you want to have a checking line that plays 3 minutes a game why not have Jordan Tootoo, Milan Lucic and some other meathead that will actually just run around and kill everyone that touches the puck once a period instead of Richards, Toews, Morrow? That’s all for today but please watch Niedermayer closely tonight and tell me he isn’t a liability out there. (I just chirped him into the game of his life tonight…..but he still sucks)

  28. jtbourne says:

    Crox, I was SUCH a Niederhater pre-Olympics, and seriously, I think drinking/bar-Bourne must’ve missed a few gaffs on his part. I’ll pay attention TOMORROW specifically.

  29. Jbrown says:

    Man I wish Neil wasn’t in Hawaii.

  30. crushasaurus says:

    I know it’s great having conversations about lines and all the little intricate details, but for me, I think that there is absolutely no excuse for a lack of production if you put any of those guys on a line with each other. The problem that I see is that players don’t know what their role is on this team. Jonathan Toews looks a bit lost to me.

  31. Char says:

    Milan Lucic is not a meathead.

  32. SDC says:

    I’d love to see Heatley get some time on the “revolving door” that is Crosby’s line. Heats has been playing as well as anyone else, Toews too. Hmm… Crosby-Heatley-Toews? Not sure how that’d scramble everything else, but i’d like that line.

    Also, I loved that Jagr’s visor was hanging off the hinges in that interview; more proof as to how bad Ovie blew him up. Maybe that move works in the KHL…

  33. Kerstin from Germany says:

    Here is “the other side”…..

    Is “no comment” about Germany against Canada also a comment?
    Felt asleep before game startet (01:40 am).
    Watched the two games before (Finland/WRussia) and could not convince me to sacrifice more hours of sleep…

    No offense (how true…) against my Home Team. Guess they just can’t do any better.
    US/Canadian complains about league(s) organisation, lobbying, sponsorships etc are a joke against the possibilities in Germany….

    Not sure what the world championship in the Home Country will bring :I
    I won’t spend money on a game Team Germany is involved.

  34. Jim L. says:

    Jonathan Toews looks lost? What games have you been watching? Last time I checked he is leading the tournament in plus/minus and can be argued to be one of the best players so far.

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