USA Suffers Disappointing Loss To Finland

        Team USA was shutout yet again today against Finland.  The final score was a huge 5-0 win by Finland to capture the bronze medal.  I thought the first period was quite exciting and showed value of an entertaining game including the penalty shot by Patrick Kane coming off of the play in which Kimmo Timonen (FIN) shot part of a broken stick at TJ Oshie while he was controlling the puck.  I found it quite surprising that Bylsma chose Kane to shoot rather than shootout hero TJ Oshie.  Kane had quite the attempt, getting Rask down low but was at too bad of an angle and couldn’t lift the puck and bury it in the net.  In the second period Finland scored a pair of goals early into the period and began to dominate.  USA took 12 penalty minutes which lead to some key powerplay time for Finland.  The third period lead to even more domination and USA just wanted the game to end.  “They played like they had something to win, and we just kind of shut it down. … It wasn’t a good effort by us.” – Zach Parise’s comments after the game.  Here are the stats for the game.

 

Shots On Goal

USA-27  FIN-29

 

Penalty Minutes

 

USA-12  FIN-4

 

Powerplay Goals

 

USA-0 FIN-2

 

Time On Powerplay

 

USA-4:00  FIN-9:30

 

        Teemu Selanne had a game to remember with 2 goals.  If he had gotten one more goal he would have tied for the most career goals by any hockey player in the Olympics with 25 goals.  Tuukka Rask also had a great game with 27 saves to record a shutout.  Finland has medals from the past 3 Olympic games with a bronze here in Sochi, a bronze in Vancouver and a silver in Torino.  Finland ultimately deserved the medal and had a great Olympics this year.  Is Bobby Ryan intense enough for Team USA now?  I think so.

Finland vs. USA Game Preview

Today we get to see the bronze medal match-up between Team USA and Team Finland.  Both teams were eliminated yesterday and will want to at least bring home the bronze for their countries.  For Finland, Tuukka Rask will be starting in-goal after being out for their game against Sweden with an illness.  For USA, Jonathan Quick will earn yet another start.  After the heartbreaking loss to Canada USA might be too distracted to focus on the game and may lose as a result.  That’s why if I were Dan Bylsma I’d be starting Ryan Miller, who is most likely in a better state than Quick.  Finland may also be shaken up from their loss to Sweden.  Rask however, wasn’t participating in that game and should play with his ordinary dominance.  A key to USA winning this game is for players who just haven’t been able to score like Patrick Kane to step up and contribute.  For Finland they must keep solid defense and learn to play the way Canada did to shutout the U.S. previously.  Another note is that this is Finland’s captain, Teemu Selanne’s last Olympic hockey game he will ever play in.  I’ll have a post with the scores and an analysis after the game.

Swedes Over Fins, Canada over USA

Today has been a great day for hockey.  Two huge games for a spot in a likely thrilling gold medal match on Sunday.  It all started off with Sweden vs. Finland.  Sweden has been dominant thus far in the tournament and placed first after the opening games and was rewarded with the top seed in the qualification rounds.  Sweden has faced injuries to many key players including the elected captain, Henrik Zetterberg (the replacement captain is Niklas Kronwall) but still has come through strong.  Finland on the other hand, was never seen as a winner of gold and weren’t even expected to make the semi-finals.  They upset a gold medal favorite in Russia and progressed further into the tourney.   This game was a hard-fought game with Olli Jokinen (FIN) scoring the first goal of the game.  Many Finnish fans believed this game was in the bag and that all they needed was a solid defensive effort.  They turned out to be wrong.  A little over five minutes after, Loui Eriksson (SWE) scored to tie this game up at one.  After another five minutes or so Sweden finds themselves to be on the power-play.  Erik Karlsson puts a one-timer and puts Sweden up 2-1 over Finland.  Sweden will now play in the gold medal game just as I predicted.

Later in the day another big match up between USA and Canada occurred.   USA came into the game having the most total goals by any individual country in this tournament and were the second seed after the beginning round.  USA has a very fast, physical, and skilled team to compete with.  They also have the tournaments leading scorer, Phil Kessel on their team.  Canada was the third seed in the beginning round.  They have been quite dominant but could have gotten a loss with their game against Latvia.  Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter have been leading the way for Canada into this game.  The game began with a scoreless first period with both teams having big scoring chances.  The teams returned for the second period and finally some scoring came through with Jamie Benn (CAN) tallying a goal to make it 1-0 Canada.  The third period began with USA trying to tie it up but they just couldn’t get it done even when starter Jonathan Quick was pulled for the extra skater.  In the end it was a very close game with USA only getting out-shot 37 to 31.  Many Americans are mourning the loss after failing to claim its revenge on Canada.  There will now be a Sweden vs. Canada match for the gold medal and a Finland vs. USA match for the bronze medal.  I’ll have updates on the scores of these games when they happen.

 

Predictions, Thoughts on Russia’s Upset & Other Matters in Sochi

        Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while, I’ve found myself watching much more Olympic sports than I ever have in the past but here’s a an update on what has happened in the past week for Men’s Ice Hockey.

 

Wednesday, February 12

 

Czech Republic 2 4 Sweden

 

Latvia 0 – 1 Switzerland

 

Thursday,  February 13

 

Finland 8 – 4 Austria

 

Russia 5 – 2 Slovenia

 

Slovakia 1 – 7 USA

 

Canada 3 – 1 Norway

 

Friday, February 14

 

Czech Republic 4 – 2 Latvia

 

Sweden 1 – 0 Switzerland

 

Canada 6 – 0 Austria

 

Norway 1 – 6 Finland

 

Saturday, February 15

 

Slovakia 1 – 3 Slovenia

 

USA 3 – 2 Russia

 

Switzerland 1 – 0 Czech Republic

 

Sweden 5 – 3 Latvia

 

Sunday, February 16

 

Austria 3 – 1 Norway

 

Russia 1 – 0 Slovakia

 

Slovenia 1 – 5 USA

 

Finland 1 – 2 Canada

 

Tuesday, February 18

 

Slovenia 4 – 0 Austria

 

Russia 4 – 0 Norway

 

Switzerland 1 – 3 Latvia

 

Czech Republic 5 – 3 Slovakia

 

Wednesday, February 19

 

Sweden 5 – 0 Slovenia

 

Finland 3 – 1 Russia

 

Canada 2 – 1 Latvia

 

USA 5 – 2 Czech Republic

 

Now after all of these games the semi-finals will be on tomorrow with a 2006 gold medal rematch with Sweden vs. Finland and a 2010 gold medal rematch with USA vs. Canada.  Both of these games are certainly going to be amazing and even if you’re only watching your home country’s game I’d suggest you should watch one of them.  The winner of these 2 games play each other for the gold medal.  Seems very interesting.  My predictions for the Sweden vs. Finland game is that Sweden advances to gold and for the USA vs. Canada game I think USA catches Canada by surprise and goes for gold.  Ultimately, these predictions leave me with a Sweden vs. USA gold medal game and I think USA captures gold.  USA has just been the team to beat in the Olympics so far by beating every opponent they face by 2 or more goals except the 3 -2 victory over Russia.  Speaking of Russia I really can’t believe that they were beat by Finland yesterday.  When they finally get to host the Winter Olympics their very strong offensively powered hockey team has just stumbled too many times.  Russia’s citizens were very upset about the loss after believing that they can get gold.  The Russian team played like it had no purpose and was beat for it.  They had finally woken up from it in the late third period but it was much too late for them to come back into the game.  The pressure from being on home soil really killed the Russians this year and cost them the ultimate prize, the gold medal.

The Hockey Scoop on Twitter

We have decided to expand this website to social media by making a twitter account. You can find the account which is @hockeyscoopblog. The account will tweet all of the news that isn’t featured on the site so you can instantly have updates. So if you have Twitter then make sure to follow the account for everything hockey. I will post all Olympic scores for Men’s Hockey when it begins.

Sochi Olympics Begin

The Sochi Olympics have officially begun. Men’s Ice Hockey hasn’t begun yet but will begin with a matchup of Team Latvia vs. Team Switzerland. Many players are sitting out with injuries including Steven Stamkos, Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, and Valtteri Filppula. The games this year should be quite interesting with Team Russia on its home soil. Many believe its Canada’s year again this year for gold while some analysts are expecting Sweden, Finland, and Russia to get gold. I think Team USA may be the dark horse in this one to win gold medal. They have the best goaltending in the tournament and since the 2010 Olympics, the young players on that team have developed into stars like players such as Patrick Kane. They may not have the best offense and a rather young defense but they showed the world back in 1980 that they were good enough to do it all and they may just show the world again. The Olympics this year should be quite interesting to see who lands the gold. More updates to come as they happen.

Callahan Update

New York Rangers’ captain, Ryan Callahan has had rumors swirling around him for the past few weeks. The Rangers apparently would like to trade him because they can’t afford the salary he may demand as a UFA this summer. So far not too many teams have keen interest but I have heard that St. Louis and Columbus are interested. Speaking of St. Louis many are reporting that right winger Chris Stewart may be going the other way for Callahan. This intrigues me because Stewart has motivational issues and continues to regress year after year. St. Louis was showcasing him by giving him an irregular top line role. The Callahan rumors will only get hotter and hotter as we approach the trade deadline but there may be another scenario here. Another person had suggested that the Rangers aren’t really trying to trade Callahan but to pressure him into not asking for a crazy deal. This may very well be true. Will Callahan still be a Ranger after Sochi?

Parise Named Team USA Captain

Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise was honored today by receiving captaincy of Team USA’s Men’s Ice Hockey Team in Sochi. L.A. Kings’ captain Dustin Brown was given an alternate as well as Parise’s teammate in Minny, Ryan Suter. The US team this year is nothing short of leadership and definitely will be contending for gold this year for redemption of losing to Canada back in 2010 during overtime. During interviews head coach of Team USA, Dan Bylsma had no comment about who his starting goaltenders are. If I were Bylsma I’d have Miller start after his brilliant performance in Vancouver and a great performance this season despite playing on the worst team in the NHL. Quick is also a solid goaltender but at this point it’s Miller’s job to lose.

Oilers Acquire Fraser, Trade Hartikainen

The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs make a minor deal which sends defenseman Mark Fraser to the Oilers for winger Teemu Hartikainen and Cam Abney. Fraser will likely fit in as the sixth or seventh man and probably would’ve been put on waivers if this deal didn’t go through. Fraser is a very physical defenseman and likely was acquired to make sure that 59 shots against games like the one against the Sharks won’t happen again. On the other hand the Maple Leafs get a likely bottom six forward who is currently in the KHL in Hartikainen and a gritty player in Abney. Hartikainen was likely traded because the Oilers were getting sick of waiting for him to develop. Abney doesn’t do much really besides hit and didn’t really put up impressive numbers in lower ranked leagues. Overall, the Leafs may have just won this deal if Hartikainen pans out into becoming a solid third liner. I’ve got more on the way.