Klaus Zaugg says N.A. hockey in crisis

Discussion in 'International Tournaments' started by svetovy poharu, Feb 24, 2006.

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  1. svetovy poharu

    svetovy poharu Registered User

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    Interesting commentary and observations from sometimes controversial IIHF hockey expert writer Klaus Zaugg. Mr. Zaugg's latest writing states that "Jurassic Park" hockey is dead.

    He says February 22 might have marked the end of the dinosaurs in international hockey by claiming "Jurassic Park is closed". Mr. Zaugg contends that large slow-footed defensemen like Derian Hatcher and Chris Pronger do not rule the world any longer. He says they just can't keep up with speedy young forwards like Russia's Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin or even veterans like Finland's Olli Jokinen and Saku Koivu.

    He goes on to write that the obstruction crackdown that has banned holding, hooking and interference from NHL and international rinks has given teams like Finland and Russia space to fly in Turin, resulting in the "USA and Canada leaving the Olympics on the same day as Switzerland. Canada is even ranked behind Switzerland in this tournament." Mr. Zaugg proclaims: "This is truly a landmark in the history of international hockey."

    He also says that the Canadian losses to Switzerland, Finland and Russia were not because the referees made bad calls or that Team Canada just had some bad luck.
    Mr. Zaugg says it was "because they picked the stars of yesterday's hockey to play today's game--a game that has changed fundamentally since last fall. It's a game that has to be played fast and not 'worked slow.' Russia's explosive speed rendered useless the experience, scoring touch, and physical power of the Canadians."

    He continues: "The Americans, a dubious mix of veterans and up-and-comers, never got their game in gear, outskated by European opposition. They flubbed numerous scoring chances and never rediscovered the feeling of inspiration they had in front of their home fans in Salt Lake City. Whatever energy they mustered against the Finns was too little, too late."

    Mr. Zaugg concludes by asking these questions:
    "Will February 22 prove to be just a joke of the hockey gods? Will the dinosaurs return to rule again? I don't think so. Hockey has never been so fast or exciting as it's here in Turin. It's at a whole new level. What we saw during the Preliminary Round has continued in the life-or-death playoff games."

    "For Canada to make a comeback in Vancouver in 2010--and make no mistake, only a gold medal there will restore the pride of Canadians--they must not only change their roster. They must also change their thinking. Are the coaches of yesterday's hockey like Pat Quinn able to adapt to the new world of international hockey?"

    And finally, Mr. Zaugg asks:
    "And here is a question a European hockey writer can ask, while a Canadian can only do so with great difficulty: is Wayne Gretzky able to adapt? His golden touch as the mastermind behind Team Canada failed on February 22. What a sad day for Canadian hockey."
     
  2. The_Eck

    The_Eck Registered User

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    Jesus Christ!! This guy expresses my exact sentiments. I couldn't agree more (not being sarcastic, i'm serious).

    :handclap:
     
  3. Den

    Den Registered User

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    K. Zaugg has been an embodyment of amaturism for several years. Ignore the idiot!!
     
  4. donniedarko

    donniedarko Registered User

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    Why ignore him? He has some good points.
     
  5. Bank Shot

    Bank Shot Registered User

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    Its not like the Edmonton Oilers where Gretzky won a bunch of Stanley cups was a fast, exciting team......oh wait. :sarcasm:

    I think the selectors of the Canadian hockey team just suffered from arrogance. They picked a team based on past success, and not on who was doing well in the present. I bet the rational was to reward these players, because hey, Canada can just send anybody and they'll still win the gold.

    Anyways, I think that any adjustments that need to be made are minor. Hardly a crisis.
     
  6. Maken*

    Maken* Guest

    Wow, you'd think we lost 8-0 or something.
     
  7. rec28

    rec28 Registered User

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    He makes some decent points, but I think he's exaggerating things to a significant degree. He's also suffers from tunnel vision re: the Olympic tournament - only once every four years (or two if you count the World Cup) is best-on-best hockey played on a large ice surface. Run-of-the-mill, regular season Euro-league hockey is nowhere near the level of speed, skill and intensity we've seen in the last couple of weeks at the Olympics.

    Mr. Zaugg should remember that the NHL is still the premiere hockey league in the World, and prototypical Canadian power forwards still do extremely well on its smaller ice-surfaces. If he believes that NA hockey is in "crisis" or has been passed-by, he is sorely mistaken. A single bad tournament after several years of dominance does not a crisis make. And he really shouldn't imply that NA speed & skill players don't exist.

    Only with the benefit of hindsight can we say that some of the Team Canada selections may have been poor, but that's a lesson that only needs to be learned once. Come 2010, the European teams will face all the speed and skill they can handle...
     
  8. copperandblue

    copperandblue Registered User

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    The funny thing is that the same types of sentiments were said after Nagano.

    The US had knocked Canada off in the '96 World Cup, the National JR team had a couple years of futility at the Christmas Tournament and the Men's team book ended it by finishing out of the medals in Nagano.

    The sky was falling, Canadian heart and grit was passed by the skill and talent that the rest of the world possesed. There was no way Canada could recover because not only were the pro's built with the wrong skill but the jr's coming up were obsolete as well.

    The US was a force to be feared and the Europeans were all about dingle and dangle and finnesse.

    Low and behold 2002 rolled around and Canada proved that they could compete and succeed. The World Cup in '04 was too me, perhaps the most uncompetetive tournament in recent history with Canada again claiming the top prize.

    In fact there were rumblings about how Russia wouldn't be able to recover their program because of disaray and politics, the Swedes were only good for having brain fart after brain fart when it counted and so on.

    Now in '06 Canada loses and again the program in this country is obsolete and on the ropes. Same can be said for the U.S.

    What this boils down to is that there are 6 teams that in any given tournament, in any given game, can win.

    Before an epitaph is written for the Canadian Hockey program perhaps everyone should take a deep breath and wait till the next tournament before deciding if it's a trend or simply a one off experience.
     
  9. Rob

    Rob Registered User

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    Exactly, many were saying the same thing after Nagano. Team Canada was never supposed to win another tournament again.
     
  10. mr gib

    mr gib Registered User

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    he's so clever - tell us something we don't know
     
  11. jcpenny

    jcpenny Registered User

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    Hockey in N.A. is not in crisis at all. If you look at it, the Sweden, Czechs and finns will lose many superstars and looking at the past WJC, the future doesnt look too bright...
     
  12. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    He doesn't say that Canada can't recover, just that they won't recover with dinosaurs like Quinn at the helm and management picking players in "good ole boy" fashion rather than taking the best team possible. He's right, and Nagano/SLC proved it.

    Gretz picked a team the same way the team two Olympics was picked - trying to fill slots with roles instead of taking the best players possible. You got people who simply didn't belong such as McCabe, Doan, etc. It showed. Players weren't free to play their game, they had to fill roles. Combine that with one of pro hockey's most out of date coach in Quinn and its a recipe for disaster.

    Once the dead meat is cut away for Vancouver (ie, Quinn), Canada should come out on top again. And the cycle goes on...
     
  13. SmokeyClause

    SmokeyClause Registered User

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    I don't think it was Canada's lack of speed that did them in. I think they had trouble handling other teams speed because it exaggerated a lot of the issues that team Canada had. Most of their team looked unsure and uncomfortable and only played well when the opposing team laid back. The speed the Russians generated just took advantage of Canada's timid play. There were some incredibly skaters on that Canadian team and in a foot race, would challenge any team in the Olympics and beat most of them.

    I think they did act foolishly trying to field a team of 22 All-stars with 1 role player mixed in. What team Canada ignored was just how bad they were in the 2002 Olympics during pool play. I didn't think they played a great game until the final against the Americans. And even then, the Americans were clearly overmatched in the talent department and had made it as far as they did on a wave of hometown support. They eeked by a good, not great Finnish team and trounced an overwhelmed Belarus to reach the finals. Canada actually finished third in pool play that year too and had a -2 goal differential. They only difference was they didn't face a team as good as this years Russian team in Salt Lake.

    Hopefully for Canada's sake, they take away some lessons from this tournament. Taking almost two dozen All-stars and telling 3/4's of them to play a role they are unaccustomed to surrounded by teammates they aren't used to on a rink they are unfamiliar with under rules they aren't comfortable with is a recipe for disaster.
     
  14. Pepper

    Pepper Registered User

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    I've said this for the last 5 years.

    There will be no canadian, north-american or european styles in 10 years, it will be an universal style which takes the best from both cultures (of course there are some differences but not as big as currently)

    Team Finland is a good example, skill, speed and grit combined. Canada takes that approach and they will win thanks to their superior talent.
     
  15. mr gib

    mr gib Registered User

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    yes and no - the swedish torpedo will always be around and will evolve - watch what happens if the fins get a lead today
     
  16. copperandblue

    copperandblue Registered User

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    No such thing was proved.

    Personally I think Quinn deserves to shoulder most of the load for what happened because he was unable/unwilling to make necessary adjustments or manage his players but the guy was also coming off of two straight international tournament wins. It is like firing a Stanley Cup winning coach after the parade. Sometimes **** just happens.

    And how does the "old dinasour" theory work itself into what happened in Nagano? Quinn was no where near Nagano and a young rising star in Marc Crawford faired just as poorly. For pete's sake the '98 golden boy put Ray Bourque in the shoot out over Wayne Gretzky... but perhaps that was because the new age of hockey proved that such a strategy was a good one? And going with the all time point leader in the game was as out dated as the dinasour?

    And what's this "good 'ole boy" BS? I've seen guys trot it out over the last few days and point to it as a big problem but I don't honestly know where it comes from. Is it because they chose a few guys that they had PROVEN SUCCESS with in the past? What a rediculous statement...

    Tell me, what good ol boy selection would you have changed and why?

    This team wasn't picked in the same manner as Nagano as there was a grande total of 1 traditional checker named to the squad where as in Nagano they picked a traditional NHL team, 2 scoring lines, a checking line and an energy line.

    Sure Smyth and Doan were SLOTTED to play a checking role but they are by no means traditional checkers.

    It's also funny how Doan doesn't belong and yet he proved to be one of the best forwards for the team and yet nothing mentioned of the ever important top scoring/new blood type players like...oh say Thornton who did....oh say bupkiss.

    Yeah perhaps some better choices could have been made but even if they won we could still argue that point. The team selected was good enough to win. They just simply didn't put it together as a team, which was just as likely to happen regardless of who else was selected.
     
  17. RTWAP*

    RTWAP* Guest

    More than a few, I'd say. I especially like that 'played fast' versus 'worked slow' part.

    I think that Gretzky and Co. were mislead by the World Cup success (on the smaller ice) and failed to realize that although it was 'international competition' it is quite different due to the smaller ice.

    They also failed to adapt the selection criteria to fit the new rules.

    Are there any players on this team that would not have been on the team in a more obstruction friendly environment? I can't think of anyone. The game changed, the team didn't. :shakehead
     
  18. Rage Against

    Rage Against Registered User

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    good post.. overreaction by both canadian fans and non-canadian supporters.
     
  19. desmond

    desmond Registered User

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    Makes some decent points but I still think that Canada's problem was the system not the players. Transition game needs to be reworked.
     
  20. Bruins74

    Bruins74 IT'S CALLED BRUINS?

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  21. jaydub*

    jaydub* Guest

    exactly...world juniors lately have been dominated by canada. russia and usa have had a lot of talent in world juniors as well. sweden, finland, czech, slovakia not nearly as much.
     
  22. LoudmouthHemskyfan#1

    LoudmouthHemskyfan#1 Registered User

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    Heatley-Spezza-Crosby
    Gagne-Thornton-Iginla
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    Richards-Lecavalier-Cheechoo

    Stuart-Redden
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    That's just a quick listing without even much thought given and some sheer optimism with regards to MA Bergeron. But I think we're fine for the next Olympics, we'll have a very good team. This year's squad just wasn't good enough or built quite right for the tourney.
     
  23. trenton1

    trenton1 Bergeron for Hart

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    Unfair to name Pronger. Guy was playing with a broken bone in his foot. He's still a top 5 defenseman in the world as far as I'm concerned.
     
  24. Resolute

    Resolute Registered User

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    Interesting how you kept the older Oiler (Pronger - 35 years old in 2010) rather than the older Duck (Niedermayer - 36 years old in 2010).
     
  25. desmond

    desmond Registered User

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    country's like sweden and finland are severely handicapped in u18/u20 tournaments due to small population size.
     
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