Lockout Mutterings & Team Canada Blew the Deal

Lockout Mutterings & Team Canada Blew the Deal

Ross Brewitt

I have no idea what time, or for that matter, what day the Canada – USA semi-final game took place at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Let’s say it was Thursday-ish.

Didn’t matter, the Canadians did like a lot of us heavy-lidded slackers. They slept in.

On the other bench, the Americans brought all their marbles, which shouldn’t have been a surprise. In fact, it should have been obvious. Geez, it’s one thing to lose, it’s another to be steamrolled.

This makes the fourth straight tournament Team Canada has failed to take home gold, a trinket that used to be won or contested for by Canucks of the past on a seemingly regular basis.

More telling, it was a year where the Canucks were bolstered by three players minimum, five or six probable, who would have been on NHL teams had the Big League deemed it necessary to play this season.

They’re called “blue-chippers” and Team Canada may not see such another bumper crop until the next Bettman lockout. So where does that leave the program? With many questions.

According to those on-scene, the Canadians “lacked jump.” What? Not ready, not aware, not prepared, not interested? Did the coaching staff miss something. Were the players not following the plan?

Did they stick with goalie Malcolm Subban too long? Did they forget how they played against the Russians? Were there too many penalties, too little grit, too many missed opportunities, too many concerns over who was going to wear the black cape after the game?

All questions above are answered by one honest, truthful, line. Give the Yanks credit, they arrived ready to play.

Team Canada will be struggling to get their act together for bronze, and it will complete the story about this group. The boys on this team will have to live with not showing up on the scoreboard in the semi-final.

From my experience they will be better players down the road because of this blow-out. To be good you have learn from lessons.

Which leads me to break my self-imposed ban on reporting anything to do with the spoiled brats and their absentee parents, otherwise known as NHL players and owners.

In what seems to be a cessation of the blue-faced tantrum approach, the new “grown-up” tactic from both sides is, have tired of their previous squabbling, they are hunkering down and negotiating.

Please, don’t cut them any slack and don’t pat them on the back for doing what should have been in progress since April, certainly immediately after the gala awards night in “Hockey-town USA,” aka Las Vegas.

Because to this point the two sides have shown us nothing, and have only managed to hurt “the game.”

So, here we are in the New Year, with the NHL looking like over-the-cliff Democrats and Republicans, with the same old results from a lack of direction and decision-making that was absent eight months ago.

In the interim, the NHL managed to lock out half their revenue, closed down the “must have” Winter Classic, the All Star Schmooz & Boondoggle, shut out the TV networks and advertisers, and abandoned their recently apathetic fan base.

All this without a care for “the game” by both parties who have let it slide through neglect of leadership, and by confusing money with success. I covered my views on the subject in this column paragraph from October 19th.

“…the paying fans have suffered long enough through the over-hyped benefits of extra expansion, the “trap” period, and the latest “flying V” of defenders moving from side-to-side in the shooting lanes like a demonic windshield wiper. It’s supposed to be hockey. Sure, somebody wins, somebody loses, but as hockey it stinks.” Meaning nothing has changed.

We know the die-hards will return, even though they say they won’t, but even die-hards have limits. So, do you feel confident leaving “the game” in the hands of Bettman and Fehr? No? Then here’s a New Year’s resolution for consideration.

Buy out their contracts and move on.

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