23 February, 2006

Quo vadis?

Now that it's all over but the crying (if you're Mike Modano), it's time for the post-mortem.

First question: Why did USA Hockey bring in the disinterested vets?

In every game I watched, the only guys who seemed to give a damn were the young guys--guys like Liles, Cole, DiPietro (bless him, he really tried), Blake--and the older guys who really did have some pride in playing for Team USA (Bret Hedican, I'm talking to you). Nobody else really gave me the impression that they gave a shit out there. I understand that there's a dearth of US-born players in the NHL (right now) that could be considered Olympic-caliber, but still. Bates Battaglia would have been a better choice than Keith freaking Tkachuk or any of the rest of the Nagano holdovers that were named to Team USA, and that's saying something.

Next question: Can some of the blame be placed on the coach?

Yes and no. I don't fault Laviolette for anything except expecting his players to work and for being a little too inflexible. The guys that have played for him before (or that have played for him since December 2003) knew what was expected of them, and they went for it. The rest were pretty much just there for the lasagna, and expected that since there'd be NHL refs they could get away with the same shit that they get away with in the NHL (Chelios, I'm talking to you).

So....what now?

USA Hockey is largely a volunteer organization. They don't have umpty-ump dollars to throw around, so they only get people that actually want to work for them. Laviolette wasn't paid, nor was Waddell--whose job as GM is probably toast thanks to his poor selection decisions. Lavi, I think, will be back--there are enough guys that think highly enough of him (and that'll be around in 2010) that he stands a good chance of returning as coach. Why? Because he cares. He cared enough to shorten his bench in the game against Finland in the hopes that the players he threw out there would get the hint and maybe pull something out. He cared enough to call a time-out before the game got out of hand and attempt to rally his troops. He cares--but without more guys like Erik Cole and Jason Blake and John-Michael Liles that care as much as he does, Team USA's outlook for 2010 isn't very rosy.

So I agree with Mike Modano's comment that there needs to be a change in USA Hockey--but the change that is needed is getting rid of primadonnas like him that think that just because they play in the NHL the rest of the world should roll over and play dead for them.

And as for the Canadian team.....

Well shit. Jes says it all for me.

Go Czechs, Go Swedes.