The biggest problems with the 2016 World Cup of Hockey
The 2016 World Cup of hockey is now officially in the books. And while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it could have been. The biggest problem being that Canada is way better than everyone else. They proved that as they never lost a game in the tournament. If only there was a team that could have equaled the Canadian team in skill…. O wait there was. That would be North America. But alas they never met in the tournament. Why was that? Because…
It was obvious they wanted four USA vs Canada games for ratings
They do these kind of tournaments for money. I don’t have a problem with that. And they make the most money when team USA plays because that’s where the money is. Americans aren’t really going to watch team Sweden play Team Finland. I mean I would but I don’t count. The problem is, I bet most casual fans had no idea this tournament was even going on in the first place. But back to my original point. Since this is a rehash of an old tournament starting fresh there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to put teams in a particular group. So they put USA and Canada in the same group so they would have at least one game against each other. Also by doing this, they ensured they wouldn’t meet again until the finals. Having a three game series for a final is odd. They don’t do that in any kind of tournament. But they figured two more games equals more money. To ensure they would advance to the semifinals, and closer to the finals, they put the two worst teams with them in their group. Team Europe, a team that has never played together, and the worst country left, Czechoslovakia. This way USA only loses to Canada and they can get their revenge in the finals. That’s boffo ratings.
But there were several things they didn’t count on. The first being Team USA sucks. And by sucks I mean, they literally blow. But I’ll get to that in a bit. The other being team Europe doesn’t suck and Team North America was good. And I mean really good and so entertaining to watch. They were fast, they scored lots of goals and all their games were close. It had Americans on the team, which would bring in some ratings, but it also matched Canada in their skill level because of the Canadians on the team. But they put them in a really hard group. And they only lost one game by one goal so they didn’t get to make it to the next round. Practically ensuring that Canada would win and denying us the match-up we all wanted to see. Because those two playing each other for three games in the finals would have been something to watch. But since I didn’t get what I wanted, I’m glad they didn’t get what they wanted. In fact Team USA didn’t even get a win in the tournament. Because…
Team USA is a terribly put together team
Before the 2014 Olympics started, I took one look at the USA roster and I said they aren’t even go to get a bronze. And sure enough they didn’t. The biggest problem facing Team USA is they don’t have the talent to pool from that Canada, Russia and Sweden can pull from. That’s obvious, besides the goaltending of course. I mean if you took all the players that were in this tournament and made new teams by putting the best players on the first team and then the next set of best players on the second team and so on. I guarantee you the only Americans that would make the first five teams are Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler and Joe Pavelski. That’s how bad it is. But they compound the problem by not picking the best players. They hand picked the 2014 team that didn’t win anything and this team that literally won nothing because they try and over think it and devise some ridiculous strategy as if they were hockey geniuses. You can’t develop a strategy. There isn’t enough time to game plan and build a strategy. It’s a short tournament. You pick the best players and you put them on the ice. You let their talent take over. Case closed. Team Canada had 11 centers on their roster. Do they need that many? Of course not. But they are talented players and a center playing as a winger would actually be better than a winger play wing. Team USA wouldn’t do that because they’d be like, well we only have four lines. Further compounding the problem is Team USA purposely leaves off talented players. They didn’t pick Phil Kessel or Tyler Johnson or Bobby Ryan. That line would have been the best line on their team, by far. Unless you put Kane, Kesler and Pavelski on a line. Nobody else on the team could touch them. And yet they didn’t make it. Kessel apparently didn’t make it cause he had a thumb injury. But it seemed like he would have been fine to play. That’s not a major injury. Tyler Johnson didn’t make it because they viewed him as too small. Really? Johnny Gaudreau is the same size and he did just fine on Team North America. And they just don’t like Bobby Ryan. Left off the 2014 squad because all he does is score goals. Last time I checked that was the whole point. That’s like when they said all Cris Carter does is catch touchdowns. That’s the whole point! Team USA doesn’t even score goals so there you go. He can help you. You can have other players do the checking and face-offs and other facets of the game. Then all the defenseman are a joke. I won’t even waste time talking about them. But our lack of defensive talent is disturbing. And then Ryan Callahan? I mean he was replaced but when was the last time he was even relevant? I don’t even think he’s on the top two lines of his own team. There’s Max Pacorietty who has almost never scored a playoff goal for the Canadiens. So why they would think he would come through in a tournament, I have no idea. I could go on but I think you get the point. Until we actually pick the best players and play them, we won’t win anything.
As for the actual tournament
The best moment was by far the 3 on 3 overtime between Sweden and Team North America. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to. Just pure awesome. I just wish North America would have won in regulation because then they would have advanced. The second best game was Team North America versus Team Russia. Are you sensing a trend?
As for the Finals, I really thought Europe would force a Game 3, when they led for virtually the entire game, but Canada just showed why they always win. They have the best talent. Even when they don’t play well, they are all clutch. Sidney Crosby was MVP, just like in the NHL playoffs. In both cases he led in points so it’s fine. But just like I thought Phil Kessel possibly deserved it in the NHL playoffs, I really thought Brad Marchand deserved the MVP here. He was second in points but he had the most goals and he scored the game winner short handed. He deserved it. But Sid going to be Sid. The NHL going to be the NHL. And clueless Team USA brass going to be clueless Team USA brass.
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.