How come Martin Brodeur never plays like that against the Habs? For years now, the goalie has been steady as a rock, a better puck handler than many forwards, and a complete thorn in the side when he goes against most teams, especially the Montreal Canadiens.
Sunday night in Vancouver, in a 5-3 US win that put a frown on faces of Canadian hockey fans everywhere, Brodeur was surprisingly shaky, flip-flopping and making blunders while handling the puck, and looked very ordinary, unlike his counterpart at the other end, American Ryan Miller, who was amazing and who outplayed Brodeur by a wide margin. The Buffalo Sabres are very fortunate to have Miller stopping pucks for them.
Shots on goal were Canada 44, US 22.
It wasn’t just Miller and Brodeur who had a hand in the outcome of this classic thriller of historic proportions. Team Canada once again looked out of sync, like they were against Switzerland, while Team USA played with heart and soul and who buried their chances when they got them. And a prime example of outworking came on the Ryan Kesler empty-net goal with seconds left when he somehow found the fortitude to swat at the puck in a race with Corey Perry, who had decided he’d wait to touch the puck until the proper moment. The proper moment was improper, it was too late, and the puck was in the net.
If I was coach Mike Babcock, I’d sit Perry for this nonchalant play that became the killer fifth goal for the Americans. A lazy play like that, in a game like that, is unacceptable.
I was going to begin this post by saying it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a life and death struggle and heart-stopping and all that, but then I thought about Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette. Joannie’s mom and dad had come to Vancouver to see her skate on Tuesday, and today, just two days before the proud moment, Joannie’s mom collapsed and died of a heart attack. That’s real life, real tragedy, real life and death. This was only a hockey game, and Canada is still in it.
Things were put into perspective for me when I heard this news.
Canada plays Germany on Tuesday. Will Brodeur be back between the pipes, or will Roberto Luongo, or even Marc-Andre Fleury step in?