Friday, February 24, 2006

The shroud from Turin

Over forty eight hours after our puck heroes were sent packing, the fallout continues on across the country. Canadians from St. John's, Newfoundland (though to be fair they were pre-occupied with happier matters Friday) to Prince Rupert, BC and Nunavut, to Windsor were busy digesting the complete collapse of the Olympic dream for our hockey psyche.

They say success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan and Wayne Gretzky probably feels that more than most. But there are many willing to offer up their two cents to Gretzky and those around him as to what has gone wrong on their European jaunt.

Bruce Garrioch of the Canoe papers points out the obvious this group never quite got it together as a team, more it was a collection of individuals who seemed intent to do their own thing and never could work on the same page at the same time.

Chris Stevenson also of Canoe, looks for professional advice and gathers the thoughts of Senators head coach Bryan Murray, who gave the sage advice that Canada did not seem to be intense enough in the preliminary games, leaving them in a vulnerable situation when the elimination round came along. Rather than improving one game at a time, Murray submits it may have been a wiser course to have come on stronger right from the start.

The Winnipeg Sun's Ted Wyman, doesn't take kindly to any slack being cut to Canada's team. He calls the performance embarrassing and completely unacceptable. He calls for wholesale changes before the 2010 team is put together.

Bob McKenzie of TSN bemoans the fate of the ancient warriors of Team Canada, wishing a better fate for the likes of Joe Sakic, Adam Foote et al. He looks for a younger and faster squad in 2010 and then an end to the NHL's involvement in the Olympic games.

Paul Romanuk weighs in from his perch in England, writing an article for Sportsnet. He suggests that we should turn our focus to passion over payroll, wishing for a return to the national team program of years gone by. Players playing purely for the goal of striving for the gold.

Sportsnet also sought out the opinions of the most talked about non member of Team Canada, Sidney Crosby. Taking a story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sportsnet relayed the feelings from Sid the Kid. Who burned no bridges with Hockey Canada, stating that he would have liked to have been able to help out, but didn't feel his absence made a huge difference. Instead he pointed to problems adapting to the larger ice as the main setback to Canada's chances of Torino.

Over at the Toronto Star, Damien Cox blogged his report on the Star website, in an item dated February 23rd his thoughts traveled from the 1984 mess of Sarajevo to suggestions that Pat Quinn is going to wear a lot of the responsibility over the losses, even though it was the players on the ice that suffered the power failures.

Cox also took a look at where Canada should go from this point on, in his February 24th column he gazes ahead to the 2010 Olympics and how a demanding Canadian nation will desperately want their heroes to recapture that which was lost in Torino.

Fellow Star writer Paul Hunter sat down for a chat with Bob Nicholson of Hockey Canada, who stated once again that had they to do things over again, they wouldn't change anything except the result. He claims there is no need to tear down the program in place, but that there would be a review of the whole operation as they head towards 2010 in Vancouver. Nicholson also discussed the future of Wayne Gretzky and hoped that Gretzky would remain involved in the process in the years to come.

Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail, put together his own blue ribbon panel of advisors on the state of the Olympic team and where to go from here. Seeking the comments of Vancouver assistant coach Mike Johnston, LA King head coach Andy Murray and New York Rangers coach Tom Renney. They had a variety of thoughts on the pressing issue of our day, Johnston urged more preparation time for the Olympians, Murray suggested that those wishing to be on the Olympic team must participate in World Championship efforts in non Olympic years, giving them a wider exposure to the international game. Renney looked at the lineup shortcomings and pointed to the absence of Scott Niedermayer from the line up as a key problem, figuring that Niedermayer would have been worth a couple of goals in the tournament, goals at key times that may have changed the dynamic of the tournament.

Roy MacGregor sums it all up nicely in his piece in the Globe, "it's hard to look forward when everyone is looking back!" True enough as the nation comes to grips with its early death in Torino. He succinctly puts it all into perspective, by quoting the very players that played the games. We lost because we didn't play well enough.

We will leave our last words with MacGregor and his quotes from those involved the most, the players. They say much more about it all than all the other noise combined.

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