USA vs. Team Europe
This, is a flair flop. Performed by it's innovator: Ric Flair.
A flair flop is a comedic move in pro wrestling where a guy takes a HUGE move that looks like it'd knock you out, then you get up, take a few steps...and then fall flat on your face, apparently letting the injury sink in.
That was basically Team USA's start to the round robin portion of the tournament. And man-oh-man did it look embarrassing. And if you were one of the many people who decided that they'd prefer to route for another team in this World Cup of Hockey, this game was amazing.
The Americans definitely played like a confident team, but that confidence was quickly dashed as Team Europe charged out to an early lead as Marian Gaborik took a great pass from Frans Nielsen and make the american defense look positively ridiculous.
Yeesh. Not a great look for Team USA early, but they had to get that one back right?
Not this period they didn't. Team Europe held their own and looked like the roles the two teams had come into the tournament with were completely reversed. Team Europe played strong, their defense was competent and alert in their own end, and when they got opportunities they made sure to make them count. Team USA, while leading in shots, made all of them super low danger and in all honesty were lucky to get out of the period.
And there the trouble REALLY began.
I can't adequately describe this enough how badly the USA's defense fell apart in this period. It was breathtaking to watch.
Team USA completely fell apart early as Patrick Kane over committed to a play and sprung the Europeans for a grand 2-on-1 chance that Leon Draisaitl was able to bury to put the Europeans up 2-0
That was ridiculous. Especially from a butterfly goalie to let up. But that's the kind of night the USA had. And trust me, it DID not get better. Team USA thought they could get back in with a goal that apparently got in off of a shoulder...and it got called back. Team Europe would capitalize on this by creating more ugly chances off of Team USA's broken pairings and finally ended up burying a 3-0 chance off of a turnover. Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare got credit for the deflection, though the work of currently unemployed Christian Ehrhoff made Jannik Hansen's shot get to him. From there, Team Europe would hold the US in a stranglehold as they locked down and refused to let the US both score and get any real break from their defensive posture. Team Europe stood strong, kept things slow and steady, and got out no worse for wear.
Team USA tried really hard to score. They didn't.
It felt like Team USA spent the entire period in Team Europe's zone, and ended up getting pasted in the defensive effort of Team Europe and Jaroslav Halak's sharp play. They had no answer, they tried their damnedest to have an answer, but it genuinely seemed like things were now all Team Europe and they let the last period slip away from them, allowing Team Europe to get the first win of the tournament.
Czech Republic vs. Canada
Much like the previous game, the favorite started slow. Unlike the first game, the favorite woke up and hit their opponent hard.
The period began as most games the Czechs end up playing do: Start strong, attack the net. And they did this with aplomb. Unfortunately, they were playing Canada, and so you really shouldn't expect that being aggressive won't be countered with crushing power. Especially if you happen to have the best hockey player in the world...being centered by Sidney Crosby. Canada took a 1-0 lead early as Crosby put a bullet past Michal Neuvirth after getting stoned in the first shift of the game.
It would only get worse as Brent Burns set a rocket in on Neuvirth that was tipped by none other than Brad Marchand to put them up 2-0, and then Patrice Bergeron...was Patrice Bergeron. A premiere talent in the world and put his homeland up 3-0. The Czechs meanwhile tried to mount continuous pressure on the Red and White, using long sequences of being in their zone, but nothing came of it.
The second period was much slower in comparison to the 1st, with the Czechs playing much more careful and the Canadians content to keep pressing without many high danger shots to get a 4th goal, which finally got in off of Joe Thornton managing a real tricky shot to get goal #4 for Canada.
The Czechs throughout the period had been hemmed in to the point where it had been 20 minutes since they had a shot put on Carey Price. Neuvirth got a great opportunity to keep the Czechs in this by playing fantastic in the middle of the period, but Jonathan Toews smashed through Neuvirth's best efforts in order to make it 5-0 Canada. The rest of the period was ceremonial in nature as it became abundantly clear that the Czechs weren't gonna do jack squat against their opponent.
The third period was effectively ceremony at that point. The talent gap the Czechs have from the Canadians have made the game so unreachable both sides basically played on autopilot for the last period, Michal Neuvirth had to bail his team completely out on several occasions, and the game ended 6-0 as Alex Pietrangelo ended up going top shelf.
It was kinda pointless, is what I'm saying. The Czechs go back to work on Monday, playing Team Europe. Canada meanwhile, goes against Team USA on Tuesday.
Bruins at the WCOH:
Zdeno Chara for Team Europe played the majority of their PK minutes and played 22 minutes in total, third among defenseman for this team. He actually played quite well and looked healthy in this game
David Backes for Team USA played a mere 6 minutes, his line was extremely limtied as the US basically spent the entire game on the defending side of things or trying their damnedest to score, so let's not worry about how he's doing.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron played well for Team Canada, with Bergeron getting a goal and an assist and Brad Marchand getting two assists (even though one of those should absolutely be a goal) in their game against the Czech Republic
David Pastrnak played limited minutes as Team Czech Republic basically put themselves on the defensive for almost all of the game. He did however, receive PP time and was mentioned by Kevin Weekes as someone to look out for, so progress?