As pointed out earlier, the Bruins moves today are useful for next season since it will provide a bit more depth on the blueline. It also clears a superfluous forward from the organization.

The Habs started the period on a carryover power play and did little with it. Over all the Bruins played better in the second than in the first (a rarity this season) and helped themselves out by keeping the puck in the offensive zone more and outshooting their opponents on the period.

Sobotka had a good period with a couple nice defensive plays, a scrum along the net and a quality shot on net from the slot.

The Garden is still packed and unlike in certain arenas it should be noted that the fans here stood, sang and cheered both anthems.


After the first period its one zip Bruins. Marco Sturm reached around Carey Price and tucked home a puck that was snoozing in the blue paint after Marc Savard tore it off the boards, and dished it to Zdeno Chara who tossed the puck on net from the blueline through traffic.

Over all an ok period for the Bruins.

+’s:
They got the power play working again. With Ryder, Ference, Chara, Sturm and Savard on the scoring unit.

They kept most of Montreals shots from the outside.

-‘s:
Several sloppy breakouts.

They got penned into their own zone for several long stretches.

It should be noted:
That a Habs ‘fan’ started calling Halak’s name after the one goal allowed.

And one of the best jokes over heard was:
Q) Why did LeBlanc go to Harvard this year instead of playing in Montreal?

A) He wanted better linemates.

More after period two.


The bright among you will notice I’m live at the game. For the curious look in section 15.

For those living under a rock the Bruins have made two trades so far today.

Matt Marquart (F) was shipped off for a defenseman. And a conditional 4th round pick was promised for 2007 4th round pick and Michigan player Kampfer.

With the (tentative) addition of Kampfer and Cody Wild, the Bruins make a much needed step towards addressing the organizations lack of depth on the blueline.

Price and Rask led their squads on to the ice.

As always there are a lkot of red jerseys, surprisingly there are even respectable ones like Richard and Lafleur.

More later.


Damn what a game Adrian Dater @adater tweeted “That third period should be immediately sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Unreal. Best period I’ve seen in years.” And no one will make a saner statement about it.

Three Stars:
#3 Ryan Kesler. Mr Hustle-Muscle was everywhere he needed to be all night doing the job he was brought to do. Great in all three zones and chased down a Canadian player to pot an ENG at the end. He just put himself on the map as the third forward to know in Vancouver.

#2 Ryan Miller. Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr never really had the chance to pass the torch while they played, I think its fair to say that Martin Brodeur will look back at today and realize he did pass his torch. Miller out played him with the puck, in the crease and out of the crease. Forty two saves and cooler than a the ice flows in Thunder Bay.

#1 Brian Rafalski. The best two way defenseman in the tournament continued to be the catalyst for the men beneath the star spangled banner, he got it done in all three zones, scoring goals, stealing pucks and never letting anyone refer to him as “the old man” without all the respect he deserves.

Best Canadian players:
Eric Staal, Drew Doughty.


This period was just as action packed as the Canadian Goliath harried the Americans tying them and chaining them in their own end for stretches.

Most improved player in this period: Martin Brodeur.

Best defenseman of the game: Brian Rafalski

Best American forward:
Dustin Brown

Best Canadian forward:
Eric Staal

Great game so far. Look for a third period post and a post game “why they won”.


Damn, I thought USA vs Canada was going to have to work hard to top the early game. And they did.

Uncharacteristic puck bobbles by “Mr. They Made The Trapezoid To Give Other Teams Hope”, sloppy clears by both bluelines, ferocious forechecking and backchecking by both teams.

Three Stars of the period:
#3
Eric Staal, smooth playing take his puck by Miller, physical play made him look like the superstar he doesn’t always look in his NHL games.

#2 Rafalski, one of team USA’s old warhorses is leading the charge. Both physical and offensive.

#1 Ryan Miller. Clearly its Miller time. Team USA’s two other goalies should immediately toss aside any hope of playing before they return to their NHL teams.

2-1 USA after 20.


Wow.

What a contrast of styles this period. The Czech’s are all about misdirection, screens and being in position to recover a rebound. The Russians are all the Chicago polititicos of the tournament; Shoot early, and shoot often.

As I suspected much more passion by the Republic than in the second period, had they played with a little more fire the Russians would have been in major trouble.

It should also be noted the suits at NBC are dropping the ball again by putting the USA vs Canada game on MSNBC instead of their flagship broadcast outlet. That game will probably be the most watched non medal game of the games.


This was a bit different from the first period. There were less of the shattering hits that littered the opening. There were however more gloves in faces, some snarl. The Russians controlled the period, but took some really sloppy penalties. The Russian goal was a solid shot but this period was less entertaining than the first.

I suspect the Czech team will come out with a bit more passion and press the Russians to try and get the win.


Watching the first period there are two important things you need to take away from the play so far.

1) Is the simple one. The Russians have the best players on the ice, it doesn’t matter if its the two guys from Washington, the transplant to New Jersey, or the guy from Hockey Town.

2) Is the less obvious one. The Czech’s have the better team. The defensive structure is superior, the awareness in all three zones of each other is better, and they are clearly united in mind and purpose.

Its not shocking that this is probably the best game of the olympics so far.