Price will start for Canada against Latvia; Subban a healthy scratch

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will get the start in Wednesday’s Olympic quarterfinal game against Latvia, while Habs defenceman P.K. Subban will be a healthy scratch for the third time in four games.

Forward Martin St. Louis will return to the Team Canada lineup, while Matt Duchene will be a healthy scratch. 

Latvia beat Switzerland 3-1 Tuesday in a playoff qualification game to advance to the quarterfinals. In other playoff qualification games Tuesday, Canadiens defencemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin were both plus-2 as Russia beat Norway 4-0, and Habs forwad Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist as the Czech Republic beat Slovakia 5-3.

The Canadiens players who aren’t in Sochi will see their Olympic vacation come to an end on Wednesday when they hit the ice in Brossard for a scheduled 2 p.m. practice.

Mike Boone will be blogging live during Canada’s quarterfinal game along with other hockey writers from Postmedia News. Check HI/O around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to get a link to the live blog.

This week’s HI/O Show, with Chris Nilan and Boone as the guests joining sports editor/host Stu Cowan, will be taped on Thursday morning and be available online around 5 p.m. that day focusing on Team Canada. If you have any questions you would like answered on the show, post them in the comments below or email Cowan at scowan@montrealgazette.com and we will take them into consideration.

Here’s the projected Team Canada lineup against Latvia from The Canadian Press:

FORWARDS
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Patrice Bergeron
Jamie Benn – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Patrick Marleau – Jonathan Toews – Jeff Carter
Patrick Sharp – John Tavares – Rick Nash / Martin St. Louis

DEFENCEMEN
Duncan Keith – Shea Weber
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Dan Hamhuis

GOALIES
Carey Price – Roberto Luongo

SCRATCHES
Matt Duchene – P.K. Subban – Mike Smith

(Photo by Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Price gets start, St. Louis returns to lineup, Postmedia News

Video lookahead to Canada vs. Latvia, Postmedia News

Complete Olympic hockey coverage, Postmedia News

Hamilton’s Big Three developing on blue line for Habs, by Brenda Branswell

727 Comments

  1. Grimmly says:

    What is up with all the Rask love

    • Kooch7800 says:

      From the Canada game it is how the entire team is playing strong D. Rask didn’t have to make that many unbelievable saves when we played them.

      Can’t speak for this game….I haven’t been able to watch it

      “Lets Go Canada”

  2. Kooch7800 says:

    I thought Finland was a really weak opponent who we should have walked over with no issue :)

    “Lets Go Canada”

  3. adadi says:

    Gotta hand it do Jari Kurri. He knows how to play to his team’s strength. Would that the Canadian group had the same ability.

  4. Sportfan says:

    I wonder if we see these players ever again after this game :P

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  5. adadi says:

    I’d like to hear why the Russian coach started Varlomov over Bob. Wonder if it’s because Bob shoots right…

  6. HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

    Maybe I missed it, but haven’t seen the camera pan to a picture of Putin sitting in the stands.

  7. adadi says:

    Rusk unbeatable. Best goalie in the tourney so far.

  8. JUST ME says:

    Wow ! I mean…Holy… i mean …free cold shower !
    A comeback is still possible although …but never understood how some saw them with gold. Not up to par with the big boys…All expenses paid Siberian tour…

  9. adadi says:

    If Tikhonov was still coaching, he’d be hitting Varlomov over the head with a stick.

  10. Cal says:

    As that great band, the Rutles, once said when their manager, Leggy Mountbatten, decided to chuck it all and become a Buddhist monk: “I’m stunned. Very stunned.”
    Finland 3, Russia 1.

  11. HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

    Varlomov yanked time for BOBROVSKY!

  12. Phil C says:

    3-1 Finland. Ruh-roh.

  13. adadi says:

    Rooting for the Fins now. Can they go all the way?! 3-1.

  14. DoopsyDiddler says:

    Epitaph on a Tyrant

    - W. H. Auden

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
    And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
    He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
    And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
    When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
    And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

  15. adadi says:

    So it’s confirmed. Hamhus in PK out. Sigh.

  16. HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

    Congrats to Jennifer Jones and the rest of her rink for beating Great Britain this morning to advance to Gold Medal game. Would have been a shame had they lost this semi final after going undefeated in round robin. Hopefully the mens team can beat a surprisingly good CHina rink.

    • 24 Cups says:

      I don’t follow curling but was wondering if Sweden has any chance of beating Jones.

      • HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

        Yes they do, Prytz the skip for Sweden is a very experienced curler. Great Britain was probably the 2nd best team on paper at the tournament and Sweden upset Switzerland who have won the world curling championships beating Canada.

        But Canada should be able to play their game and win the gold.

  17. Cal says:

    Finns shocking the crowd! 2-1

  18. HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

    Voynov with a big blunder, Markov tries to help but that goal is on Voynov and Selanne makes no mistake. 2-1 Finland.

  19. Cal says:

    Are the Russians more nervous than Team Canada’s management?
    Only Canuckful knows for sure.

  20. Plekasuares says:

    Russia d is kinda crap. Just

    • ianism says:

      probably having chemistry issues, just like us. but they look like their forwards AND defence aren’t in sync. the finns on the other hand have team defence locked down. offence still needs work though…

  21. Cal says:

    Looks like it’s game on Finland-Russia. 1-1 early on.

  22. HabinBurlington is Canadian says:

    Finland fights right back to tie. Have read comments like Canada hasn’t been tested yet, well, they may have had a close score against Finland, but they outplayed them for an entire game.

  23. ? says:

    Could Team Canada be too big up front?
    Lets see what St. Louis can do.
    Smurf power away.

  24. Dust says:

    Babcock seems to be a good coach. He is 3-0 in the tournament his team is playing well and believe they can win it all.
    Good job team Canada! keep on winning, lets take the gold!

  25. Plekasuares says:

    Babcock is an idiot…

    • Saintpatrick33 says:

      I agree. Dress your best players ffs. There is no reason why Subban shouldn’t be playing over Hamhuis and Kunitz over Duchene. He’s over thinking it and it wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if the US trounces them.

  26. Puck Bard says:

    24 Cups comment below at 8:22 last night is one of the greatest things I have read.

  27. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning friends. Is there anyone in this tournament that probably has more pressure then Price? I do n’t think it will come today but sometime in this tournament Price will be under a barrage and his ability to make a key save or two will be the difference between a gold, silver, bronze or God forgive, no medal.

    Just one or two saves at the right time may
    write the history of Price’s Olympic experience. I know as a fan I’m nervous as all heck for him.

    • JohnnyCanuckful says:

      Mornin’. Jim.
      You’re probably right about Price. And he can thank his offence for adding to the pressure. They should be heating it up while he freezes out the opposition.

  28. Just A Guy says:

    Anyone up and watching the Sweden vs Slovenia game? Might turn out to be a good one if Slovenia can keep it up.

  29. Timo says:

    Russians are ripping their hockey team on their forums. Russian version of HIO. Ovie is not getting much love there.

  30. JohnnyCanuckful says:

    Sochi – Disgraced hockey coach Mike Babcock has offered an abject apology for his getting Team Canada booted from the Winter Olympics.
    The team was sent packing after having its 3-2 win over Latvia overturned for “acts committed in violation of Games rules and conduct inimical to the spirit of fair play.”
    “I blew it, I let the pressure to win get the better of me,” a contrite, teary-eyed Babcock told reporters yesterday outside his hotel room, while workers continued to work on its construction.
    “I’ve brought shame to Canada, the national hockey program, the players, the fans, and my family,” he said. “I am so, so Sochi sorry. I hope they can forgive me.”
    Canada was trailing Latvia 2-0 after two periods Wednesday but mounted a terrific comeback in the third to win a thrilling contest that went down to the wire.
    The country’s exultation quickly turned to stunned disbelief, however, when the team was stripped of the win six hours later after it was revealed Canada had employed questionable tactics to rig the outcome.
    An investigation carried out by International Ice Hockey Federation officials determined Babcock had ordered accomplices, during the second intermission, to:
    – spread sand at the Latvian bench
    – use a fake email account in Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula’s name to bombard Latvian coach Ted Nolan with an endless series of questions requiring immediate responses “or else”
    – tweet Russian president Vladimir Putin that half of the Latvian team was gay and looking to “make a scene” should the country earn a medal
    – pay fans seated behind the Latvian bench to serenade the players with offensive lyrics parodying their country’s national anthem and principal exports
    But the most serious transgression, in the eyes of IIHF officials, was Babcock’s decision to illegally substitute a player before the start of the third period. PK Subban, who had been a healthy scratch, took the place of an underperforming Rick Nash on the fourth line and scored two goals, including the winner, to lead Canada to victory.
    The ruse was uncovered when the Latvians asked for a player measurement immediately after the game. Their suspicions were proved correct when a video review of third period action showed ‘Nash’ measured three inches shorter than his listed height.
    Traces of white grease paint found behind Subban’s ears as he was leaving the dressing room confirmed the investigators’ initial finding that Canada had indeed used deception to defeat its smaller rival.
    Subban expressed regret for his role in Team Canada’s humiliating ouster, saying he had been reluctant to go along with his coach’s “Babcockamamie scheme but he’s won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold ring so who am I to question what he’s doing.
    Besides, being a Montreal Canadien I have complete faith in whatever your coach tells you do.”
    There was no doubt that Babcock’s remorse was sincere and deeply felt. After being peppered with questions by reporters and several of the workers installing drywall in his hotel room, the veteran coach began to bawl uncontrollably and howl between convulsions that he deserved “to be whipped, not just for what happened here in Socchi but back in 2008, when we won the Cup.”
    Babcock refused to go into detail.
    “Talk to Stevie Y,” he said. “He was vice-president of operations for the Red Wings back then. We used to call him the VP of black ops.
    “Let’s just say switching players isn’t exactly a new gambit.”

  31. Timo says:

    Canada will destroy Latvia tomorrow… it won’t be even close. They got their 15 minutes in the spotlight… it’s back to earth tomorrow.

  32. ClutchNGrab says:

    Someone ask earlier what was going on with Kiev.
    Simpler answer:
    Current government is pro Russia, opposition is pro West. Ukraine was scheduled to start the process of entering the European Union, the current government shut down that possibility and increased the country’s ties with Russia.

    More complicated answer, if you look at a map, Ukraine is right between Russia and Western Europe. Around 25% of all natural gas in the European Union comes from Russia and 80% of that quarter pass through Ukraine. The three are largely interdependent AND the current opposition is not unified.

    The west have watched Russia attack Georgia 2008, I doubt they now feel the need to intervene especially with the ongoing Iranian and Syrian negotiations.

    • HabFab says:

      To further clarify the situation, 3/8′s of Ukraine are either Russian or mixed Russian Ukrainian. They speak Russian and occupy the East and Southern provinces.
      The latest public opinion poll in Ukraine, released last Friday, showed 45% in support of the pro-western movement and 48% against, leaving 7% undecided. This is one divided country and civil war looms.
      The poor Ukrainians needed to be left alone to work out what was best for them instead of becoming a pawn in the struggle between the West and Russia.. and we are not innocent here.

  33. B says:

    It was mentioned earlier how Brady Vail has up’d his production since Kirby Rychel was traded to Guelph. I was curious how the two 19 year olds compared this season in Windsor. Rychel had 16 goals and 39 pts in his 27 games (1.44 ppg) with Windsor. Since Rychel left, Vail has 18 goals and 43 pts in 30 games (1.43 ppg). Not too bad, eh?

    –Go Habs Go!–

  34. ABHabsfanisCanadianbuthatesdrinkingCanadian says:

    Anybody know what time the semis are on Friday? I don’t want to look past tomorrow’s game but seriously..what time on Friday. I have to schedule a meeting and I don’t want to miss the game if possible

    “man, I love winnin’; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
    Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh

  35. habstrinifan says:

    I am NOT reading HIO tonight or before the game…I’m like that guy called “the twilight hours of a Canadian Winter”…fed up.

    (Aside.. you could sue your parents and win for some sort of abuse with a name like that.

    I am NOT posting on HIO tonight or before the game…I’m like that guy called “the twilight hours of a Canadian Winter”… fed up.
    (Aside.. you could sue your parents and win for some sort of abuse with a name like that).

    d’oh!

  36. the twilight hours of a Canadian winter says:

    Is Patches going to play for the US next game?

  37. UKRAINIANhab says:

    So tomorrows the game thats 8-0 right?????

    Right…

  38. habsfan0 says:

    When will we know if PK will be in the lineup against Latvia?
    If he’s sitting,and Canada loses,Bell Centre fans can let Babcock know what they think of his decision on Feb. 26 when Detroit plays the Habs in 1st game back for both teams.

    • the twilight hours of a Canadian winter says:

      He’s sitting, Phil. Babcock said that he’s likely not to play. He didn’t practice on the PP. He was first on the ice, last off.

      Sharpen your stake.

    • mrhabby says:

      usually players last off the ice will not be playing..Subban was last off the ice during practice today..not any time soon is my guess.

  39. the twilight hours of a Canadian winter says:

    HIO kinda sucks lately. Granted, I’ve barely seen any of the Olympics. But when I log in, it’s all about how crap Canada has been and how PK should be playing. I’m bored of this.

    No offense to any of you, who are all (but one of you) the finest of folk.

    • CJ says:

      Changing subjects, Mike McCarron with an assist tonight to keep his point streak alive. Brady Vail with a goal. 4-2 Knights in the third period.

      • the twilight hours of a Canadian winter says:

        Nice switch up. Vail seems to have fallen down the charts. Let’s see how he handles the pros, assuming he makes it.

        • CJ says:

          Vail has had a tremendous second half of the season. At 19 and able to play a 200 ft game, he has a great deal of upside. He has good size, strength and is a great skater. He is listed at 6’1″ but looked even bigger when I saw him play the 67′s in Ottawa.

          The best thing that could have happened was the Spitfires trading Rychel. Vail has been given a staring role and has excelled his development.

          • Chris says:

            Vail has really stepped up this season, especially after Windsor dealt Kerby Rychel. Vail has become the team’s leader, and he’s doing a good job of it.

            I am always a little surprised to see the rankings that have Vail so low on the organizational depth chart. With the season he’s been having and his strong defensive play, he strikes me as a good bet to make the NHL, as he can certainly thrive in a third or fourth line role. Many of the other prospects in the system are high-risk, high-reward: they could end up top-6 forward or top-4 defenceman, but they are more likely to be AHL’ers.

          • CJ says:

            Agreed Chris. When I watched him in Ottawa, he looked like a man among boys. I think he had four or five points that night against the 67′s.

            Again, at 19 he has tons of upside.

      • Habs4LifeInTO says:

        Thank you!

        24 cups and counting….

    • naweed235 says:

      Hey buddy! Off topic, but I got extremely and surprisingly good news regarding that whole situation… I’ll be able to graduate on time after all. Also, much respect to you for the support, it was much appreciated. Cheers!

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Sorry but at least this only happens once every four years!

  40. razor436 says:

    I would be most grateful if Subban does not play another game in Sotchi. Canada’s game #2 in which Subban did play was torture for me. I spent that whole game asking aloud “Where the f@#$ is Subban? Why aren’t they playing him more?”.

    I’d rather spend the remainder of our games cheering for our team, rather than bitching at the coaches.

    • Marc10 B All About Gold Baby! says:

      Another poster brought up that when he was on the ice (or on the bench for that matter) he seemed to be largely ignored by his teammates (except for his buddy John Tavares).

      I thought I was being a tad paranoid (a great HIO trait), but I did notice Getzlaf just hogging the puck instead of setting up PK for the old one-timer laser. (Later his hogging around paid off on a Carter goal…)

      Seems like Duck Boy wanted to get it down low to his pal Perry instead and so one of the only opportunities for PK to shine was wasted . That and one PP opportunity was all he got. As others have mentioned our D is solid and isn’t the problem.

      I do see PK on the bench against faster teams. You’ll want him in your back pocket if we fall behind, but who knows. Babcock and his left-right fetish or (hopefully) the Team’s success… might keep him in the stands.

  41. govenah says:

    What are the chance that Babkook wakes up tomorrow after a restless evening(of caviar and vodka) and thinks that with the light Latvian duty he should take a chance and play Subban just to see what happens.
    25%?
    …expecting comment about my evening of caviar and vodka.

    The glass is MT.

  42. commandant says:

    Latvians nothing to laugh at.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/02/18/latvians-nothing-to-laugh-at/

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • 24 Cups says:

      Latvia has one NHL player who is 19 years old. They also have a former NHLer who is 41. That’s basically it. The country has just 1200 registered hockey players. Canada has 500,000 including kids and teenagers. Latvia has finished in last or second last every year in international hockey save one when I think they came 9th. I realize that you still have to play the games but let’s stay real here.

      If Latvia wins tomorrow the entire world will be laughing at Canada. It would be a disgrace that would never be lived down. Every player (except for the three scratches) would carry the humiliation throughout their careers.

      It’s time for Canada’s stars to go out there and kick some ass. Once that’s done, then carry that over to the next game against the States. I’m really getting fed up with all these half assed games. Babcock needs to lay down some fire and brimstone instead of all this chess game bullshit.

  43. B says:

    The Giant’s missing Thrower who’s been out with an ankle injury for the last 10 games:

    http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Vancouver+Giants+missing+Dalton+Thrower+presence/9513739/story.html

    –Go Habs Go!–

  44. Mavid is a Canadian says:

    Sorry but I am going to cheer for turtleneck power over the wolverine..

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  45. B says:

    The CHL signs a new 12 year extension with Sportsnet:

    http://www.whl.ca/article/chl-sportsnet-announce-12-year-deal/159399

    –Go Habs Go!–

  46. B says:

    Brady Vail gets his 29th. 1-1 Vail & Windsor vs McCarron & London in the 1st.

    Edit: McCarron gets an assist, London wins 6-5 in OT.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  47. C-Sword says:

    Go Canada!
    Go Slovenia!
    Go Czech Republic!
    Go Finland!

  48. PsyCONADIAN29 says:

    Re the idea of putting Subban up front mentioned in a few posts below, this is on the Sochi Hockey Website:

    P.K. SUBBAN:
    FORWARD TO DEFENCE
    As a young player he frequently played forward until his father suggested he move to defence. His father would tell him, “Good defensemen are hard to come by. There are a lot of guys that play forward and score goals, but there’s not a lot of guys that can play defence and still score goals. You have the ability to play defence, and I think you should start trying it and get really good at it.” He followed his father’s advice. “Now I’m happy because the play starts and ends with the defensemen.” (sportsnet.ca, 06 Sep 2012)

    http://www.sochi2014.com/en/athlete-pk-subban

    • 24 Cups says:

      If Subban plays forward that doesn’t leave us with much on the back end. Things fall off pretty dramatically after Markov and he still has to be re-signed.

      I think a stud Dman is harder to come by than a top scorer.

      • PsyCONADIAN29 says:

        I was thinking for Team Canada, I bet you he’d get Crosby’s line going!!

        ;-)

        • 24 Cups says:

          I’ll tell you who could get Crosby’s line going, Sidney Crosby.

          It’s time to stop discussing Canada’s 13th and 14th forwards, as well as the 4th pairing Dmen, and start asking when Canada’s elite players are going to adapt to their new environment and begin playing like stars.

          • monmick is Canadian says:

            The only goals scored by Team Canada are by defensemen and Jeff Phoquen Carter…

            ~~~> Mathematically eliminated…

  49. Phil C says:

    Canada is getting quite the cakewalk to the semi-finals. Norway, Austria, a low stakes game against Finland, now Latvia. It is highly likely the first real adversity they will face will be in a sudden-death semi-final.

    Until the games mean something AND they face some adversity, I don’t think we will know what kind of team we have. I am half hoping Latvia gets an early goal and Canada is forced to play some real hockey for the first time.

    The Olympic hockey tournament is okay, but not enough competition for my liking. I would rather see just the top 6 teams play a round robin, then a playoff, that would be something to watch.

    • adadi says:

      Ridiculous that the IIHF said that there is no way that women’s hockey will be taken out of the Olympics. What’s the point of having a whole sport that everyone knows will come down to two teams. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Canada US rivalry just not in the Olympics.

      • Phil C says:

        At least they are doing more to grow the game at the grassroots with their mentoring program. It is a joke otherwise.

        • adadi says:

          Doesn’t seem like the mentoring is working. How long has it been going on for?

        • Said this yesterday…sorry for repeating but:

          The men’s program had a similar tart so man years ago:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_Olympic_Games

          Just suggesting that because the sport is, indeed, a sport and not a judged competition and because the the sport itself continues to gain popularity world wide that it would be a shame to abandon it now.

          A few days ago someone on here went on about how hockey in Russia was facing reduced participation rate. I did a bit of research and discovered that wasn’t true. In fact, the reduced participation rates are in Canada whereas most other countries continue to see growth in the sport…Russia included.

          I for one support the expansion of the world’s fastest team and most exciting team sport in any way possible.

          punkster is Canadian!!!

      • B says:

        Mens hockey was like that too when it first became an Olympic sport. It took a while, but the other countries got more competitive. The same will eventually happen with women’s hockey. Look how far the Switzerland woman’s team has come in only their 3rd Olympics.

        –Go Habs Go!–

  50. adadi says:

    Sounds like Glen Healy has been picked up by Sportsnet. Someone mentioned that possibility here a couple of days ago. Good call. Bad for us though. I was hoping that he would be one who would get lost with the Sportsnet deal.

  51. Thomas Le Fan says:

    So … are we still afraid of the Swiss?

    Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

  52. MikeHabs says:

    Glad that Price is guiding this ship. Just wish PK got the proper chance with him. Babcock isn’t a fan of his and its showing big time here. Defensive liability is a straight up myth for Subban. This article made that clear http://canucksarmy.com/2014/2/17/the-reports-of-p-k-subban-s-demise-have-been-greatly-exaggerated

    Here is the latest Habs prospect update: http://www.allaboutthehabs.ca/prospect-update-feb-10-16/

    • deggy24 says:

      Great analysis. I watched Keith expose Canada to two Finish opportunities in the last 10 mins of the second period. He is indeed a very good player but I conclude he “shows” better than PK because he plays with two of the worlds top forwards, on a stacked team, and he is more conventional in style. Based on what I’ve seen PK as good or better than all but doughty, maybe petrol, and doughty is a certified nut job based on reliable sources.

      Habs Win!

  53. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Off topic – Absolutely ridiculous that Viktor Yanukovych president of Ukraine has not had the balls to step down yet. Anyone familiar with the situation knows why they are protesting. Long story short NO MORE COMMUNISM.

  54. munch17 says:

    Players on Team Canada are used to playing lots of minutes – last game prior to olympics Tavares played over 22 minutes and Pietroangelo over 28.
    I think that they need to create their top 3 lines with their top 9 forwards ( my math skills are excellent) and roll 3 lines. I don’t think these guys get into any kind of rhythm playing 12 minutes.
    They have not played much hockey in the last 2 weeks and are all in great shape.

    • Ktowner says:

      That’s kind of what Ted Nolan did with his Latvian team against Switzerland. Rolled two or three lines for the last half of the game.
      Worked for him but Babcock can’t do that with the studs he has on his bench. Hard enough to pick two guys to scratch each game let alone shorten the bench down.

  55. Un Canadien errant says:

    About the ski ballet thing, some of the youngsters may not know this, but it used to be an integral part of Freestyle Skiing, which was a big departure back in the day from the rigid diet of racing that FIS favoured. It had evolved from the seventies ‘hotdog’ ski movement, and was quickly tamed and made insipid by FIS.

    The way it worked was that the ballet comp was on Friday, the moguls event was on Saturday and the aerials were on Sunday. Some athletes competed in all three events to win the overall Freestyle event/championship/World Cup, but very quickly they started to specialize, and all the good ones chose bumps or aerials, and ballet fell in disfavour. Because really, what kids were going to choose that discipline over moguls or aerials?

    The solution? They tried to rebrand the sport as Acro-Skiing, for all the, ahem, acrobatics. It wasn’t enough. Strangely, no one was fooled by the name change, and the ‘sport’ fizzled and withered away. But not before my snowboard buddies and I would swing by during comps and heckle the ‘acro’ skiers. We were taken to task by ossified skiers who hated snowboarding, how dare we make fun of them like that, but deep down they knew the whole thing was ridiculous. And we’d bump into the same people the following days, when we’d all watch the bumps skiers and the aerialists with awe.

    Some of the movers and shakers in Whistler had thrown in their lot with Freestyle skiing in the early nineties, going to Muni Hall and asking for free land and other inducements (like more free land and development rights) so that a developer would build a training centre for the Freestyle team for free-ish. “We love Freestyle!”, they kept saying, as if to convince themselves. But everyone knew what it meant: “Well, the kids would rather have fun and play and ski powder than wear speedsuits and race gates all day, so let’s shift them in the freestyle direction, instead of losing them to snowboarding.”

    The thing is, FIS has almost strangled Freestyle too, with strictures on what was allowed and what wasn’t. For years, all the mogul skiers were able to do 360′s and 720′s and inverted tricks, but weren’t allowed to do them in competition, they were forced to do daffies and backscratchers as their tricks off the jumps. See for yourself how lame these are on YouTube.

    Indeed, it’s snowboarding that, again, saved skiing from itself, with the freeskiing movement that evolved in parallel with snowboarding. The cool new ski disciplines in Sochi, which are threatening to overtake bumps and moguls, all originated as snowboard disciplines: halfpipe, slopestyle, and ski-cross.

    So yeah, ski ballet looks ridiculous because it was ridiculous. And the way Freestyle skiing was almost killed before Johnny Moseley spinned to win in Nagano is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you have a corrupt, reactionary elite running a sport, and dictating it from the top down, instead of actually letting the sport grow organically, and letting the kids take the sport in uncharted territory.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • Ktowner says:

      I’m all for getting rid of any “sport” that relies totally on judging. I’m not dissing the skill, training and athleticism needed for such events but it is far too easy for corruption and collusion to rear its ugly head.

      • ianism says:

        hmmm it doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue in freestyle skiing or sb events though. i’ve watched a lot through the years since nagano and there’s never really been controversy over it….

  56. doug19 says:

    I would love to see PK play forward with the habs or TC. Only Murray can create chaos on the wall in the offensive zone. The only problem for Murray is he needs to go to the bench so someone else can skate back down
    The ice.
    PK can skate back. The habs are looking for a power forward? Bring up Tinordi and put PK at forward. Then you also have an extra defenseman available.

  57. doug19 says:

    I would love to see PK play forward with the habs or TC. Only Murray can create chaos on the wall in the offensive zone. The only problem for Murray is needs to go to the bench so someone else can skate back down
    The ice. PK can skate back. The habs are looking for a power forward? Bring up Tinordi and put PK at forward. Then you also have an extra defenseman available.

  58. Habilis Canadianis says:

    Latvia… I did not see that coming.

    This is their potential “Miracle” moment. They have nothing to lose. Dangerous.

    But still, Latvia… I saw a tweet about how many registered hockey players they have in their country, it’s around 4000. That’s men, women and kids.

    We have about 620,000 registered players. Yeah.

    This is knockout hockey now, no muffins allowed. If this game is still close after the 2nd period, we have a problem.

    • ianism says:

      nah. they played really well against a good swiss team (they beat the czechs in the prelims). it might be closer than people expect, but there is no way they are winning tomorrow. team canada might panic a bit if they go down 1 on a fluke goal or are held scoreless by the end of the 2nd, but let’s think about this for a bit… they have a full roster of elite-level, experienced professionals. their chemistry might be iffy and the latvian goalie is hot, but it would be one of the the biggest upsets in the history of hockey.

  59. Lopaz is Canadian says:

    Crazy thought of the day, but I would love to see Subban up front in a Habs uniform, and not on the wing but at center!

    If he is going to be “reigned in ” his whole career as a dman, let him carry the puck, enter the zone, create offence, all at the center position.

    His defensive instincts will come into play in the defensive zone and on the back check, no problem.

    I know it’s nuts, but I would pay big money to see it!

  60. Harditya says:

    With all this hate against Babcock, I have decided that the perfect replacement will be our very own Michel Therrien. He will make Drew Doughty a much better person as well. Jokes aside, I have learnt that no matter who you cheer for, even if it’s the Chicago Blackhawks, fans will always question the coach’s moves. I hope I am less critical of Therrien from this point on.

    Oh, who am I kidding FIRE THERRIEN!

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      But Michel Therrien is the reason Price, Subban, Plekanec etc made the olympics! It came right out of Bergevins mouth. I agree! Sarcasm….

      • scarboro_habitant says:

        no, don cherry was the reason PK made team canada. don shared that with us a few weeks back on coaches corner. players are going to be hounding him next time the olympics roll around.

    • DoopsyDiddler says:

      Therrien at least can handle the heat.

      Perhaps Babcock is used to “hockey” town, where hockey is the 6th sport (safely behind pro and college football, pro and college basketball, and baseball.

      He’s melting faster than Texas roadkill in July.

      • Exit716 says:

        You are correct, sir. And when the Wings fail in the playoffs, the fans and media always blame the goalie.

        • Lopaz is Canadian says:

          With Lindstrom gone Babcock’s magic powers seem to have faded quite quickly.

          • DoopsyDiddler says:

            The bloom is off the rose.

            Even that McGill tie! It used to say “These are my roots, this is where I’m from”. Now it seems to be saying “I went to college. Can you believe it? I actually went to college.”

          • Lopaz is Canadian says:

            Hey no Mcgill jokes. I did my Bachelors degree there.

          • frontenac1 says:

            So did Mrs Front. Then she smartened up and got her Masters at Concordia. Redmen are Deadmen!

      • The Jackal says:

        Unbelievable how much Babcock criticism there is, and it is not even good or substantiated!
        I’m hoping these posts are jokes but I’m just in denial at this point.

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  61. CJ says:

    Firstly, three games in five days will test even Canada’s mental and physical resolve. As such, I believe PK will get a chance to contribute on the ice where it matters most.

    Secondly, there is so much talk about Babcock that I am really not sure where to chime in. I will add, building on a message I posted below, that I think the commentarit, in addition to team Canada fans across the world, are giving Babcock far too much credit as a singular decision maker.

    Unlike the traditional NHL franchise structure, these decisions regarding who plays and who sits are being made by committee. Before we run old Mike up the flagpole I ask you to stop and think, would he really have this much authority? Personally, I say no. The decision regarding St Louis, PK, Kunitz or anyone else is being made by committee. We (I) may not always agree with the decisions, however they are not mutually exclusive to Mike Babcock. I am sure the coach has a degree of input, or ballot, but it is one of many which are being cast.

    I might be completely wrong and maybe Mike Babcock has landed in Sochi tasked with the responsibility of making all the final decisions. Personally, I find this very hard to believe. Again, I appreciate that this, to an exent, can be true in a typical (but not exclusive) NHL franchise structure, however I can not imagine our coach being handed this kind of final veto power. Babcock’s job as coach is to guide a group of premier athletes. His job is to push the right buttons at the right time. IMO, his job is more about coaching and only partly about player personell.

    Just my two cents…

    • Lopaz is Canadian says:

      Everyone there could be part of the discussion but someone has to make a final decision, and that final say should go to the head coach.

      • CJ says:

        I agree that this would be the process in a typical (although not exclusively) NHL setting, however this ship is being captained by Stevie Y. IMO, he should be making the final decision on personnel choices. If Babcock has both input and final say, then he is the executive in charge. Again, respectfully, I just don’t see this being the case.

    • Harditya says:

      You’re right CJ. Especially when you consider that Subban barely played, and in the ice time he was given he made no mistakes at all. So what made Babcock say that “he really doesn’t have a chance”, when he didn’t really get one to begin with. It must have been decided prior to the tournament by the committee.

      • CJ says:

        Not trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I do wonder if Babcock accidentally said more than he should have.

        Within this community forum we took his words to be literal and that he personally was not going to give PK a shot. Perhaps he slipped and spoke on behalf of the group (consensus).

        • Just a Habs Fan says:

          I think it means in his opinion the defense is playing so well he can’t sit anyone out….I agree with that

          • CJ says:

            Great point.

            At the end of the day, as Chris noted below, the issue is not with our defence. It is not with our goaltending either. We have generated lots of chances following extended play in the offensive zone, but we need to score more goals. These are single elimination games now. I have no doubt we beat any of the remaining teams in a 7 game series, but in a one or done format anything can happen. We need to become more opportunistic or we could end up getting bounced.

          • D Mex-iCanadian says:

            ALWAYS Habs -
            D Mex

    • B says:

      Hey CJ. 3 games in 5 days for Team Canada. How about when the Habs return to action next week? They have 3 games in 4 days (home vs Det, the next day in Pitt and then back home for Bos), they then get a day off before playing out on the West coast vs LA. After getting a day off following the game in LA, they visit ANA, PHO and SJ for another 3 games in 4 days. Ouch!

      –Go Habs Go!–

      • CJ says:

        The Habs next 10 games are brutal. I said about three weeks ago that I only wish the trade deadline was one week later, which would follow this stretch of games. Today we are entrenched in the fourth position in the Eastern conference, however within two weeks we could be fighting for a playoff spot.

        A record of 4-4-2 over the next ten would be a major accomplishment, especially following an Olympic break in which 7 of our players have been engaged in an event 9 hours away.

        • scamorza says:

          yes return schedule is brutal especially with trip out west. Then again most teams are fighting for a playoff spot welcome tot the world of parity!

          come to Dorion suits where you get no….”hassoles” _ Yvon Lambert

  62. A Mari Usque Ad Mare says:

    I am very happy that Price still gets the nod over Lou. His confidence seemed to be very high going in and hopefully it will be when he gets back. As he said, confidence is very important. What would a gold medal do for that?

    As for PK, ya sure, I would have liked to have seen him get more ice time. It does not look like that will happen this time around and seeing him get Ham’s spot of 3-4 minutes a game really does not matter to me. Assuming the L and R is a factor, which apparently it is, I like Canada’s top six. He would be #3 on that side behind Weber and Doughty on my team, but I like AP as well.

    Hoping for some turtleneck power against the USA. Captain Turtleneck pleck!

    I know PK not being there seems to have p/o many people. Though disappointed myself, I will be cheering TC as loudly as ever and hope the ones who have been lucky enough to land a spot bring back a gold.

    Go Canada go (even w/o PK)!

  63. Chris says:

    Should Subban be playing or not? I don’t honestly care…Team Canada’s defence has been outstanding thus far, accounting for more than half the team’s scoring and playing tight defensive hockey.

    The Subban obsession is understandable, I suppose, for Habs fans, but it isn’t going to cure any of Team Canada’s ills. The defence is fine.

    The problem with Team Canada, thus far, has been at the forward spots: they simply don’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. I suspect part of that is that they still haven’t quite figured out the big ice, and they have had the disadvantage of playing minnows in 2 of their 3 games so far. Finland is normally a tough out, but this is not the Finland team that has given the usual powers so much trouble in recent years: Selanne has slowed, the Koivus are both out, and their roster is sprinkled with guys that are good, serviceable role players but lack star power. The Finns are struggling to score, and Canada was not about to oblige them by opening up their tight defensive shell.

    With the exception of the Americans, the other teams haven’t really impressed me much in this tournament either. The Russians have some skill, but they are inconsistent. The Swedes have been hammered by injuries and were not particularly convincing against Switzerland (1-0) or Latvia (5-3).

    I’m not too worried about Canada yet, but they do need to get the big guns (Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Perry) going or they will be in trouble. I don’t think Latvia should trouble Canada, but that semifinal match-up with the winner of the US and the Czech Republic (I’m betting heavily on the US) is not at all ideal.

    • Cal is a ticked off Canadian because Team Canada thinks PK is not good enough says:

      Have you been surprised by the low quality of this tournament?
      I certainly have.
      On Canada’s D, I’ve watched error after error by Vlasic as well as poor passing by both Pietr and Bow. PK is better than they have shown this tourney. If/When Canada gets by Latvia and has to face the US, you will see what I mean.

      • Chris says:

        Overall, I’ve had a hard time getting into the tournament this year. I’m becoming less and less enamoured with hockey of late, and the Olympics haven’t really done much to alleviate that. The Russia – United States game was hands down the best game thus far. Perhaps, now that we are into the quarterfinals and can be spared from watching the turtles (Latvia, Switzlerand, Germany, Austria, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia) playing the powers (Russia, United States, Sweden, Canada), we will start to see the quality of games that have had people excited for international hockey in the past.

        In terms of passing, don’t discount the fact that the ice in Sochi has been simply abysmal. Too many games plus high temperatures and humidity outside have undoubtedly created the crappiest imaginable ice. The puck was hopping all over the place in the Finland game, and the passing really suffered as a result.

        • DoopsyDiddler says:

          USA-Canada and Sweden-Russia (if they occur) will be great hockey games.

          I’ll eat a game-worn Milan Lucic Bruins jersey while listening to Jack Edwards commenting the 7th game of the 2011 playoffs if they aren’t.

  64. matrags says:

    well it’s Latvia tomorrow man I know they earnedit but gee I am worried that we are having it easy, I hope we don’t get caught flat footed when we face the yanks.

  65. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Quite funny how some canadian leaf fans are cheering for USA.

    • Habilis Canadianis says:

      If it were just the fans, it’d be one thing. But even the media is getting in on it now.

      We get it, Kessel is playing well. Maybe we should wait till the games matter to anoint him as better than Crosby though.

      I don’t understand why they feel the need to fawn all over the guy any time he goes on a hot streak. It’s like they’re all trying to prove to themselves that he’s really a good player.

      Personally, I’d take every Canadian forward (Kunitz excepted) before I’d take Mr. One Dimensional, aka Kessel. Heck, I’d even take Giroux, Hall or Seguin before Kessel. But that’s just me.

      • UKRAINIANhab says:

        If hes good they should not have to prove it to us and brag about it!

      • A Mari Usque Ad Mare says:

        Hate the Leafs, but Kessel is a really good player. They should not need to prove that to anyone at this point. He is a pretty one dimensional player, but very good at that one (very important) dimension. The same case could be made for Ovey.

        As for him on TC, you may be right. But, imagine if he did not make TC the Leaf nation reaction. That would almost make it worth it to leave him off, deserving or not.

        • Habilis Canadianis says:

          Agreed. He is an amazingly gifted offensive player, I won’t deny that.

          It’s actually kind of amazing that he is as good as he is, considering that he obviously doesn’t work out too hard. To me, the fact that he doesn’t even have a letter in Toronto is very telling. I just don’t think he cares that much.

          I can’t even imagine how good he’d be if he cared enough to get himself into great shape and started playing some D. He really could challenge Crosby as the world’s best if that were the case.

          But it’s not the case. He is what he is. A very gifted offensive hockey player who can’t play D at all.

          IMHO, if your best and highest paid player is a one dimensional doughnut eater who has no interest in being a leader on your club, you’re not in the best shape.

          • A Mari Usque Ad Mare says:

            Yup, hard to argue with you on his defensive play, at least in my opinion of him.

            I would never take him over M. Hossa type winger (productive and good defensively). This is one reason I thought the Leafs overpaid a bit for him.

            As a Hab fan, him + Phaneauf at 15 per year is fine with me. But try telling that to a Leaf fan.

            I totally agree with you that the Toronto centric coverage we get does make anything Leafs annoying, and usually blown way out of proportion.

            Hard to believe that Tor fans would start rooting for the USA though. I mean, if Max, PK, Markov, Plex and Price all played for the USA, I would still be cheering Team Canada on (though I would likely be rooting for them vs all the rest).

      • scamorza says:

        just the TO media’s and fans way to forgive who they gave up to get him i.e. Seguin and how many first round picks That being said a good offensive player

        come to Dorion suits where you get no….”hassoles” _ Yvon Lambert

  66. Jimmy9Toes says:

    Okay, i have typed until my fingers are blue about the so called wonder coach, Mike Babcock. I mean with this line up, Hitchcock, Julien and even Ralph Kreuger would be 3-0, but everyone of them would have PK in there top 6 and Kunitz sitting after game 2.

  67. johnnylarue says:

    Re: my lack of respect for Finland below (in describing them as a “non-contender”)

    Sorry if that came across as gratuitous, but I think it’s fair to point out that they were missing one of their top scoring lines in its entirety for their game against Canada, so I would hesitate to call Finland a contender under those circumstances.

    I just don’t think we’ll have an accurate indication of where Team Canada truly stands until the Semifinal round, as they’ll have played four teams with very little firepower up front compared to the other big guns in the tournament.

  68. DoopsyDiddler says:

    Barcelona were already hogging the football. Now City have lost a player to a red card and conceded a penalty.

    Barca doing their Harlem Globetrotters impression.

    http://goatd.net/77086/watch-manchester-city-vs-barcelona

  69. Mavid is a Canadian says:

    I love how people are saying we think PK should play because we are Habs fans..wrong..on every segment all day today on Ottawa radio they all think PK should be playing..every single one of them..its not just us…these are stinkin rotton Sens homers who don’t like the Habs at all…he should be playing period..left hand shot my ass….

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      And toronto radio and even my bruins friends…

    • habcertain says:

      well that settles it then, ranting and raving about PK not being dressed should no longer be considered unreasonable, over the top. we should continue to scream like little babies until our demands are met. he is our man and should be dressed!

    • Habs4LifeInTO says:

      You’ve hit it on the head M, it isn’t really a Hab thing. It’s the right and best thing to do for Team Canada! Really happy to hear Sens fans are up in arms over this too!

      24 cups and counting….

  70. FanSince1969 says:

    Wow 300 comments about this? We are starving for Hans news

  71. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Whos the worst!!

    A: Healy (my vote)
    B: Cherry
    C: MacLean
    D: Galley
    E: other _________

  72. Plekasuares says:

    This Snowboard cross stuff is AWESOME!!!

  73. Strummer says:

    USA and Finland didn’t draw favourable opponants in the quarter-finals.
    This where it gets interesting.

    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

  74. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Nice to see Price drawing the start tomorrow, right move IMO but I’m sure Don Cherry will have plenty to say as he predicted that Luongo would get the nod. As for PK Subban, aside from Drew Doughty & Shea Weber, I can’t understand Babcock’s decision to not play the reigning Norris Trophy Winner. To me the most important thing is coming home with the gold no matter who plays & doesn’t but man do I feel for PK & the lack of respect he’s getting.

    • Strummer says:

      Others including Scotty Bowman also said Luongo would be the go-to guy, but it wasn’t because they were anti- Price.
      It was speculation based on previous moves with goalies in the Olympics. It doesn’t mean they think Luongo is the better goalie.

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

  75. Shiram.ca says:

    So yesterday I made a joke about freestyle canoeing, as it related to what consists a sport for the Olympics.

    Well today I’m back, and I got another wacky sport to share, and this one actually was showcased at the Olympics, twice! Winter Olympics too.

    I even remember seeing it on TV all those years ago.

    Feast your eyes on Ski Ballet, as interpreted by the Jagr of that sport…


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