Was there ever any doubt? Of course there was, but as Canadians we could never give up on our dream of being the best team in hockey, once again. And as good as gold was for our country, now its time to put the focus back on this Vancouver Canuck team and find out what potential paybacks the 2010 games might give us. Good and bad.
So what do these Olympics do for Vancouver?
Well, we now have arguably the best goalie in the world to never win a Stanley Cup. I know, like many of you out there who wanted so badly to see Luongo just get a chance to play, this is the best case scenario for him to return to the his team, a winner as a starting goalie for Canada. Looking at the official stats from the iihf, his Olympic totals shouldn't be enough to make him tired for the remainder of the season or come playoff time.
He played a total of 307 minutes, which is the equivalency of approximately 5 games. Luongo was 4th in total minutes to the likes of Ryan Miller (355 minutes) for Buffalo, Jaroslav Halak (422 minutes) for Montreal, and Jonas Hiller (315 minutes) for Anaheim. He only had to face 123 shots, which is an average of 24.6 shots per game, standard to low for most NHL games.
Now yes, there is the fact that these games were all pressure games, and every shot made us hold our breath, but I can't see that as being a negative for Lou. This guy needed to play in high intensity games, so he can prove not only to us, but to himself, that he can play when it counts.
Luongo wasn't the only Canuck to have a great Olympics. Pavol Demitra was the leading scorer of the tournament with 10 points. 1 point ahead of teammate Marion Hossa and 2 points ahead of American Zach Parise. Of course when you look at it realistically we can't expect Demitra to play like that for the rest of the season, but we should expect it come playoff time. Demitra is a big game player and I think we saw that when he played against Luongo and team Canada.
Ryan Kesler, who played on the first line for the Americans, finished as a plus-5 and had one of the biggest goals for his team in the gold medal game. Here's a guy who wants to win, although he may not want Luongo to win a Stanley Cup to go along with his gold.
Sami Salo finished as a plus-2, and added a goal and an assist.
And what about Henrik and Daniel? Well they finished with 1 goal and 4 assists combined, and were plus-2 and plus-3 respectively.
Ehrhoff was the only one that was a real disappointment, finishing with 0 points and was a minus-1. Although he did have the game winner for the Canucks in their first game back from the break.
We have a team full of stars for their respected countries, and we should be proud of that. Granted we didn't have the most representation in the Olympics as some other NHL teams, but we did have a Gold medal winning goalie, the leading scorer of the tournament in Demitra, Kesler being on the top line of the silver medal Americans and of course the twin powers who were top 6 forwards on that Swedish team that won gold 4 years ago.
So we can expect a bumpy ride to the end of the season, but come playoff time, when the games count the most, we have a good of chance as any to make a run and maybe, just maybe, get that big save when the series and the season are on the line.</SPAN>