2010 Winter Olympics Goalie Preview – Canada

Steve Yzerman recently attended the World Championships in Switzerland to scout for the 2010 Olympics.  With that in mind, and after some surprise performances in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the time has come to begin the goalie watch for the Games.  The Canadian home ice advantage, the use of an NHL-sized ice surface and the league’s unwillingness to commit to the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia are laying the groundwork for what could be the best hockey tournament of all time.  So it’s only fitting to expect the best display of goaltending.  Most countries will hold summer camps and then evaluate the first half of next season before will making their final decisions but we say let the armchair quarterbacking begin!  The top contenders for the gold medal will each need to make some potentially difficult decisions so Tenders Lounge will dedicate separate posts to the medal contenders.  First up, the home team Canadians.

Not only are does Team Canada face the pressure of being the host country but they also need to remove the bitter taste from a 7th place finish at the 2006 Torino games.

Luongo and Brodeur were expected to reprise their roles from Torino.  Will anyone push them out of the picture?

Luongo and Brodeur were expected to reprise their roles from Torino. Will anyone push them out of the picture?

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Future Price or Mason in ’09 World Juniors?

Two years ago Canada beat Patrick Kane and the USA in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in a dramatic shootout. The game winning save was made by Carey Price.  Three years ago Steve Mason led Canada to the gold. In 1999 Roberto Luogno carried the Canadian team on his back (sign of things to come?) but fell just short of the gold.  In 2002 Henrik Lundqvist carried a weak Swedish team.  Was there a Luongo, Lundqvist, Price or Mason in this year’s tournament?

Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament

Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament

The two choices to potentially appear on the distinguished alumni list one day appear to be Canadian Dustin Tovarski and Swede Jacob Markstrom.  Tovarski won MVP in the finals and Markstrom won MVG for the tournament.

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Side by Side Goalie Icons

Ever since I was a kid I thought the subject of Ken Danby’s famous painting, At the Crease, was Ken Dryden. I was never told it was Dryden and I never read that it was Dryden, I just assumed it was. Apparently I wasn’t the only one as demonstrated by this anecdote from Danby himself:

“One day, a woman complimented me on my painting ‘At the Crease’, which she referred to as, “That painting you did of the goalie, Ken Dryden”. She said that she had long had a print of it in her home and really enjoyed it. I thanked her, but also explained that, “It isn’t an image of Ken Dryden”. Looking puzzled, she replied, “Yes it is.” I responded, “No it isn’t. ” After a long pause, she loudly exclaimed, “Yes it is!” I quickly apologized, with the sudden realization that she was right. It’s really whomever one wants it to be.”

He’s right. I guess I should have thought it was an image of me! But now I’ve decided the subject is Vladislav Tretiak. Today the IIHF’s all-time all-star team was announced and to nobody’s surprise Tretiak was selected as the goalie. I went searching for Tretiak photos and the first one I found was the one you see above. Is it not scarily similar to Danby’s painting? At the time of the painting we were living in fear of the Reds so there’s no way Danby would have truly made it look like Tretiak by using the same helmet/mask (besides, the stark white mask is far more powerful). But the painting was released in 1972, the same year Tretiak was introduced to the world with his stellar play in the Canada-USSR Summit Series.

I don’t know if Danby ever acknowledged one specific subject for his iconic painting and sadly he passed away last fall so I will never have the chance to ask him. But I guess I know what his answer would be anyway… “of course it’s Tretiak, it’s whomever you want it to be.”

UPDATE:  Apparently the subject of At The Crease was Dennis Kemp, a Junior B goalie in Guelph who played for Walter Gretzky.  There’s a good read here on how his identity was tracked down after Danby’s death and how Wayne Gretzky once made a slip on protecting Kemp’s identity.

Goalie Photos (and cool jerseys) From World Championships

Want to see some really cool throwback jerseys from around the world? Want to see what your favorite goalie looks like when he combines his NHL colors with his national colors? (sometimes it’s a natural fit and sometimes it’s just u-g-l-y) Want to see some goalies you’ve never heard of but are shining on a world stage? Check out the photos I’ve pulled from the official IIHF site. All photos are courtesy of the IIHF and Hockey Hall of Fame.

Canadian Cam Ward’s Hurricane equipment is a perfect fit with his national jersey.

 

 

 

Really cool throwback jerseys from Finland.  Almost the Suomi Penguins.

 

 

 

More famous on their soccer team but the powder blues of Italia look great! The big ad on the ref’s belly?… not so much.

 

 

 

Martin Gerber reprising his ’06 Olympic role when he stoned Canada in a 2-0 win.  Might the gold Senators trim be an indicator of how Suisse fares in this tournament?  No, of course not.

 

 

Not a throwback jersey but I love the old leather-style coloring of the gloves and pads on Slovakia’s Robert Kristan.

 

 

 

Norwegian goalies apparently feel the need to wander… probably safer to meander around their fjords (I just wanted to say “fjords” in a goalie blog)

 

 

Yikes! Yellow, black, red, white and blue, oh my.  No problem for opposing shooters to see Tim Thomas in the USA net.

 

 

 

In the last three months Cristobal Huet has played for the Habs, the Caps and now the French all without needing to change his gloves and pads.  Convenient, n’est pa?

 

 

Good grief… every spring the Germans remind us of the horrible Canucks jerseys from the 80’s.  And every spring they end up with the same result as those Canucks.

 

 

Sharks’ German third-stringer Dimitrij Patzgold looking much better in the German throwback jersey.

 

 

 

Cam Ward wearing Canada’s throwback jersey, a.k.a. their old Canada Cup jersey.  Just kind of screams “we’re going to win and you’re not”.  Unless you’re the Soviets and it’s 1981 and… ugh, never mind.

 

 

Latvian fans are rabid and it looks like one of these women missed her vaccination shot. I sat in a sea of Latvians at the Torino games and had the most fun of my Olympic visit. I think I sat behind that guy in the hat.

 

 

Check out the official IIHF site for all the photos from every game.

Nabokov On His Way To Quebec City

For those of us in NHL playoff cities the World Championships have been a bit of an after-thought (or even a non-existent thought). While national teams routinely pick up a few late additions from NHL teams eliminated in the first round it’s extremely rare to add a player eliminated in the second round. Due to the late start of the tournament this year, the Sharks loss to Dallas in game six and the fact that Quebec doesn’t require a trans-Atlantic flight Evengeni Nabokov will be pulling on the Russian jersey in a couple days.

Alexander Eremenko, Russia’s starter so far, injured his right ACL on Sunday in Russia’s 5-4 win over the Czechs. Backup Mikhail Biryukov played in a 4-1 win over Denmark today but because Russia only brought two keepers (Canada named three at the beginning of the tournament) they are allowed to add an emergency replacement for Eremenko.

I love watching gloves saves like this when Nabokov is wearing the Sharks’ teal but I’m not looking forward to what he’s going to do to Team Canada when they inevitably hook up in the medal round. Follow the IIHF results here and be sure to check out great shots of the action from each game here.

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