Why Team Canada might be a sleeping giant

2/21/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Feb 19, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Canada forward Sidney Crosby (87) and Latvia forward Juris Stals (3) collide in the men's ice hockey quarterfinals during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportsThere are times in both professional and international sports when a good team lulls people to sleep in the beginning of a playoff or tournament but by the end of it, explodes in a good way and ends up winning the whole thing.

In the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the above-mentioned scenario might just be the perfect way to describe Team Canada in terms of the Men's Hockey Tournament currently taking place. While Canada has yet to lose a game in this tournament, they have not exactly wowed anyone with their play in four games.

In fact, it could be said that Canada has done the opposite. With the exception of a 6-0 win over Austria, Canada has not dominated any of the teams they have faced and instead, has managed to win low-scoring and nail-biting tilts.

With their semi-final match-up against Team USA set to take place tomorrow, one has to wonder what Team Canada they are going to see. Will hockey pundits and fans alike see the Canadian team that has struggled to put the puck in the net or will they see the Canadian team that they were supposed to be the entire tournament?

With all of this in mind, here are a few reasons why I think Canada has the potential to awake from their slumber and start clicking on all levels to not only beat the Americans tomorrow, but to win the whole thing.

Too Much Offense
This team has way too much offensive talent not to succeed.

Sure, the Canadians have scored just 12 goals in four games but it is not like they are not getting any chances. For example, in their 2-1 quarterfinal win over Latvia on Wednesday, Canada had 57 shots on goal.

This Canadian team is one that has done a good job of controlling the puck, putting pressure on the opponent's defense and goaltenders and creating scoring chances. Unfortunately, the club has just had trouble finishing.

With a team that has the likes of Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, and Jonathan Toews, someone is bound to step up and start putting the puck in the net. This team has too much talent not to be putting the puck in the net and with a chance of playing for the Gold Medal on the line, there is the potential for the floodgates to open.

Where There's A Will, There's a Way
It is clear that after pouring tons of pucks on net and not finding the back of it much, the Canadians are definitely gripping their sticks a lot tighter than they should be.

With that said, however, it is not like the Canadians have been playing dead. They are fighting for every loose puck, they are going hard to net, they are throwing puck after puck on goal, and for the most part, they are playing smart on both ends of the ice.
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2/21/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Canada has made their way past the US and faces Sweden on Sunday morning.  I have to admit, although I will be cheering loudly for Canada, some of my favorite players in the NHL are on Team Sweden, so I won't be devastated if Sweden wins the gold.  Disappointed, but not devastated.  And Canada's offensive line has apparently scored 370 goals so far in the NHL this season.  They need to step it up in the gold medal game.  Shots on goal are great, but they need to find the back of the net.