As Mike Babcock is wise.
Wise enough to play Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith 9:41 and 8:44 in crunch time.
But now Canada faces the ignominy of playing Germany tomorrow in the qualification round.
So tell us, Wise One, who is your starting goaltender?
Martin Brodeur was not good last night.
Four goals on 22 shots?
Flopping around like David Aebischer.
Shedding the shackles of the trapezoid, Martin F. handled the puck with all the aplomb of a farmer trying to kill a rattlesnake with a shovel.
Anticipating Brodeur's prefrerence for playing the puck on his forehand, the Americans overloaded his left side to excellent effect.
Here we go...
The problem with coaching or assembling Team Canada is you must win. It's like soccer in Brazil or basketball for the United States; there's so much talent to chose from and nothing less than first place is acceptable.
Backs to the wall, Babcock's seen Marc-Andre Fleury step to the plate in Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and stop 48 of 50 shots to win the Cup . He's also got Roberto Luongo the superb goalie who's got a shutout in his only Olympic start of the tourney. And, oh yeah, that Brodeur guy who had a bad game is only the NHL's career leader in wins, shutouts and is arguably the finest player to ever play his position.
Babcock could go to any of the three and could win. But any could have a bad game, and if that happens they're all goats.
Three world-class players, let's look at the case for each:
#30 / Goalie / New Jersey Devils
May 06, 1972
Pros: Experience, has the wins historically and is a living legend. He can bounce back from a bad outing
Cons: He just had a pretty bad outing, if it's 2 in a row the team looks foolish for having 2 world class options on the bench
#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 04, 1979
Pros: Can be dominant. Just as skilled as anyone, and more importantly is arguably the steadiest and most consistent of the three options
Cons: Doesn't have much "big game" experience
#29 / Goalie / Pittsburgh Penguins
Nov 28, 1984
Pros: All the recent big games, and has won a lot. Knows what it's like to play behind a high octane team. Become a winner
Cons: The least consistent of the 3 and a bad game is not something they can gamble on. His next Olympic game will be his first. Still must be scarred by the last time he wore Team Canada colors
NHL playoffs are the big games for goalies, here's the stats for post-season play since the lockout.
Fleury's played nearly as many minutes as the other two have combined for and by far is first in wins. He's benefitted from having a good team in front of him, but the last time I checked Team Canada's pretty fair themselves. Luongo has had the weakest team to work with, but still has the best GAA and save percentage of all of them. Brodeur, for all his legend, really hasn't won that much post-lockout.
Any are capable, but a bad performance will have the Monday morning quarterbacks north of the border grinding their teeth.