Europe isn’t a hockey team, it’s the place people always refer to when they want to feel cultured, and better than anyone who hasn’t been there, making sure to use it to mock those "provincial" "sad" "inexperienced" people who haven’t been to the greatest continent on the planet, regardless of whether they could afford to or not. I mean, if you really wanted to be a wordly person and elevate yourself to a higher status than plebs who vacation at "cottages" and "amusement parks" you’d go to Europe and learn something. That’s who this team is for.
"Well, in Europe they don’t put BBQ sauce on pizzas. What a silly Canadian"
"In Europe they give their employees vacation time and health care, they’re much better than you Americans"
"In Europe they take refugees valuable to cover the costs of housing them. You don’t Canada? How provincial"
"In Europe they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people."
Let’s face it Team Europe, you’re only here because you are the best your individual countries tiny, Division IIIB hockey programs can muster, and some of you are too good to leave out of this spectacle because you’re some of the best of the NHL. Or were, at one point anyway.
Your Head Coach
Ralph Krueger was born and raised in Manitoba, which is fitting since if there as a "Canada Cup of Hockey" Manitoba would be lumped into a "Rest of Canada" with PEI and the territories. Sure you have Jonathan Toews, but after that the talent pool is emptier than Winnipeg Arena in the early 90’s. Paul Maurice, his assistant, currently coaches the Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets, and boy, you’re really doubling down on the Manitoba thing, aren’t you Europe?
Here’s the thing. If it’s Team Europe, why not get a European coach in charge? Maybe it’s due to the actions of the only non-North American GM in the league. If Jarmo Kekäläinen was in charge we’d have seen him go off the board, leave Koptiar and Chara at home and made the focus of the team Tore Vikingstad and Levente Szuper, and somehow get David Clarkson on the team.
Jaroslav Halak had one amazing post-season where he backstopped the Canadiens as they beat Crosby’s Penguins, Ovechkins Capitals, and then flamed out to Mike Richards Flyers. His reward was getting traded to St. Louis as soon as his locker was cleaned out after the conference final loss. Eventually he ended up in Brooklyn and is now the starter for the New York Islanders. He’s average in every way possible, so not a bad choice to bring him on.
Thomas Greiss is Halak’s back up. You can tell a lot of thinking and research went into these choices. "So we have Halak and.....oh, I don’t want to both opening another website, who’s his back up? Greiss? He’s German? Fantastic."
Frederik Andersen is now injured and conveniently won’t be back on the ice until the day after the final game of the tournament.
Philipp Grubauer replaced Andersen and I just learned he’s an NHL goalie while typing this sentance. Oh, he’s Brayden Holtby’s backup. Neat. Enjoy watching the tournament for free from the press box.
New Things That Suck
This teams entire existence. Oh, and they had their asses handed to them by the Under 23's on Thursday. Bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
I can’t mock these any more than they mock themselves, but holy hell why is it two different colours? That’s just awful. They’d be better off wearing the old Anaheim "Wild Wing" jerseys.
Why You Might Not Suck
Anything’s possible? This is the oldest team in the tournament, so they have plenty of leadership. Zdeno Chara captained a team to a Stanley Cup, so he’s got leadership and heart all over the place. Anze Kopitar is a very, very good player, and at one point Vanek and Chara were too.