Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/1/2014 (1104 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Perhaps the naming Tuesday of the roster for the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team will manage the feat. At least it seemed to briefly change the channel for all the hockey pundits and armchair commentators locked in on what's allegedly wrong with Canada's national junior hockey team and program.
The setting of the latest roster for Olympic gold-seeking hockey males for this country seemed finally to produce a breather for the junior-hockey stakeholders who were unnecessarily on the defensive after another no-medal showing for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The Canadian junior program remains world-class. In fact, that was reinforced by how the club played in Sweden.
A single goal separated the club from playing in overtime for the bronze medal. And, the only other squad to defeat Canada in regulation -- at the world championship -- was the event's eventual winner, Finland.
Finland deserved to win, but also had all the bounces against Canada. So, the end result for Canada was losing out on a medal in the team's last game and coming fourth. That's not so bad, and no cause for such extended post-mortem efforts and quality-control triple-checks.
Hockey is an international sport. Canada continues to have immense depth of quality in terms of the number of skilled players it produces. But the world has closed the gap on being able to field terrific national teams for global competitions. That speaks to market forces and other issues beyond Canada's control.
So many of the hockey pundits suggesting corrections in the development, selection and training of Canada's juniors seem to overlook how narrowly Canada often "dominated" this tournament during an infamous recent five-year run of winning the event. They forget there were all sorts of games that goalies stole, bounces that went Canada's way, or miracle comebacks needed to appear head and shoulders above the world at this age level.
Canada has an elite junior program.
It's quite likely, in fact, the many younger stalwarts on this year's "failure" of a club will return and medal next year at the World Juniors. Expect the likes of Zachary Fucale, Connor McDavid and Anthony Mantha to excel in 2014 -- not because of all the hand-wringing about the quality of the national club and how it should be stewarded -- but in spite of it.