Woe Canada

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

TURIN -- What went wrong with Team Canada? That's the question being asked from coast-to-coast after Canada's devastating 2-0 Olympic quarter-final loss to Russia on Wednesday.

Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky will be tarred, feathered and second-guessed by fans and media.

Did he make some bad decisions when it came time to pick the team? No question, but here's a look at why we think the Olympic experience went so horribly bad for the defending gold-medal champions.

SELECTIONS: The great Sidney Crosby debate is already on, but it's clear Canada needed some younger players. Eric Staal, Jason Spezza and Dan Boyle were sitting in the stands. Canada had just four of its own top-10 point-getters and three of its top-12 goal scorers in its lineup. The strong Russian team that eliminated Canada has 10 of its top- 12 NHL scorers on its roster. The Czech team has its top-nine point-getters here. Finland has nine of its top-10 scoring NHL players, while the Swedes have 10-of-12. Notice a trend here? Where's a guy like Marc Savard when you need him? It's going to be guys like Spezza, Staal and Crosby who are going to be asked to carry this team in 2010. They probably should have been given the chance this time.

COACHING: Pat Quinn needed this win to help salvage his year. His Toronto Maple Leafs were in ninth place going into the Olympic break. Quinn didn't make the right adjustments during the games. The lines never clicked. Even though Rick Nash struggled in limited ice time, benching him was not smart. Putting defenceman Bryan McCabe (one of the most- penalized players in the tournament) on the ice was a huge mistake. Quinn won't be back behind the bench in Vancouver in 2010. Canada needs a fresh face. Why doesn't Wayne Gretzky take the dual role of executive director and coach? It could happen, but Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels should also be on the radar.

FORWARDS: It's tough to name a forward that played well. You can't question Joe Sakic's leadership, but where were Jarome Iginla, Simon Gagne, Joe Thornton, Todd Bertuzzi and Nash? Bertuzzi took a bad penalty that resulted in the winning goal by Alexander Ovechkin on Wednesday. Everybody was waiting to jump on Bertuzzi -- and he gave them good reason to do just that. Canada found out the hard way that speed kills.

DEFENCE: Scott Niedermayer and Ed Jovanovski, both out with injuries, were missed. Chris Pronger gutted it out. Wade Redden isn't flashy, but he may have been the most effective. Rob Blake and Adam Foote won't be back in 2010 because they'll be too old. Jay Bouwmeester and Robin Regehr didn't look like they were ready for this stage. Canada would have been better off with Dion Phaneuf or Boyle in the lineup.

GOALTENDING: You can't blame Martin Brodeur. He was a standout throughout the tournament. Will Brodeur get another chance in 2010? Maybe ... maybe not. Roberto Luongo may be The Next One.

INTANGIBLES: Team Canada just never looked like a team -- with 23 players going in different directions. Did they miss the leadership of Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman, who played key roles in the victory in Salt Lake City? Possibly. The bottom line is that, based on performance, this edition of Team Canada deserved what it got -- an early flight home.


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