Olympic wrap-up

Team Canada claimed Olympic hockey gold over Team USA in overtime off a slick shot by none other than the Canadian Kid himself Sidney Crosby. Can you ask for a better finish to a great game? Well, as a fan of Team USA I would have preferred a different outcome, but the fact remains that the past two weeks have been nothing short of spectacular as the best players in the world converged in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic games. Before NHL action resumes again tomorrow night, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the highlights and stories that stuck out over the past two weeks.

miller timeFirst off, I have to mention Team USA. Here is a young squad put together to gather experience for the 2014 games, and they come out of nowhere to place second in the tournament after going undefeated before losing to Canada by one goal in the gold medal game. Talk about spectacular. Ryan Miller played out of his mind and was absolutely the anchor of this team. But what really impressed me was the sheer determination and the effort shown by this squad. Watching the first game where Team USA beat Canada, I was thoroughly impressed with the effort USA put forth to keep their lead in tact. Any time a Canadian player wound up at the point to rip a shot, I saw two guys sliding down to get in the shooting lane to block the shot. You’re not getting paid $6 million a season to block shots in the Olympics. You’re doing it out of pride for your country. Team USA took a blue collar approach and it got them the silver medal. Ryan Miller was visible upset after losing the gold. He has no reason to be. That team had less talent and less star power than a lot of other teams and still worked hard all the way through to the very end. They earned themselves that silver medal and should wear it with pride.

I thought it was great in the preliminary round when Russia played the Czech Republic and the announcers asked Pierre McGuire between the glass what language the teams were speaking. Pierre answered, “Well, on the benched the Russians are speaking Russian and the Czechs are speaking Czech, but when they talk to each other they speak English and they aren’t saying nice things to each other.” It doesn’t take long to learn the swear words in a new language, does it?

Over his storied career, Teemu Selanne has appeared in over 120 international hockey games for Finland, including five appearances in the Winter Olympics, five Ice Hockey World Championships, and the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey tournament. Selanne ended his international career yesterday with a Bronze medal victory over Slovakia and cemented his place in history as the all-time Olympics points leader with 37 career points. Not too shabby for a guy who taught kindergarten for three years in Finland before becoming an NHL player. parise goal

Marian Hossa can’t seem to catch a break. For two years in a row, first with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then in a devastating Game 7 loss with the Detroit Red Wings, Hossa has failed to place his hands on Lord Stanley. Just yesterday Slovakia entertained a 3-1 lead over Finland going into the third period where Finland scored four unanswered goals to route Slovakia 5-3 for the Bronze. Needless to say I wouldn’t want this guy on my team because it means you will fall just shy of some sort of hardware, whether it be a medal in the Olympics or the Stanley Cup. Can’t wait to see what he does this season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Did anyone else see Jaromir Jagr get rocked by Alexander Ovechkin at center ice when the Russians played the Czech Republic? To top it off, Ovechkin caused a turnover with the hit that teammate Alexander Semin scooped up and dished off to Evgeni Malkin for a snipe past Vokoun.

Okay, I can make fun of Hossa and Jagr a bit, but in all seriousness, one of the best stories I heard came late one night when Norway was playing. The announcers began talking about Norwegian goaltender Paal Grotnes and the fact that when his time at the Olympics ends, he goes back home to his family and his day job as a carpenter. After working his day shift as a carpenter, he goes out and backstops the Norwegian national team.  We can talk about Canada’s talented roster or Team USA’s blue collar approach to hockey, but these guys all get paid millions of dollars to do what they do night in and night out in the NHL. I think Grotnes is a great story that really exemplifies love for the sport of hockey. They finished close to the bottom of the standings, but they have heart. And that goes a long way in the sport of hockey.

Tomorrow the NHL returns from their two-week hiatus. Trade deadline is March 3, so things will get hectic very quickly in the NHL and it will be back to business as usual and playoff will be here before we know it. For what it’s worth, I had a great time watching the highest caliber players playing on the grandest stage of them all – the Olympics. I look forward to seeing them back at it in 2014. 54618_m15


  1. I agree the US played great. It was impressive to see the mix of players on the US squad. I consider myself quite knowledgeable about hockey and some of the players on the roster I had never even heard of. I was greatly impressed with the play of Brian Raflaski. I’m praying he can carry that over to the NHL and really be the driving force for the wings as they drive to the cup. I’m also a little more concerned about Chicago’s Patrick Kane. He seemed to get stornger as the games went on. Chicago will be a rough out this year not because of the addition Hossa, because of Kane (If can play the way he did during the Olympics).

  2. Yep, USA played wonderfully and it was a lot of fun watching them right up that fateful moment about 7 minutes into OT…….
    ….their future is bright but a lot can happen in 4 years.
    Winning Olympic gold is a lot like winning the Cup. Very hard to do- having to be at your best against quality
    opposition every nite. Only difference is that Olympics
    don’t have 7 game series. But very hard to win and requires lots of work and sacrifice.
    As for Hossa’s hard luck- I don’t care- he’s been chasing a Cup for, what, 3 years now? He might have one by now had he contributed anything last spring.
    Good post, Chris…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *