Thursday, February 27, 2014

10 Things We Learned About Hockey At Sochi

  1. Going into the Olympics, people figured the US men's team was maybe the 3rd-4th best, with a puncher's chance of bringing home gold. Halfway through, after the US beat up on the international hockey equivalent of Louisiana-Monroe and got a lucky break against Russia, they were the favorite for gold. They ran into some teams that could play defense and ended up 4th, which is pretty much A)the story of U of Miami's football season and B)what we all expected in the first place. And yet, somehow this has become a tremendous disappointment. Perspective. It ain't what it used to be.
  2. Tuukka Rask is not a name for a goalie. It is a name for a murderous necromancer in a Robert E. Howard story, preferably one who's about twelve feet tall and lives in a castle made from human bones. Either way, he's going to be a bastard to score on.
  3. The fact that Canada was doing just fine without any scoring from Sidney "IceBieber" Crosby meant that once he got warmed up, everyone else was screwed. It's like letting the Thunder hang around when Kevin Durant only scores 5 in the first half. You know the explosion's coming, and when it arrives, it's going to blow your doors off.
  4. Great goaltending beats great offense. Great goaltending, however, cannot beat great offense AND great goaltending at the other end of the rink. We'll call this the Ryan Miller Principle.
  5. The Great Allergy Pill Positive Test isn't going quite go up there with what happened to the '72 US men's basketball team, but there's always going to be a shroud of "what if?" hanging over that men's final now. 
  6. Olympic hockey demonstrates pretty conclusively that larger rinks are a good thing. Get on the stick, NHL.
  7. Olympic hockey also demonstrates pretty conclusively that people can and will get excited about hockey, and it's the best advertising the sport gets, ever. So naturally the NHL wants to pull out. Rest assured, this has nothing to do with the possibility of players getting hurt. It has everything to do with the fact that the IOC - which, admittedly, is a smoldering cesspit of rank corruption and simony - gets all the money. When this gets resolved - and it will get resolved - it will do so over a pile of filthy lucre.
  8. Canadian hockey fans have become the equivalent of Boston Red Sox fans, circa November, 2007. This may not be a good thing.
  9. I have no idea what was going on with the Russian team, but whatever it was, it wasn't pretty. To be fair, they should have beaten the US in that group game. While the ruling on the goal that was disallowed was correct, it was kind of a stupid rule. That being said, even at their best, they looked like Just Another Team. And that's a shame. These guys should be beasts. International hockey needs them to be awesome. As much fun as the US and Canada banging heads every couple of years is, it would be nice having somebody from outside North America in the conversation, too.
  10. The US-Canada women's final was the best game of the entire damn Olympics. 'nuff said.

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