Friday, February 26, 2010


(Runs around living room, flailing madly until, clutching heart, he sags onto the couch and, gasping, expires.)

If last weekend was the lost weekend for Canada's Olympic team then this past Wednesday was the snowball gathering momentum until, roaring down the mountain, it flattened that poor coyote as well as Bykov and his charges.

Right? I said RIGHT?? The short track relay team and the bobsleigh teams and Clara Hughes, God bless her.
As for the hockey Wednesday night was so absolutely and completely ridiculous that it baffles the mind. I have seen junior games go the right way for Canada quickly like that and decades ago the Canadians did a number on some of their quality rivals in the Canada Cups although I can't remember those exactly, I had to look it up. I was at the semifinal of the Canada Cup in 1991 where the Canadians dispatched the Swedes 4-0 quite easily and in both that tournament and in 2004 the result never seemed in doubt, even when the scores were close (although of course the semifinal in 2004 went to OT against the Czechs).

But I have never seen a game of that magnitude, an elimination game against the Russians no less, go so well for Canada. My wife came in just as the first period was winding up and so we began to switch channels because there was shorttrack and the bobsleigh and while she's okay with watching hockey she didn't want to miss anything else because of it. As I pondered heading downstairs I realized that Olympic hockey games run far quicker than the pros and so I flipped it over just in time to see the replay of Weber's goal. 5-1! I exclaimed and was astounded to see that it was actually 6-1 at this point.

A leisurely evening of channel surfing resulted and we were able to keep everybody happy.

And then later that night Sweden fell to the Slovaks and so tonight we have Canada and Slovakia.

Personally the best result would be to see the Slovaks and Amerians fall tonight and then for Canada to beat the Finns for the gold and Slovakia win the bronze over the Yanks. When it comes to international hockey when we are not involved its the Slovaks and Finns who I root for, two small countries living in the shadow of bigger neighbours (sound familiar) who punch above their weight when it comes to the good old hockey game.

I think it was Bruce McCurdy who posted a video a short while back of the Slovak celebration after they won the Worlds a few years ago and the absolute joy in that moment is pretty amazing.

With all that of course we're hoping for an end to their run to gold tonight. This should happen but this is a team that beat the Russians and the Swedes. On the other hand they barely eked out a win over Norway.

I expect that we will see a repeat of pretty well every other Canadian game this tournament. The Canadians will probably dominate the shot clock and the puck will be in the right end of the rink the majority of the night. Tuesday and Wednesday nights were different in that suddenly the entire team is going now, not just a couple of lines. Wednesday night saw Getzlaf and Perry and Boyle, guys who had not been factors yet, join the party, and Nash and Richards continue to emerge in the roles that they have found themselves in.

So things are looking good.

Could the Slovaks win? You bet. They have very good goaltending and they have enough offence to snipe one or two and if everything falls their way then they could absolutely do it. They're quality but if you look at their club like most clubs they do not have the depth of the Canadians. The Slovaks can run out Chara and Lubo and Hossa and Gaborik against their poison and then Palffy, Satan, Handzus, Kopecky and so on have to handle the rest of the gorillas running amuck.

Doubt they can do it.
Lets go you Canucks! Lets go now!


Garret said...

I have had the same issue with channel surfing and have fixed it by streaming the "other" sports from the ctvolympics website. Absolutely beautiful feed. You want another pointer that Canada is the place to be, my American friends are begging for our internet coverage. Turn-about is fair play! I was extremely happy with Wednesday's game. It was nice to see the boys play wit ha little urgency. That was the Team Canada I was waiting for. Love the blog. Keep up the good work.

David S said...

Bronze for Lubo! It'll be the one bright spot of his year I suspect.

matt said...

1. To quote the Russians, let us play like gorillas bursting out of cages with buzzsaws.

2. The BBC has a great text feed of what's going on that outstrips anything CBC or CTV is doing for concise content and context of events.

Bruce said...

I think it was Bruce McCurdy who posted a video a short while back of the Slovak celebration after they won the Worlds a few years ago and the absolute joy in that moment is pretty amazing.

Thanks, Pat, yes it was me who posted this story about the Slovak miracle at the 2002 Worlds. The celebration video is near the bottom. Great to see a young Lubo just about jumping over the moon.

The Slovaks are my favourite "neutral" team, even ahead of Finland which I (now) hope will be the bronze medal match-up. I had really hoped for the 1-2-3-4 finish you psotulated here, but the damn Yankees made short work of the Finns this afternoon.

Baroque said...

...but the damn Yankees made short work of the Finns this afternoon.

Hee-hee. ;)

Kipper had Nabokov-itis.

I would have flip-flopped the "blowout semifinal" and "tight, low-scoring semifinal" results this morning. Funny how things happen. :)

Black Dog said...

Great stuff Bruce, I love it.

Baroque - watching the game now. I played hockey tonight, only game all year that was at this time, nice, huh?

Listened to first period on radio, we had a laptop on the bench to keep track until midway through the third.

After the game watched the end of it in the arena lobby. You're in Michigan, no? That sound you heard just after 11:30? Over thirty million sphincters clenching. Hard.


Should be fun on Sunday.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Garret. Yeah I've watched quite a bit from the CTV site, its quality.

Matt - will try and check out the BBC feed, thanks

David S. - love the Finns but here's hoping the Slovaks win tomorrow, er, today.

Baroque said...

Yes, home of Rafalski, Kesler, and Miller (among others). :)

(Not surprising hockey is big here - the UP is practically a suburb of Canada, for Pete's sake.)

Nice to have people talking about your home for some other reason than making cruel fun of the unemployed and suffering.

Sunday will be a fun game.

Going back to normal boring regular-season NHL hockey is going to be a bit of a letdown.

Baroque said...

And I really, really hope that the initial parenthetical phrase of the post referred to Pierre expiring from excitement. That would call for a celebration by all hockey-fan eardrums everywhere. :)

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