Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sverige mästerskap

It’s hard for me to put my finger on what went wrong for the Canadian hockey team because...I never saw them play! Not even once! Thanks to NBC’s ridiculous practice of tape delaying every event except for hockey and my busy schedule, I was only able to watch a grand total of three games. What, tell me, would have been wrong with replaying games on USA or CNBC? The hockey competition represents a good half of why I get pumped up for the Olympics, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. Thank goodness the 2010 Games will be in the Pacific time zone, especially considering it will probably be the last hurrah for the NHL’s involvement. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Olympics before the pros got there, but it’s always such a pleasure to watch hockey played on a big rink at its highest level.

Anyway, the Detroit Red Wings–oops, I mean Team Sweden–won the gold, but with some href=" http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/winter06/hockey/columns/story?id=2338153">questionable ethics in the group stage. There’s no way to prove that Sweden tanked, as the dude in the article said, but I did read something today that said at one point during their game with Slovakia, Sweden had a power play with Sundin, Forsberg, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, and Alfredsson, and didn’t attempt a shot on goal. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like trying too hard. Their loss in that game meant they drew Switzerland in the quarterfinals, whom they easily dispatched, setting themselves up to be well-rested for the semis, when they beat the Czechs into submission. It didn’t hurt that the Czechs were using their third choice goaltender, either. Finland, meanwhile, made the finals on the strength of their defense and goaltending. Young Flyer Antero Niittymaki was pretty much the MVP of the tournament, going on a J.S. Giguere-like run through the medal round. The magic ran out in the finals, but Finland definitely showed it will contend for another medal in Vancouver 2010.

So yeah, these Olympics were disappointing from a hockey standpoint. I have nothing of substance to say about the rest of the events, other than “short track speed skating rules” and “aerial skiers are clinically insane”.

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