Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sure Why Not Shut It Down Every Four Years???

That permagrin took a little longer to wear off than we thought...

When we weren’t wrenching our backs out last week we were trying to watch the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.  And we have to admit that we didn’t see much in the way of hockey until Sunday.  Some of that was because we, like many people, are oddly fascinated by Curling (and we’re glad the U.S. finally got smart and benched the choker John Shuster).  However, Sunday night’s Canada-U.S. game was the first game we’ve seen from start to finish during the Olympics.  We tried to watch some of the U.S. women's games but watching a 2502-0 game gets a little boring after awhile.  Furthermore, we can’t say we’re really interested in watching to foreign countries play, no matter who is on the teams.

Sorry, folks we’re loyal Americans so we're not rooting for anybody in this tourney but the ol’ U.S. of A.  And let us start out by saying that it really, really sucks that U.S. Men pretty much get stuck in the 3 pm Eastern time slot.  We work for a living and therefore can’t watch the game live and tape delay isn’t possible because 24/7 News Cycle makes keeping the score unknown impossible.  We happen to think that 3 pm East Coast starts for the US team is not the best idea for the NHL.  We thought the whole idea of having NHL players in the Olympics is to generate greater interest from U.S. causal fans who aren’t already hockey fans.  However much like us, casual U.S. fans don’t care about Belarus-Latvia or Canada-Russia.  If the U.S. team does not or cannot get prime time coverage, then there’s no chance of growing the game in U.S. where the game needs to grow for the NHL to be successful and shutting down the league for the games becomes completely pointless.
 
And like many who are watching the hockey games, we too have problems with NBC’s coverage of them.  First of all, Mike Milbury is an idiot and Jeremy Roenick isn’t much better which already a huge strike against NBC.  Secondly, unlike some who think the only sport in the Winter Olympic games that matters is hockey, we DON’T have a problem with NBC sticking around for the end of a curling match involving a U.S. team in favor of the start of a hockey game between two foreign countries.  Yeah it's painful watching Shuster and Debbie McCormick choke time after time but again, we're not interested in Norway-Germany. 

However, why does NBC insist on running 30 second commercials when they know International rules have a 20 second faceoff rule?  Though it was nice of them not to run commercials during Sunday night’s Canada-U.S. game.  It kept Milbury and Roenick psychobabble to a minimum and showed that the TV timeouts in the NHL are completely unnecessary.

U.S.-Canada on Sunday night was a great game and not only because the U.S. won.  We happened to think that Canada looked very tight, very nervous, and you have to wonder if the pressure getting to them?  Canada has looked tight for what little we saw of the Canada-Norway and Canada-Switzerland games.  Many are blaming Martin Brodeur for the loss on Sunday.  However we think that he didn’t play too badly but just wasn’t great.  He gave up two deflections, one scramble, and one soft goal which seems to us to be an indicator of being tight and trying to do too much. 

The U.S. however played some really inspired hockey and scoring just 41 seconds into the game reminded us of Game 3 of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Final.  Head Coach Ron Wilson (who coached the team in 1996 and this year) played a video clip before the game that fired up the team so we wonder what Wilson came up with on Sunday night?  Better yet, why hasn't anybody asked him about it?   We've never known Crazy Ron to be bashful.

However folks, this Olympic tournament far from over.  The elimination games started earlier today and remember,  the U.S. Junior Team had to play a Medal Qualifier and still won the Gold earlier this yearFurthermore, Sweden blitzed Canada 5-2 in a Preliminary Round game back in Salt Lake City in 2002 and it wasn’t even that close.  However, the Swede’s were knocked out by Belarus in the quarterfinals and Canada went on and won the Gold for the first time in 50 years.  If the U.S. is to win any kind of medal in these Olympics, Ryan Miller will have to be the best player for the U.S.  And by finishing as the #1 seed, the U.S. has a huge advantage because they will be the home team for the rest of their games.  As many of you know the home team gets the last line change and for a team that has to be very good defensively, this is a huge help to the United States as line matching will be much easier for Wilson.

And we’ll find out a lot about Canada later night.  If Canada loosens up and plays better, they should have a really easy win over Germany.  However another close call and Canada is in serious trouble.  The expected Canada-Russia game will be a huge one on Wednesday night.  Which Russian team shows up though?  The hard charging one on Sunday or the scatterbrained team of the first two games?  (And after his massive hit on Jaromir Jagr on Sunday does anybody think Captain A.O. is getting any love from Pittsburgh and Rangers fans?)

And let us repeat that we’re still rooting for the U.S. here but we realize that they're still a long shot.  However would not mind one bit if Russia eliminated Canada tomorrow night and went on to win the gold medal (as long as they didn't beat the U.S. for the gold...)  Captain A.O. wins Ross, Richard, Person, Hart, and Smythe Trophies and with the Caps winning Stanley Cup when the NHL season resumes.  We wonder what the Mike Milbury’s of the world will have to say then?  (We already know the answer but would still love asking the question with a smug look on our faces...)

And finally, our Google Alerts on Saturday gave us the bit about a possible 2011 Winter Clunker in Natinal's Ark.  If it is true, we hope they have a tarp ready...  But we do have a couple of questions/complaints.  First o all why is the NHL looking to put Pittsburgh in the Winter Clunker again?  We get that the rivalry between Captain A.O. and the Captain of Canadian Diving Team, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby is a huge draw for the NHL.  But why can't the league let Captain A.O. have the stage to himself, even if he is miscast as the NHL's villian to Lowblow Cindy's hero?  Secondly why isn't RFK Stadium being considered to host this game?  The Eagle Bank Bowl could be moved to Nats Ark or dropped altogether because nobody cares about it and it wouldn't be missed.  RFK has a larger, but not too large like Landover, capacity and it would be a great visual of the stadium bouncing around.  We'll say it right now, any joy we would get about playing in and hosting a Winter Clunker would be greatly diminished by having to play the Penguin Scum and playing in Nat's Ark.  But something tells us that is exactly what is going to happen.

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