Everything Else

It’s hard to get a gauge one how this tournament is going over. We know Twitter can be something of an echo chamber (ha, “can”). So if you thought this thing was stupid  you definitely can find enough people who agree with you to get the impression that everyone thinks it’s stupid. If you like it, because hey, it’s hockey in September and these are still the best players in the world out there you can find enough voices too.

I’ve enjoyed having hockey back this early, enjoyed laughing at Team USA, and while The Young Ones have been endlessly entertaining I can’t escape the feeling of it being misplaced and manufactured. I feel the same way about the Young Ones that I do about 3-on-3 OT. It’s a gimmick, an entertaining gimmick, and the gimmick-nature of it kind of robs it of its meaning and misses the point of the competition.

So of course the two would merge yesterday afternoon, and anyone watching it couldn’t take their eyes off of it, no matter the internal struggle.

Everything Else

It’s finally over. A tournament that will basically be remembered for ruthless efficiency more than any classic hockey has come to a close. And it ended with Canada on top, which it always should have. Sure, it would have been more fun if Sweden could have played them with more than a center and a half, but that’s the way things go. It probably still wouldn’t have mattered.

Everything Else

Quick reactions to the semifinals today. We’ll start with the bigger game to us, and that’s the battle of the 49th. Those of us here in the land of guns and poor public education love to big up our chances and talk a big game, but every hockey fan knows in their heart that Canada will always ice a better roster than the US, and better than everyone. You know in that one game things can go right, a bounce or a call here or there or one spectacular goalie performance (which the US got and that’s the only reason this didn’t end up 4-0 at least) or one pants-shitting can swing the result. But if both teams play their game, you know where it’s going. And that’s where it went.

Shall we get to the bullets? We shall:

Everything Else

Quick reactions to the semifinals today. We’ll start with the bigger game to us, and that’s the battle of the 49th. Those of us here in the land of guns and poor public education love to big up our chances and talk a big game, but every hockey fan knows in their heart that Canada will always ice a better roster than the US, and better than everyone. You know in that one game things can go right, a bounce or a call here or there or one spectacular goalie performance (which the US got and that’s the only reason this didn’t end up 4-0 at least) or one pants-shitting can swing the result. But if both teams play their game, you know where it’s going. And that’s where it went.

Shall we get to the bullets? We shall:

Everything Else

If this is to be the last Olympics with the NHL involved, I suppose there’s decent symmetry in having the last two Gold Medal games be the semifinal match ups. It should make for a pretty good morning for hockey fans, assuming you can get up early enough or get off work or watch at work and get fired or whatever you’re going to have to do to watch. But hey, isn’t this what we all came for? Let’s give it the proper treatment.

swedish chef vs. 45166

Sweden v. Finland

TIME: 6am Central (NBCSN)

The Scandinavian rivals kick off the day, with Finland looking to turn around the result from Torino and I suppose the Swedes still a bit sore from coughing up the World Juniors at home to Finland thanks to Teuvo and Rasmus. This is has always kind of been a one-sided rivalry, with Finland playing the little brother to the more exalted Swedes.

Everything Else

While we’re poised for a semifinal day that really will be a feast of hockey, the other side of the debate is also clear after John Tavares’s injury. It would be an even bigger howl if the Islanders were in playoff contention, so I guess the NHL dodged a quarter of a bullet there. The risks are there for all to see, but seeing the videos of full bars during T.J. Oshie’s Michael Jackson performance against Russia provide all the benefits to be seen as well.

I can’t say I’ve made up my mind. I really like the international game. What I haven’t heard is what will happen if the NHL doesn’t send its players to South Korea in four years. Will it be just an under-23 tournament with college juniors and seniors and AHL-ers available? I think most GMs would be ok with sending their top prospects to such a crucible. Most of them let those players go to the World Juniors instead of play in the AHL for a couple weeks. I guess that would be ok, but really as nothing more than a scouting combine that the Juniors is now. Would NHL players under 23 be allowed to be picked? I’m guessing no. Would it just be the World Juniors replayed six weeks later? Would the European leagues still send their players, like the KHL or Swedish Elite League? Would that be fair?

Everything Else

We’re off and running. Just a few thoughts about the two games today and then we’ll set up what’s to come tomorrow. Well, actually in just about a few hours but you get the idea.

-I think the reason Sweden is a lot of people’s favorites is because pretty much everyone on their roster would be called one of the smarter players on their NHL team. They’re all intelligent in both ends. Except for the little blip that let the Czechs back in it for a hot minute, the Swedes puck support was really outstanding. Even though they don’t all play together during the year, they seem to just pick up immediately. And this Erik Karlsson-OEL pairing is just too much fun to watch. I thought having to play centerfield for Karlsson would kind of limit Ekman-Larsson’s game, but there was no sign of that today. What a player. And of course, Karlsson is pretty much a video game.

-Oh sure the Czechs don’t need Ales Hemsky to play much when they have… a big handful of themselves, really. They’re a bigger mess than I thought.

Everything Else

Let’s keep rolling along with our Olympic Preview.

Group B

Austria – You’re gonna have a lot of fun saying, “Unterluggaur” while Thomas Vanek is amazed he can play for a team worse than the Islanders.

Canada – As always with them, they’re absolutely loaded. PK Subban might not even play. That’s how richly talented they are. You can try and poke holes in them, but there really just aren’t any. Patrice Bergeron is a fourth-line wing on this squad, and he’s the best two-way player in the game.

Those hoping for a hilarious crash and burn will look in goal. Roberto Luongo has been pretty good even while the Canucks have completely collapsed around him, and his mental deficiencies we all used to laugh at really haven’t popped up in a while. Because they haven’t had a chance. He was pulled mid-series vs. both the Kings and Sharks the past two springs even though he actually played really well. But we know if Canada loses it’ll be his fault. And really, what do you have to do behind this defense? Even if he slips, Carey Price is hardly a drop off a cliff.

If Canada stumbles, it’ll be because they run up against a galactic goaltending performance, which is what happened in ’98 and ’06. It’ll be Rask or Lundqvist or Miller or maybe even Hiller standing on his dick and conjuring up the dark arts. Other than that, this team should sneeze up four to five goals per game.

Prediction: They’re going to wallop this group, which should see them get an easy quarterfinal draw, and then from there it’s just about not getting Rask-ed. Gold Medal Game I’m thinking.