The Olympic Hangover is running strong in the world of hockey. It seems like no amount of coffee is waking us up to the fact that the NHL is back on and the players are earning their paychecks once again. The fighting has returned. The real fourth lines have returned. GM Place is GM Place again. But after such a successful and thoroughly entertaining tournament, how many people are truly excited about regular-season hockey; and how many are just waiting for the second round of the playoffs to begin?
With one game left in the Olympic hockey tournament, it’s probably safe to say that we as fans are hungry for more of the Olympic style. The tournament in Vancouver over the past two weeks has shown us competitive game after competitive game, regardless of who the puck was dropping between, with fewer duds than anybody could have expected. We’ve seen upsets, comebacks, overtimes, and everything in between, and all of it without many of the things that plague the everyday NHL.
If you were asked to name the greatest players of all-time, would Joe Nieuwendyk make your list? He’s one of those players who played exactly at the right time in his era, and could carry a team if needed, but rarely did he need to. He was born and raised in the Durham Region just east of Toronto. Nieuwendyk was one of the best lacrosse players in his country before he turned his attention to the ice. He has enjoyed success at every level of the game, from NHL to internationally to the front office.
It was the match everybody wanted to see. Sort of. Team Canada took on the USA for gold in the women’s ice hockey and the Canadians prevailed for the third-straight Olympics, squeezing out a 2-0 win. The game packed Canada Hockey Place, and millions more tuned in to watch, but while the women delivered one of the most spectacular hockey games you’ll ever see, the long hair flowing under every helmet and facemasks covering eyes wearing eyeliner gave things a different feel.
Another record has been broken in Vancouver. Meghan Agosta, forward for Team Canada’s women’s ice hockey unit, has scored nine goals in four games for her country, breaking the record at the Olympics. Agosta scored a hat trick in Canada’s 18-0 win over Slovakia, two more in the 10-1 win over Switzerland, and another hat trick over Sweden 13-1. In the 5-0 semi-final win against Finland on Monday night, Agosta netted another goal to bring her running total to nine.
As the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver roll on, it’s time to take a look at how things are going on the podium. We’re just past the halfway-point of the Games and the United States has a commanding lead in the medal count. The States have already amassed their third-highest medal total ever. They won 25 medals in Turin in 2006, and won 34 as hosts in Salt Lake City in 2002. With 24 medals so far, they are on pace to have their most successful Olympic Winter Games.
For some reason, there’s a lot of talk at the Olympics about whether or not NHL players should be part of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Among many reasons is the argument that the Olympics are not meant for “professional” athletes, and NHLers are as professional as it gets in this competition. A little more than half of the men’s ice hockey players play in the NHL, and some of the teams are made up entirely of NHL players.
Now this is a tournament. Last night, the “unstoppable” Canadian men’s hockey team was almost defeated for the second time in two games by the Swiss team. They managed to pull off a shootout victory in a game that was supposed to be won by the end of the first period. This is the same story we’ve seen throughout the first few games of this Olympic tournament, and it couldn’t be more exciting to watch.
With the Olympics in full swing, the world has now got a taste of what the countries in the women’s ice hockey tournament are all about. Nothing too unexpected has happened so far. For the US team it’s business as usual, while the Canadian women have laid a beating on their competition so far. In their first game last Saturday, Canada broke their own Olympic record for goals by crushing Slovakia 18-0. It was a game that prompted many questions among the hockey world.
The men’s hockey teams are through with their initial practices and are ready for the most anticipated event at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. With 12 nations competing in the tournament, all of them have some sort of experience on the smaller “North American” ice surface. While Canada (and by extension, the US) have a distinct advantage, there are many international players who are more accustomed to the small rink size than others. One of those is certainly a legend on the Russian team, former NHLer Sergei Fedorov.
© Gear Live Media, LLC. 2007 – User-posted content, unless source is quoted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. Gear Live graphics, logos, designs, page headers, button icons, videos, articles, blogs, forums, scripts and other service names are the trademarks of Gear Live Inc.