Closing thoughts on Vancouver 2010

The past two weeks have been an absolute treat for hockey fans.

Leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, much hype was given to the hockey tournament, and sure enough, it may have even surpassed the hype. Great hockey available on almost a nightly basis. Unless you have NHL Center Ice, odds are you’re lucky to see one game a night. Getting three games a day, night after night, made it wonderful to be a hockey fan.

Buffalo Sabres fans were able to watch our superstar become the nation’s superstar. Ryan Miller established himself as the best goalie in the world right now to the hockey world and the casual viewing public. Miller was named MVP of the tournament, as well as best goaltender, as well as being placed on the all-tournament team. Not too shabby of a performance out of the man.

In the end, the pre-tournament favorite ended up claiming the gold, but in far from the manner that most expected. I’m sure anyone who would’ve claimed Canada would end up as the 6-seed after the prelims would’ve been laughed at. But they did, and in spite of it, they won the games they needed to win.

Here are some parting shots in regards to the Winter Olympiad:

  • 27.6 million Americans watched the gold medal game. Sucks the US didn’t win, but that’s an overall win for hockey. For what it’s worth, 16.6 million Canadians watched the game, the biggest audience for any telecast in Canadian history. Amazing.
  • I’m not very shocked that Russia fell apart like they did. Looking at the lineup, you saw a lot of guys who were known for offensive prowess much more than they were for defensive responsibility and/or grit. That showed. Teams that had talent and work ethic beat them. The blowout loss to Canada should’ve been seen from a mile away.
  • Big ups to the Slovaks for coming to play. They were very underrated coming in, and they showed more heart than most teams. When you play with heart, the effect of talent grows exponentially. A solid defensive core led by Zdeno Chara and Lubomir Visnovsky gave Jaroslav Halak a chance to be a key player in goal. That supporting cast was the difference between teams like Slovakia and Switzerland. Hiller may have been the second best goalie in the tournament, but a lack of a cast got them nowhere.
  • I love Doc Emrick. He was phenomenal calling games the whole tournament. Emrick is the best in the business.
  • If Lindy scratches Andrej Sekera at all the rest of the season, he’s a moron.
  • It was very refreshing to open-heartedly fall in love with Chris Drury again. I would’ve liked to have seen him on the ice a bit more in the gold medal game. His spot on the team was merited, and he proved it on the ice. He came up big when needed… just like Chris Drury always does.
  • Best name of the games: Mats Zuccarello Aasen. Runner up goes to Tore Vikingstad.
  • Toni Lydman did take home some hardware, and good for him. Finland claimed the bronze medal with a 5-3 comeback win over Slovakia. Good way to rebound after getting crushed by the US the day before.
  • Sweden never looked like a legit contender for gold throughout the tournament. A very disappointing finish for the defending champions. I really wanted Hank Tallinder to come home with a medal.

All in all, a fun two weeks to be a hockey fan. It remains to be seen whether or not the NHL takes a break in 2014 for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. It would definitely require a longer break than these games did, so it may have to be considered that the NHL allows players to go without completely shutting down. I know it would be controversial for teams to play without their stars, but I don’t see it being feasible to stop the league for three weeks without shortening the schedule.

Either way, I don’t know if those Olympics could possibly live up to the standard set by Vancouver.


Posted on March 1, 2010, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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