Midnight Run

By Chris

I think I would be enjoying Olympic hockey more if I could actually stay awake to watch all of the games.

Last night was the third night in a row where I fell asleep on the couch during the midnight game. I missed most of Russia’s shellacking of Latvia on Tuesday, dozed off with the Czech Republic and Slovakia tied at 1 on Wednesday and passed out in the third period during Russia and Slovakia’s match-up last night. Needless to say, I don’t have much of an opinion of Andrej Sekera’s play.

Other than that, it’s been a pretty great tournament.

The Americans are finally gelling and may be better than we all think (coming in, I thought they might be the fourth or fifth best team). A U.S. loss in overtime to Canada on Sunday would result in each country finishing with seven points. Since goal differential is a key tiebreaker in pool play, Team USA will have to beat Canada in regulation to win their pool (U.S. is currently +7 in goal differential and Canada is +9). That’s no easy task. But if we learned anything from Canada’s thrilling win over Switzerland yesterday, it’s that you need great goaltending.

Make no mistake about it, Jonas Hiller was sick last night. The Swiss did play some pretty good defense, but Hiller made some unbelievable stops, especially in the last 10 minutes of the third. It’s not fair that Sidney Crosby got a second crack at him in the shootout even though Canada probably would have won that game anyways.

Supposedly Jaroslav Halak was just as brilliant against Russia in the late late game. He saw Alex Ovechkin in the shootout three times and bested him twice. The Canadiens could surely use some of that magic down the stretch.

Team USA is going to need Miller to have the game of his life on Sunday. Team Canada boasts a roster All Stars and future Hall of Famers. He’s probably never faced a team this loaded. It should be a good game…on MSNBC.

And I’m not crazy about NBC bumping hockey in favor of “Blade of Glory,” but it is nice that all of the hockey is in one place (and at least it’s in HD). However, if I have to miss another first period because John Shuster decided to lose another curling match with the hammer, someone’s going to get hurt. And by that I mean my remote might be in four pieces before all is said and done. Shuster sucks.

3 Comments

  1. NoUseForANickname

    Damn straight that Canada-Swiss game was great.

    I was in a bar full of people (in arctic Canada), the majority of them nashing teeth that Canada was ‘only’ tied to the swiss as though it was some sort of failure – clearly they weren’t watching the game and just cared about the result. The Swiss team played great, Hillier was great, and that’s why they play the game (See also Russia-Slovakia)…

    Canada had a ton of chances and was generally the better team but when the best player on the ice is the goalie, who knows what will happen (and as sabre fans, I think we’ve all bought into that theory and hope that it rings true again this year).

  2. Hellooo Chris!

    There’s no rhyme or reason for my following of the Russian Olympic hockey team – probably because I keep weird hours – but the Ovechkin-led squad gave Slovakia every opportunity to win. Alex missed the net on both of his shoot-out failures and honestly, didn’t seem comfortable in the situation. He plays his game with grit and an edge, and a situation that relies on finesse and deft puck-handling didn’t play to his strengths. Halak was solid, but not on the level of Hiller yesterday.

    Great to see former NHLers in the Olympics, though – Ziggy Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Hnat Domenichelli, Morozov, Bartecko, Jagr, Cajanek, and others. Just through the out of sight, out of mind idea, I forgot a bunch of those guys existed.

  3. I failed to mention that everyone’s-favorite-dman Anton Volchenkov blocked roughly 30 shots with his skates and shins.