Damn, I thought USA vs Canada was going to have to work hard to top the early game. And they did.

Uncharacteristic puck bobbles by “Mr. They Made The Trapezoid To Give Other Teams Hope”, sloppy clears by both bluelines, ferocious forechecking and backchecking by both teams.

Three Stars of the period:
#3
Eric Staal, smooth playing take his puck by Miller, physical play made him look like the superstar he doesn’t always look in his NHL games.

#2 Rafalski, one of team USA’s old warhorses is leading the charge. Both physical and offensive.

#1 Ryan Miller. Clearly its Miller time. Team USA’s two other goalies should immediately toss aside any hope of playing before they return to their NHL teams.

2-1 USA after 20.

Wow.

What a contrast of styles this period. The Czech’s are all about misdirection, screens and being in position to recover a rebound. The Russians are all the Chicago polititicos of the tournament; Shoot early, and shoot often.

As I suspected much more passion by the Republic than in the second period, had they played with a little more fire the Russians would have been in major trouble.

It should also be noted the suits at NBC are dropping the ball again by putting the USA vs Canada game on MSNBC instead of their flagship broadcast outlet. That game will probably be the most watched non medal game of the games.

This was a bit different from the first period. There were less of the shattering hits that littered the opening. There were however more gloves in faces, some snarl. The Russians controlled the period, but took some really sloppy penalties. The Russian goal was a solid shot but this period was less entertaining than the first.

I suspect the Czech team will come out with a bit more passion and press the Russians to try and get the win.

Watching the first period there are two important things you need to take away from the play so far.

1) Is the simple one. The Russians have the best players on the ice, it doesn’t matter if its the two guys from Washington, the transplant to New Jersey, or the guy from Hockey Town.

2) Is the less obvious one. The Czech’s have the better team. The defensive structure is superior, the awareness in all three zones of each other is better, and they are clearly united in mind and purpose.

Its not shocking that this is probably the best game of the olympics so far.

I’m a long time hockey fan and will be an irregular blogger until someone decides to pay me to do so.  Someday I will answer the questions as to who is the best player in the NHL, but not today.

3D Hockey you say? Yes, yes it is as mind blowing as it sounds. NBC has broken new ground in how it delivers the best known product at the Olympics.

Disgrace, Disrespect, Dumb

The NHL is partnered with NBC to bring the fastest action on the planet to the masses. There are scores of the best hockey players in the world playing in the Olympics, and fans are forced to watch their favorite sport on networks they may never have heard of so that glorified floor washing can be presented for the enjoyment of people who would probably watch anything while on a channel that’s in their preset.

Take a look at the roster of any Olympic hockey team, there are NHL players there. There are quite a few well known NHL players there. The Slovakian Olympic team has players in multiple notable television markets. With Zdeno Chara the reigning Norris Trophy winner you bring interest in the Boston market, as well as in the New York market as legacy when he played in for the Islanders, with Marian Hossa you get interest in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Detroit, & Chicago his past and current cities, Marian Gaborik will bring you interest from the hockey mad state of Minnesota,  and his new home in the Big Apple, Michal Handzus plays in that relatively unknown, insignificant municipality known as Los Angeles.  Even teams from tiny nations like Finland and Belerus have ties to major metropolitan areas through the NHL contingents on their team.

The disrespect shown to hockey fans, who if treated well would boost the ratings the rest of the hockey season when it is televised is simply inane, short sighted and foolish. This disrespect shown to the NHLPA, and the the players who have their games moved around to fit NBC’s bidding during the regular season is shameful, demeaning and dismissive. The long term and nearly criminal and certainly fiscally irresponsible nature of the disrespect shown to the NHL who will certainly have the coverage fiasco saved in their files and fresh in their memories when it comes time to negotiate a new national deal with someone should have shareholders in an uproar and the people in advertising sales fuming over the revenue that was thrown away by the decision to air curling and luge which are sports we hear about once every four years over a sport that is active from September to June every year.

Even if the suits at NBC never listen to a fan, they should be paying attention to their partners and their bottom line, clearly they are not.