Well, if yesterday didn’t provide several good examples of why I don’t make hockey predictions, today’s lopsided Team USA win over Finland certainly did. You see, I think hockey is one of those sports where pure talent doesn’t always win-out?
Twitter friend, @DerekZona, sent me a neat link last night, this after Canada totally dominated the Russians. That link took me to an article by Scott Reynolds called “Canada v. Russia Post-Game: Unbelievable“, and the author’s opening just about says it all:
“It was supposed to be epic. It was supposed to be a classic. It was supposed to be close! Yes, it was supposed to be the tournament’s two best teams, meeting unexpectedly in the quarterfinals, fighting tooth and nail to the bitter end to determine who would march on as favourites for gold and who would leave Vancouver with nothing…”
Ha, it was supposed to be… And that’s the point I’m trying to make here, in that hardly any of these games play-out the way they’re supposed to.
Understandably, a lot of my on-line hockey friends were a little disappointed at the way the whole day’s slate of games went. Oh, I don’t think any of us were disappointed by who won the various match-ups; the real downer was that there weren’t any nail-biters — at all, or no games to keep us on the edges of our seats.
I mentioned to @TheEricMartens at one point, that I thought it would have helped the USA team if they later met a Canadian squad that had to expend some energy in their lead-up games. That certainly didn’t happen in the one versus Russia. So, those cheering for the Americans can only hope that Slovakia at least forces the Canadians to need showers after tonight’s game.
At one point, my friend, @tavarescountry hit it on the nose when he credited the Canadians with some good old fashioned hard work against the Russians (and it might be unfair of us all to give the Russians all the fault and Canada none of the credit). I totally agreed with him on Team Canada’s effort, but I also pointed to their inconsistencies over the course of the tournament, in that they’ve seemed to play in one game, snooze a bit in another, play again, and… And, I had to ask my buddy, What could possibly come next? For, one snooze — at this stage of the game — means you’re going home.
I went on to mention that a team that goes up and down in intensity worries me. And I’m talking about any tournament team here, not really Team Canada. Russia snoozed and what happened? The Czechs didn’t seem to bring their A-game yesterday, and they’re out. I didn’t get to see much of Sweden, but they are also hiss-to-ree. (Come to think of it — and this may or may not matter in the end, Team USA has probably been the most consistent squad to this point.)
Anyway, I finished with @tavarescountry by saying that I need to see that performance/intensity two more times by Team Canada before I can truly believe in them.
Then, as I was readying to sign-off late last night, another hockey coach, @weissie20 , asked me which team I was rooting for (in reference to I-don’t-know-which-game). Hmmmm… To be perfectly honest, I seldom cheer that much for any team unless there’s some personal connection. (Of course, I’ll root for the team I coach, for my grandson’s college team, and now for Team USA, but…)
More often, I love watching and studying individual players, no matter who they play for. For example, can you blame me for studying the likes of an Ovechkin or a Crosby?
I also mentioned to @weissie20 that I like to study team systems and strategies, and even the styles of different coaches. But no, I don’t get too rapt in who wins a game I don’t have some ties to.
By the way… I got to thinking about some of the above as announcements were made today about Anthony Chic’s college playoff schedule. For, although they’re a low seed, they should win their first game. If they do, they at least have a decent chance to take the semi-final. From there, I’m guessing they’d be big underdogs against whomever they face in the finals. However, as we’re seeing this week in Olympic play, anything can happen in a one game match-up. One lucky or fluke goal early-on can get a team believing in themselves, while the other team can just as suddenly start wondering if they’ve lost their magic.
So again, just about anything can happen in one game, and — at least in hockey, it seems, talent doesn’t always win-out in the end.
Finally, a young lady who goes by the Twitter name @sarazen asked my opinion of that hit(?) by Boyle (I think), ’cause she evidently thought it was a dirty move. I still haven’t been able to catch a replay, but friends I talk to seem to agree with Sara. So, does anyone else out there have their own opinion?
Oh, I did a piece yesterday over on CoachChic.com about whether speed skating training can help a hockey player or not. There’s a great video there featuring Apolo Ohno, the famed speed skater (so a lot of the ladies ought to at least enjoy that part).