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» 2006 » February

  • Olympic Hockey Day 1

    The first day of Olympic Hockey is in the books and Canada came up with a 7-2 win vs the Italians. Canada started slow and Italy managed to tie the game 1-1 and put a little fear into Canadian fans before the Canucks shook off the rust and opened it up in the second. The Canadian attack was too much for the Italian team to handle and Canada exploded for 5 goals. The team looked rusty on the first day of competition which is understandable considering many arrived just a day earlier.

    The opening day also gave us some interesting upsets. Slovakia upset the Russians 5-3 in an exciting game and showed what kind of offensive talent they have. The larger upset however was the United States managing just a tie against the underdog Latvian team.

    It’s easy to remember back to 2002 when Tommy Salo let in a goal from center ice to give the Belarussians a huge upset over the Swedes. The chance for upsets is still there as we saw today, but not as likely. Recall that Team Canada dropped it’s first 2002 Olympic game 5-1 to Sweden and barely beat the Germans 3-2 before going on to Gold. It’s exciting to watch a non NHL brand of hockey and with a possible 8 games in 12 nights anything can happen at anytime.

    Does anyone else find it funny that Montreal Canadien Andrei Markov chose to wear #52 for Team Russia? Maybe he has a secret crush on teammate Craig Rivet.

    Canada’s next opponent is Germany which is tradtionally not on the same playing field as Canada. However they should not be taken lightly as the Canadians had a lot of difficulty with them in 02. Germany is missing their 2 top forwards, unless Olaf Kolzig pulls one out of his lederhosen, Canada should get by with ease.

    Prediction: Canada 6 – Germany 1

  • Canada vs Italy Olympic Men’s Hockey

    Team Canada kicks off it’s Olympic Tournament bright and early on Wednesday at 7 AM Eastern.

    Canada will take on Olympic host Italy in the first game of their round-robin. Canada could not have asked for an easier first game to play and anything less than a rout on Italy will raise questions from the Canadian hockey fan base. Considering several players are arriving jet lagged and with little or no time to prepare, this game is even more welcome.

    Italy’s team is made partially made up of Italo’s (North Americans of Italian descent) who could not reach the NHL or play in North America and of native Italian players. Several play in European leagues and one Italian is quoted as saying they are ‘elite players’ who intend to ‘catch Canada off guard.’

    With no disrespect intended, they should pray for a miracle if they hope to compete with Canada. The fact is these are the NHL’s most talented and Internationally experienced players competing against mediocre, inexperienced, amateur hockey players. If the Women’s competition is any indication (16-0 Canada) then Canada should walk all over Italy. I don’t expect it to be that bad but if Canada can’t start strong against what is likely to be the last place team in the Tournament then they’ll need to hit the ice and get some practice under their belt before the real challenges.

    Prediction: 9-0 Canada.