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xinhui
16 Feb 10,, 09:18
Olympic hockey tournament could be one for the ages
Vancouver Now - Olympic hockey tournament could be one for the ages - Scott Morrison (http://www.cbc.ca/olympics/blogs/scottmorrison/2010/02/olympic-hockey-tournament-could-be-one-for-the-ages.html)

* By Scott Morrison

In the opinion of Team Canada coach Mike Babcock, if everyone performs as expected and hoped in this Olympic hockey tournament, we could be on the verge of seeing the "best hockey event of all time."
In the opinion of Team Canada coach Mike Babcock, if everyone performs as expected and hoped in this Olympic hockey tournament, we could be on the verge of seeing the "best hockey event of all time."

Think of 1972 and the historic Canada-Russia Summit Series. Think of 1987 and the incredible three-game Canada Cup final between Canada and Russia and it is a heady prediction indeed.

And one we all hope comes to pass.

"The talent level is fantastic," said Babcock on Monday after Canada assembled for its first practice before opening the Olympic hockey tournament Tuesday against Norway. "If everyone lives up to expectations, it could be the best hockey event ever."

With apologies to the rest of the athletes who have already competed, let the Games begin.

And, fairly or not, how this Canadian hockey team performs over the next fortnight is going to heavily distinguish whether these Olympics, from a host country perspective of course, were a success or an abject failure.

No matter how many other medals are won, and not to diminish the accomplishments of the medallists, but what Canada does on the ice is the big story of these Games. This is, after all, a game we have declared is ours and one we just don't get interested in every four years, but more about that and the pressure and the ridiculous expectations later.

Babcock is right, of course, that this could be one of the greatest hockey tournaments of all time, as '72 was to one generation, and '87 was to another, 2010 could be to yet another.

Getzlaf ready to go

280-getzlaf.jpgAs such, and for other reasons, Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf didn't want to miss it. And he won't.

Getzlaf, if you missed it, suffered a high ankle sprain one week ago and missed two NHL games and literally did not know until Monday morning whether he would be included on the Canadian roster. His status was in such doubt that Philadelphia Flyers Jeff Carter, who was selected as the replacement, was flown to Vancouver just in case.

But Getzlaf, who underwent a battery of tests from the Team Canada medical staff, was pronounced fit to play and was on the ice, pain free, for the first practice, playing on a line with Anaheim teammate Cory Perry and Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, who was moved from his normal centre position to the left wing.

"Today was the greatest relief in the world," said Getzlaf. "This last week has been tough. It has been one of the scariest and hardest things I've ever had happen. It was a big relief just to get out on the ice with the guys."

For the uninitiated, high ankle sprains can be one of the worst injuries - painful and often requiring a lot of time to recover.

"I am so fortunate," said the Regina native. "It's a rare occurrence with this type of injury that it heals this quickly, without any problems. But it feels great. The medical staff did a great job for me.

"This is the biggest stage, it means the world to me to be able to play."

It is a huge relief for Team Canada as well. In the eyes of the management and coaching staff, Getzlaf is a key piece to the puzzle, right up there with Sidney Crosby no less. He is big and strong, fast and skilled. He can be fury on ice, or a gifted scorer or playmaker.

"We think he's a very good player," said Babcock. "He has an opportunity to be real good for Canada. He's a competitive guy. When you talk about (Brent) Seabrook and (Duncan) Keith, Getzlaf and Perry, we think they are better together. Perry is a better player when he plays with (Getzlaf).

"One of my coaches on my staff says one and one sometimes makes three with some players."

And so the first omen for Canada is a good one, with Getzlaf able to participate in the most anticipated and nationally televised practices perhaps ever. Babcock put together his lines and defence pairings and quickly advised not to read too much into anything because his team is a work in progress.

"We've got to get better every day," he said.

Gold or bust

It is all about, as we've learned from previous Olympics and international tournaments, about quickly developing chemistry and cohesion as a team and, for a lot of countries, but especially the host country in these Games, it is about winning gold.

Nothing less will be acceptable, we all know that.

As such, the pressure on this group to perform and to come together as a team will be absolutely stifling. Sometimes we do have, as a country, a certain sense of entitlement when it comes to hockey, but a little perspective is in order.

"People love hockey in this country," added Canadian captain Scott Niedermayer. "It's as simple as that. We love to play hockey, we love to watch it and cheer our team on and I am happy to be a part of it. We obviously want to do well. This is why it's fun. It's important and it matters in this country and we like to be in this spot."

Truth is, the parity in this tournament is such that Canada, or any of the other top-rated nations, could play well, very well, and still finish down the track. That won't make it any easier to accept for the players, and it won't make it any easier to rationalize for the fans, but that is the reality of it.

Truth is, actually, as we all know in Canada, that anything short of winning gold and, well, few will give the Canadians performance an acceptable rating, whether they deserve it or not.

As Babcock said, we could be on the verge of watching one of the best hockey events ever. He just fell short of adding, if Canada wins.

"It's not about me, it's not about them, it's about Canada," said Babcock at one point.

It's so true.

gunnut
16 Feb 10,, 18:54
Getzlaf centers the 2nd line for Canada. That's a scary thought.

Evgeny Malkin will center Alexander Ovechkin for Russia. That's a scary thought also.

I just might have to watch the Olympics after all.

Rumrunner
22 Feb 10,, 15:51
Tough loss for Canada against the US last night. I'm not much of a hockey fan but that game was a real back-n-forth cat fight up until the empty netter.

rj1
23 Feb 10,, 02:46
Tough loss for Canada against the US last night. I'm not much of a hockey fan but that game was a real back-n-forth cat fight up until the empty netter.

Fantastic game.

gunnut
23 Feb 10,, 20:15
Fantastic game.

And that was only the preliminary round.

Canada plays Germany next, which should be a breeze. Not sure if they would play Russia or Finland after that. Either way, it will be a tough road for Canada to reach the medal round.

There's a good chance USA will play Jonas Hiller and Switzerland. Hiller can steal a game all by himself.

Sorry to all you Canucks, but it would be wonderful to see US play Russia for the gold.

xinhui
24 Feb 10,, 01:16
The Canadian have their sweet revenge -- they won ice-dancing last night.

xinhui
24 Feb 10,, 01:17
US play Russia for the gold.

For the memory!

bigross86
24 Feb 10,, 03:51
Holy Crap! Keeping updated online on the games, still a little left in the third period, and Canada is already at 8-1. Will they go a little further? I feel sorry for Germany, they are totally being owned. Indeed, this is shaping up to be very interesting...

Proton
24 Feb 10,, 07:10
So the next is Canada vs Russia. One of the two biggest favorites on this tournament will be out already. This should be a war. Third in a row for these two as Russia beat Canada in the last two World Championships.

gunnut
24 Feb 10,, 08:32
BLAST!!! The game will be on TV and I will be at work :mad:

gunnut
24 Feb 10,, 23:40
Just as I have predicted, Jonas Hiller is singlehandedly keeping the Swiss in the game. It's still 0-0 after 2 periods and the Americans have fired 32 shots on goal. If it gets to a shootout, the Swiss have a good chance to eliminate the Americans. Shot count will be an even 1 for 1 during shoot out, and Hiller knows all the American shooters.

bigross86
25 Feb 10,, 00:29
2-0 USA. Switzerland pulled their goalie at the end and the second goal was Empty Net

gunnut
25 Feb 10,, 02:03
Holy smokes...Canada scored 3 goals already!

I think the winner of this game will go on to win the gold medal.

Tronic
25 Feb 10,, 02:19
So the next is Canada vs Russia. One of the two biggest favorites on this tournament will be out already. This should be a war. Third in a row for these two as Russia beat Canada in the last two World Championships.

4-1 Canada, 1st Period. So much for war. :))

Officer of Engineers
25 Feb 10,, 02:37
6-1 at the start of 2nd

gunnut
25 Feb 10,, 02:49
7-2 now...3 goals from the Ducks top line :biggrin:

gunnut
25 Feb 10,, 09:02
Damn!!! The Canucks came out looking for blood and absolutely crushed the Ruskies. Ovechkin got to know the boards very well in this game.

US squeaked by Jonas Hiller.

The Finns kept Teemu Selanne's dream of gold medal alive.

The Slovaks edged the Swedes. I was surprised at this one. Henrik Lundqvist was so good for so long, and then gave up 3 goals in mere minutes. Sweden never recovered from that.

Semis on Friday and I won't be able to watch...:mad:

bigross86
25 Feb 10,, 17:44
Shame about Lundqvist, he's actually one of the only good things the NY Rangers have to bring to a game.

gunnut
26 Feb 10,, 22:16
Congratulations to the Canadian women hockey team!

Shek
01 Mar 10,, 03:48
I can't believe that no one's posted about the hockey game today. Congrats to Canada for both a great Olympics and for providing such a memorable game to cap things off.

Parihaka
01 Mar 10,, 03:58
I can't believe that no one's posted about the hockey game today. Congrats to Canada for both a great Olympics and for providing such a memorable game to cap things off.

OoE is still stuck in Chez Mado and the rest of the Canadians are too drunk to operate a keyboard

Canmoore
01 Mar 10,, 04:57
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

back to my beer...

Tronic
01 Mar 10,, 06:26
Congratzzz Canada!!! And a pat on the back to Ryan Miller.. Gold material but be happy with the MVP.. you played amazing..

Rumrunner
01 Mar 10,, 16:48
Congrats to Canada on the incredible hockey win, and to the record-setting 14 golds you took home!

gunnut
01 Mar 10,, 19:40
That was a good game! Both teams competed hard and no one was hurt. Canada had the better team but USA had a better goalie. The Canadian team that smashed the Russians showed up on Sunday.

Allow myself to quote...myself: "the team that wins this game (Canada vs. Russia) will win the gold."

Repatriated Canuck
10 May 10,, 03:14
I managed to fly home for the last half of the Olympics. I've never seen Vancouver so happy before, no fights or anything after that epic win.

Such a great game too, an absolute nail biter down to the finish.