Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Men's Hockey - Day Two

As expected, Team USA, Team Canada and Team Russia were all victorious in their first games of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Team USA kicked off the fun with a 3-1 win against Switzerland, who had Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller minding the net. The red, white and blue saw scoring from their big boys David Backes, Ryan Malone and Bobby Ryan. Those guys used their size to their advantage, especially on Malone's goal, to create havoc in front of Hiller for crash-the-crease scoring. I have not seen the other two in person, but HM can attest that at 6'4", Ryan Malone is a force to be reckoned with. I am small in stature (5'1" to be exact but I make up for my size with pure attitude) and have stood near Malone in the halls of Verizon Center, it's like being next to a giant redwood tree! A Hockey Mom toast to Team USA - next up they'll meet Norway on Thursday afternoon.

Team Canada took to the ice last night in front of throngs of red and white clad hockey-mad Canadians. Despite the encouragement from the host country fans, the team got off to a slow start and Norwegian net minder Pal Grotnes held the NHL-laden roster scoreless in the first period - can somebody sign this kid already? But as anticipated, the immensely talented Canadians blew the roof off in the second and third periods for a final score of  8-0. Yowzah! One of HM's very favorite players, Calgary Flame captain Jeroma Iginla, made his personal contribution with a hat trick.

If you were watching the Canada/Norway game, you had yet another opportunity to see NBC hockey analyst (or babbling talking head) Mike Milbury, dismiss the dazzling skill, leadership and star power of Alex Ovechkin for the umpteenth time. But this time,  recently retired and outspoken NHL fan favorite Jeremy Roenick, came to the Great8's defense. At the end of the first period, the discussion focused on the pending Russian team's debut in the game to follow. JR expressed his excitement about seeing Ovi, calling him one of the best players he's ever seen.  And as is customary with Milbury, he had to turn the conversation over to how much he adores Sidney Crosby and "that's the kind of guy you build your team around." The look on JR's face was priceless - I have a hunch that Roenick may actually have to drop the gloves in the broadcast booth as the week goes on as the two exchanged barbs after the second period as well regarding Canada's slow start. As much as I loathe Milbury and love JR, the tension between the two made for better drama than the final rose ceremony on "The Bachelor." Milbury tried to clarify his opinions in an interview with Slava Malamud, but for some Caps fans, it may be too little too late to undo his established "Crosby-favoritism." D.C. Sports Bog has more analysis on Milbury's rantings. Here's the video:

And speaking of Ovi, as expected he had an outstanding showing in Russia's commanding 8-2 victory over Latvia. Ovechkin scored two goals and his pal and Capital's team mate, Alex Semin, had an assist on one of his lovely tallies. And if you haven't already seen them, check out Ovi's fancy new footwear over at D.C. Sports Bog - now those are some fine-looking skates!

Two other Capitals will play for their countries for the first time in these games as Nick Backstrom laces up for Sweden in a 7:30 game against Germany, and Tomas Fleischmann suits up for the Czech Republic in the late game against Slovakia (where he'll see former team mate Milan Jurcina). Good luck to all and HM can't wait for another night of Olympic hockey! On a closing note, how about a standing ovation for hockey mom and player, Team USA's Jenny Potter for netting her second hat trick of the games in their outstanding win over the Russian women's team?

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