There is a tiny anteater in the back of this photo. (Photo: Getty)
Happy Friday! Hope you were able to dig out of the miserable, snow-flanked hut you spent all day Thursday in.
The mens Olympic tournament fielded four games today, starting at 3 am. The favored team won in each of the four games, though some teams struggled (Sweden) and others had to hold back in the third period to avoid looking unsportsmanlike (Canada).
Plus, while you were getting some delta-wave sleep, Martin Erat scored on a net that actually had a guy guarding it. That’s novel.
Join me, won’t you, in the recap?
Finland 6, Norway 1
Didn’t watch. Hardly care. Selanne played, so that’s good. Players with the first name Olli (Maata, Jokinen) got a combined four points.
Czech Republic 4 , Latvia 2
I’ve made lots of sacrifices for RMNB. I’ve skipped parties, stood up dates, gone to work tired, got carpal tunnel, and dropped $700 for a Czech translation. One thing I wasn’t gonna do is wake up at 3 AM to watch the Czechs and Finns. Stupid me: I missed Martin Erat‘s goal! We’ve got the write-up and some GIFs, which are well worth your click.
Jaromir Jagr also scored. I don’t have anything to say about that. If you talk about it in comments, I will judge you. You might get downvoted.
And, oh yeah: Bad goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made his Olympic debut, puting up a .900 save percentage (18 of 20), which sounds about right. Pavelec ranks 40th out of the 45 goalies who have played at least 20 games this season.
Sweden 1, Switzerland 0
It’s official: Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the Olympics due to his recurring back problem. That’s heartbreaking news for the Swedish team, for whom Zetterberg is captain and an offensive leader, as well as the Red Wings, whom I think will miss the playoffs for the first time since the late 80s.
On the other side of the ice, in a shocker, the Swiss didn’t start Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller in net. Instead, Reto Berra fielded 31 shots, saving all but one– that one being the one that mattered. That shot belonged to yet another old guy: Daniel Alfredsson. Between him and Jagr, it’s been a good day for the old dudes.
That’s a well played loss for the Swiss and a narrow win for the Swedes. Much to Brooks Laich’s satisfaction, Switzerland was curiously strong like an altoid min. I hope they can give somebody trouble in an elimination match. We need some upsets soon.
Canada 6, Austria 0
This was inevitable. Did you know that every single player on the Canadian team is both a Captain and a former Calder Trophy winner? It’s true; I checked. The roster is that good, and the coaching ain’t bad either.
For example, Mike Babcock (jeez– how many Red Wings people are there in Sochi?) wisely separated Jeff Carter from ever-toxic, lone wolf Sidney Crosby, allowing the former to score a natural hat trick on a thoroughly outmatched Austrian team. Hey, remember when Philly GM Paul Holmgren traded Jeff Carter and Mike Richards away on the same day they signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a comically bad and eventually nullified contract? Maybe it’s good to consider context when evaluating our own preferred team’s general manager.
Doc Emrick tells me, personally, that this was the first Olympic Natty Hatty since 1988, which actually was in the late 80s. I think that’s the first time we’ve used “late 80s” without hyperbole on this site.
Anyway, Carter looked thoroughly unimpressed with his goal-scoring explosion, which has vaulted Canada up the goal-differential column. Plus Getzlaf got a shorty, Weber released another shot that I want analyzed on Mythbusters, and no one really commented about the steatorrheal quality of Canada’s uniforms.
Canada is the dragon, for sure, but there are a lot of would-be slayers in this tourney.
True or False: the whole Bob Costas eye infection thing could be resolved with a pair of mirrored Wayfarers. No more weird squinting, and Costas would look like the biggest bad ass ever to emcee a Olympic broadcast.
Nevermind. Retracted. Johnny Weir rules.
Please don’t party too hard tonight, guys. Saturday at 7:30 AM is the game we’ve been looking forward to since the siege of Berlin in 1945. Or the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980. Or since the prelim schedule was announced. It’s USA vs Russia!
I think the US team matches up pretty well against Russia. There’s infinity talent on that top Russian line, but the US looks like it has some great options for checking forwards and some pretty stout D to boot. It’ll be the first good match of the Games and a test of our allegiances. Please share your picks below– both your heart’s and your head’s. USA is the pick from all my internal organs, though I did have my gall bladder and part of my kidney removed a few years ago, so I can’t truly say it’s a consensus.