It's been quite some time since I last shot a blog into the aether, but just for kicks I thought it might be nice to relive the good old days with a few missives from the abyss as Team USA tries to exorcise the demons of four years ago when that guy who plays for the Penguins accidentally won the gold for Team Canada.
Here are a few thoughts after the Americans drop kicked the Slovaks in their opener at the games in Sochi.
There's fast and feisty and then there is Team USA buzzing Jaroslav Halák and Peter Budaj like they ran over a hornet's nest with a lawnmower. The Russians and Canadians better have an answer for this or the world is in for two glorious weeks of GIF's on Buzzfeed of a shirtless Patrick Kane doing keg stands on top of the Olympic torch.
I always find the first couple games of any Olympics involving Ryan Kesler to be an exercise in acceptance since I spend every minute of every hockey season staring at him on NHL Gamecenter like he threw my new bike off an overpass right after spray painting his name on my dog.
Branko Radivojevič is my all time favorite foreign hockey name. It has a good cadence and it sounds like he runs an illegal cockfighting ring in Bratislava. He. Will. Cut. You. Also, nobody seems to remember that he played in the NHL for the Wild, Flyers, and Coyotes. Specifically the announcer on my Canadian feed who at one point during the game said "Branko Radivojevič gets a taste of an NHL bodycheck". Because he never played in the NHL, see. It didn't happen. Got it?!
Watching Paul Stastny eat an apple with two of his front teeth missing on the left side of his mouth is something I need to see in my lifetime. There has to be some kind of sideways gnawing thing going on followed by a decent amount of unintentional gold prospector-like whistling. And the Avs might trade him? Come on! Put him in a room with Ken Daneyko, record the conversation and find a way to weaponize it. Heeeyssgghhhtthhhhsshhhhhkksskssksssss!!!
Zdeno Chara on NHL ice- terrifying. Zdeno Chara on international ice- pylon.
I lost a bet with a friend/Maple Leafs fan shortly before the Super Bowl when the Avalanche lost to the Leafs at the end of their six game winning streak (when does that happen?!). Anyways, I had to use the Toronto logo as my profile pic on Facebook for two weeks. I was able to take it down shortly before the Broncos found a way to publicly humiliate me, my family and the state of Colorado for the 500th time. When I lost the bet I mentioned to my friend that the Leafs logo had better not taint the Broncos with it's stink. Now that I have presented the evidence I think we can all agree that the real culprit in that bloodbath was the Leafs. My point here is that Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk owe me at least ten gold medals.
Finally, has any other team in the history of hockey been under as much pressure as the Russians? I mean besides Team Canada every year since 1642. I think this, solid American goaltending and the fact that most of the Russian forwards don't like to backcheck will be the keys in the matchup this weekend. Sure, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Malkin, Radulov and their plucky band of KHL veterans who were presumably included due to some vague Olympic salary cap issue look very scary, but isn't that what makes them entirely beatable? They have to win. They must! Team USA? A medal would be great but I wouldn't demand that Zach Parise be sent off to a Siberian mink factory if they lost. I'm proud of Team USA and I wish them the best. One loss for the Russians and that team has the potential to shimmy and collapse like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Here's hoping for a strong wind!