Nobody asked me, but I figured I'd jot down a few mental notes I've made during these Olympics...
1. This sickening thought crossed my mind today: I've often pointed out the stat that Ryan Miller has played on the top-ranked regular season team at the NCAA, AHL,and NHL level, and yet lost in the semifinal round of all three playoffs. The US came out of pool play as the number one seed, and play in the semifinals of the playoff round tomorrow... I'd say now is the perfect time to break the trend.
2. I heard on more than one occasion before this tournament that fourth place was a best-case scenario for the US, and now, fourth place is the worst-case scenario. Obviously goals change, but they've only changed because of how the US has played. Hopefully that doesn't get lost regardless of what happens.
3. Pierre McGuire should be thrown into a sack and kicked repeatedly. I can't understand why TV people insist on putting him near the benches for international events. He embarrasses himself. It can't be that difficult to find another guy out there that can say "The home bench thought that was a penalty!"
4. The US-Switzerland game was just absolutely terrifying to watch. It was a classic trap game against a very pesky opponent. The US didn't get enough credit for how they played in that game. When you're focusing so much on attacking against a weaker opponent, it's easy to get soft, but the shot-blocking by the US was probably the difference in the game. That game had the feel of one that very easily could have been a 2-1 Swiss win.
You could say Finland might be more of the same, but I'm going with the approach that they're playing with house money at this point. I'm impressed with what they've done regardless.
5. It was tough deciding who to root against in the Canada-Russia game based on whose medal-less flameout would be more hilarious. It was like watching Notre Dame play themselves in football. I decided on Canada, if only because the Russian self-destruction was so utterly predictable.
Maybe I'm completely off here, but it seems like Russia's problems of late result from having some old school Red Army guy behind the bench and a team of team of post-Communist players that end up tuning him out by the end of a tournament. It was maybe less of a problem here, but certainly the case at the World Juniors, where Russian players basically admitted to tanking by the end of the tournament because they hated their coach.
Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov was a younger guy, but still old enough to drop the word gibbet into conversation.(That had to have been a popular page on Wikipedia today.)
6. Granted, some of this is LOLTranslation, but I loved that Bykov interview simply because he dropped this quote: "Do not search for something that does not exist!"It's a fantastic response to so many questions you could ask him...
What was the deal with your team's defense and goaltending?
i bet Gary Bettman was really anxious to get a transfer agreement with the KHL done after seeing the best that league has to offer. What do you think it will look like?
Can I see the medal your team was guaranteed to win?
7. I've heard "Look out! Canada's the favorite again!" a couple times today, which is confusing to me. When did they ever stop being the favorite? The US did beat them, but it took one hell of an effort, and if they met again, it would take another hell of an effort to do it.
8. This is obscure so it goes at the end, but did anybody see the episode of How I Met Your Mother called "Best Burger in New York" where Marshall goes on a quest to re-find a hamburger joint he once ate at, and has a total meltdown when he finds out it's gone, because unbeknowst to his friends, he's channeled all his frustration at not having a job into re-finding that burger? If you didn't, that's basically what happened.
I get the feeling that a gold medal in hockey may be that burger for Canada. Between "owning the podium" becoming a phrase impossible to say without irony, to snafu after snafu after snafu plaguing the "Glitch Games," this is aboot all Canada has left. That means I fully expect a grotesque overreaction of chest-thumping if they win the gold, and a world-class meltdown with anything less.