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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sweden gets the gold

Well, my family went dark on the internet for a week. It was also a week that had the best hockey I've seen in so short a period. Because of the wedding of Wolfkeeper and Holly, I've had the chance to meet so many of the posters on Wolfkeeper.org face to face. I watched great Olympic hockey, what did you guys watch?

On Sunday morning, during the great gold medal match, the three NBC guys were discussing hockey. Which is better NHL, or the Olympic/ World championships? They all agreed it was the NHL.

I had to think about this. The Olympics are a different animal than the Stanley Cup competition: a sprint versus a marathon. Wide-open play versus the compression of the North American rink. I lov this game, played both international style and North American style. Those differences are rubbing the right parts. There is an intensity to the play I've seen these past weeks that is not present in the Stanley Cup or Calder Cup races. I like the race to the finish in the NHL and AHL, but when you strip it all away, it's really about money. There is elan' in the Olympic tournament that is unmatched in the NHL.

For me, as a fan, I loved to watch Italy, even knowing it had no chance, in this tournament. Although I had no stake, I felt the intense emotions of the Finns as they lost this morning to the Swedes.

One of the reasons I followed the Finns was that Antero Nittymaki was in the goal. Of all the people on the ice against the Wolves last season, he is the person I was most deeply impressed by. I've never met the man, yet, he has continued to be short-changed by the Philadephia fans and the AHL media despite his key roll in defeating the Wolves Calder Cup campaign in 2005. And, I've identified with him as a result of the backhanded treatment he's received by Philadelphia fans and the AHL East Coast media.

If I hadn't followed the Wolves, a minor league team, Nittymaki wouldn't have shown up on my radar. I understand that hockey is Canada's real national sport. I hope the International Olympic Committee continues to support hockey and offer improvements. I'm so happy it has become my personal sports interest.

1 comment:

abcddavis said...

Patrick,

You have an interesting site. I've been following the AHL a lot lately because I recently moved from Colorado Springs, where I was a huge Colorado College hockey fan. I've been trying to follow the careers of some of the guys who played there, especially Peter Sejna. When he was in Colorado, we thought he was going to go on to be a huge NHL star. I've been dissapointed by how his career has gone so far, but I still follow Peoria. I was also wondering if he was considered for the olympics since he is from Slovakia. I think he is good enough to play for both St. Louis and Slovakia.
Anyway, about the olympics. I agree with you that the tournament was entertaining. I love the Canadian team and its players, but also many of the players from other countries, including Sweden and Peter Forsberg. But I was so happy for Teemu Selane, as I have been for his NHL season. I was never a fan of Anaheim or San Jose, but as a fan of the Avalanche, I was very excited when he and Paul Karya came to Colorado. Then Selane got shafted by bad coaching, and ended up playing on a line with Peter Worrel. I recently saw Peter Worrel playing in a ECHL game in Pensacola. That's how good he is. How could Selane be expected to perform when he only got 4 minutes of playing time with a line like that? I'm glad Selane is getting better treatment now, and I only wish Colorado had seen the value of his skills and given him second line duties when he was there.