Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OLYMPICS: Be careful what you wish for...

Vancouver, BC - That's all I kept thinking when the guy behind me kept screaming "We Want Russia" early in the third period. Sure, Team Canada was dominating Germany. But, come on. All in good time brother. The game will be epic - Sid vs. Ovi...the NHL has to be thrilled.

Before we get to that game though, let's start with the morning game: Switzerland vs. Belarus.

Igor Larionov was in the house to catch the game. I had a chance to chat with him for a few minutes and he remains very high on Kings prospect Andrei Loktionov. You may recall Loktionov was working out with the Russian legend when he first came to North America. Larionov also played with Loktionov's father as a youngster in Moscow.

Along with the sold out Hockey Place (it will return to 'GM Place' after the Olympics), he was treated to a rather dull game for the first forty minutes. Belarus came out with all guns blazing in the third and turned it into a thrilling finish. They came up short though, still tied after 10 minutes of overtime...and eventually losing in the shootout. The Ducks' Jonas Hiller was in net again for the Swiss. He and his countrymen will now get a rematch with the U.S. in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday at noon PST.

All of Canada was probably secretly holding their breath for the 4:30pm game with Germany. Sure, they were supposed to beat them soundly. However, if the sea of red maple leaf wearing fans have learned anything this past week, it's that nothing should be taken for granted.

That said, things finally went according to plan for Team Canada - as Scotty Bowman looked on from one of the many corporate suites. Not to far away was a collection of former Oilers in another suite - Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and some guy named Gretzky.

On the ice, Jumbo Joe Thornton had the only goal in the first, giving Canada a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. They must have taken a giant exhale during the intermission because from that point on it was all Canada and they came in waves. When it was all said and done, the 8-2 victory earned them a game with Russia tomorrow at 4:30pm PST. Can you say big game?

LA Kings phenom Drew Doughty was his usual stud self. He finished the game with 1 assist and was a +4 in just over 15 minutes on the ice. He seemed to do no wrong and even had a couple of near miss goals. One thing I can't stress enough is how much the Canadian fans LOVE this kid. They can't stop talking to me about him. Praise, compliments, astonishment and more - all rolled up into one. Some guy said to me tonight 'You watch him every night - is he really this good all the time or is he just having an outstanding tournament?' and before I could even answer he added 'He's probably been our best defenseman.' I keep hearing this over and over this week. The secret is out folks.

The night cap was the Euro Kings (Team Slovakia) vs. the upstart Norway team. For some reason all the Canadians in the arena were cheering hard for Team Norway. Perhaps they fed off the energy because some how Norway made a game of things. LA Kings (underrated) forward Michal Handzus put Slovakia up early 1-0. Former Kings Stumpel, Palffy, Lubo and Demitra seemed to be on the ice all the time in the first half of the game - each picked up an assist before the night was over. The Euro Kings won 4-3 and will face off with Sweden tomorrow evening. That could be a tall task for the Slovaks.

Interesting game note - Ziggy is playing with a wooden stick. Don't see much of that anymore.

At the other arena across town it took overtime, but the Czech Republic knocked off Latvia to advance to Wednesday's Quarterfinal game vs. Finland.

More soon...

The Mayor

For more Olympics coverage on MayorsManor - including some exclusive pictures - simply type OLYMPICS in the search box near the top left corner of this page.

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