Friday, February 19, 2010

USA Leading & Former Kings Everywhere

Random Ramblings from Thursday's Olympic hockey match ups...

We had the USA-Norway at noon, followed by Canada-Switzerland and then Russia-Slovakia. Let's start with the Canada game. Why not, that's what the hockey media throughout North America seems to be focusing on.

In that game I felt sick. My stomach seriously hurt as I found myself cheering for Jonas Hiller. For three periods I was forced to suspend reality. I tried as hard as I could to forget that he's a Mighty Duck. For today, he was just some kid goaltender on an otherwise anonymous team from Switzerland. A team playing in a jersey that was so ugly, it was actually cool.

The Swiss are physical. Damn! They played rough against the Americans on Tuesday and brought their bounce house style of play again today. Perhaps the coach told them Sidney Crosby is just an overgrown Raggedy Ann doll (or would it be Andy?) because they were throwing him around from one end of the ice to the other. I guess Sid got the last laugh with his game winning goal in the shootout through. Which, by the way was his SECOND turn. You see, after the first three shooters, guys can go again. What? Who came up with this crazy rule? So weird.

Extremely exciting game - just a disappointing result. So close, so close. In fact, for a few hours it was the best game of the tournament so far.

But first, notes from the U.S. game played earlier in the day...

Nobody should be wearing #9 with USA across their chest unless the guy wearing it is Mike Modano. Period. Not even open for debate.

Jack Johnson is the man! Period. He played strong in game one and upped his game again vs. Norway today. He picked up an assist and could have easily had a goal or two. And his defense looks real good too. The short handed goal was not his fault. So don't even start. He was left out to dry on a two on one. Keep it up Jack. Sunday's your chance to show that Doughty isn't the old young stud the Kings have on D right now. Don't look now, but Jack is tied for the team lead with a +3 rating.

Dustin Brown? Well, that's a different story. It seemed like he would go long stretches without seeing the ice. Was Wilson triple shifting Drury / Parise / Kane? It sure seemed like it.

Remember when the Kings hosted Hockey Fest back in August? Tons of former players were brought back to tell stories, take pictures and sign autographs. Well, the 2010 Winter Olympics are kinda like that - just different. Everywhere you look there are current or former Kings. However, rather than mingling with the fans - they're here to play!

Tim Gleason? Hi, how are you.

The night cap featured names like Palffy, Demitra, Grebeshkov, Visnovsky, Stumpel and Handzus. I will say, it's weird not seeing Frolov out there for team Russia though. And every time I see Palffy I think of Andy Murray. Is that weird?

Zues - my were a hot mess in overtime. First you lost your helmet. Next shift your stick. Thankfully both skates were strapped to your feet.

There were also two coulda been Kings - Kovalchuk and Gaborik.

And...oh no...another goalie with ties to the Ducks...Bryzgalov for Russia. Thankfully, I was cheering against him - hoping for a Slovakia win.

What a game. Slovakia-Russia was the best game of all the (men's) hockey played this week. It very easily could have been a game 7 for the Stanley Cup...only with a shootout to decide it. Slovakia had so many chances in the third and in overtime. Then came the shootout...

First up for the Kings, Stumpel. 1-0 Slovakia.

Russia's captain, Morozov up next. Miss.

Second shooter for the Kings, Demitra. Poke checked away. Still 1-0 Slovakia.

Who else for Russia but #8? The greatest player in the NHL ties it up 1-1.

Hossa denied. Then, Datsyuk denied. So, it's 1-1 after the first three shooters.

Ovi again for Russia? Didn't we already see the 'do over' thing in the Canada game? Yep. Thankfully, different result this time. Ovi can't score on his second try of the session.

The Kings press repeat themselves and send Stumpel back out. No goal. On to round 5.

Kovalchuk for Russia...wide.

Here we go...MICHAL HANDZUS to win it for the Kings...denied. DAMN IT!

OMG! Ovi again for Russia. Third time is a...denied.

Gaborik is stopped by Bryzgalov. We're still tied.

Malkin skates in for Russia, plays with the puck and just can't get a shot off. No goal.

Demitra up next. He does the big wide turn-in thing that he does...shoot, score. In my best Bob Miller voice "Kings Win! Kings Win! The Kings win the game!"

I know it was Slovakia, leave me alone.


For a final tie in to former Kings...Friday will be Wayne Gretzky day over at Molson Hockey House...the place that has quickly become The Place to be in Vancouver.

The Mayor

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