Opening Win for USA Men’s Hockey

I made the decision today to ignore the Twitter and interweb world today starting at about 2PM so I could watch the USA v. Switzerland Men’s hockey game on the DVR. Well I just finished it up, mixing in some work as I watched. USA wins 3-1 and gets 3 points in the group A standings. It wasn’t a total domination win like Canada’s win over Norway, but it is still a win. The Swiss surprised some teams in the last Olympics, and play a defensive-Jacques Lemaire-Minnesota Wild brand of hockey, so the potential for upset was there.

Overall I like this new Team USA. I say new because there was a lot of turnover since the 2006 Olympics. Gone are the aging veterans of USA hockey past and this new team is young, and dare I say, eager. At the very least, they appear to be respectful of the Olympic experience, something their recent predecessors lacked (RE: Nagano).

Here a few surface observations I had while watching the game:

  • Jeremy Roenick 3rd guy on studio broadcast team? He was alright. Didn’t really say much, which must be tough for JR. But he was better than Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire put together.
  • Team Switzerland has 3 current NHL players, 1 of them is goalie Jonas Hiller. Team USA is all NHL, with a good handful of them with roots in NCAA hockey.
  • A few good Minny connections in this game. David Backes (MN native, MN State alum) pretty end to end goal after a good save from USA G Ryan Miller. Ryan Malone (SCSU goon) hard working PP goal. And Hnat Dominicelli (former Wild) almost scored for the Swiss. He was on the doorstep and appeared to tap in the Swiss goal, but it never touched his stick and the goal was awarded to Roman Wick.
  • What happened to the “count up” clock in the Olympics? Did NBC choose not to confuse the uneducated and show the “count down” clock? Do they not use the count up in international hockey anymore?

Next up for Team USA is Team Norway, Thurs 2PM CST. Gotta have this one too, as Canada dispatched them easily, 8-0. After a day of practice, I would expect USA to play better team hockey, and put Norway one on ice early.

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