Lovin’ Olympic Hockey

I should be sleeping. Or at least in bed. Work tomorrow, a visit from my wife and baby girl for lunch at the office, and I’m a tired cowboy. But tonight’s Olympic elimination round qualifiers have been great. Switzerland beat Belarus in a shootout. The Czech Republic beat Latvia in OT. Norway just tied Slovakia, heading into the 3rd period. Gotta watch. Tomorrow will be even better. Czechs v. Finland, Canada v. Russia, and of course USA v. Switzerland.’

I didn’t get a chance to post on USA’s big win over Canada on Sunday. It was a great win…a win that is surprising to some extent, but not as much as it’s been played up in my opinion. Sure, it’s the first US Olympic victory of Canada since 1960. Sure Canada is/was the favorite to win the gold. But it’s hockey. These things happen. This was a preliminary round game. Don’t get me wrong – I was jacked up during the game. But let’s keep it in perspective. They haven’t won anything yet. A loss against Switzerland and everyone forgets.

There’s been a lot said in the media…particularly by media that does not follow hockey. Sunday night ESPN Radio went pretty much exclusive hockey. Really? ESPN? You dumped hockey. On Monday, Paul Allen’s show on KFAN in Minny, which is overrun with Vikings talk, was dominated with hockey talk. PA prefaces his hockey talk with a “casual hockey fan” disclaimer and regularly brings in more-schooled hockey minds so that conversation was somewhat easier to listen, but how much puck will they talk once the Olympics are over?

They’ve said that it’s the biggest USA hockey win since the Miracle on Ice in 1980. My response to those people that regularly include hockey and the NHL in punch lines – How would you know?

I suppose I should be thankful that my favorite sport is getting some run in the national media. Maybe it just doesn’t matter. Slovakia just scored to take the lead in the 3rd. I’m going to enjoy the ride the rest of the way.

Quarterfinal Round
I’m looking for a USA win over SUI in a low-scoring, physical game. FIN over CZE, SWE over SVK, and I think RUS gets it done over CAN. That one is going to be fun.

3 thoughts on “Lovin’ Olympic Hockey

  1. There is no doubt that it’s great to see such great matchups and quality of play to keep the interest of viewers at healthy levels. Hopefully this brings many of those casual hockey fans into full-time fans. A great showing by Team USA will help that. I agree with you Jeremy, it’s important to realize that Sunday’s win didn’t accomplish anything more than border bragging rights and just maybe some more respect from Canadian fans and that country’s media. But unfortunately they’re likely more bitter than the likelihood to give American hockey any kudos. Goes to show how much of a rivalry we have with them.

    As for the sports radio talk, we can hope this isn’t a temporary thing. We won’t see it dominate after the Olympics, but at the very least give it some reasonable air time. Here in New York despite the high popularity of the Rangers, they’re always showed aside by baseball and football talk year round on WFAN. On 1050 ESPN Radio, not as much.

    Let’s hope Team USA gets it done and it’s a memorable ride.

  2. Maybe this means ESPN will pick hockey back up again? Considering I’m about to venture into the terrible world of paying for things myself, I’d really like it if hockey were shown on channels that don’t cost a fortune to get.

  3. Canada won’t respect USA hockey…ever. But that’s OK. The rivalry is healthy. Keeps it interesting. USA has earned respect this last year in international hockey with the WJC and now this Olympics. I like the new core group and think they should be good for a while.

    ESPN? I don’t think Bettman is smart enough to make that happen.

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