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Thread: Olympic hockey

  1. #1
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Olympic hockey

    Starts today, Finland vs Sweden on MSNBC right now, Finland up 2-0 (that's an upset in my books)

    Canada looks like the team to beat, but Russia should be an interesting sleeper this year.

    A few bits on the teams

    Canada

    The defending champions are favored to win the gold again.

    Backed by goaltending god Martin Brodeur, the roster boasts a stellar list of names including team captain Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Vincent LeCavalier and Simon Gagne, to name a few. Add defensemen Rob Blake, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr and Chris Pronger and you have the goods for gold. They are the most solid team with both new and experienced players, skill, size, speed and depth. This time around, they also have the added advantage of chemistry after playing together in (and winning) the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.

    Although ďOperation SlapshotĒ could be viewed as a distraction for Canadian players, this isnít an unfamiliar situation. In Salt Lake City, Gretzky spouted off to the media about his "everybody`s out to get Canada" theory just to keep reporters focused on him instead of the Canadian players. This time, while all eyes are again focused on Gretzky, the Canadian team can legitimately escape media scrutiny. In fact, they might even rally behind the Great One.

    Canada is at +110 to win gold and barring any major injuries or crises, the Canadians stand the best chance to win gold.

    USA

    The Americans have an impressive roster, but not as impressive as some of the other top dogs.

    Their goaltending is solid, but not stellar. Their defense is their strongest asset, led by team captain Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher, which should help prevent any hemorrhaging that could occur if Rick DiPietro or Robert Esche face too much rubber. As for their offense, the usual suspects: Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin Ė solid players but compared to the super-scorers on other squads, the US team is a little weak offensively.

    USA is at +800 to win gold, but they probably won`t see the podium. The best realistic outcome for this aging squad is probably a bronze.

    The Czech Republic

    If any team were going to dethrone the champs, it would be the Czechs.

    They have a proven goaltender in Dominik Hasek whoís already won gold for his country in Nagano. The defense is solid with experienced players like Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina and Marek Malik who is the proud owner of the prettiest shootout goal of the NHL season.

    As for their offense, itís no less than fabulous. Jaromir Jagr, Vaclav Prospal, Robert Lang and Martin Straka are some of the stars, so be prepared for highlight reel performances from this team. Should a game get to shootouts, beware. The Czechs have an experienced blue line, fantastic goaltending and their only fault is that they donít have any defensive forwards, which could create turnovers.

    The Czech Republic is at +275 to win gold. This team is a serious contender for a medal. If they don`t overtake the Canadians, they should at least come in a close second.

    Russia

    The Russians are also podium chasers.

    They have solid goaltending with Evgeni Nabokov and Ilja Bryzgalov, but they couldíve used the assistance of Nikolai Khabibulin, who is out with a strained MCL. The Russians have a terrific defensive squad, with experienced players like Darius Kasparitis and Sergei Gonchar as well as talented newcomers like Andrei Markov. Their offense is even better with two of the top scorers in the NHL Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Ovechkin.

    Russiaís goaltending isnít as good as it couldíve been with Khabibulin and like the Czechs, they have very skilled finesse players, but forwards who don`t play defense. Just look at Kovlachukís Ė12 rating in the NHL.

    The Russian team is at +500 to win gold. They`re another serious contender, but probably donít have the goods for gold.

    Slovakia

    Slovakiaís major problem is goaltending.

    The only goalie with NHL experience is Peter Budaj, a backup for the Colorado Avalanche, and his experience is limited at best. On all other fronts, the team is spectacular with blueliners Zdeno Chara and Martin Strbak and a ridiculously talented offense. The Hossa brothers, Peter Bondra, Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra, Miroslav Satan and rookie sensation Marek Svatos fill out the offensive roster and will be impressive to watch under international regulations.

    Slovakia is at +1000 to win gold.

    Slovakia will finish on top, although probably not a contender for gold. They could definitely go home with bronze, but their goaltending will be a major issue.

    Sweden

    Sweden had a well-rounded team, with all the necessary components for a podium finish, but after some major losses in their lineup, gold is pretty much out of the question.

    Superstar Peter Forsberg might not be in the lineup until the quarterfinals due to a groin injury, but there are enough offensive strikers to make up for it early on. But if he doesn`t play at all, consider Sweden out of contention. Marcus Naslund will also be seriously missed having been sidelined by a nagging groin injury, and his replacement Tomas Holmstrom just isnít cut from the same cloth.

    The Swedish defense is decent, but once again, the loss of Kim Johnsson to a concussion and Niklas Kronwall to a torn knee ligament will hurt the teamís chances.

    Sweden is at +800 to win gold.

    They do have the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, P.J. Axelsson and the Sedin twins up front and goalies Mikael Tellqvist and Henrik Lundqvist to protect the fort, but the injury-depleted Swedish squad would be happy with bronze.

    Finland

    The runner-up in the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, is another medal contender thatís been run out of contention by injuries.

    The most notable missing piece is goalie Miikka Kiprusoff whoís withdrawn to avoid further aggravating an injury. Along with Kari Lehtonenís absence, it leaves the Finnish net open to snipers.

    Their blue line also took a major hit with the loss of Joni Pitkanen and Ossi Vaananen, but still boasts names like Aki Berg, Sami Salo and Teppo Numminen, all of whom will make a solid defensive contribution. The Finnish forwards are their strongest features with regulars like team captain Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Olli Jokinen and Jere Lehtinen.

    Finland is at +1500 to win gold. They probably won`t finish higher than fourth, but they could cause upsets should the team gel.

    Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy and Kazakhstan

    Germany wouldíve been more of threat had they not lost their two top players, Marco Sturm and Jochen Hecht, to injuries. They do have Olaf Kolzig in nets and a few other NHLers on their roster, but arenít experienced or strong enough to do any real damage in Turin. Germany is listed at +8000 to win gold.

    Switzerland has good goaltending with David Aebischer and Martin Gerber but the only other NHLer is defenseman Mark Streit. They wonít allow many goals; they just wonít score any. Switzerland is listed at +6600 to win gold.

    Latvia is on par with Germany. They have Arturs Irbe in nets and a few other NHLers in Sandis Ozolinsh and Karlis Skrastins, but arenít a threat yet. Theyíre still an emerging country in hockey and will only get better with time. Latvia is listed at +8000 to win gold.

    Kazakhstan and Italy are in a race to avoid last place and are both listed at +20000.

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  3. #2
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Thanks for the write-up, woy.

    I hate to say this, but I like the Russian team. I like Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. And I would have to think that they could be argued as the favorites to win the gold if Khabibulin were able to play.

    I don't think the US has enough firepower to outscore teams, and I don't think their goaltending will be good enough to hold other teams down, although their D should be decent.

    If my choices for gold are Canada or Russia, I'll take Russia.
    'When I'm not longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.'
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  4. #3
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    I always look forward to Olympic Hockey.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  5. #4
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    4-0 now Fins, the Swiss look asleep, their Goalie (Gerber of the Hurricanes) is having a horrible game, worst I've seen all year for him.

    Sweden has to play the Czechs (who are a fave too) and Canada in their next 2 games, if Gerber fails then Auberscher from Colorado might push him.

  6. #5
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Aebischer had a great year in Colorado last year. Really stepped up under a lot of pressure following Roy. I haven't been keeping track of him this year, has his game slipped? I would think under normal circumstances he should be starting over Gerber anyway.
    'When I'm not longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.'
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  7. #6
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Is Kipprusoff in net for the Fins?

    Nevermind, I see that he has withdrawn from the games b/c of injury.

    Who is in net for the Fins?
    'When I'm not longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.'
    -Snoop on his retirement

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  8. #7
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    I don't like the US Goaltending at all, but then again I am biased and think the best US Goltender is on the Taxi Squad....

    If I were abetting man, I would take the Czech team.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  9. #8
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Leader
    Is Kipprusoff in net for the Fins?

    Nevermind, I see that he has withdrawn from the games b/c of injury.

    Who is in net for the Fins?
    No one I've ever heard of. Not watching the game, but that Sweden is asleep at the wheel is surprising. They have a very strong team--on paper at least.

    The U.S. roster, good Lord...it could almost qualify for AARP benefits. Canada looks unbelieveably strong, as usual. There's just no single country that can match up, top to bottom, with them.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  10. #9
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by deltachi8
    If I were abetting man, I would take the Czech team.
    Yep, you've got to take any team with Hasek, Jagr and Straka seriously. Also, Bluejacket David Vyborny is on the Czech team. Still, head-to-head I'll take Canada.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  11. #10
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    I think currently the goalie is Fredrik Norrena who plays in the Swedish League, but it could end up being Jussi Markkanen of Edmonton who has been hot and cold this season.

  12. #11
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    I like when non-NHL players come up big in the Olympics, no matter which team they play for.
    'When I'm not longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.'
    -Snoop on his retirement

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  13. #12
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    If I were abetting man, I would take the Czech team.
    Hinges on the Goalie situation, Hasek could carry them as could Tomas Vokoun.. the USA doesn't have the horse in the net, however their PK could be too slow since Chelly and company are as old as I am.

  14. #13
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Hasek has to leave in the 1st period vs Germany, Tomas Vokoun takes the spotlight.

  15. #14
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Hinges on the Goalie situation, Hasek could carry them as could Tomas Vokoun.. the USA doesn't have the horse in the net, however their PK could be too slow since Chelly and company are as old as I am.
    WOY, no way I thought you were that old.

    Just a fyi on the US Goaltending...as it has been a hot topic in buffalo:

    Code:
    Name	Team	GP	GS	MIN	W	L	OTL	GAA	SV%	SO
    Ryan Miller	BUF	29	29	1757	20	7	2	2.25	0.923	0
    John Grahame	TAM	40	38	2282	22	15	1	2.68	0.9	5
    Robert Esche	PHI	26	26	1506	15	6	3	3.15	0.892	0
    Rick DiPietro	NYI	43	43	2394	19	16	4	3.38	0.892	0
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  16. #15
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Hasek has to leave in the 1st period vs Germany, Tomas Vokoun takes the spotlight.
    Groin injury?
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.


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