There have been a few monikers already labeled on most of the days of hockey thusfar in the Olympics, Super Sunday, Wonderful Wednesday, etc. I’m not sure what to exactly call yesterday, but I must say that I was pretty excited to sit down and watch 4 hockey games between the top 8 teams in the World, and I was not let down.
US 2 Swiss 0
The US were clearly the better team in a game that they just had trouble had scoring in. Jonas Hiller for the Swiss was phenomenal, stopping 42 of 43 shots. The Americans looked like they had scored a goal with .1 seconds remaining in the 2nd period, when Hiller tipped in a shot from Ryan Kesler, but after replay review, it was clear that the puck did not go in the net. After Zach Parise scored early in the third period, to give the US a 1-0 lead, the refs disallowed a goal on a garbage high sticking on Ryan Kesler. The call was marginal at best, and the fact that it negated a goal by the US, made the call even worse. It didn’t matter though as the US outshot the Swiss 44 to 19, and ended the game with a empty net goal to make the score 2 to 0.
***Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury blocked about one million shots today.
Brian Burke – “Chris Drury, who unanimously shouldn’t be on the team if the media picked the team, blocked more shots than (media) guys make typos in a day, and that’s a phenomenal number.”
Canada 7 Russia 3
Other than the US game, this was the game I was most looking forward to. Many people thought this would be the gold medal game, but one of these teams was going home without a medal at all. This game was over seemingly before it even started. The Canadians had 1st period goals by Ryan Getzlaf, Dan Boyle, Rick Nash and Brenden Morrow to take a 4 to 1 lead into the 2nd period. The Russians could never get close after that awful first period. They pulled Evgeni Nabokov after the 6th Canadian goal, and inserted Ilya Bryzgalov, who looked stellar in his place, but the damage was obviously done by that point. The Russian snipers never seemed to get anything going, and Alexander Ovechkin was seemingly invisible, with 3 shots and a -2 +/-
***The “controversial” hit by Alexander Semin on Dan Boyle was completely legal, and not the least bit dirty. We rewatched this play at least 40 times on my TV, and there was not a thing dirty about it. The only dirt part of the whole sequence was the slew foot that Dan Boyle gaved to a completely stunned Semin.
Czech Republic 2 Finland 0
This game featured the best goaltending display of the Olympics thusfar. Both Tomas Vokoun and Miika Kiprusoff seemed to turn away anything that cane even remotely close to their net. Vokoun happened to let one by him, a goal by Niklas Hagman halfway through the third, that the Czechs could not overcome. Hagman had a solid offensive game trying to get one by Vokoun with his 7 shots, and was credited with the GWG. As I previously mentioned, you would be hard pressed to find a game with more stellar goaltending on both sides of the ice. The Fins put in an empty netter with a minute and a half left to take a 2 to 0 lead, a score that ended up being the final.
***If Miike Kiprusoff plays like he did vs the Czechs, I’m scared for the US team.
Slovakia 4 Sweden 3
Sleeeeeper alert. My brother asked me Pre Tourney about the one team that nobody was mentioning that could make a run at a medal. My answering was unequivocally Slovakia. Three reasons, Jaroslav Halak, Marian Gaborik, Zdeno Charra. One of the better young goaltenders, the reigning Norris winner and one of the leagues best goal scorers. To most people, last nights win over defending champ Sweden may have been a shocker, but this Slovak team is for real. Between the vets (Stumpel, Palffy, Jurcina, Zednik) and the bonafide NHL stars in Charra, Gaborik and Hossa the Slovaks can match up with any team in the tourney. They did so last night in their 4 to 3 win over Sweden. Slovakia only managed 14 shots on goal but netted 4 of them. The Sweded made a late charge with the game stuck at 4 to 3, but just couldn’t muster up the goal to tie the game.
***LETS GO SLOVAKS!!! SLEEEEEEEEEPER ALERT!