Friday, February 28, 2014

Some Thoughts on Olympic Hockey

I have been reflecting on the topic of Olympic Hockey and how it finished for the USA; there are some things that need to be said.  There was a boatload of Team USA bashing for the way that it ended.  The papers called it "embarrassing" and slammed the team for lack of effort.  There was little packing on the back for holding the Canadians to a 1-0 loss the day.  I feel like the team is being unfairly treated in one game, and the rest of the tournament was quickly forgotten.

Selanne after the game.
The bronze medal game was the perfect storm.  On one side you have Team USA who just lost a heartbreaking game to Canada.  On the other side you have the Finnish team, who is trying desperately to get Teemu Selanne a medal for his last Olympics.  If you do not know who Teemu Selanne is, he has been playing in the NHL for what seems like forever.  He is one of the oldest guys, and most respected players in the league.  So, the Fins had a wealth of motivation, and the USA they barely had any.

Toews Goal!
Let's go back to the USA - Canada for a moment; the main difference between the USA - Canada is that most hockey fans can tell you who the Canadians player for.  The Canadian team is made up of mostly captains, and assistant captains of their respective NHL team.  The USA team, while all NHLers, has some 3rd and 4th line guys.  The wealth of talent that the Canadian team has now rivals that of the Russians when they dominated the game from the 1950s-1980s.  The USA media could raise their level of reporting to non-hockey fans by sucking in their pride and showing some respect for the other teams.
This is not Finland LOL

I was talking to one non-hockey fan and they called Finland, a "Cinderella team."  Finland is not a Cinderella team, they are a great hockey program that has a bunch of NHL stars (Selanne, Niemi, Rask, Timonen, just to name a few). Their only loss was to the Canadians in OT.  Yet, you would have no idea about this if you do not follow hockey.  They played very well throughout the tournament.  I think the mass media failed to respect the skill of the Finnish team.  You can say that I am wrong, but this is what I believe to be true.

I feel like other teams in sports have been given a free pass when they lose a heart breaking game to their rival, then proceed to get blown out the next week.  This seems to happen in College Football and the NFL more than other sports.  USA Hockey for whatever reason gets no free pass.  If you do not want to cover hockey, don't, especially if you are going to blow things way out of proportion.  The national media would be well served to complain less, and respect more; I think more people would have a real idea of what is actually being reported about hockey.