Swiss Slaughter Canada
Originally uploaded by Points North.
In the male version of the USA-Sweden women's hockey game, the Canadians lost. I'm not that choked up about it.
I haven't been connected to the men's hockey team this Olympics. I usually enjoy watching the game on a bigger ice with more continuous play than stopped time. But not this year.
I think it started with putting Todd Bertuzzi in the team and not Sidney Crosbie. Then the "glamour" of watching NHL players instead of "no-names" has worn off. Plus the women's hockey team excites me more because it is a team, not a bunch of players put together at the last minute whose first loyalty is by necessity to their real teams, not to Team Canada, no matter the fact that -- I'm sure -- they're totally swelled with pride at being chosen to represent Canada. Hockey is a team sport -- we appreciate the brilliant players, but cheer for the team. We can do both only for the female Team Canada.
"We gotta find our own identity." Chris Pronger.
That's the missing piece in a nutshell. The commentators talk about the women's teams in previous matches and how they fared. The men about previous Olympics only. There are no in-between matches to talk about. As spectators we get a sense of the upcoming women's gold-medal game when the commentators talk about the last match up between Canada and Sweden outside of the Olympics and previous games in relation to that one as well.
So why did the Swiss beat Canada? As I understand it, the Swiss have been playing together as a team for a while. Team Canada has not. The Europeans are also skilled players, sometimes much better than Canadians. Add skill to experience playing together, and you have a winning combination.
Hockey is our game. That means we have such a depth of players that not all the excellent ones go into the NHL straight out of high school. We can have a men's team again, a team made of players not in the NHL (yet). Yes, I would feel bad for players like Gretzky, who chose to go professional very young and thus did not have a chance to play for Canada in the Olympics until they changed the rules for Nagano; but as a spectator, I would rather cheer for a team in a tournament that's the culmination of many (ones we would have read about in the paper prior to the Olympics), not for a bunch of players who are together only for a one-off, as we have now.