I have been anticipating the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament since July 2nd, 2003. That was the day the International Olympic Committee awarded the XXI Olympic Games to the city of Vancouver.
Now that day one has come and gone, here's some quick thoughts:
Canada looked good against Norway. Forget the 8-0 score, it was the process that impressed me. The team showed some early cohesion, some good dedication to the game plan, and some good discipline in the midst of a frenzied crowd. There were lots of positive, many that I noted on Twitter, but ultimately this was a mean-little game against a non-hockey power. Let's not get too excited.
USA looked quite tentative against the Swiss. Cohesion did not come quickly for USA, although full credit to a spunky Swiss team that is not the easiest to play against. I thought coach Wilson was too willing to spread the ice time out equally. In contrast Canada rewarded players for strong team play, USA just rolled the lines. Nice to see Hnat Dominechelli again, although it was odd to see this former Canadian junior playing for Switzerland.
Russia walked all over a Latvia team that I think Norway would beat. The Russian juggernaut seemed determined to answer Canada' 8-0 score, and they did. They looked particularly good setting up one-strike plays in the offensive zone. But the Big Red Machine was not the most well oiled machine, letting Latvia back into the game in the 2nd period and with an at-times weak PK. It didn't matter on day one, but they will need to improve as the competition gets tougher.
For more thoughts, and a picture of Wayne Gretzky in a Soviet hockey jersey, strange memories of Vyachelav Bykov, and my KISS rants, join me on Twitter @HockeyLegends
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