February 21, 2010
Hockey's Greatest Rivalry?
Have we ever seen a single day of hockey as great as what the 2010 Olympics offer us today - Super Sunday!
Today's triple feature not only sees rematches of the previous three gold medal games, but also highlights three of the greatest rivalries in hockey history.
Finland and Sweden, the latter of which won their gold medal showdown in 2006, have had a natural rivalry going back forever, and that of course spilled over to the hockey rinks in the 20th century. This rivalry is down right personal. Sweden's hockey team has handled Finland kind of like a big brother, usually winning but often just barely.
Canada and the United States, who battled for gold in 2002, have been rivals since Europeans settled North America, but on the ice this most physical rivalry is relatively new. But it has replaced Canada-Russia as hockey's top rivalry, at least for the past 15 to 20 years or so.
Many would argue that hockey's top historical rivalry is not actually between Canada and Russia, but rather the Czechs and Russia. They faced off for gold in 1998, with the Czechs winning. But these two long time European hockey powers have been facing off forever, both on the ice and in the political arena. It has been at times very much a blood feud, never so much than in 1968 in the streets of Prague. That led to the most intense hockey match in the history of hockey, as recounted by my article written back in 2004. It is a story you will not believe.
It is the history behind these rivalries - both on and off the ice - that make this Sunday truly Super.
Enjoy Super Sunday everyone. You can find me on Twitter @HockeyLegends throughout the day.