As the NHL break enters week two, the Olympic tournament is finally getting down to some games with meaning and hopefully some excitement to match. Other than the U.S. Russian round robin tilt, the men’s hockey games have been under whelming to say the least. In Canada’s first three games they managed just 11 goals for, against mediocre opponents that weren't interested in going on the attack too often.
The Austrian, Finnish and Norwegian teams all took a similar approach reminiscent of Ali’s rope a dope as they focussed not on scoring but on keeping Canada’s snipers off the score sheet. Canada played 80% of the game in the offensive zone in those games but mustered just four goals in regulation time in the games against Norway and Finland.
The best example of this brutal brand of hockey are the Swiss. They only have two goals in three games. That's not much for 180 minutes of hockey, still, the Swiss came away with two regulation wins and the best defensive record of any team as they allowed just one goal. Wow, isn't that exciting? Three 1-0 games in a tournament where all the world are expecting to see the best offensive players on the planet put on a show. It is beyond painful especially against the backdrop of all the hype and months of build up to get served up this garbage.
Even more surprising is the Russian team with Ovechkin leading a group of highly talented offensive players yet somehow this team did not earn a bye ranking 5th after the round robin and now needing a win over Norway to get anywhere near a medal. The Russian’s managed just one regulation win in three games and only scored eight times.
Perhaps playing for the 1-0 win will be history now that it is “do or die” but I doubt it since that style has worked, so far. One can only hope that if Canada does play the Swiss next, which is a distinct possibility, that Canada’s snipers fill the net early and put and end to this sham and miserable hockey in this highly anticipated greatest tournament of all. Let the real hockey games begin already.