It's the best time of year!
1. Winter Games being held in Vancouver
For the first time since NHL players started participating in the Olympics, the stage will be held in an NHL city. Vancouver is a great city to host this tournament – let alone the Winter Games itself. Canadians from all over, who are fans of six different teams, will gather as one to root on their country. The crowds and atmospheres are going to exceed what it feels like at a Stanley Cup Playoff game. When Canada steps on to the ice tomorrow, Hockey Canada Place – known as GM Place – will be rocking like it never has… and it’s just going to be a crescendo from there. In Nagano, Salt Lake City, and Turin, there was something missing with the atmosphere at the games. Not anymore.
2. Talent-level at all-time high
I don’t think we’ve seen a tournament with so much youthful skill displayed. In previous Olympic years, there was a lot of great players and depth on the likes of Canada, Russia, and USA. But this is the first time Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will both play in the Olympics… and Evgeni Malkin, and Patrick Kane, and Miikka Kiprusoff. The list can go on and on. These games are going to be almost the equivalent of All-Star Games, without the crappy play and cavalier attitude. It’s the best hockey players in the world playing for one thing – the Gold Medal – meaning it’s going to be special with all of this talent on display.
3. Games will be played on NHL-sized rink
Also for the first time since NHL players started participating in the Olympics, the tournament will be held on NHL ice. I love this. Contrary to big international-sized rinks, there won’t be as much to room to show off the speed and skill. A team like Finland, who will live off of their fore-checking and the opposition’s turnovers, should benefit from this; while Russia may be affected since there isn’t more ice to blow by players. The temporary move to NHL ice could also trigger an upset or two more than usual, as the defensive-minded underdogs will benefit as well. It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of affect it will have on the tournament as a whole.
4. Threat of no NHLers in 2014 Olympics
There is a chance that Commissioner Gary Bettman will not stop the NHL season in 2014 for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. As big of a mistake that could be, that threat will lead to more players putting it all on the line to win it all. Players currently in their early 30’s – the Joe Thorntons and Pavel Datsyuks of the world – will not hold back as this could be their last chance to play for their country and win Gold on this stage.
5. Rivalry games guaranteed
In 2006, we didn’t have USA vs. Canada, Finland vs. Sweden, or Czech Republic vs. Slovakia in the prelims. The latter two rivalries happened to meet up in the medal round, including the Gold Medal Game between the Swedes and Finns. But we already know that these three big rivals will meet in the preliminary round this year, and the games will have high stakes. I don't know if it just happened to fall into place like this, or if it was 'fixed'. Either way, it only enhances these Winter Games!
Because of these factors (among others), the intensity will be cranked up a few notches compared to past Olympics. It won’t get any better than these next two weeks of Olympic hockey. In fact, it just might be the best tournament of hockey we've ever seen. Enjoy it, hockey fans… we’ve all waited 4 years for this. Drop the damn puck already!!!
at 8:00 PM
Tauchen Sie in der Welt von blackjack online ein und lassen Sie sich mit online casino spielen vergnügen.