A little re-evaluation

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader watched a fair amount of Olympic Hockey yesterday. (NB to Fishersville Mike: Saw more hockey than expected. Amazing that NBC would actually show the games and not a human interest story…) He watched Russia/Czech Republic, USA/Canada and some of Finland/Sweden. (He stayed up late.)

First off, allow him to say for the record that NBC is not screwing up the hockey broadcasts they are actually showing. Your Maximum Leader is starting to like Jeremy Roenick giving the business to that dillweed Mike Milbury. The color and the call during the broadcasts are good. All in all there is a lot of positive stuff going on when NBC is showing the games.

Sadly, you have to search around and find CNBC or MSNBC to actually see the hockey games… But at least they are on. Your Maximum Leader is also pleased that there don’t seem to be lots of commerical breaks.

Now… On to the re-evaluations…

Team USA is better than he thought. This isn’t just because of their win last night over Canada. It is because they are making the best of their opportunities and are playing smart heads-up hockey. They leave a lot to be desired defensively and got tremendously lucky during the final two minutes of the game last night; but when they are in the offensive zone they move the puck well and play their positions. All in all Team USA is a better TEAM than your Maximum Leader thought they would be. The Americans seem to have some chemistry. They don’t look like a cobbled together superteam. In fact, they aren’t a “superteam.” They are a team of good professional players who are greater than the sum of their parts. Your Maximum Leader isn’t going to declare Team USA a gold medal team; but it seems possible that they could get a medal of some color.

Team Russia is not as good as he thought. Unlike the Americans, the Russians seem to have parts that are greater than the whole. There is probably more talent on Team Russia than any other team in the games; but they don’t seem to have coalesced as a team. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t want to give much creedence to dillweed Mike Milbury’s comments that Ovechkin and Malkin don’t like each other enough to be linemates; but Milbury might have something. Team Russia might need a different centerman on the line with Ovechkin and Semin. Your Maximum Leader thought that an Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin line would be right neigh impossible to stop (a 21st Century KLM Line). While the Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin line is a great one, they don’t seem to have the chemistry you’d like to see. Perhaps with some practice and a day off they might get a little more chemistry…

Team Canada is just about where your Maximum Leader thought they’d be, but they didn’t perform last night. Your Maximum Leader is ready to chalk up the loss to the USA as being an “off night.” Of course, now Canada has a tougher row to hoe to get to the gold medal game.

Your Maximum Leader has for months thought that the gold medal game would be Canada/Russia. Now he is not so sure. In fact, having seen most of the team play now he thinks that five teams could seriously contend for gold they are: USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Canada and Sweden. The two weak sisters in that pentete of teams are USA and the Czech Republic. The USA needs to work on defence and the Czech Republic needs more explosive scoring. Team Sweden (the defending gold medal winners - if you can actually be said to “defend” a gold) is likely the dark horse now. The Swedes are a strong looking team. They play a smart game on both ends of the ice and Lundqvist seems pretty strong. Your Maximum Leader could see a Sweden/Russia or Canada gold medal game. Your Maximum Leader gets the feeling that if the Swedes make it to the gold medal game they could win it all.

It should be a very exciting few days hockey-wise. Your Maximum Leader will hope to catch as many games as he can over the week.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Your Maximum Leader hasn’t seen a schedule for the medal round yet, so he can’t confirm this but… Apparently a Canada/Russia gold medal game is out of the question as those two teams will likely face each other before the gold medal game. Your Maximum Leader can’t find a schedule worth a damn out there so if you happen to know of one… Please let him know…

UPDATE OF UPDATE: Okay… Here we are:

Winner of Canada/Germany faces Russia.
Winner of Switzerland/Belarus faces USA.
Winner of Czech Republic/Latvia faces Finland.
Winner of Slovakia/Norway faces Sweden.

Predictions from your Maximum Leader go like this. Canada defeats Germany. Switzerland defeats Belarus. Upset: Norway defeats Slovakia. Czech Republic defeats Latvia. Russia defeats Canada. USA defeats Switzerland. Finland defeats Latvia. Sweden defeats Norway. That would leave the teams with the bye all advancing to the medal round. Out of fear that he doesn’t fully understand the seeding for the medal round, your Maximum Leader will avoid predicting more than he has. Although He thinks that if it plays out the way he thinks it will that would result in USA/Finland and Sweden/Russia games. With the winners of those matchups facing each other for the gold. Could we see USA/Sweden in the gold medal game and Finland duking it out (like in the Winter War of 1939) with Russia for the Bronze? Gad… That would be too much to hope for. All your Maximum Leader can say is he hopes the USA keeps wearing those throwback 1960 Sweaters.

Carry on (again).

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